I’m writing this after a nine hour philosophy studying session, so my brain is a bit fried but I thought I could use talking about the books I read this month to wind down!
Books read: 7
Pages read: 2059
Annihilation (Southern Reach, #1) by Jeff VanderMeer
The first book I finished in November was inspired by the movie of the same name that came out this year, directed by Alex Garland. I absolutely fell in love with the film, how dark and fascinating it was, so I was very happy to find the book in a charity shop for 50p!
The premise of this science fiction story is that there is a stretch of land called Area X, a complete mystery behind its ever encroaching border. The only knowledge gleaned from the many, many failed missions to investigate it, is that there is a lighthouse inside Area X, perhaps where the centre of its energy lies. Each of the missions has ended tragically and there were no survivors as they each tried to make their way to the lighthouse. Now, four women are tasked with the twelfth expedition into the deadly and undiscovered Area X.
I was so engrossed with this book that I didn’t even look up from it for the first hundred pages, which for a book only slightly over double that length, is an achievement. The suspense and the nervous energy was so high, even when we hadn’t reached the climax of the scenes. My heart was pounding.
I would be pretty comfortable calling this a thriller as well as science fiction, because it is dark, and you are constantly looking over your – or the characters’ – shoulder. There’s such a presence Area X has, that was just so well done and made for a fantastic reading experience.
Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3) by Seanan McGuire
As this is the third in the Wayward Children series, I won’t give a spoilery synopsis, but if you don’t already know, the WC series follows children who return from portal fantasy worlds, back into our world. The stories are really about what happens when these children return, the idea of home and identity, and what lengths you’ll go to to hold onto those values.
I read Beneath the Sugar Sky for Lalathon, and decided to go the audiobook route, as I was already physically reading a book. I have to say that maybe that wasn’t the best idea, because I was a little let down by this?
I have no issues with the audiobook, I thought it was narrated brilliantly and I did enjoy listening to it, but it just didn’t have that same oomph the other books gave me, so I think physically reading the Wayward Children series is the way forward for me from now on.
Revival by Stephen King
This is the first Stephen King I’ve read in a while, after I burnt myself out reading all of his massive books (I’m looking at you Under the Dome, It and The Stand).
Revival follows a man named Jamie Morton through childhood to late adulthood, and how his old pastor Charles Jacobs and his obsession with electricity haunt him through his life.
I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this book, mostly because there wasn’t as much of the thriller aspects as I’d been expecting, and so when I was reading pages and pages of this guy just living his life, I was left wanting more.
However, I have to say that when those thriller moments jumped up, they were suitably creepy. Not quite as terrifying as some of his other books, but I think this book was more rooted in reality than previously – that is, until the ending, which I’m still not sure what to think of.
A Room Away From The Wolves by Nova Ren Suma
I listened to this book on audio through Scribd after reading and absolutely loving Nova Ren Suma’s other book, The Walls Around Us. I have to say that I did enjoy Walls more, but I still really enjoyed A Room Away From the Wolves.
This book centres around Catherine House, a place for wayward girls, with dark secrets. When Bina runs away from home to the big city, to pursue the dreams she once shared with her mother, she finds herself on the doorstep of Catherine House, and entangled in a history she had no idea about.
It had all the creepiness and atmosphere of Nove Ren Suma books, but as with Seanan McGuire, I think I’m better at physically reading her books.
Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1) by Natasha Ngan
Ohh, wow. Maybe new addition to my favourite fantasy list? Maybe new addition to my favourite book of the year?
I loved every second of reading Girls of Paper and Fire, and I can’t wait to see where Natasha Ngan takes this story, and anything else she writes. I just connected so much to the writing, the plot, and these characters.
I have a full review here full of my thoughts, but I highly recommend you pick up this book at the first chance you get. Trigger warnings for violence, sexual assault, and rape.
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
I won’t get too far into my thoughts on this book as I have a review coming out this week, but I absolutely adored it. This book had me bawling at midnight, and then kept me up until the early hours long after I’d finished, just thinking about it.
Bridge of Clay follows five brothers and their failed relationship after the death of their mother. The story jumps between present day with the brothers, and back to their parents’ childhood, and how they met. It’s a story about dysfunctional families, grief, and forgiveness, and totally broke my heart.
I know there are a lot of mixed reviews and I will say that if you go into it expecting it to be like The Book Thief, you’ll be disappointed. It’s very slow and very character driven, and a bloody big book, but I thought it was amazing.
Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
I barely made it through 10% of this book before I knew it wasn’t for me. Ragdoll is a crime thriller, and it really didn’t pull me in. I had the biggest problem with the writing. The was so much purple prose and redundant filler words that really slowed down the pacing.
The characters just were not likeable. Either they were immature and insensitive, or just purely unrealistic.
I could go on, but I don’t see the point and don’t want to criticise something that is cleared up after the point I stopped reading.
Well, I loved pretty much all of what I read in November! I can only hope for another beaut reading month in December too!
What did you read in November? Have you read any of these books? Let me know and we can chat!