This month was a little heavy on the new books rather than the rereads. But I can’t help that some of my favorite series had new books out this month (or last month, and I’m just late)! It was also lighter on books than I expected, and I can’t really put a finger on why… September felt like it maybe slowed down a little (compared to the whole rest of the year), but I don’t really know what happened.
66. Kushiel’s Mercy (Kushiel 6) by Jacqueline Carey
This is… my least favorite of the Kushiel books. I love Sidonie and her indomitable spirit, and Imriel is a fun hero, but the plot slows down significantly for me. Plus the whole… mind control/false memories/”make everyone believe something that isn’t real” thing is something that terrifies me personally. I do enjoy the interlude that Imriel spends with Melisande—I wish we could have a whole trilogy of her childhood and youth and driving motivations before the events of Kushiel’s Dart. This book continued the tri-plot structure of Carey’s books, and I’m probably going to have to sit down someday and write out the structures so I can better explain what I’m seeing.
67. Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels 10)* by Ilona Andrews
This is the last book in the Kate Daniels series, and as much as I love these books, I’m kind of glad in a way. There’s something to be said for wrapping up a series, especially a long series like some of the Urban Fantasy series I read. Sometimes they just keep going without a clear end in sight, and that can be exhausting for a reader (Anita Blake I’m looking at you). Kate’s father Roland is also one of the most likeable villains I’ve ever run across, and he had his fair share of screen time in this book. I admit that I was sad that he didn’t get to redeem himself (I had a guess for how it would end that didn’t end up happening, and while the end was satisfying, I got somewhat attached to my idea), and it’s interesting to me to watch that dichotomy of “all-powerful conquering villain” and “doting father and grandfather,” and I think I would want my villains to be as complex. So that’s something to try out in my own writing. The authors have already said that they aren’t leaving this world, just letting Kate and Curran have their happy ending, and they left enough open at the end for them to stay in the world they’ve created for a while with other characters who could finally get to have the spotlight. I’m looking forward to reading the next things in this world.
68. Night and Silence (October Daye 12)* by Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire has said that she knows the end, that she’s been playing a long game with a lot of the characters and things that happen in the October Daye books, and I believe her. With every book we get to know just a little more about the big mysteries of the world, about the villainous Eira and the things she has done in the past, and even about October herself. I love these books; I love October and her King of Cats and the Luidaeg most of all. The thing that I noticed about this book—and by extension the otherUrban Fantasy series that I read—is that it’s very hard for me as a reader to remember many of the things that happened in earlier books. When I think about the books individually, I can remember basically what happened in them. And while those experiences hopefully shape the character—if the author is doing their job, and McGuire is always on it—but at the same time, I don’t remember October’s history like I might remember my own, or someone close to me. I found it somewhat disconcerting to think, “Ok, what are all the steps that have brought October to this place?” and only come up with broad strokes. Thankfully, the things that continue to have repercussions in subsequent books are sort of gently pointed out, and McGuire has a deft hand with this. I didn’t notice until afterward the way she had slipped in small explanations of, “Remember when that one thing happened?” I don’t know if that’s just me, or just how brains work, but it was interesting to think about, and it will be something to remember and consider should I end up writing a series myself.
69. Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns 3)* by Kendare Blake
This story has not gone where I thought it would when I first started reading the first book. I realized not too far into this book that I didn’t actually like most of the characters, but at the same time, I was highly invested in the story, in the fate of Fennbirn, and in how the problems of this island get resolved. The history and traditions of the island are interesting enough to keep me reading, even when the three queens themselves kind of bored me. Jules, the Legion Queen, was more interesting, and she’s the one character I think I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to in book four.
70. Vicious (Villains 1)* by V.E. Schwab
71. Vengeful (Villains 2)* by V.E. Schwab
Ok, Vicious has been on my TBR list since it came out, and I never got to it. But as soon as I saw that V.E. Schwab was going to be coming to Denver on her Vengeful tour, I knew I’d be reading these in advance of seeing her. And I am so, so, so glad I did! These books, omg, these books. Schwab is such a tight plotter and her characters are always more complex than “good” and “evil.” Both of these books will be going on my Best of 2018 list at the end of the year, and I’ll probably be referencing these books for years to come on how to make every character grey, how to make the “hero” unlikeable, and the “villain” the good guy. Also I’m looking forward to rereading these books in the future and being able to pay attention more to the craft that went into them, rather than just soaking up the story like a too-dry sponge.
The next three months should be interesting, reading-wise. It doesn’t look like I’ll hit 100 books this year—I’m 99.99% sure that I can’t read 29 books in 3 months, particularly when one of those months is NaNoWriMo. But I could reasonably hit 90, which would break my previous record for books read in a single year. So that’s what I’m aiming for now.
Speaking of NaNoWriMo, Prep_tober has officially started, and I’m already behind… If you don’t know about Prep_tober, you should head on over to Twitter or the website and check it out. As much as NaNoWriMo is a headlong rush from word #1 to word #50,000, the more work you can do before November actually starts, the easier it will be, right? That’s the theory, anyway. V.E. Schwab gave some insight into her personal drafting process and there are some things I’m looking forward to trying in my prep for NaNoWriMo this year. Shout out if you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, and especially shout out if you’ve started your prep!