Hi everyone! This month’s wrap up is probably my most depressing yet, as I’ve only read roughly a quarter of what I was able to in October. There are two explanations for my tiny book pile in November. Firstly, I started a new internship closer to home, and while I was able to read for 2 hours on my daily commute before, I now barely have enough time to take my book out of my bag. Of course, this also means that I can sleep longer than the previous 3 months, and I’m certainly not complaining. Secondly, my parents are currently abroad for while, which means all the household chores and getting organised has fallen straight into my lap (technically, there’s two of us at home but if it were up to my brother, we’d probably be eating pizza every night). Therefore, my time and capacity for reading has been cut drastically in November, and I hope this will change in December, for I still have quite a few books I’d like to have read before 2017.
The Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati: This debut on a girl suffering from bipolar disorder had been on my radar for months. I was really excited to get my hands on a YA contemporary featuring a severe mental illness. I am aware, of course, that YA fiction has a habit of misportraying mental health issues, sacrificing psychiatric accuracy for drama effects, romantic subplots, and happy endings. The Weight of Zero, however, was well written from a psychiatric point of view, the amount of research Fortunati did on bipolar disorder being noticeable throughout the book. Besides the predominantly correct depiction of the disorder (as far as I can assess as a psychology major), the author realistically portrayed Catherine’s struggles, her fears, and her hopelessness in the face of a chronic illness. Since we also judge books as works of art, though, I have to admit that The Weight of Zero couldn’t captivate me. Fortunati writes with teen slang and dark humour and a pinch of Italian family dynamics, which I adore in a contemporary, but the plot seemed to be headed nowhere and the romance was weird, as in came completely out of nowhere. I’m also not sure how realistic Catherine’s final revelation was, but because everything else with regard to bipolar was well founded, I’m willing to turn a blind eye to this particular event. All in all, I’d say this was a solid YA contemporary, but not one I’ll be shoving into people’s faces to read. 3.5 stars.
The Walled City by Ryan Graudin: The Walled City was my first book by Ryan Graudin. Readers have been raving about her newer release Wolf by Wolf, but I decided to read her earlier work first. I was prepared for a dark dystopian and what a dark, dark, dark dystopian I did get. This book was based off of Hong Kong’s infamous Kowloon Walled City, and I feel like Graudin did a great job at imagining what stories might have taken place on the streets of such a dreadful neighbourhood. Scavenging, thieving, drug trafficking, prostitution – most of all, daily struggles for survival, both physically and mentally. Overall, I enjoyed The Walled City a great deal. I love unbreakable sibling bonds, unlikely friendships, and strong, loyal lead characters. The Hong Kong-inspired setting and the gloomy atmosphere are well written. There is, however, the matter of the slow pacing and the romantic subplot I couldn’t get on board with, which lowered my rating somewhat. Though I haven’t yet decided on a final rating, I will probably go with 3.5 stars.
The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker: I’d had this on my kindle for almost a year and never touched it until it was recommended to me by a fellow bookstagrammer. I’d say the entertainment level is decent with a crew of buddying misfits (an ex-enforcer, an assassin, a professor, a magician, and a callboy), a soft trace of humour, and a whole lot of stabbing. And then, of course, there’s a dark, brooding love interest who’s on the bad side, and you all know how I love me some of that. Writing this caption now, I suppose 3 stars might have been generous, but towards the climax I actually really enjoyed this steampunk fantasy novel. However, it is apparent that it is self-published. My problems didn’t lie so much with the writing as with 1) the dialogue, which was so clonky and unnatural at times, I thought my eyebrow couldn’t arch any higher, 2) the info-dump, though Buroker did try to hide it in the dialogue (unsuccessfully so), and 3) with the naivity of the female lead whose trains of thought sometimes made me want to smash my forehead into my kindle (she’s on the run and tells everyone she meets she’s on the run; the emperor is in danger and she tells everyone she meets he’s in danger; in other words, she’s a stupid fool that can’t keep her trap shut). Yes, I suppose if this hadn’t been self-published, I would’ve lowered my rating half a star. So sue me. 3 stars.
What books did you read in November? Have you read the two I have listed here? If yes, what did you think of them? Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, as I would love to hear from you ?