Happy New Year! I rounded out my reading some excellent new favorites, bringing my reading total to 80 books. It’s why I skipped my once-annual Twelve Days of Reading challenge. That, and I wanted to spend some quality time with friends and family.
Finished in December
What I Learned: Making Magic Hot
If you want some magic to keep you warm for an afternoon, add this book to your list. The magic is intimate and plays really well off of the sexual tension and release between Ryder and Liam.
What I Learned: Two Sides of Love
This fantasy ultimately follows the love between husband and wife and parents and children. I really enjoyed how in love Apollo was with Emma, how much he loved his son, and the brutal depiction of Emma’s postpartum depression. There are so many facets and they get explored through the lens of supernatural happenings across New York City.
Read Cover-to-Cover in December
What I Learned: Relying Too Heavily on the Source Material
I loved the NieR:Automata video game. Deep story, a great aesthetic, characters to root for, and fantasy mechanics. I went into the book fully aware of the story and the game, so perhaps this aided my enjoyment of the book. For the uninitiated, however, this book can prove a bit confusing and the world does not get fully developed because it is heavily reliant on that familiarity.
What I Learned: Don’t Reveal Too Much
Spooky and mysterious, it falls apart at the very end. I found the explanations of Slade House and its cursed inhabitants a bit long and arduous. I removed so much of the mystique, making them almost unscary in the process. I didn’t really need to know why they needed to feed and the consequences of stopping them. The vignettes worked well enough without it.
What I Learned: Authenticity
Personality drives the wild ride that is this high school thriller. Jack has so much energy, that it almost hurts when he starts losing bits of himself to the harassment of his unknown stalker. Aside from plot-relevant moments when Jack retreats unto himself a bit, his shining snark and honesty really bring this book to life.
What I Learned: A Younger YA
It had been a while since I read a YA with a protagonist younger than sixteen was a bit refreshing. The types of things which concern Arram are different than the love triangles and expectations put forth on, say, older protagonists. Not saying if it’s good or bad, just different. He’s in the book to study his Gift and that’s okay.
What I Learned: Bringing Focus to a Work
After the world-building vignettes of Beasts Made of Night, the sequel brings the plot on a more linear railway from the fall of Kos to the battle against Karima. Because the world had been so fully realized, new twists and elements did not need much explaining. In addition, nothing felt like “deus ex abilities.”
What I Learned: Setting Up an Ending
I was so enthralled by the ending of Bright Ruin, I wanted to re-listen the rest of the series on audiobook. The entire thing is foreshadowed in one Silyen scene in the first 30% of the book. I nearly shouted at work when I realized it. The magic and lore of this alternate world are so wonderfully woven. I almost re-listened to it upon completion.
What I Learned: Short Stories for World Exploration
So while the stories themselves were not my favorites in the collection, the works which were a kind of exploratory phase for longer works intrigued me. What a great way to test drive a world structure before committing to a full project. I might want to give this a shot once I get out the connected continent of my other works.
In January, as I’m averaging 8 books a month, I am going to challenge myself to 100 books in 2019. Lord help me.