This December recap is the last one for 2017, mostly because of the 12 Days of Reading that closes out the year and kicks of my 2018 in books. I am already hype for the things to come next year, as a reader, a writer, and a professional.
The Bear and the Nightingale
What I Learned: Multi-generational Story-Telling
The cast stems several generations of the same family and their evolving relationship with faith and the spirits haunting the woods. The way Arden wove the tale throughout different generations made for great complexity. It took the story steps above a simple fairy tale.
The Empire’s Ghost
What I Learned: When to Place Character Introductions
This book was hard to get through. It really slowed down in the middle because of one very specific reason: the characters. This one had been so front-loaded with characters, titles, and last names that by the middle and by the end, I couldn’t really care or connect with anyone. There was a beautiful death scene and I didn’t get the impact. Introducing characters throughout the plot would have made them stick better.
Between the Blade and the Heart
What I Learned: “Unlikable” Female Characters
Read as an ARC from NetGalley. Comes out January 2018. Malin was rough around the edges, but utterly delightful. The book handled the characterization well by slowly introducing backstory and through her interactions with other characters. She’s a bit of a jerk, but it was kind of the point. Part of it stems from her upbringing but some of it stems from what she’s been told about the nature of Valkyries which makes for some fascinated world-building.
What I Learned: Efficient World-building
Read as an ARC from Edelweiss Plus. Comes out April 2018. The prose in this book is gorgeous. There were very good narrative choices made to bring Qaanaaq and its society to life. There are snippets from a broadcast/radio show called “City Without a Map” that did a great job of describing how the city came to be and its fears without bogging down the plot with backstory. Every sentence is meticulously crafted to bring the environment to life.
Even the Darkest Stars
What I Learned: Magic Fitting In
This atmospheric book has characters on a dangerous journey through the mountains. There is magic throughout the book, but it never serves as a band-aid or duct tape to fixing key problems throughout their journey. It served as another tool in their travel packs and I found that level of integration fascinating. The rules for magic were clearly set, following the idea that “magic is a battery that needs recharging” theory of implementation.
Starting on the first day of Christmas is the #12DaysofReading holiday challenge. Happy holidays and a very merry New Year.