So it’s currently 7.24 AM, I’m sat in front of my mirror putting makeup on and very aware that I’m likely to be late for work… so let’s make this quick!!
I’ve actually gone a couple of months without buying any books (not quite sure how…) so this month I went all out with 6 new purchases! Here’s what I bought and why I’m looking forward to them along with my initial thoughts.
A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas.
Feyre will bring vengeance.
She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.
I’ve actually already read this one, which is why I put it first! I finished the second novel in the series, A Court of Mist and Fury, which I reviewed here and was so utterly obsessed and enchanted by it that I ran out the same day to get the next instalment and start reading it straight away.
Whilst I fully accept that there are things I should hate about this novel, I loved it. I’ll be posting a review on this in the coming weeks!
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Callum is a nought – an inferior white citizen in a society controlled by black Crosses.
Sephy is a Cross – and the daughter of one of the most powerful, ruthless men in the country.
In their hostile, violent world, noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. But when Sephy and Callum’s childhood friendship grows into passionate love, they’re determined to find a way to be together.
And then the bomb explodes…
I’ve just started reading this one, I’m around 100 pages in and it’s still very early in the novel.
I’ve wanted to pick this up for months but every time I’ve gone into Waterstones they were out of stock. This is probably because Noughts and Crosses is pretty much a modern classic now. Everyone has read it and I’m aware I’m incredibly behind, and that it’s probably not intended for a 22 year old English Literature graduate (the writing style is admittedly simplistic). But it’s a classic for a reason. The race reversal in the novel is what really interests me. I’m still admittedly finding that I’m picturing noughts as black and Crosses as white, because the Crosses are in the position of power, and I’m actively ensuring I stop myself when my mind begins to travel to these images, because the intent behind the novel is clearly to turn this idea on its head. So far, by doing this Blackman is clearly making a point to show how crazy it is that one race is considered better than the other whilst maintaining the image that supremacy as a whole is a terrible thing to those subjected to its consequential oppression. I’m excited to see how the novel pans out as I’ve not reached the explosion as of yet, and perhaps I will continue with the series.
Smoke – Dan Vyleta
Imagine a world in which every bad thought you had was made visible. Where anger, hatred and envy appeared as a thick, infectious smoke pouring from your body, leaving soot on your skin. A society controlled by an elite who have learned to master their darkest desires.
Thomas and Charlie are friends at a boarding school near Oxford, where the children of the rich and powerful are trained to be future leaders. Charlie is naturally good, but Thomas’s father was accused of a terrible crime, and Thomas fears that the same evil lies inside him. Then, on a trip to London – a forbidden city shrouded in darkness – they learn all is not as it appears. So begins a quest to understand the truth about this world of smoke, soot and ash – and perhaps change it.
The premise of this novel – thoughts being available to others – reminded me of the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, and this was probably a contributing reason to why I bought this novel. I also love that it is set in the UK. I’ve recently read a lot of American and fantasy based novels, and it’s always a little fun to recognise names of places that have some meaning in your day to day life rather than being an abstract concept.
Again, this novel looks to be focussed on the idea of the powerful vs the weak, rich vs poor and how this inevitably leads to corruption. I’ve always enjoyed this type of novel from an analytic perspective as they were always exciting to study at university. I’m sure it will be pleasant to read something of this genre without having to write a 2000 word analysis afterwards!
Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor
Once upon a time,
an angel and a devil pressed their
hands to their hearts
and started the apocalypse.
When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat.
But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz… something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.
From the streets of Rome to the caves of Kirin and beyond, humans, chimera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theatre that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.
Well how dramatic is that blurb?! Writing it out is actually the first time I’ve read it. I’ve previously read the first two instalments of this trilogy and I was enthralled. Admittedly, this was a very long time ago now, I’m thinking maybe 2015? So my plan is to go back and start again, as I did with the A Court of Thornes and Roses series. I’m not really a re-reader of books, but I feel with series it can be very hard to just jump straight back in if it’s been a long time.
This series has pretty good reviews in the bookverse, and I personally loved the first two instalments. Fantasy fiction is by far my favourite genre, and Taylor manages to cleverly weave in both modernity and myth as she uses the images of the seraphim and chimera.
The Help – Kathryn Stockett
In the southern town of Jackson, Mississippi, in the early sixties, young Ms Skeeter returns home from college and wonders where the black maid who raised her has gone. But when she seeks to discover the truth, she crosses lines and makes forbidden friendships…
I’ve watched this film and I adored it. It was so raw and funny and beautifully important that I knew one day I needed to read the book to really experience what this story has to offer.
Being British, we never really learned about apartheid and what happened in The America’s before and during such a progressive time. Of course, I know the basics – Martin Luther King Jr’s speeches, and Rosa Parks and what they stood for and still represent in America, and I’m reasonably clued up on the terrible situation as it stands today and this enrages me regularly as I read the news and comes across such heart breaking articles.
The history of it though is something I feel we, as westerners, should have been encouraged to learn more of during our school years. I find it fascinating how different countries have different historical narratives and choose to pass specific ideas down to the next generation – all I can recall learning about during secondary school (or High School if you’re American) is the state of the trenches during World War I and World War II, and different types of castles, because Britain has this extensive, violent history that I doubt any single person would ever be able to cover in their lifetime, let alone an hour a week in a stuffy classroom.
But to me, this book means a lot. I identify as somewhat of a philanthropist and when I learn about situations around the world where people suffer my heart breaks and I wish I could help. I want to make an impact on this world somehow and change it for the better, and whilst I’m still figuring out how to do that I like to educate myself on the progress we have made and the steps we still have to take as a society. So yeah, looking forward to this one on many levels.
The Book of Night Women – Marlon James
Skin darker than midnight but the greenest eyes anybody ever done seen. I goin’ call her Lilith. You can call her what they call her.
Being born into bondage in the corrupted paradise of a sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century, a time of uprisings and rebellion, Lilith has little hope of escaping a life ruled by the whip. But, like the slave women who fear her the instant she opens her eyes, Lilith sees life differently.
Here is a sweeping, startling tale. Overflowing with high drama and heartbreak, the action centres on the conspiracy of the Night Women, a clandestine council of fierce slave plotting an island-wide revolt. Rebellions simmer, incidents of sadism and madness run rampant, and the tangled web of power relationships dramatically unravels amid dangerous secrets and unspoken jealousies. At the heart of it all stands Lilith, unbearably vulnerable and frighteningly potent, whose passions jeopardize the Night Women’s schemes, and bring the very country around her to a climax of such terrifying ferocity that neither land, nor flesh, nor mind are left unspoiled.
I bought this alongside The Help after a conversation with Inky Spells where she mentioned reading more diversely. I actually loved this idea at the time and realised that, since leaving uni, I really haven’t made enough of an effort to read books like this that focus on important issues of the past. I did a couple of brilliant modules whilst at uni that focused on similar subjects and I really didn’t appreciate how interesting they were at the time (hindsight, eh?). I’m excited to jump back into this genre and read something different that isn’t purely for escapism. I don’t expect this to be a particularly easy read and, like The Help, I expect it to address some serious and upsetting subjects, but it also sounds like it may have wonderfully strong women within its pages, and that is always a bonus as far as I’m concerned.
Write you soon,