It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been a whole month since I started my #50bookschallenge for the year and, to be honest, something insecure in me convinced myself that this would be yet another thing that I’d start and then give up once it got too difficult to prioritise.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
I’ve been following a few Bookstagram accounts for a while, mainly because they feature a lot of pretty photographs of books, reading, Funko POP figures and general tranquility, but also because they come with some great book recommendations.
That’s where I first heard of A Darker Shade of Magic. It’s one of the books that readers were raving about, and it sounded like just the book to get me back into reading, so I bought a digital copy on my iPad.
I was absolutely hooked. I included its sequel, A Gathering of Shadows, in my 11 Highly Anticipated Books for 2016 list, and I’m counting down the days until I can get my hands on it. Unlike some fantasy epics I’ve read in the past, like Game of Thrones for instance, this book was incredibly easy to follow, particularly in regards to characters: Kell, Lila, Holland, Rhy and the Danes, who were all so unique and memorable.
It’s a testament to the fact that quantity does not equal quality. I couldn’t recommend this book enough.
Anthem by Ayn Rand
I’m a big fan of novellas. Not only because they’re easy to read and digest, but because the shortest books are sometimes the ones that stick with you most. George Orwell’s Animal Farm, for instance, is one of my all-time favourite books.
Anthem was a book I came across when I was searching for good books at cheap prices in the iBooks store. I really wanted something dystopian to read and this caught my eye. It turned out to be even better than I thought it would and I read the whole thing in a couple of hours.
Again, this is a book with few characters, but so memorable and relatable all the same. It’s a book about sin and discipline, society and conformity, humanity and what it means to live rather than just being alive.
If you have time to spare some weekend, this is definitely worth the read.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
I picked this up on a trip to London last month and read it in bursts throughout train journeys and on the plane back to Ireland. It was the cover that initially attracted me, as you don’t see too many neon pink books around. I then noticed that it was one of three books in a trilogy and the blurb appealed to me, so I bought it.
I’m still unsure, even a couple of weeks after finishing it, what I think about it. It’s definitely stuck with me, that’s for sure, and it was incredibly strange and visual. The characters in the story were a little lacklustre, but the odd surroundings and the mystery of Area X kept me interested.
I’d pick up the second one if only to try and learn more about the area and the story, and what happens to the main character as well. As to whether I’d recommend it to anyone, I don’t think I would. Perhaps if someone asked me to suggest an incredibly creepy book that would leave them mystified and a little frustrated, then yes.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This is another book that I picked up because of pure hype, as I’m not usually a fan of story retellings (I think it’s lazy and usually it’s not very well done so I tend to avoid), but this one seemed interesting as it wasn’t just about a Cinderella story, it was also about a rampant disease with a cyborg for a main character. That, and the fact that it had an Asian setting really appealed to me.
I’m glad I read it because, by the time I finished it, I was really attached to Cinder and to Prince Kai as well, who turned out to be a lot more interesting than the prince in the original story (thankfully!) and I was dying to read the next book.
However, it didn’t start off great and I had trouble figuring out what all the hype was about. I decided to stick with it even though I kept putting it down and forgetting about it but once I got to the halfway point I was properly hooked.
If you read this series, and you should because it’s very good, don’t expect to fall in love with it in the first few chapters, but keep going with it and the payoff will be worth it. One huge negative I have with it, however, is that the “twist” was incredibly obvious and I predicted it within the first two chapters, which is unfortunate.
I’m really excited to read the next instalment, though.
I’m happy that that’s four whole books I’ve read already as it gives me hope that I may just finish this challenge and meet my target. I’m so terrible with giving up on things and abandoning projects and I really hope that this isn’t another typical case. I’m determined to finish.
Right now I’m in between a few different books: The Fifth Wave, which I’m more than halfway through, Ready Player One and Slaughterhouse 5, so hopefully I’ll be talking about all three in February’s post.
Total book count: 4/50