Good morning! I’ve a lot to cover in this post vacation/hospitalisation reading roundup, so let’s get on with it, shall we?
[book-info]The first book I read was Kate Elliott’s Cold Fire, the second in her Spiritwalker trilogy, a young adult fantasy series. I admit I really struggled with this book. It is the middle book in the trilogy and I really felt that. I liked the characters and the world and the dilemmas our protagonist had to navigate were interesting. The whole answer a question with a question scenario was wonderfully done. However, with no resolutions I still really had to force myself to complete this book, and I think it will be a while before I attempt book three. I gave Cold Fire three stars out of five.
[book-info number=1]Hotel Valhalla Guide to the Norse Worlds by Rick Riordan pretty much does what it says on the tin. It is a slim companion volume to Riordan’s Magnus Chase series based on Norse mythology and provides a succinct and witty guide to the Norse pantheon. If you’re familiar with Riordan’s style, this is more of the same. Personally I’m not as familiar with Norse mythology as say Greco-Roman so this was a very useful, very quick read. Hotel Valhalla would be a great addition to your Riordon collection. I gave it four stars out of five.
[book-info number=2]Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray is probably the favourite of my holiday reads. It’s the second in Gray’s Firebird young adult fantasy series involving alternate dimensions. Book two involves our protagonist, Marguerite, on a hunt across the dimensions to rescue fragments of her boyfriend’s soul, all while avoiding the traps of the evil Triad corporation. I’ve read quite a few books by Ms Gray now, and this one really confirms for me Gray as a very strong, solid storyteller. The concept, worldbuilding, characters and pacing were all first class. I listened to Ten Thousand Skies Above You in audiobook format, which was perfectly narrated by Tavia Gilbert. I am very much looking forward to the conclusion of this series in November, especially given the cliffhanger. I gave Ten Thousand Skies Above You five stars out of five.
[book-info number=3]Currently, I’m listening to Hunted, the sixth book in Kevin Hearn’s Iron Druid series, following druid Atticus O’Sullivan and his hound Oberon as they navigate the modern age and the mixed pantheons of our world. These books are a heck of a lot of fun, and I always choose to listen to them in audiobook format thanks to Luke Daniels’ excellent narration. You know a book is good when the author describes a meal – or in this case Oberon’s unfiltered enthusiasm for ribs – and you just have to go out and order some. I’ve not yet finished the book, so not yet rated it but I am anticipating a high rating.
[book-info number=4]The final book I read on vacation – I’ve not quite finished it yet – is Ben Winters’ Underground Airlines, an alternative history novel in which slavery still exists In some states in the modern US. It follows a black bounty hunter searching for an escaped slave. So far I’m really enjoying this. I grew up a white woman in small town Scotland, so racial tensions are not something that were really familiar to me. I’m listening to the book in audiobook format, narrated by William DeMeritt and the audio format works really well for the story. I look forward to continuing it.
Upcoming releases in September
As usual, September is a pretty hectic month in terms of book releases. Here are the ones about which I’m most excited.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas. This is the fifth novel in the Throne of Glass series and it my most anticipated release of September. Throne of Glass is a young adult fantasy series and it is so, so good. It’s interesting; I’ve really not seen a great deal of publicity/spoilers/reviews for this so far. I guess at this point the series stands up on its own. I’m certainly looking forward to getting my hands on it. Empire of Storms is released on September 6th.
Next up, we have The Swan Riders by Erin Bow. This is the sequel to The Scorpion Rules, which I very much enjoyed. The ending to book one was a real game changer, so I am excited to see how things develop in book two. The Swan Riders is available for purchase from September 20th.
Scott Lynch’s continuation in his Gentlemen Bastards series, the Thorn of Emberlain, was scheduled for release on September 21st, but I read that it has been postponed to a 2017 release date. I’ll admit I’m not too surprised. There had been no marketing or any other news in the last few weeks and the date has been postponed several times already. I am disappointed – these are very very good stories – but I’m OK to wait if that’s what Mr Lynch needs to prepare the release properly. I look forward to reading it next year.
On September 27th we have the release of Like a River Glorious, the second book in Rae Carson’s Gold Seer trilogy. This is a young adult historical novel (with a dash of fantasy) set in the gold rush era. The first book was excellent and I am very excited to read book two.
Also on September 27th we can pick up Leigh Bardugo’s The Crooked Kingdom, her sequel to Six of Crows. I really love the world Bardugo has created and the characters who inhabit it, so I’m highly anticipating this release. I got a small sampler at BEA this year, but I’m waiting until I can read the whole thing.
That’s about all I have for this week. Let me know in the comments which of these releases you’re most excited for.