Occasionally, I do these reading roundups because either the books themselves don’t warrant a single review, or more frequently, because I’ve read several dull books. This time, we’re looking at the second book in a series, a first book in a series, and something that tried to be a book but should probably have been a made for TV movie.
Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher
Overall, this wasn’t a bad read. Maybe I’m just burned out on fantasy for a while, but though I enjoyed Butcher’s world in the Codex Alera book one and two, I just don’t feel particularly intrigued to go further. The basic story of book two involves Tavi at an academy to learn to be a Cursor while the rest of the realm fights and sputters over different threats, some real and some imagined. I highly prefer the parts of this world that involve the non-human races like the Marat and the Canem. To be honest, I just really didn’t find reading about Tavi to be that great anymore. I wouldn’t say no to reading the rest of the series in the future if I felt like it, nor would I necessarily discourage others from reading it, but it just wasn’t for me. So, this was a READ WITH CAUTION, and where I’ll end on the series for now.
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
I started this book with the thought of really tying to enjoy it. I wanted to like this. I really did. Sometimes I think I get bogged down in genre or general story themes, so I tried to keep an open mind about this. It wasn’t written poorly, and the story wasn’t necessarily bad, but it just didn’t capture me. The novel follows an assassin who has been sentenced to work in the mines for her crimes, but is then “rescued” to compete and become the King’s champion. To become the champion, she must fight her way to the top. The wind up to the real meat of the story takes a while, and even then it’s bogged down with many points of views, odd love triangles that aren’t love triangles, and threads of story that are dropped and picked back up at random times. At a certain point, I put down the book after a reading session and just didn’t pick it back up. Eventually, the library check out expired. I’m going to call this a READ WITH CAUTION, because I feel like it does have potential, but it failed to ensnare me, and as such I didn’t feel it was worth my time.
Armada: A Novel by Ernest Cline
After reading the book jacket blurb on this book, I knew I was in for something less that thrilling. I thought, however, that it might be pulled off well. Cline is known for Ready Player One, a book I enjoyed. As I’m a pretty geeky person who plays video games, I thought a novel written by Cline that supposes video games have been training people to fight in a real alien war could be fun. Boy, was I wrong. Armada isn’t awful from the get out. It’s written in what I call a simplistic young adult sense, with a lot of stream of consciousness. I could get by with everything that happened, from government conspiracies and aliens showing up to people playing a game to train for the military without knowing it, but then they had Carl Sagan tell me the aliens drew a swastika on the moon Europa. And a little girl’s synthesized voice said we’d disturbed their holiest temple and must die. It was at that moment that I put the book down and thought for a moment. I picked the book back up a day later and read on. Things did not improve. While I wasn’t expecting much, Cline seemed to think he could take a very similar premise as to what gained him fame beforehand and just shove it in a slightly different box. The prose felt like it was simply there to hold every reference to science fiction that Cline could come up with, to the detriment of the story and conversation. Pages go by with in-depth description the reader doesn’t need or even want, and then the things that are really interesting are left unexplained. Add in an awkward romance angle where the main character meets a girl that should basically be named Geeky Stereotype Badass Dream Girl #1, and it’s just a bit too much. Plus, the book takes a leap a bit too far into the realm of suspension of disbelief by presupposing, apparently, that no amateur astronomers exist. Anywhere. So, this is a RUN. Don’t do it. Just don’t.