May was a pretty crazy month for me, with producing and running auditions and the like. But I still found a bit of time for reading…
Books I’ve Finished: In May, I finished 4 books: Sarah Monette‘s Melusine, Grady Hendrix‘s Horrorstör, Lynn Flewelling‘s Shadows Return, and Victoria Aveyard‘s The Red Queen.
Reading Challenge: I’m now at 27/55 books for the year! According to GoodReads, that’s 4 books ahead of schedule.
Thoughts: May has been crazy busy, so I’ve alternated between ‘too busy to read’ and ‘so busy I need reading to heal my brain from stress’. That’s why I picked up The Red Queen; in times of overwork I lean hard on YA as an easy escape, and my favourites are sweet gay romances and action-y The Hunger Games clones. Queen is decidedly the latter, and it was just well enough written and compelling enough to blast through in a day, but honestly, probably not strong enough to spend more than a weekend reading. It’s vividly written and wonderfully paced, but the characters are thin, the beats are predictable, and it can’t escape the fact that it’s a watered down version of a zeitgeist-devouring book. Reading The Red Queen is honestly like reading The Hunger Games a second time: you know exactly what you’re getting, but it’s just enough of a ride to keep you from getting bored. Which means it was precisely what I needed, when I needed it.
I borrowed Horrorstör from a cousin who’s a prolific reader, and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s slow to start, with a bit of a leaden pace despite a keen eye for worldbuilding (in this case, an American Ikea ripoff named Orsk), but once got some momentum behind it I really enjoyed it.
Shadows Return is the fourth sequence in Flewelling‘s Nightrunners series – the first written after she took a long break from the series to write the Bone Dolls trilogy, which I fully intend to pick up. The characters are great; again, my emphasis this month was on stress relief, and an adventure with one of my favourite gay couples in fantasy fits that perfectly. Before this month I’d read a chunk of the book but it was really slow going, with the characters apart and mostly waiting around for an opportunity to actually do something. But thankfully, soon after the point I picked it back up, the characters regained some agency in the tale and I enjoyed finishing the book very much.
Melusine, I bought to scratch my gay fantasy itch that comes along pretty regularly; the same itch that led me to pick up, and fall in love with, the above-mentioned Nightrunners series. The book was alright. Interesting world messily established; two protagonists, one really interesting despite mooning too much over a romance that didn’t quite earn it, while the other spent the entire book basically undergoing a series of horrific experiences as a passive victim. But it was well written, generally, and an enjoyable read once I got into it.
My list of in-progress books:
- 33% of the way through Strange Fortune by Josh Lanyon.
- 33% of the way through Ballistics by D.W. Wilson.
- 12% of the way through The Son by Jo Nesbo.
What are you reading?