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May 13: Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn’t
My rule for books is that I give them three chances instead of focusing on page count–if I find myself not wanting to continue a third time, after putting a book down twice, the book is done for.
1. Ancillary Justice; Ann Leckie. A spaceship piloting a human body, looking for revenge on the person who destroyed the ship itself. I knew this book was narrated by a culture that has no gender–with ‘she’ being the default of the narrator, but I didn’t expect quite how often the narrator would dwell on whether a particular ‘she’ was actually male or female.
2. The Casual Vacancy; J.K. Rowling. An office-holder in a small town dies, and the opposing sides of the town council scramble to fill his seat with one of theirs. This book is so different from the tone I was expecting, so dark and hopeless I needed a break from it often. But it was still a good book, and an interesting read.
3. Cry of the Peacock; V.R. Christensen. A woman is unexpectedly offered help to improve her station, and a husband that will elevate her status. This is just a case of poor ability to relate to people from the past–the female character is, as she historically would be, a bit of a doormat, focused on how little she deserves and how she must be humble and please people.
4. Daughter of Smoke & Bone; Laini Taylor. Trapped between the human and demon world, a girl discovers her unusual history. At first, I thought this book was more hype than substance–and maybe it is a bit–but the substance is incredibly addictive.
5. Dreams of a Golden Age; Carrie Vaughn. The children and grandchildren of a city’s superheroes, struggling to find their own place and deal with emerging powers. The build up for this was a little slow, and I liked one of the narrating characters more than the other–but the world building and character development and tense plot won me over.
6. The End of Your Life Book Club; Will Schwalbe. A son spends time with his dying mother. This is a hard subject, and a hard book in places–but also touchingly sweet, and hopeful about the ability to connect with people, and carry them with you even after they’re gone.
7. Every Other Day; Jennifer Barnes. A teenage girl is normal and human one day, and then something else every other day. At first, she got on my nerves a bit, but she grew on me and I ended up liking the story.
8. Heart of Briar; Laura Gilman. When a woman’s lover is taken by elves, she must get him back. I didn’t put this book down because I didn’t like it or wasn’t interested, I put this book down because it’s psychologically terrifying, even if I suspected how the end would go.
9. Omens; Kelley Armstrong. After moving to her parent’s hometown, a woman discovers some strange secrets. This is such a first book in a series, it’s not even funny. Hints abound, and world-building moves so very slowly. But there was just enough for me to want to see what happens next–it better be good!
10. Perdition; Ann Aguirre. A space-station prison, where criminals are sentenced to life–and frequently kill each other to survive. I was expecting something redeeming in these characters, but there really isn’t much. Still, they’re fascinating, complicated, and very readable–if you can enjoy a character you don’t much like.