September Reading Log

You’d think I would have accomplished more than 4 books this month, but I didn’t. I had 2 audiobooks, a children’s book, and a travelogue.

Wicked Lovely — Melissa Marr

I’d read this series of books a while ago, up to book 3 of 5, and then I just quit. When I was browsing my audiobooks, I stumbled across this one, and decided I’d re-listen to them all, and actually finish them this time.

I’m not so sure I’ll finish them, because I find these books pretty dull. There’s not a lot of action or mystery, or suspense, or really anything interesting in the first 80%.

Aislinn can see fairies. She’s always been able to, and so can the women in her family. She’s been raised by her grandmother, who taught her the rules that must be obeyed when dealing with the fae: mainly, never let them know you can see them. The town of Huntsdale, where Aislinn lives, has a huge fairy population. And Keenan is interested in her.

There’s more to the book than just that, but that’s the beginning. The book is mostly Aislinn running from Keenan, and coming to terms with her life never being the same. And it’s pretty boring. I’d say more, but it’s just… boring. There’s a whole host of characters, and some of them are interesting to a point, but not interesting enough to carry the story on their own.

The premise of the story is fantastic: the Summer King’s powers have been bound until he can find his missing Summer Queen. He finds mortal girls, woos them, and then they have 2 choices: they can attempt to lift the Winter Queen’s rowan staff, or they can become Summer Girls. If they life the staff, there’s a chance they’ll be fine, but there’s a bigger chance that Winter’s chill will overtake them. If that happens, they have to stick around, a minion of the Winter Queen, warning the girls that come after them about the Summer King. If they choose not to lift the staff, and become Summer Girls, then they’re fairies that have to stay near the Summer King. Most girls choose this.

It’s just a pity that the book isn’t really interesting enough for the premise.

Ink Exchange – Melissa Marr

Second book in the Wicked Lovely series, and it follows 2 characters that were introduced briefly in the previous book: the mortal girl Leslie, and the Dark Court King Irial. In this, Leslie is looking to get a tattoo, something that will help her change.

The tattoo she gets binds her to Irial. Irial and the tattooist, a half fairy named Rabbit, have worked out an Ink Exchange. Fairies give blood and tears, and in return, they are bound to the mortal who chooses their tattoo. This establishes a link, allowing the fairy to siphon off the emotions of the mortal they’re bound to, and sustains them. The Dark Court must feed off emotions, and not the pleasant ones, to survive.

Aislinn, Keenan, and other characters from the first novel are present. Aislinn is trying to keep Leslie out of the fairy world, not wanting any more of her mortal friends getting wrapped up in it. Leslie doesn’t know of the world, but refuses to give up on the tattoo she wants. She sees it as a new beginning, and a way to recover from a bad life at home.

This book is less boring than the first book, but still not exciting. Leslie is interesting enough, but the book is largely school, work, party, school, work, party, tattoo, sleep, party, work, etc etc. It’s similar things over and over, and only the last bit is different. I feel for Leslie, but not enough to want to see what happens to her after the end.

Mail-Order Wings – Beatrice Gormley

Mail Order Wings was a book I’d read as a kid, and that came to mind a couple months ago. I found out who wrote it, and ordered a copy, so I could see why it held such sway over me for so long. I think it is because it’s essentially a retelling of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.

Nine year old Andrea is sorting her comics, and comes across the one she doesn’t like. She’s about to throw it out, when she sees an ad for “Mail-Order Wings” that she could assemble and attach to her back. She orders them, and once they arrive, she spends the day assembling them.

She soon finds out she can fly, and spends all her available time flying at the local bird conservatory. She’s also finding out she has problems: she can understand the birds, wants to go south for the winter, and catches herself getting panicked if she’s inside too long.

This book is largely a retelling of The Metamorphosis for kids. Her brother doesn’t believe she can fly, her great aunt is oblivious (the parents are out of town), and the only person who believes her is the guy who created the wings, and he’s more or less a nutter. As you can imagine, the ending is a more or less happy one, with Andrea not turning into a bird, and making up with her brother.

It’s kind of a creepy book. I think that’s why it stayed with me. I didn’t remember the resemblance to Kafka’s story, but I remembered enough that I could anticipate some of the things that happened. Reading the book as an adult, I saw it held up pretty well, although I don’t think it would as much for kids today. The kit was $5.95, Andrea had to use the Post Office, and of all the kits ordered, she was the only person to manage to get the wings assembled. The last part I found hard to believe, and I would have even when I was kid. A nine year old can assemble a kit that NO adult could manage? Not one? No, don’t buy it.

 

Kevin & I In India – Frank Kusy

This was an unexpected read. I’ve signed up for BookBub, so I get a daily email showing me cheap or free ebooks for download. This was one of them. I downloaded it because it seemed interesting, but I didn’t think I’d get to it for a while.

Then I opened it up one night at work, and couldn’t quit reading. It was fascinating. Frank goes to India in 1985, and spends 4 months there. Most of the book is spent with Kevin, another Englishman who’s also doing a lengthy trip to India. Both men are there to experience India, not India that’s shown in tourist packages, so they travel on Indian buses, and stay in small, off the beaten track inns and hostels.

I really enjoyed this book. I have no idea what India is like now, but reading it made me really want to visit. The book is more like a travelogue, and Frank starts out with mostly shorter journal entries, but as the book progresses, and he spends more and more time in India, the journal entries are longer. The very last one, from April, was 2 pages, and very detailed.

Frank goes into lots of detail. If he has stomach problems, you hear about it. If he’s visiting a place where the big draw is cremation, and the heads of the dead exploding, you hear about it. If he has a lousy meal, you hear about it. If Kevin is unhappy, you hear about it. And it’s great. He’s not sugar coating things, and he doesn’t strike me as the kind to embellish the story either. There’s enough unique and weird experiences that tell me he’s not making it up.

I didn’t know I liked travelogues, but apparently I do, and this was a gem of a find. I am going to have to read other books by him, as he’s very entertaining.