The beginning of the year is usually a slow start for me when it comes to reading, but this year has been different and I managed 16 books so far? Here are four that stood out.
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
This book was majorly hyped and completely deserving of all the love. I don’t think I have a single complaint about it. First of all, it has a fierce female friendship (unintentional alliteration there) at the core of the story so completely up my alley. Dennard also manages to make the entire magical world feel like something new in fantasy. I’m by no means a fantasy expert, but Truthwitch departed from other books I’ve read in the genre. I’m not someone who believes every book has to be some ingenious spin on a genre, but it can also be refreshing to find a book that does something different and does it well. I particularly liked that everyone in the Witchlands has magic so it’s not those with powers vs. those without. Instead there’s a complex magic system which the story explores along with political and personal struggles.
Saga Volumes 1-5 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
Last year I decided I needed to read more comics and graphic novels and have slowly been adding more into my TBR list. I’ve read all the volumes currently out for Saga and I’m loving it. It’s completely bizarre at times, which only makes it more interesting. The story follows two people from enemy lands who fall in love and have a baby. They’re on the run since their relationship made quite a few people in power unhappy and a lot of shit goes down on their journey. Looking forward to seeing where this space opera ends up.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
I think I know a lot about books, but I hadn’t even heard of this until a friend recommended it. I’m half-Italian and spent a lot of my summers in Italy so I was all about a book set in Naples and recommended it for a new book club I started with a friend. We all soon discovered it had a zillion holds at the library and the fourth book made it to the NYT bestseller list and Ferrante is actually an insanely popular but mysterious author. OOPS.
Anyway, I totally loved it. Except for the horrid cover. The cover you see in this post is one I am working on to put on my copy of the book. Hey, I went to school for graphic design and sometimes I can’t deal with ugly things. I plan to redesign the entire series so I’ll post about that when the time comes.
As for the actual content of the book, if you are clueless like I was, it’s about two friends growing up in a poor neighborhood in 1950s Naples. Their relationship is complex: nurturing at times and completely toxic in other situations which makes it fascinating. I started out reading this book slowly because not a lot happens. But the detail and character development is outstanding so I suddenly found myself loving the story. It was a very Pride and Prejudice moment. (You know… “I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”) I plan to read the other three books so will talk about this more when I’m finished.
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
I love time travel stories, but I’m really picky about them. I also hate ships. And New York. (The cover is beautiful but… ships and New York.) So I went into this cautiously and was surprisingly blown away! Time travel is handled so well with a set of rules that aren’t super complicated and make sense. (Ahem, Doctor Who. I love Doctor Who, but you kind of have to ignore its timey wimey things that don’t add up.) There’s an adorable romance and an adventure through time that culminates in a CLIFFHANGER because why not?? Currently need time travel to get book 2 from 2017.
And here’s to hoping my reading year continues to be strong.