Hi everyone! The first month of autumn has passed in a breeze, which means it’s time for a wrap-up of the books I read in September. My pile is pretty modest compared to Chantal’s but I’m actually quite satisfied with the amount I squeezed in on my long commute to and from work. As usual, I was fully immersed in the fantasy genre – two of my September reads being Arabian-inspired fantasies – but I vowed to myself to read more diversely in October.
The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker: My month started off perfectly with this enchanting tale of solitude, capture, friendship, and finding a place to fit in. Inspired by both Arabian and Jewish mythology, Wecker lures you into an imaginative world of troubled souls, bright city lights, and dark magic – with a historical setting, I might add. The writing is beautfiul and the amount of cultural details that seeped into this book amazed me to no end. I adored the characters and their storylines, which was – though it is technically a love story – not cheesy at all. Though the plot never bored me, the beginning was exceptionally slow and there was a lot of jumping between points of view. Nevertheless, The Golem and the Djinni is a mesmerizing read that packs a punch of influences, inspirations, and characters’ stories, and I was enthralled every page of the way. Underhyped. Highly recommended. 4 stars.
Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: The highly anticipated sequel in The Illuminae Files series did not disappoint. It delivers a refreshing set of new characters, a gripping plot with tons of action and suspense, and ties two storylines together without making a mess of it. Do you know that feeling of a long commute but you’re actually giddy because you get to read a good book? Well, once I had picked up Gemina, I could hardly put it down anymore. Though the novelty effect of the format has worn off, this series continues to captivate me, and I cannot begin to imagine where the next instalment might head. Believe the hype, people, and pick this one up. 4 stars.
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury: Going into this book, I had already lowered my expectations due to my friends’ reviews. And they were right, mostly. The Forbidden Wish is a light YA fantasy read with an overall enjoyable storyline but there just isn’t enough substance to any of it – neither the characters, the romance, nor the world-building. It was perfect for my state of mind, as I was exhausted from long work days, but I cannot whole-heartedly recommend this one, especially if you’re well-versed with the fantasy genre. Although this book would’ve clearly required more depth, I still love the idea of Aladdin with a gender swap and an alternative twist. 3 stars.
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: This author holds a special place in my heart, for her contemporaries seem to evoke emotions from me like hardly any other writer has managed so far. The first novel I read by Marchetta was touching and tackled serious topics, and this one was no different. On the Jellicoe Road moved me, gripped me, and enchanted me with its fleshed out characters and its air of mystery. Something I love about her writing, apart from her beautiful phrasing, is the wit of the narration and the humour displayed among characters. This book made me tear up but it also had me laugh a lot inbetween. Marchetta is honestly a goddess when it comes to contemporaries. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
Green but for a Season by C.S. Pacat: This companion short story to the Captive Prince series was one of my cravings of 2016. Although I had only just commenced and finished the series within a few weeks this spring, I was already eager to dive back into this world. The short story itself grants insight into many aspects of the series itself, which were hidden to the reader back then, but that might be exactly the problem. Pacat wanted too much for only 24 pages. I’ve had three books to fall in love with Damen and Laurent but Green but for a Season simply wasn’t enough 1) for me to gush all over Jord and Aimeric, and 2) to do the tragic love story of two side characters justice. 3.5 stars.
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: The Lies of Locke Lamora is a hardcore low fantasy, and when I say hardcore, I mean complex and densely packed writing with an overflow of descriptions. And if you know anything about me, you know I loathe page-long descriptions with not a single thing happening or dialogue being exchanged. And yet, Lynch managed to captivate me with an enthralling and suspense-packed story of a gang of the most daring badasses of thieves I’ve ever seen. This book is dark, gory, and unforgiving. I adored the foul-mouthed characters, the Venice-inspired world, and the plot which was spilling danger and more danger until I thought it couldn’t possibly become more precarious for the Gentlemen Bastards, but of course, it did. As I pushed through the descriptive passages, I discovered a story which was a delight of scheming, backstabbing, and violent action with merciless assholes for heroes. 4 stars.