I went for quality over quantity this week, it appears. That and I just was not in the mood to read. Better luck next week.
Courtney Summers’ novels are always hard-hitting, emotionally brutal dives into the harsh realities young women face. I started Sadie expecting nothing less but hoping for a powerful revenge story as well – the type that would fit into my current reading mood. While Sadie does cover yet another darkly emotional aspect of being a woman in a man’s world, it does not quite quench my thirst for violence or provide me satisfaction in wrongs made right. If I were of a more normal mindset, this novel would hit all the right chords. Sadie’s story is powerful and necessary because her childhood experiences at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend happen more often than we would like to acknowledge. Ms. Summers treats the topic with the decency it requires, shedding light on this painful subject without delving into gratuitous details that serve no purpose other than to disgust and sensationalize the truth. Still, I cannot help but feel disappointed upon finishing it because it is not the type of novel that helps me feel better right now. Instead, it reminds me of the work we still need to do to protect our daughters. My reaction is not the fault of the novel or Ms. Summers but purely due to my current emotional and mental state.
Elly Blake’s Nightblood series ended with a bang. I adored this series from the start, and I was eagerly anticipating the finale because I had no idea how it was going to end. Suffice it to say, Nightblood is everything I wanted in the series ending and more. Guys, it made me shed real tears. That almost never happens when I read, so books that do so always hold a special place in my heart. The story itself is pretty much perfection. The story goes to some very dark places, and there is plenty of violence to match that. Ruby faces the ultimate test in her powers and beliefs, and while she has grown and matured over the course of the series, we still see glimpses of her original awkwardness and charming ineptitude from the first book. The romance does not come easy, and any happy endings that occur are hard-won. I loved every minute of it.
DID NOT FINISH:
The dystopian, fantasy YA market is tough. There are so many excellent stories in this category that it has to be intimidating to put your story among their ranks. Still, because there are so many great examples of this category, you expect the next hyped novel to be just as good as the rest of them. At least, that’s what I expect whenever I pick up a new fantasy YA novel. So, I opened Ignite the Stars with high hopes because on the surface it has everything I like in such stories – political intrigue, diverse characters, a strong heroine who defies all expectations, space travel, etc. It only took one very short chapter for me to start questioning the suitability of it as a reading selection for me, and two chapters before I started finding excuses not to read. Based on what little I read – I only read 18 percent of it – the issue is not the story. The issue I find is with the execution. The writing is, well, it is not good. It is choppy and inconsistent. The story flips between three different narrators who all sound like the same character. There is no world-building, and I mean none. We cannot even learn anything about the world through deduction. By the time I made the decision to quit the book, there was the beginning of some attempt at explaining the politics and the many planets, colonies, and areas in space the narrators mention. There is no sense of suspense or attempt to build tension. The trajectory of the story is predictable to a fault, and there is no sense of wonder to any of it. The hero meets the heroine for less than an hour and is already showing signs of insta-love. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth, and I knew that if I were to attempt to finish it, I would end up ranting about it in the end. I get that the dystopian, fantasy YA genre is a tough one in which to excel because the competition is fierce. However, given the quality within the genre, it surprises me that someone opted to publish Ignite the Stars because I feel it is such a poorly executed cliche of the genre. Why read something with mediocre writing that mimics other novels when you can read those other novels instead?