Ok, seriously: How is it already September?? Where has this year gone?
I went to compare my list of books read this year to books read in previous years, and I’ve read more books already this year than in any year previous! (Ok, except for 2009, when I was severely depressed and did almost nothing except read books.) And, yes, I tend to read faster when I’m rereading books than when I’m reading them for the first time, so I knew my numbers for the year were likely to be somewhat high, but that’s still exciting to me! I’m looking forward to surpassing 2009’s 87 books read next.
August did have a major bump in the road: towards the end of the month I was let go from my job. Even though job hunting is my second least favorite thing to do (my first least favorite thing to do is move house), I leapt right into it, and a week after I was let go I had another job offer in hand. Bonus: The job is literally across the street from where I live, so I can walk to work! The new job is much more involved (or at least, it will be, once I’ve learned all the things I need to learn), which probably means no reading on the job. That shouldn’t affect my numbers too much as I do the bulk of my reading before bed, but I guess it could slow me down some. Who knows?
58. Night Broken (Mercy Thompson 8) by Patricia Briggs
59. Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson 9) by Patricia Briggs
60. Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson 10) by Patricia Briggs
Night Broken and Fire Touched are probably my favorites of this series, and I think it’s because Mercy begins adding more non-werewolves to the pack, and she and the pack have to deal with that. New books in a series always have to figure out what’s going to be different/new about the new book, but that doesn’t always mean adding new characters. I think that adding new characters to an established dynamic is both a really good plot point, and a way to inject fresh air in a series that’s been going for as long as this one has. There’s a balance to be executed in that task—one is someone already peripherally in Mercy’s life but never before seen in the series, and the other is completely new—and Briggs does it enviably well. I probably should have paid more attention to how she did that, but as usual I got caught up in the story. But Joel and Aiden—and how they interact with Mercy and those she’s closest to—quickly became my favorites, and I’m just as excited to see where they go in the future as Mercy. I don’t think that Silence Fallen adds quite as much to the series as the two right before it (in terms of new characters who will stay around, tools for our main characters to use, and opportunities for the plot in the future), but it’s a solid addition to the series nonetheless, and still a fun read.
61. Kushiel’s Dart (Kushiel 1) by Jacqueline Carey
62. Kushiel’s Chosen (Kushiel 2) by Jacqueline Carey
63. Kushiel’s Avatar (Kushiel 3) by Jacqueline Carey
The first book in this trilogy is, of course, my absolute favorite of them all. Phèdre, our intrepid heroine, is only just learning who she wants to be and who she will become, and all that goes into that. She learns that she’s willing to go to great lengths for the things she believes in, for the people and the land she loves, and even for herself, and those themes continue in the next two books. The first book contains the “training” montage that superhero movies often have, but this book lingers there. As this is always the part I want more of in those movies, I just love that this book draws that out and makes it more than just the montage. I originally started reading this series because I wanted something heavy on intrigue and plotting and scheming, something I thought I might be trying to write in my current WIP. One thing I really appreciated about these books is that Phèdre always notices when she notices something. Because of her training in covertcy, she files away everything she learns that isn’t immediately relevant in the “might be useful someday” part of her brain. In this way, it sort of lets the reader know that they should be paying attention too. Other books might drop things in innocuously and the reader might not notice something that might later become important. As a reader, I also spent time thinking to myself, “Aha, this might be important later,” and felt rewarded for that attention when those things later did become important.
64. Kushiel’s Scion (Kushiel 4) by Jacqueline Carey
65. Kushiel’s Justice (Kushiel 5) by Jacqueline Carey
I’ll talk a little bit more about this series in next month’s review, but I was in the middle of the first book in this trilogy when I realized that all of the Kushiel books are nearly trilogies within themselves. I’d likely have to outline these books fully myself to really pinpoint the clear sections breaks, but they all seem to have three story arcs within them. And yes, those arcs are obviously connected, and yes, they likely work better as one large book rather than splitting them into separate books. Someday I may go back and see if each book could be split into three contained arcs for the narrator. That being said, I do appreciate that these books weren’t split further than they were. They felt more detailed, more immersive, the way they are.
65 books so far, and that’s just through August! 8 books for the month is a very respectable number, though (of course) I’m hoping to bump those numbers up slightly for September, even with the new job. I have a delightful line-up for September which I’ve already started digging in to, including a handful of newly published books—additions to some series of which I’m a loyal follower, and a few other things—and I’m super excited. Two of those non-reread books are Vicious and Vengeful (the latter of which will be out September 25) by V.E. Schwab, who I’ll be seeing in Denver at the end of September when she comes through on her Vengeful tour. I’m already anticipating that both books will be on my Best of 2018 list at the end of the year, since I absolutely love her writing.