2017 Jan – Apr Books Read So Far

Ahh, well, I guess my plan of getting back into writing book reviews in the new year sort of fell through. That’s okay though, here’s a combined post of everything I’ve read so far.

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The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
This one is a reread. The Queen’s Thief series is my favourite books series ever, but the last time I read this book was a few years ago. Because of the new installment in the series next month, I’ve joined the read-along over at Sounis.

The Thief of Eddis is captured by the Queen of Attolia when he was spying for his queen. After suffering a cruel punishment, Eugenides struggles with his identity amidst the onslaught of war and the possibility of… uhm, I don’t want to spoil it for you guys. This is a terrible overview of the plot, but each book in the Queen’s Thief series in general is difficult to summarize, because of the risk of revealing crucial plot twists.

Since my last reread, I’ve forgotten much of the intricacies of the plot. That’s why it’s probably not much of a shock that I found myself reacting to Attolia in much the same way I initially reacted to her. I hated her at first, and then by the end of the book, I just wanted to cuddle her up. I think it’s a testament to Turner’s amazing writing skills that I could undergo this transformation as a reader, not just once, but twice.

The Reader by Traci Chee
I reviewed this book in this other blog post.

28954187A Little Taste of Poison by R.J. Anderson
This book is the 2nd book in R.J. Anderson’s Uncommon Magic. The first book I read at the tail end of 2016.

The two books are about the misadventures of two children named Isaveth and Quiz. They live in a world where magic is baked; commoners are usually adept at working simple but useful kinds of magic, whereas those of higher rank can work a more advanced kind of metal magic. In the first book, Isaveth becomes involved in the politics of Tarreton when her father is accused of murder. In the second book, she becomes embroiled even further as she attends a magic school for rich people.

I’ve loved R.J Anderson’s fantasy books for children for many, many years now. Her stories are full of likeable characters and exciting plots. Her writing just flows. And what I love about her books is the way she writes romance. Her romance is not really romancey-romance. They’re more friendshippy-romance, which is the type of romance that I really like reading about.

For a while, I’ve pondered who Quiz reminds me of. It was only a few days ago that I realized he reminded me of Adrien Agreste from Miraculous Ladybug. Not quite sure why, or what specific trait reminds me of Adrien (possibly the blond hair, but there are so many blond boys in books). I still haven’t put a finger on it.

23214251The Geek Heresy by Kentaro Toyama
Occasionally I would read non-fiction. The first such book this year is this book that takes a look at the way technology is being used to address social ills. This is the first book that I’ve decided to read on the topic, because as a computer scientist, I’m usually surrounded with overly-optimistic rose-tinted perspective on technology. There are usually two camps you come across: those who believe technology would save everyone and everything, and those who believe that technology is destroying humanity.

This book provides a thorough look into the real effects of technology when applied to social causes. It is neither optimistic nor pessimistic. I think I agree with Toyama’s assessment that technology isn’t inherently good, bad, or neutral, but that it simply amplifies the intent of the humans wielding it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to see a level analysis on technology and what it’s actually doing (or failing to do) for society.

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Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones
I’ve been a fan of the first book in the Ingary Trilogy, Howl’s Moving Castle. When I heard this one isn’t about Sophie and co., I wasn’t interested in picking it up. But the entire trilogy was on sale for only 99c on Kobo, so I acquired all three books.

I finally decided to try Castle in the Air. It is about a young carpet merchant named Abdullah, whose beloved Flower-in-the-Night is kidnapped a djinn. Now he must go on an adventure to retrieve her.

Even though Howl and Sophie and the rest of the cast from the first book make an appearance about two-thirds of the way through, I found this book quite lacking compared to the first. It just wasn’t as exciting or clever as HMC. In certain places, I found Abdullah’s adventures to be boring, even though I liked him as a character.

40159The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
This third instalment in the Queen’s Thief series is not only my favourite in the series, but it is my favourite book ever. In my entire life. So far. But I doubt there’s anything that would surpass my love for this book.

After becoming king, Eugenides tries to navigate the corrupt court of Attolia, and drags a poor, naive guard named Costis into the whole fiasco. This book is probably the most difficult to describe in the series, because there is no simple unifying plot. There are many subplots that are intertwined very carefully. I guess if I have to boil the conflict down to one idea, it would be: Eugenides wants the court to like him.

Anyway, if you are following me on Tumblr or if you’re a Sounisian, you’ve probably already seen my sketchdump. But basically I’m reminded all over again of how much I love this book, that I drew some sketches as soon as I finished.

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And well, that’s it! I’ll make another post when I’ve finished another book. Right now I’m reading The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kerry Barnhill.

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4 thoughts on “2017 Jan – Apr Books Read So Far

  1. Thanks for the lovely review of POISON! I was so delighted by the comparison to Adrien Agreste that I clapped and laughed out loud, although I didn’t actually discover Miraculous Ladybug until I’d already written POCKET and POISON so I can’t say it’s deliberate. The parallels are striking, though, now you mention it!

    1. Ahhh, oh my gosh, it’s you!! My heart did a little skip when I saw your messages in my inbox *__*. Oh yeah, I believe POCKET came out before Miraculous did, so I’m sure the similarities are coincidental. And even though the most obvious parallels are in Quiz’s living conditions, I think it was more his attitude that reminded me of Adrien/Chat Noir.

      Oh, and I’ve been curious about this too, but was Tarreton somehow based on Toronto?

      1. It absolutely is! I used 1935-36 Toronto as my historical template for the series, and a lot of the neighbourhoods/streets/parks and such mentioned in the series are real places by made-up names.

        And yes, the difference between Quiz’s airy devil-may-care attitude and his more subdued and unhappy alter ego are very Chat Noir/Adrien. I’m also grinning to myself at the realization that both Marinette and Isaveth have lives that revolve around baking, and a big brawny dad with a beard…

      2. Ah, neat! Once Quiz and Isaveth got to the harbour, I got the impression that Tarreton was laid out similarly to Toronto, and then I noticed the names were also similar so…

        Oh interesting! I didn’t notice those similarities between Marinette and Isaveth.

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