This Week, I Read… (2017 #11)

41 - Poison Study

#41 – Poison Study, by Maria V. Snyder

OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. So many things to say.

  1. When have I ever been truly surprised by the presence of a romance subplot? Never. Not until now.
  2. Our protagonist Yelena isn’t magically good at everything already! She learns things! She studies! It’s right there in the title!
  3. The mind games. I was constantly on the (mental) edge of my seat trying to read between the lines.
  4. FRIENDSHIPS. SHE HAS ACTUAL FRIENDS BEYOND HER LOVE INTEREST. THEY ALSO HAVE OTHER FRIENDS. THE WORLD DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND HER.
  5. The worldbuilding is on the simple side, but still interesting. Numbered military districts are nothing new to fiction, especially YA, but here it’s acknowledged from the get-go that this is a result of a military coup that put a dictator in power whose goal was to impose order on the people through a strict code of behavior. So it stands to reason that he wouldn’t go for fancy place names.

I was excited but hesitant to finally read this, as it’s come so highly recommended to me from multiple sources, but I’ve been burned all the same by other YA books before. However, it did not disappoint in the slightest–I had a hard time putting it down!

42 - My Dream of You

#42 – My Dream of You, by Nuala O’Faolain

DNF @ page 163 or so. I hung on longer than usual for a clear DNF book because I wanted to get to the section introducing the second time period before I threw in the towel. Sadly, the past was equally as boring as the present.

The present narrator finds herself at loose ends after her coworker dies and she takes a hiatus (quits? It’s referred to both ways) her travel-writing job, and she decides to research a historical divorce case she ran across years before in a prologue that felt needless and expository. She has sex with a bunch of random people (including her landlord in an incredibly cringe-worthy scene) and whines constantly about how the world expects her to be in a relationship when she’s fine with random sex. I think. I didn’t get far enough to be sure, but the tone strikes me as “the lady doth protest too much.”

While I am unequivocally a fan of romance, I don’t require it to enjoy a story–I’m fine with a protagonist neither being in love, nor finding it. But take a stand, authors. If the point is that your protagonist is okay with being Forever Alone, then own it. Don’t be wishy-washy. And if the crux of the story is that she’s actually not okay with it, well, own that too, and don’t waste my time with faux-Strong-Woman bullshit.

On top of my issue there, the prose was heavy and stilted. I recognize some of that is likely on my end, being unfamiliar with Irish idiom, but even if I ignore some of the phrases that snagged me, the narrative is still pretty lifeless, bogged down with inconsequential detail and heavy internal monologue. Also, it never fails to bother me when authors choose not to use quotation marks for dialogue. Honestly, how does that make my reading experience better, when I start a paragraph not knowing whether or not a character is speaking until I reach a comma-they-said phrase? Just use the damn marks!

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2 thoughts on “This Week, I Read… (2017 #11)

  1. I’m not sure I’ve told you this before, but I always look forward to these posts. But anyway, why would someone not use quotation marks? Just why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I really, really needed to hear this. I’ve been struggling with some personal issues lately and blog posts haven’t been much of a priority, but it truly helps to hear that you look forward to them. (hugs)

      Like

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