I’m back from my travels in Thailand! And I’m itching to show you the footage but for some reason my video editor is playing up, so for the time being you’ll have to endure my mid year wrap up. Which isn’t so bad, it’s about books after all.
I’ve read 53 books so far this year, most of which have traveled far from my normal safespace of Sci Fi/Fantasy. But you’ll notice 4 of the 5 books I’ll be discussing are sweetly placed in that old safeplace.
My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem
I believe this was the first book I reviewed this year – namely for how it wonderfully curated stories from Steinem’s travels. Although it follows the theme of women’s issues regarding the author’s background as a journalist and feminist, I loved how personal and varied the anecdotes were. From American war veterans praising Ho Chi Minh to Gloria’s last days with Wilma Mankiller, a Cherokee activist – the memoir is full of warmth and interesting tidbits about the feminist movement I had no idea about. Check out my full review here.
City of Stairs by Robert Burnett Jackson
I haven’t discussed it on the blog but I’ll discuss it now – if you’re looking for complex and interesting worldbuilding with a strong female protagonist at the center, this is a great novel to dip your toes into. Set in an early industrial world, in a place very similar to Russia – it starts off as a murder mystery and then delves into something more high fantasy (regarding gods and other mythical creatures). I adored the worldbuilding, the action, the interaction between characters. I remember reading a review comparing it to Guy Gavriel Kay regarding it’s wonderful fine balance between personal and political, which is spot on.
Now I’m still waiting for the library copy of the second book in the series…
The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
I think this is my favorite novel so far this year – a thought provoking dystopian about society breaking down and people resorting to walled communities to protect themselves from the thieves, rapists and arsonists. This is a story about a girl who can feel what others are feeling – their pain, their pleasure but also about her distancing away from her father’s religion and creating her own to understand and protect herself from the depraved world she lives in now. It’s sort of cultish, but in good way in regards to how the story develops. But if you are looking for intelligent speculative fiction, this is it.
In the Labyrinth of Drakes (Lady Trent #4) by Marie Brennan
I love the Lady Trent series, adore it. A series set in a Victorian inspired world about a woman who studies dragons? Give it to me, give it to me now. I adore the characters, the world and creatures – who knew learning about dragon mating habits was interesting? It is, trust me. I won’t reveal anymore plot points as this is the 4th book in the series but something happened in this book that I really wanted to happen, and I’m just so elated right now.
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
This was a great travel book, I literally devoured it in one day in Thailand travelling on the bus from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya and then back in my hotel under the covers whilst my roommate was sleeping. It was action packed, sexy, fun and actually much better than the first book. But for a bit of background, this book is the sequel to something that feels very much like a Beauty and the Beast retelling set in a fantasy world where there is a divide between the human and faerie world. This book was the aftermath. The story after the happily ever after about a young woman dealing with PTSD from the events of the first book – and I’m pretty happy about how it was treated and how some of her murky/troubling relationships are put under the microscope. I enjoyed it immensely.
There you go, what have been your favorite books that you have read so far this year? Do tell!