books of the month: september 2018

So this month school started again. Which means I don’t have long periods of time to read and while this didn’t show that much in my number of books read (yet), I definitely felt it and I’m a tiny bit sad about it. I love reading but after school I’m sometimes just too tired and don’t want to look at any page/screen for a long time.

Anyway, I read five books this month and I’m at 62 books for 2018 now which is… slightly crazy.

blog middle cards

TBR Wrap up

I read most of my TBR books this month (again), yay! I only didn’t read the usual suspect which I’ll probably read in a year or so, oh well.

  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  • Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi
  • On Beauty by Zadie Smith
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Favourites

An Absolutely Remarkable ThingAn Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

My rating: ★★★★★

“It’s so much harder to actually define yourself and work to imagine the best possible future than it is to tear down others’ ideas.”

This book is without a doubt one of my favourites of this year. I devoured it as fast as I could and it killed me, revived me and then killed me again in a different and totally unexpected way.

It’s sci-fi but it’s also about fame and the internet and our culture of dealing with things in really stupid ways and it’s about arguing and relationships and big decisions.

I love Hank Green as an Internet creator and I was sure I’d like him as a writer too but I LOVE this book even more than anticipated and I couldn’t be happier with it.

I’m gonna have to think about this book for a while before I write any more about it.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman

My rating: ★★★★★

“Everyone is guilty of something, and everyone still harbors a memory of childhood innocence, no matter how many layers of life wrap around it. Humanity is innocent; humanity is guilty, and both states are undeniably true.”

This is not like other books I gave 5 stars. Usually, I will love a book from maybe the middle on and then I’ll know it’s going to get 5 stars and I’m going to love the rest as well but this one was very different. I finished it not knowing what to do with it. And then I let it sit for a couple days and realised that I couldn’t stop thinking about this book and that it made me question basically everything so yes, definitely 5 stars from me. I love an existential crisis, after all.

I love sci-fi. This isn’t news, but I still want to mention it because the kind of sci-fi I love most deals with humanity, its flaws and how we might evolve on various levels. Scythe is about this too but it is incredibly unique in its premise and execution and I totally didn’t expect to be so swept up in it.

In the world of Scythe there’s no death, no change, no sickness or inequality. Humans know everything and everything is fine, basically. But some people have to die after all so there are the scythes who have to kill a certain amount of people each year to make the planet slightly more sustainable. Citra and Rowan are teenagers who become apprentices of a scythe by chance and their lives change completely. They have to compete to the death and they are both witnesses and a part of a change in the scythedom that is not really a good one.

Okay, this is a bit of a slow book and it took me a long time to get into it but at some point, the plot just got so interesting and intense I didn’t want to stop reading. I’m sure not everyone loves how this is written and paced because for a while not that much is happening but for me it was perfect. You get to know both Citra and Rowan and the important scythes and even though I found it hard to get into the characters and properly understand them they were so distinct and fascinating and complex and I love that!

The futuristic society of this book was fascinating as well. I really enjoyed the world building and all places and events felt fleshed out but only so much that it still allows you to connect it to our world and to notice the specific things that evolved. I don’t know if that makes sense but it does to me.

This isn’t just a book about two teenagers thrown into a new thing. No, this is about societies and how political movements form and are able to divide us. This is about humanity and how technology and knowledge might lead us to something that might bring us both happiness and also basically destroy what we all are – mortal. It’s about the choices we make and how who teaches us can have a huge influence on these choices and on our beliefs.

Scythe is YA and action (and no romance!) but it’s also a lot more and it fascinated me so much. I cannot wait until I get my hands on Thunderhead but this book also made me kind of happy about the fact that we are able to die. Damn.

“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.”

Really good stuff

Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2)Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

My rating: ★★★★☆

“I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while.”

A really good book but I’m also slightly shook because there’s *a lot* of death. And I thought the first book in the series was rather dark. Hahaha.

These books are written in such an amazing style. Only in files and transcripts and there are no descriptions whatsoever except in some diary entries by a few of the characters and still, every single character has such a distinct voice and personality, I didn’t get confused at all. That really surprised me (again) and I love it so much. More book should be written in this way, it’s so interesting and cool.

The plot of this second part went into an entirely different direction than I expected. It’s a lot darker and horrific and scary and it’s actually quite depressing. But that also makes this story unique and I really like being surprised (and I live for plot twists). I didn’t quite feel as good about it compared to the first book, hence the “only” four-star rating.
It’s still a great plot but I didn’t like all of the decisions that were made and I found it sometimes annoying that some of the most interesting parts were only mentioned in passing or after a time jump.

