I’ve finished reading three fantasy novels this month — that’s much more like it! The slight drawback to this has been the wrecking of my sleep patterns.
In my determination to find books to immerse myself in, I forgot the part where this means I keep reading to 3 or 4 or 5am… which in turn means I’ve become a slugabout in the mornings.
In fact, I’ve put off starting anything new for a few days, just to catch my breath. I do wish I could find a happy medium, but I’ve always found it hard to put books down once I really get into them. (And I’m unfortunately a slow reader, so it still takes me around a week to read a fat novel.)
Anyway, to keep myself motivated and accountable, I’m going to write a monthly post on what I read for the month. Some I will review in detail as I go along, but probably not all, so this will serve as a reminder when I get to the end of the year.
Stormlord Rising (Watergivers Book 2) ~ Glenda Larke
I read the first in this series (The Last Stormlord) a few years ago and had number two sitting on the shelf for a while before I finally picked it up. The most striking thing about the series is the setting — an arid, drought-stricken world, in which whoever has control of water has the power.
At the centre of this book is the conflict between the city-dwelling people who live in the Scarpen quarter (these guys try to control the storms using magic and make sure it rains where they want it… only problem, the talent is dwindling among them and only one is powerful enough to move the clouds… but he’s young and untested… and there’s a power-hungry rainlord trying to control him…) and the nomadic people who live in the vast expanse of sand dunes (these guys have united under a leader who wants to be rid of all the rainlords and return to a period of random rain… and the power-hungry rainlord is conspiring with them… and they have one of the rainlords as a slave, only they don’t realise it…)
Stormlord Rising is all political manoeuvering and backstabbing and manipulation and secrets and desperate plots for escape. Throughout it all, the heat and sand and glare pervades everything. I enjoyed the book a lot, although I never felt fully emotionally engaged with the main characters, which was a bit of a downside for me.
Winter be my shield (Children of the Black Sun Book 1) ~ Jo Spurrier
From the scorching world of Watergivers to the frost-bitten land of Ricalan. Another book with brilliant setting. I reviewed this one at length here. To summarise, I particularly loved the intensity of the first half, probably because it has a narrow focus on a small group of characters, which is what I’m into. Throughout the novel there’s torture and magic and snow and politics and betrayal and much much pain. Great stuff!
Black sun light my way (Children of the Black Sun Book 2) ~ Jo Spurrier
I liked Winter be my shield so much, I launched straight into the sequel, which picks up where the first left off. But Black sun light my way is a very different book, and I’m not going to say too much about it, because I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first.
Most of the things I loved about Winter be my shield (especially intensity of characterisation and setting) were lacking in the second. Stuff happens certainly, and it includes several complicated relationships, more politicking, magical battles… but there’s not as much depth and layering. However, others have touted this as better than the first, so it just goes to show how different readers seek different experiences.
I will say, though, that it ended a few chapters too early. The climactic scene happens… in the last line of the final chapter the sword swings… and then we have a short ‘epilogue’ to finish off the event and no sense of resolution at all. Moreover, other point of view characters are left completely in limbo. I reached the end and felt grumpy at the way it left everything hanging. Obviously there is another book (due out in April I think), but I believe books should have some sense of closure.
I’m definitely happy with my reading progress for the year so far. It’s been fabulous to get back into it (despite the sleep deprivation). Now all that remains is to decide what to read next… There are so many possibilities I’ll be hard pressed to decide!
What did you read in January??