Review Anthology #7: Books I Read in January/February

I know this is a book blog and I know how I never post review anymore these past months, but I am in a terrible slump guys. I barely read anything and when I do, I didn’t like them as much as I had to. So here are books that I read in December and January, in form of mini reviews.

DEATHLESS by Catherynne M. Valente

10841809Koschei the Deathless is to Russian folklore what devils or wicked witches are to European culture: a menacing, evil figure; the villain of countless stories which have been passed on through story and text for generations. But Koschei has never before been seen through the eyes of Catherynne Valente, whose modernized and transformed take on the legend brings the action to modern times, spanning many of the great developments of Russian history in the twentieth century.

Deathless, however, is no dry, historical tome: it lights up like fire as the young Marya Morevna transforms from a clever child of the revolution, to Koschei’s beautiful bride, to his eventual undoing. Along the way there are Stalinist house elves, magical quests, secrecy and bureaucracy, and games of lust and power. All told, Deathless is a collision of magical history and actual history, of revolution and mythology, of love and death, which will bring Russian myth back to life in a stunning new incarnation.

This book might be the reason of my huge slump. Or maybe it’s Red Rising. All I know is reading a book titled DEATHLESS, with an immortal main character, is not a good idea while planning your grandmother’s funeral. Firstly, it’s definitely because of the whole death(less) thingy going around in this book. The setting was depressing, during Russian Revolution I think? There were many deaths, the world felt very bleak and grey (which is a good thing considering the setting, but bad thing considering my situation at that time), there were war, both in real life and Tsars’ realms, and of course, the suffering of the people. Secondly it’s because of the writing style. It’s gorgeous. It really is. The writing has the fairytale quality that managed to capture the bleakness of Russia and the vibrant life of Koschei’s palace vividly. But it also borders on purple prose and it was hard enough for me to read anything at that time, lest they use purple prose! It disconnects me from the story and characters, while connecting me to the world they are living.

RED RISING by Pierce Brown

18046624The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Dnf at 44%

I’m so sad that I didn’t enjoy it. But dystopian and I haven’t been best mates for a while now. The thing is, I find the writing in this book to be very choppy and bland. It feels like fragmented sentences at time. It also has a lot of slangs and tech-talk without actually telling us what does those words mean. Like what is the difference between Lambda, Copper, Pixies, and Gamma? What the is a pulseshield? A gravboots? A highgrav? We have no idea how the houses, the system, the whole world work. And don’t tell me it’s because Red Rising is a first book because how can you even finish the first book if you don’t know any meaning from the fancy words? It is also very slow paced and the characters, especially the man, no matter who they are, just sounds very alpha-maleish for me. I’m sorry but I don’t think this book is for me.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Deb Loughead

29977282First she blamed herself. Now she doesn’t know who to trust.

When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself. She was the last person to see him alive, the last person who could have helped. If she had just kept a closer eye on him instead of her crush, Jake, maybe Kit would still be here. She knows she made a mistake, and wishes she could just forget about it — but Clem’s friend Ellie says she’ll expose Clem’s secret if she doesn’t play along with Ellie’s lies.

Jake seems to have his own difficult secrets, and when he and Clem start to talk, they make a plan to help themselves move on. But when an unexpected discovery at the quarry makes everyone question what they thought they knew, Clem and Jake decide it’s up to them to uncover the truth.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange from honest review

This is a very short and light book for mystery genre. I think it has “plot twist” but it wasn’t that twisted that it felt like no plot twist at all.

I get why the characters felt guitly about Kit’s death, but I can’t say I agree with the way they solve things, especially the ending. I also feel like the characters are just okay-ish, no depth, no personality, nothing. It’s like all that characterize them in this book is the part they play in Kit’s death.

This book also seemed like its aimed to lower YA or middle grade, the writing and plot are simple and I think it tries too hard in using the modern, catchy language. It has no climax or anything, and the ending was very underwhelming.

I like how even though it was simple, it’s sort of interesting that I can finish it in one sitting. I also like how positive her school is? Like they have this support group for Kit’s who’s “challenged”, and even though some are mean to him, it’s like 99% of the students genuinely like him and enjoy spending time with him! It kinda reminds me of WONDER.

If you’re not use to mystery, or just want to read something lighter, this book is definitely for you.

Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

25629358It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces…

I really don’t know how to rate this book. It has been a month so the shock had worn off, but I still don’t know how to react.

This book is a paradox for me to read. On one side, it’s very addictive. I keep turning the pages to see what, why, and how. I stayed up late to finish this book. On the other hand, the more I read, the more I feel sick and disgusted. The character, Oliver and Chloe are just awful, purely psycopath. Being inside Chloe’s head doesn’t help either, it made me anxious that I had to stop reading for a few times. Also, both Oliver and Ashton raised red flags for me, so how can Chloe not seeing it? I guess it’s a good thing this book made me twitchy and uncomfortable, considering the genre, but at some point it just felt too much.

That ending also really creeps me out. What was that even suppose to mean?

I don’t think I will be reading any Abigail Haas book anytime soon. I need time to fully recover.

UPSIDE DOWN by Jaym Gates

27905714Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and essays edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates. Over two dozen authors, ranging from NYT-bestsellers and award winners to debut writers, chose a tired trope or cliche to challenge and surprise readers through their work.

Read stories inspired by tropes such as the Chainmaille Bikini, Love at First Sight, Damsels in Distress, Yellow Peril, The Black Man Dies First, The Villain Had a Crappy Childhood, The Singularity Will Cause the Apocalypse, and many more…then discover what these tropes mean to each author to find out what inspired them.

Join Maurice Broaddus, Adam Troy-Castro, Delilah S. Dawson, Shanna Germain, Sara M. Harvey, John Hornor Jacobs, Rahul Kanakia, Alethea Kontis, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, Haralmbi Markov, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Ferrett Steinmetz, Anton Strout, Michael Underwood, Alyssa Wong and many other authors as they take well-worn tropes and cliches and flip them upside down.

I receive this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for honest review. This does not affect my opinions or whatsoever.

Upside Down is an anthology of stories that contain inverted trope. Blind people who portrayed as physic turns our to be a normal person like us. Damsel in Distress who turned out to be not as in need as we thought she is, and so on. While I enjoyed reading some stories, most of them feel bland to me and I skipped a lot of them. If you expect some kind of creepy stories, because of the cover, I think you will get some, but not as much as you’ll like. So all in all… I didn’t like the stories.

BUT. I do like the essays. The introduction and discussion are amazing! It discuss how harmful trope can be, how to use it, etc. If this book is all about essays instead of stories, I’m sure I would enjoyed it more.

6b9d3-tasya

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7 thoughts on “Review Anthology #7: Books I Read in January/February

  1. Veronika @ The Regal Critiques says:

    The only book I’ve read from here is Dangerous Boys, and I really enjoyed that one – it was really twisted and sick, but I love those types of books sometimes. (I’m weird ok.) The author’s other novel, Dangerous Girls, is MUCH better, though. I want to read Red Rising, but I’m afraid it won’t work for me either. 😐 Same about Deathless. I know many people love these, but neither strike me as “me” books, so even though I’m interested, I’m scared to dive into them.
    Great reviews!

    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    Like

  2. Erika Gold says:

    Ah, you’ve read so many books these past two months! I’ve seen Red Rising around and it sounds good, but something about it has always made me put it off. This affirms that maybe I should wait a while longer and reassess whether I really do want to read it or not. Upside Down sounds like quite an interesting book, so I may have to take a look into that just for curiosity’s sake.

    Like

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