Today’s Mini Reviews features some big books, both in heft and popularity, that I haven’t reviewed yet because I find reviewing massively popular books intimidating.
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Anyone who knows me probably knows I’m a huge fan of the Shadowhunter books. I picked this up just before the UK lockdown and read it almost immediately. I loved being back in this world. Chain of Gold is the story of Will and Tessa’s children, so we get to see some of my favourite characters from earlier in the series, whilst going on a new adventure with a whole new cast. I loved Lucie Herondale and Cordelia Carstairs. There’s a brilliant relationship at the heart of this book that kept me curious to the end. Chain of Gold is dark and there are some brilliantly shocking twists. It’s less demon-filled than some of the other Shadowhunter books, but it doesn’t suffer for that. As with all Cassie’s books, there’s plenty of LGBTQ+ rep. I’ve seen criticisms on Twitter that there’s too much or it’s unrealistic. There can never be too much good rep, and honestly, if you’re looking for realism, I don’t think the Shadowhunters are going to be the books for you. They’re very definitely fantasy. I’m excited to get my hands on the rest of this series: I think this is my favourite Cassie Clare book yet!
Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
If you’re not living under a rock, you’re probably aware that Sarah J Maas brought out a new book this year. I haven’t always loved Sarah’s books, but this was the first in a new series and a lot of people recommended it to me. I’m pleased I gave it a shot because I absolutely loved it. Sarah has built a really clever and complex world in this book. I loved the political strands to the story and the exposing of abuses of power. I adored the characters, especially Bryce who is mysterious and snarky whilst dealing with some truly horrific things. I loved her story and development as well as how she worked alongside Hunt and the development between them, although there were times that I hated him. This was a brilliant start to a new series and I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of this series.
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgernstern
This was the first book I finished this year and I’m only just trying to formulate any kind of review. If I’m honest, it’s because I really don’t know where to start reviewing this book. It’s a very strange, slow sort of book, with a wandering plot and lots of characters but not a lot really happening, which on the face of it sounds like it wouldn’t be a good read, yet I really enjoyed it. It is beautifully written, and you really feel that every word of it was carefully chosen. The Starless Sea is definitely a book for bookish people; it’s a love letter to stories, storytelling and the impact of story on our lives. I really feel like I can’t say much more without spoiling it, but if you want something slower paced and complicated with an intriguing concept, then definitely pick this up.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I read this one the moment it arrived. It’s a new Hunger Games book. Of course I did. This is the story of Coriolanus Snow and his journey from the 10th Hunger Games. I hate Snow with the passion of a thousand burning hells, and a part of me worried that this book would try to justify his later actions or make me like him. I’m not going to give spoilers, but I do still hate him – turns out I hold a grudge exceptionally well. This is a really clever book. I loved all the nods to the original trilogy and how we can see some of Snow’s quirks and irrational hates / fears beginning here. I loved the way you can see the development of the Hunger Games because in this 10th Games they are very, very different. There are great characters in this one, including an old favourite of mine (not Snow). I don’t know if this is planned as a standalone, but I would love more from this world.
Have you read any of these? Do you ever find writing book reviews intimidating?
I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds reviewing big or hyped books hard!
And aaaargh! You’ve just reminded me about The Starless Sea which (long story short) I need to re order! I’ve never read any Sarah J Maas or Cassandra Clare, I’m not sure if I’d enjoy them or if they’d be ‘too’ fantasy…
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