May Wrap Up

Hello Everyone! It’s been forever since I’ve written a wrap up post, I may update y’all on the rest of the books I’ve read this year since it’s been so terrible long since I’ve posted updates on what I’ve been reading here. It’s been a tough year, the pandemic has been insane, it was my first year of teaching, and life has been a little wild. My reading tastes seem to be changing and I’m excited to have finally fallen back in love with reading adult fantasy again! This is also the first month where all but two books are books that I physically read. Most of my books over the last year have been audiobooks and it’s been a big relief to finally relax enough to sit and read. I have so many reviews I need to write after this month because I read a ton of new favorites!

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J Maas – This was a re-read for me. I’ve been re-reading Sarah J Maas’s books over the last few months because she’s my favorite author and her books have helped me a lot in the last few months. I have a bit of a weird history with this series, because when I originally read it I loved it, then I hated it, then I loved it again. Aelin is a difficult character for me to love at times but it’s because she’s someone I somewhat identify with. In this book we get to see Celaena Sardothien become Celaena Sardothien. It’s sometimes hard for me to go back and read this book because I know so much of her future story that seeing her be so young and naive about life is strange for me. I think this book helps to set up the events in Queen of Shadows, and understand the changes that the character has undergone throughout the series, it makes the character more dynamic and easier to relate to. In this book we see her make stupid mistakes, trust the wrong people, and be manipulated by people who should be caring for her, all of which is necessary for her to overcome later in the series and make conscious decisions to go against what other people thought she was capable of.

Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore – I went into this book thinking it was going to be cute and fun and a sweet romance. This is one of the most angsty, dramatic, will they/won’t they kind of books that I’ve read this year. Don’t get me wrong is was good and it brought up a lot of amazing issues we don’t typically see in historical fiction but be forewarned going in there is a lot of drama and angst. In this book we follow a suffragette, Annabelle Archer, who is given a scholarship to study at Oxford University, but in order to keep the scholarship and continue her studies she must help support the women’s suffrage movement. Her job is to recruit a man of influence, Sebastian Deveraux (The Duke of Montgomery) to their cause. Be forewarned going into this book that this is definitely a book for adults. I appreciated the conversation that was had in this book about women’s agency and the class system within British society. I also really loved the quote from the book “Perhaps this is not a question of staying out of trouble, Your Grace. Perhaps this is about deciding on which side of history you want to be.” Although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t my favorite book that I’ve read this month, but I’m still curious about the next book in the series.

Without a Summer, Valour and Vanity, and Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal – I apologize that the picture is out of order, I tried to fix it but powerpoint would not let me. I absolutely adore this series! The Glamourist Histories series is a Regency era historical fantasy. I want to go into details about why I loved these series so much but because they are the last three I don’t want to spoil anything. What I will say is that Mary Robinette Kowal has a way of writing strong communicative relationships and characters that feel honest and human in a way I haven’t seen before. The characters in her books all remind me of people I know and love and it amazes me that she is able to capture the little things that people do so well. I love the main relationship in this book because they actually communicate with each other. When they have a problem they discuss it, don’t get me wrong they aren’t perfect but they work together to solve the problems that pop up. They learn how to be what the other person needs and when to be there for them vs when to back off. These books have made me laugh, cry, and feel every emotion under the sun. I’m not obsessed with historical fantasy and can’t wait to discover more.

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – Assassin’s Apprentice is the first Robin Hobb book I’ve ever read and I can’t wait to read more. Assassin’s Apprentice follows Fitz, the illegitimate son to the king. Because he is an son of royal blood, but not someone anyone wants to actually inherit the throne they decide that he’s in the perfect position to be trained as an assassin. Fitz has an ability that makes him a little different, he’s able to use The Wit to communicate and bond with animals which is not something that is respected within the society he lives in. I’m going to start out by saying that I tend to avoid books that feature any kind of animal magic because it’s not a type of magic I’m interested in, plus it tends to mean that an animal will die at some point. I decided to give this series a chance because it’s written by a female author and I want to read and discover more female fantasy authors. I will say that this book is very sad, Fitz life is not easy, and it was sometimes hard to read about a child going through some difficult emotions. There are some moments where the character is clearly depressed and struggling with loneliness that were difficult to read but it was nice to see the representation of that within the fantasy genre. There are a lot of things I want to mention but I think I’m going to write a separate review so I can give a more detailed and thorough examination of the book. One paragraph is not nearly enough.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson – I’m going to be honest with y’all, I went into this book thinking I wasn’t going to like it. So many people have talked about the fact that this is their least favorite book in the Cosmere, that it’s not as good as everything else but I loved it. Elantris used to be a city of gods, but when the Reod happen the Shaod came upon everyone living in Elantris. What was once a blessing became a curse. On the day of her wedding the crown prince wakes up with the Shaod and is secretly thrown into Elantris. Sarene his fiancee must figure out how to keep both the country of Arelene and her home, Teod from War with a dangerous Fjordan empire. I decided to go back to the beginning of the Cosmere books that I’m interested in and start reading so that I get more of the Easter eggs that pop up in later books. I could not put this book down! I was so intrigued from the start and Sarene was instantly one of my favorite characters, as was Raoden. I loved seeing characters that were fierce, independent, and politically minded. I love books that have good political intrigue because I often struggle with the way action and violence is portrayed in books. If you like political intrigue I highly recommend picking it up because it’s so well done. This is one of those books that I will need to write a more in depth and thorough review on to fully get my thoughts across but it’s legitimately one of my favorite books I read this month.

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier – I really need to stop underestimating the books that I read because this was another book that I went into thinking it was going to be a basic, fun fantasy novel and I would just get swept up in the story. It was so much more than that. Dreamer’s pool follows Blackthorn, a wise woman who has been thrown in jail fro speaking out against one of the local leaders, Mathuin. On the eve of her trial she makes a bargain with a Fey who makes her promise to go to Dalriada and help everyone who asks for her help and to wait seven years before acting on her anger towards Mathuin. Grim who is also in prison becomes an unlikely companion on the journey ahead. There was mystery, intrigue, and so many good conversations that were held within this book and it felt so refreshingly new compared to a lot of male written fantasy books that I’ve read. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I have a spoiler free in depth review that is already up if you want to check it out. I can’t wait to pick up the rest of the series and learn more about where Blackthorn and Grim go next.

I have a couple more books that I read over the last couple of days of May but I will be including them in my June wrap up because they apply to Queer-lit-athon which is happening the first week of June. In June I will be participating in both Queer-lit-athon and the Mythtaker readathon. My TBR for Mythtaker is already posted and I’m itching to get started on all the books that I have on my TBR. Let me know in the comments down below some of your favorite books that you’ve read in the month of May.