I think all the YA fantasies I’ve been burying myself in over the last few months finally caught up with me, because my mood this month seems to have taken me back to my other true love, historical fiction. I really didn’t enjoy Passenger by Alexandra Bracken, and Throne of Glass took its toll on me at the end of January, and I think I was just in need of some gritty plots full of uncomfortable and complex truths. Hence, the war fiction.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken • 2/5 stars
I appreciated the romance in this book, but when it came to the experience of reading it, I was incredibly bored. This book had a lot of promise, but it felt like a missed opportunity to me- I wish it had taken more advantage of its settings and provided a sounder plot. I haven’t struggled with a book like I did with this one in a very long time. Full review.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie • 4/5 stars
This is a relatively short book about – as the title says – a teenage Spokane Indian. It’s simply written and tinged with sarcasm and comics, but its themes and events are heavy. It’s a funny and very honest book. Full review.
City of Thieves by David Benioff • 5/5 stars
This was without question the best book I read this month. About two boys on a mission to find a dozen eggs in German occupied Russia during World War II, it was unpredictable, heart warming and heart crushing, very funny and extremely well written. I loved loved loved this book. Full review.
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut • 4/5 stars
Mother Night is another World War II novel because I hadn’t had enough, apparently. This “memoir” is about a Howard W. Campell, Jr., who held a position as a major Nazi propagandist for Nazi Germany during the war, and is being tried for his war crimes. But is he really guilty? Through this position, he acted as a spy for America. I found this book extremely thought provoking – what is true guilt? What exactly is the difference between a hero and a villain? Is Campell one, is he both? This was my first Kurt Vonnegut book, and he nailed the art of moral dilemma.
Names on a Map by Benjamin Alire Sáenz • 4/5 stars
Aaaand my third war novel of the month, set during the Vietnam War, about a Mexican American family and a young man’s dilemma when he gets drafted. This book is poetic, all about identity and is very driven by the voices of its characters. It could get a bit too slow at times, but it really made me think and I really enjoyed it. Full review.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins • 3.5/5 stars
This book was a great psychological thriller that was hard to put down, and I loved the unreliable narrators and themes of womanhood. The ending fell a little flat for me, but it was still an exciting read. Full review.
Now onto March…
Once I finished The Girl on the Train, my craving for fantasy returned. I’ve just started A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which I’m really enjoying so far. I had planned to start the second Throne of Glass book by now, but since my mood took a turn for the non-fantasy in February, I want to dive back into fantasy with something I’ve never tried before, and perhaps something that I can be fairly sure will meet my expectations after I disliked Throne of Glass so much. But you never know! I’ve heard the Throne of Glass series improves, and I’ll find out for myself when the time is right. It’s always interesting to see where my mood took me at the end of every month.
Hope you guys read great things in February, and that you have a great March as well 🙂