January Reading Log

In January I managed 8 books and 2 short stories. Goodreads counts it as 10 books, because it doesn’t differentiate between short stories and actual books. This puts me ahead in my goal of 60 books this year. I don’t expect most of my other months this year to be as fruitful.

Glitches – Marissa Meyer
This is a prequel to Cinder, and since I read it before reading Cinder, I didn’t really get it. I knew a little of what Cinder was about, but not enough to quite understand what all was going on. Now that I’ve read more of the books, it makes more sense. It’s pretty much the events from when Cinder first goes to her new family, to an event that happens a few months after she’s there. It introduces Cinder, the family she lives with, and Iko, the robot that ends up becoming Cinder’s friend.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer
I’d seen this book on shelves for years, but I’d always passed it by. Then I saw many people online reading it, and so I decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did, and honestly kind of glad I didn’t pick it up until this year. Cress, the third book, just came out, so I didn’t have to wait as long as many to get it.
Cinder’s an interesting character, and despite the fact she’s a cyborg, I could relate to her. She’s not a girly girl, or girly cyborg, but instead a mechanic by trade, without a lot of patience for girly things. She wants to restore an old car, or get a new foot, not get a lovely new dress for the ball, like her sisters Pearl and Peony. She meets the handsome Prince Kai, and while she’s not immune to his good looks, she’s also aware that he probably wouldn’t want to know her if he knew what she was. Ican kind of relate to that.
The only thing I really didn’t like about the book is that Cinder has a secret identity that she’s oblivious to. The reader however, is probably going to figure out what it is the first time it’s mentioned, because it’s a pretty transparent plot. Cinder, for all her memory banks and mechanical skills, is really obtuse, and it distracted me from the story.

The Queen’s Army – Marissa Meyer
Another short story, not an actual book. It takes place between the end of Cinder, and the beginning of Scarlet. If you like origin stories, this one is interesting, because it details the origins of a few characters that show up in Scarlet. It’s short and compact, and still provides a lot of character development.

Scarlet – Marissa Meyer
The second of the Lunar Chronicles, and I liked it more than Cinder. Scarlet’s fun, she’s often short tempered and impulsive, but she has family loyalty like none other. As someone who’s fiercely loyal to my own family, I can relate.
The two perspectives in this book are wildly different: Cinder’s is getting away from the people who want her dead, and Scarlet’s is the hunt to find her grandmother. Halfway through the book, the two threads of the book converge, although Scarlet doesn’t know it until the end, where they meet. It’s interesting to see how the two stories develop and interlink. It’s done well, even if it’d a little jarring at first to go from Cinder’s perspective and then to Scarlet’s, and back again.

Searching for Dragons – Patricia D Wrede
When I was a kid, I loved Talking to Dragons, so I decided I’d re-read these as an adult. Instead of tracking down the books, I purchased the audiobooks, and listened to them over time. I spent a lot of time in my truck in December and January, so I got a lot of listening done.
This is the second book in the series, and is told from the point of view of King Mendanbar, King of the Enchanted Forest. Like Talking to Dragons, it’s a tongue in cheek telling of a fairy tale, where Mendanbar is aware of the common tropes, like a princess waiting to be rescued, and what to do with an evil Uncle.
That’s what I love about these books. They’re tongue in cheek, but still a fun fantasy adventure. Mendanbar and Cimorene go on a hunt for Kazul, King of the Dragonse. The hunt takes them all over, and they make a bunch of new friends, and enlist old ones to do many things. Half the fun is seeing what kind of predicament they’d get into next. I did remember most of the book, which was kind of fun.
The only thing I don’t care for in the novel is that Mendanbar and Cimorene fall in love in a way that leaves me scratching my head. You can kind of tell they’re falling for each other, but then the book nearly ends, Mendanbar proposes, she accepts, and there’s a wedding. Considering it’s a kids book, I will let it slide, because I don’t imagine kids spend a lot of time thinking about realistic romance.

Calling on Dragons – Patricia C Wrede
Third book in the series, and I think I read this as a kid. I think, because I’m not actually sure. I remember some parts of it, but not all, so I’m thinking I did read it.
I felt like this book kind of dragged. It’s an epic adventure to go retrieve the sword of the Enchanted Forest, and Cimorene and company make many friends, and deal with an ever increasingly annoying rabbit. The rabbit bugs me, I don’t care that Killer’s enchantments eventually go to a good cause, the rabbit turned donnkey whines THE ENTIRE BOOK. But the time he nibbles enchanted clover, I’m ready for Kazul to eat him, just to get rid of him.
This book is told from the point of view of Morwen, who’s a witch, and showed up in the other two books. I rather liked her point of view, because she’s practical and fun, and interesting. Plus, she has cats, and they add another dimension to the book, because Morwen can understand them.
Not the best of the three books, that might be why I don’t really remember it, and why I never bothered to read the fourth book until this year.

Talking to Dragons – Patricia C Wrede
The last of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, I enjoyed it more than Calling on Dragons, and way less than Searching or Dealing to Dragons. This book centers on Comorene’s son, Daystar, who is the only one to lift the enchantment on the castle of the King (and Queen) of the Enchanted Forest, thus freeing his father, King Mendanbar.
One of the things that made this book odd was the way it’s written, it’s first person, with Daystar talking to you, the reader. None of the other books were like that, so it takes a little getting used to. And he uses “weasel” words: I think, probably, maybe, it’s considered to, etc. I mean, it’s probably true that in the Enchanted Forest it’s considered proper to be extra polite to dragons, because maybe otherwise they’d eat you, but in the end, using those words make Daystar seem indecisive.
Also, Daystar’s companion can be thoroughly annoying. She’s a fire witch named Shiara, and she’s either cranky or rude, or impatient all the time. She’s not as annoying as Killer from the last book, but she tends to just complicate situations. I realize that’s her reason for being there, but it gets old after a while. So does their Dragon companion, who never gets a name, or a gender, and whines about being hungry all the time.
If I had to order books from best to least, I’d put Sealing first, then Searching, then Talking, and last would be Calling.

Sorcery and Cecelia – Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer
The premise of this book was interesting, but it didn’t live up to it. If you read this, read the afterward first! It’s a letter game book, where two people write to each other as characters, and a plot develops over time. It shows. By the time the book gets going, you’re halfway through it.
One of the problems I had with the book is Cecelia and Kate don’t sounds like young women looking to get married, they sound old and jaded and bored. They also write very similar, so sometimes you forget who’s writing, and given that there’s a similar cast of characters to both letters, it can be confusing. Both girls are in care of stuffy, boring aunts. Both girls have a good looking female counterpart; for one it’s a friend, for the other, a sister. There’s at least one wizard on both sides, and one bad guy.
I loved the characters, and I liked a number of the scrapes they got into, but in the end, the book just didn’t do it for me.

Dark Currents – Jacqueline Carey
Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey, is my favorite book. I took a while to pick this up, even though I knew she’s written it. I probably shouldn’t have waited so long, but I’m also kind of glad I did, because I could immediately get the next one in the series, no waiting.
This series is interesting, because it’s not young adult. Daisy is an adult, 22 or 24 years old (I forget which) and she’s living on her own, with her own job working in a small town’s police department. It’s kind of a fun setup, and the novel is a fun read. Not deep, and you can more or less piece together the mystery either with the characters, or right before them.
The characters are interesting, and since many of them are supernatural in nature, it’s interesting to see how many of them are depicted. It’s not just vampires and werewolves, but sprites and undines and other interesting creature people.

The Registry – Shannon Stoker
The only good thing I can say about this book is the premise has promise. It doesn’t even vaguely live up to the promise, but the idea has promise. I’ll post a full review later this month, but here are my highlight of problems.
The beginning of the book goes too quickly. Within the first 30 pages of a 300 page book, Mia decides she’s running away. 55 pages in, she’s gone. She goes from being excited to get married to terrified of the system, in no reasonable way possible.
The characters are one dimensional and uninspiring. The villian is almost a moustache twirling caricature. The main character goes from vapid to whip smart with lots of common sense in only a few pages. The sidekick goes from smart to dumb and whiny in as many pages. It’s horrible.
Pass on this one.