I loved the aspects of humans vs. aliens, miscommunication, finding out who we are and just generally talking a lot about relationships and consequences. A lot of important and – to me – fascinating themes were part of this story and it really enriched the plot and made it more about humans than about aliens, which I thought would change in this novel.

All in all, Waking Gods is a really good book, I enjoyed reading it so much (apart from those times when I nearly cried) and I could stare at the beautiful cover for hours.

Outrun the WindOutrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

My rating: ★★★☆☆

Greek mythology and sapphic characters, what more could I ask for?

[Rating closer to 3.5, actually]

Elizabeth Tammi wrote a wonderful story about two Greek heroines who have been through a fair share of tragedy and who both don’t act like people around them want them to. Atalanta and Kahina are forced to get along and it takes some time for them to get used to their new situations.

I’m quite the fan of both Greek mythology and stories about sapphic characters so I knew this would be my thing. And it kind of was! I really liked the characters and the plot was inventive, original and felt like a great extension of a Greek myth (even though I didn’t know about this specific myth before)

What I’m not such a fan of is flowery prose and long descriptions. I know some people will love this story more because of that but I’m just not one of these people. I liked Tammi’s writing but I would have enjoyed it more had it been 20% shorter. Long descriptions tend to bore me and through that, the story was quite slow paced and I took me a long time to get into it. In the beginning, I really couldn’t connect to any of the characters and I felt like they were constantly just thinking instead of doing stuff. Eh.

Still, I enjoyed reading this book this is a debut novel after all and for that, it’s certainly impressive!

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley/North Star Editions.

Others

Crank (Crank, #1)Crank by Ellen Hopkins

My rating: ★★★☆☆

I have a lot of thoughts about this book and they are a bit conflicting too. I didn’t know this is a rather well-known book. Like, I’d say in Goodreads terms it has a lot of ratings and I had never heard anything about it except for its name??? And it’s also quite highly rated which… I can’t quite relate to.

Crank is by no means a disappointing book but I think I expected something different than what I got. This book chronicles how Kristina becomes a drug addict and a lot of awful stuff happens to her. It’s told from her point of view and in verse form.

The verse form is what intrigued me and what made me pick up this book and I think it’s such an interesting way of writing a Young Adult book. It’s also a great way of conveying and showing what Kristina goes through. Hopkins’ style is really enjoyable to read (even though it’s a bit difficult when your ebook fucks up the formatting).

The form also meant, though, that plot and thoughts are rather condensed and a lot that would appear in a “normal” novel was left out. Some of those things I really missed. I think it’s sometimes really hard to follow Kristina’s choices and especially in the second half of the book a lot of what she does is omitted and I really would have liked to read about them. Focus on what happens to her besides her drug addiction would maybe have made for a fuller picture of her story… Also, I know the focus of the story is on her but I really wouldn’t have minded getting more information on the people around her and their reactions. With some (especially friends and her siblings) it seems like they’re dead unless they’re interacting with her.

The plot is… quite harsh but it’s also about an important topic and it’s not just about drugs but also broken lives and abuse and relationships and responsibilities. There is a depth to how the main topic is tackled that really showed Hopkins knows what she is talking about. To me, this was most obvious in the first half of the story, the second half just generally lacked in a lot of parts.

My biggest complaint is Kristina herself. She’s quite cliché in so much of what she does and to me, she’s not relatable and kind of uninteresting. She’s supposed to be smart but all of her decisions seem stupid and avoidable and she’s genuinely unlikeable for a large portion of the book.

I don’t want to complain any more than that, this book is certainly insightful and well-written for the most part, I just wonder if it’s actually helpful to people who are at risk and I wish the characters were crafted in a way that made this story not just sad but also more terrifying…

Rereads

No rereads this month! This really shows that I had less time to read, oh well.

October TBR

This is working really well and it actually helps me remember what I want to read next so I’m going to continue doing this. I received way more ARCs than I expected so I probably need to read more of them in October.

  • A Closed And Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
  • No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein
  • What If It’s Us? by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera [ARC]
  • The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana [ARC]
  • Die Känguru Apokryphen by Marc-Uwe Kling [new release!]

blog middle cards

How was your September? Stressful? Filled with many books? Tell me all about it!

See you soon ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.