I may have stopped blogging, but I haven’t stopped reading. Here’s the list of mini-reviews for the books I’ve read recently:
Influx- Daniel Suarez: high-tech thriller imagining a world where a covert government agency tries to keep most of humanity from discovering the most incredible technological advances. Fun as an adventure story, but a little mind boggling with the physics explanations.
King’s Cage- Victoria Aveyard: book 3 in the Red Queen series. YA fantasy is becoming my favorite genre, and this is definitely one of the better series.
Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher: YA pseudo revenge novel where a girl who has committed suicide leaves behind audio tapes detailing all of the pain inflicted upon her by her fellow students. Depressing in the sense that the “abuses” she suffered literally happened every day in every high school.
Change Agent- Daniel Suarez: high tech thriller that takes place in a future where genetic modification is an everyday occurance.
I Let You Go- Clare Macintosh: this book tracks the aftermath of a hat and run that kills a 5yo boy- both from the perspective of the detective on the case and a surviving victim. Surprisingly compelling read (despite the dark subject), and the author pulls off a masterful sleight of hand halfway through.
The Broken Eye- Brent Weeks: book 3 in The Lightbringer series. I re-read this as a refresher before starting book 4. One of the few fantasy series I’ve read with a truly original form of magic.
The Blood Mirror- Brent Weeks: book 4 of Lightbringer. There comes a point in every epic fantasy series where one book serves more as a set up for the next than as a stand alone adventure. This is that book, although to a lesser degree than often happens. Still exciting and enjoyable, but primarily developing characters and placing them in position for whatever is coming next.
Into The Water- Paula Hawkins: second novel by the author of The Girl On The Train, and a disappointing follow up. Chapters alternate between 7 or 8 characters’ points of view (most in first person), which is a little excessive. And it deals with multiple murders/suicides that have all happened at the same spot. And yet, despite three separate mysterious deaths, it is completely predictable. Bummer.
The River At Night- Erica Ferencik: four middle aged women head to the wilderness of Maine on their annual girls trip. Things do not go well.
Ill Will- Dan Chaon: not good. Disjointed, rambling, and with a preponderance of fragment sentences. Definite waste of time.
Curioddity- Paul Jenkins: a tortured attempt at quirky magical realism. Could have been good if the author had laid off the excessive, forced whimsy a bit. Someone should explain to the guy that every sentence doesn’t have to be droll.
The Kept Woman- Karin Slaughter: nice, tight thriller, a little heavy on the relationship melodrama. Sadly didn’t kill off a recurring character who is THE WORST PERSON EVER.
The Darkest Minds- Alexandra Bracken: YA sci-fi about teenagers with special powers on the run from forces who would either imprison and experiment on them, or turn them into weapons. Nothing surprising (YA is easy to figure out), but well written and good characters.
Seabiscuit- Laura Hillenbrand: on my to-read list for years, and I finally got around to it. Just as wonderful as I expected it would be.
Never Fade- Alexandra Bracken: book 2 of The Darkest Minds trilogy. Satisfying continuation of the original story, if not mind blowing.
In The Afterlight- Alexandra Bracken: final book in The Darkest Minds trilogy. Sadly, the author decided emotional turmoil and self-pity was more important than anything actually happening for the first 2/3 of the book. But the ending was fine, even if it did feel perfunctory and rushed.
Camino Island- John Grisham: fun and intriguing set up, following the heist of five original handwritten manuscripts. Unfortunately nothing even vaguely interesting happens for the next 200 pages.
Only Daughter- Anna Snoekstra: a girl facing arrest decides to take the place of another girl who has been missing for 11 years. Definitely does not telegraph the final reveal, but also fails to create an atmosphere of threat or unease so the ending is just sort of abruptly disturbing.
The Love Interest- Cale Dietrich: two boys raised by an evil conglomerate must compete to the death to win the love of a certain girl, but instead find themselves falling for each other. Silly but fun twist on the ubiquitous (and annoying) YA love triangle.
Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand: another one on a years long to-read list. Absolutely incredible story, the first half of which has enough to fill several books.
The rest of my year: