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August review roundup

01 Sep
August review roundup

Hello dear reader(s) and welcome back to another episode of Nessa reads and reviews! It’s been a while since I last posted and the non-activity is mostly due to the combination of work, having family over and very little free time. Sadly (well at least for me it’s sad, I don’t know about you guys) the only reading I managed to in August was during Dewey’s Reverse Readathon that was held on the 2nd of August. However, even that was disrupted by my job and life in general. But at least I managed to read 3 books on the Kindle app on my mobile phone during that weekend so I’ll take my victories where I can get them. 😀

Since I couldn’t find the time in August to write a review of my (only) binge reading weekend, I’ve blocked an afternoon on September 1st of all days 🙂 to write a few thoughts about the books that I’ve read. The afore mentioned books are Rebecca Roanhorse’s The Trail of Lightning and Storm of Locusts from her Sixth World urban fantasy series and the latest instalment of The Rivers of London series from Ben Aaronovitch – a novella called The October Man. And dear reader(s) I have thoughts and now I have the time to share them with you. 🙂 So let’s start typing. 🙂

Let’s begin with Rebecca Roanhorse’s Sixth World series. I first heard about her and her books on Twitter, when an author I follow RT-ed her tweet about the second book in the series. I’m afraid I can’t remember what it was about, but it intrigued me enough to put both books on my Goodreads to read list. Days turned into weeks, weeks into month and lo! cometh the hour cometh the book… Well if you’ll allow me to digress a bit, the book didn’t come so easily.

As you might or might not know my e-reader of choice is the 2nd edition of Kobo Aura H2O. I chose it over the Kindle Paperwithe because in the light settings – it has a warm light option which I prefer if I’m reading at night. I can buy e-books easily from both platforms, which was important to me since I live in Croatia and we often have issues when we try to buy e-books because for some reason not all books are available for our market. It’s complicated and it deserves a dedicated rant post.

Anyway, to get back to the point I first tried to buy the books from the Kobo store, but they weren’t available for the Croatian market, but strangely enough if you live in Slovenia (our neighbouring country) you can buy them no problem at all. And funny enough I could buy them via Amazon… Yeah I don’t get that either, but I really wanted to read the books so I got them via Amazon and I was reading them on my mobile phone which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I was reading them during my commute to and from work on the particular Readathon.

The summary of the Trail of Lightning attracted me to the book and intrigued me enough to get it, but what truly got me hooked to the series and the main character Maggie Hoskie were these lines from the 1st chapter:

And now they are looking to me to be their hero. But I’m no hero. I’m more of a last resort, a scorched-earth policy. I’m the person you hire when the heroes have already come home in body bags.

These lines look like such simple statements, but at the same time they are powerful, loaded and complicated. They make you pause and think about what kind of character you are going to follow into all kinds of things. Although a lot of characters in fiction don’t perceive themselves as heroes, it’s honestly kind of refreshing to see Maggie being aware that she’s not really a hero everyone would like her to be, but she’s still there with all her flaws and insecurities and difficulties doing the job that needs to get done…

In just 2 books in her ongoing series The Sixth World Rebecca Roanhorse successfully created an interesting world – a fascinating blend of Native American myths, traditions and her own imagination. Her characters are fresh, interesting, and to me (a person from another culture) strange and familiar at the same time. But most importantly, regardless of the words I use to describe her characters, the author created points of connection between the readers and her characters. Regardless of how you feel about a character at any given point in the books you will find something that will connect you with them. And in my opinion that’s among the most important things for a book or a series to have.

All things considered if you’d like to read a different take on urban fantasy with an interesting plot, different culture and some pretty awesome characters I cannot recommend Rebecca Roanhorse’s The Trail of Lightning and Storm of Locusts enough. Go forth and read!

Ben Aaronovitch’s latest novella in the Rivers of London series The October Man was the last thing I managed to read in August. The novella itself is a wonderful excurse to Germany and the story is told from the POW of a new character Tobias Winter – an investigator of the Abteilung KDA – basically the German equivalent of the Folly. 🙂 If you’ve read the previous novels in the series everything will simultaneously be familiar and new at the same time. As I mentioned above the series is set in Germany and features new characters who have a different approach and reactions to the supernatural problems.

In all honesty it’s inevitable that people will compare Tobias Winter and Peter Grant. They are different characters with different personalities and you see it from the first sentence of the novella. Tobias is meticulous, careful (which is evident in his choice of words and what kind of information he divulges to other characters) and I get the feeling he enjoys the ordinary aspect of his job more than the supernatural one.

Although I did saw some comments on Goodreads regarding Tobias’ character which stated that Tobias is a less vivid compared to Peter, I really loved him and how Aaronovitch chose to portray him and other characters that appeared in the novella. I liked that Tobias’ seriousness, how meticulous and careful he was, very German like traits. 🙂 Additionally, I think that the author’s choice of how to craft and characterise Tobias successfully managed to capture Germany’s complicated relationship with the past (regarding Nazis). I am curious to see how will he tackle this and how will he weave that complicated history and the relationship to the past into his urban fantasy series.

The only thing I’m not sure about is can The October Man function as a standalone story? Is it possible to read the novella without previously reading the other books in the series? Although The October Man’s protagonist explains the (to the readers that read the rest of the series) terminology I didn’t get the feeling that I would get the gist of everything by just reading the novella on its own. Perhaps that’s because in my opinion the book should be longer (yes, I am aware that 90% of the time my main complaint about a book is that it’s TOO DARN SHORT 😀 ), maybe that would help. However, this is just my opinion, maybe some of you that read The October Man think it can be as a standalone novella – perhaps a spin off into a new series? Personally I’d like to see that; I’d love to see more from Tobias’ POV and find out more about the other characters, especially the Director. But we’ll have to wait and see. I enjoyed this excursion to Germany and if you’re a fan of the Rivers of London series you might enjoy it too.

That’s all for today dear reader(s). I hope you enjoyed my rambling review and had a better summer than I had and that you managed to read a ton of books. I’m waiting four autumn so I can get comfortable in my room and have more time to read and review the things I’ve read. That gigantic pile of to read books will not read itself. 😀 Until next time dear reader(s)!

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Posted by on 01/09/2019 in Bookshelf corner

 

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