So I made the conscientious decision to try and read the nominees in the YA Fantasy Goodreads Awards for 2020 and I figured I would do a little update! There were 10 books in the final round and I wanted to give my thoughts on the ones I were able to finish. I am still going to try and finish all ten books before the end of the year, fingers crossed!
Books I finished:
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – Overall I just think the novel as a whole read a little younger. The characters are all pretty juvenile and one dimensional. The twists that were thrown in were entertaining but still predictable. There was nothing in there that really took me by surprise and shocked me in any way. I appreciated the diversity in the characters and the topics that were discussed but I wasn’t wowed in any way by this story. ⭐️2/5 stars
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi – I have to admit I wasn’t as enthralled with this instalment as I was with Children of Blood and Bone. It was a lot shorter than the previous book but I felt like it just wasn’t as immersive, which is mostly to do with the characters. Miscommunication was the main source of conflict in this book and that frustrated me. If Amari and Zélie had just sat down and worked through their issues I feel they could of probably come up with a fool proof plan that would have saved a lot of lives. ⭐️3/5 stars
Starsight by Brandon Sanderson – It boggles my mind how Brandon Sanderson is able to piece together such intricate storylines that still manages to surprise me at every turn. Characters and interactions that I dismissed as trivial and unimportant turn out to be vital to the continuation of the plot. You really need to pay attention to every little detail he puts in because somehow it will be revealed as a key piece of information that the whole story is revolving around. ⭐️4.5/5 stars
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black – The pacing was a lot better in my opinion in this book than the rest of the series. I feel like everything has already been established and we just jumped straight into the action which I enjoyed! It kept me engaged and wanting to read on to see what will happen next. It got a little too political and not quite fantastical for me at times. All of the strategy talk and the movements of the armies bore me , if it would of cut out a lot of the planning and extending the schemes and action I think I would of liked this book a whole lot more! ⭐️3.5/5 stars
I read the most books this year than I have ever in my life and with that comes a few books that I was a bit ehh about. I didn’t hate any of these books by any means I think that most of them just wasn’t for me!
So with that being said my lowest rated/least favourite books of 2019 are:
The Wicked King by Holly Black – Jude is I think one of my least favourite female protagonists ever. She thinks she is untouchable and doesn’t need anyone’s help. There are certain instances like when she’s warned to have a guard with her at all times and then she will rides off by herself and gets ambushed. It’s just really pretentious and annoying and I just can’t warm to her at all. ⭐️2/5 stars
Circe by Madeline Miller – This I just found incredibly dry and boring. I was enjoying myself for about the first quarter of the book but then all of the excitement and action king of leaked out of the plot and I was left with Circe on an island by herself for most of the story. I found I didn’t really form a connection to any of the characters and by the end of it I really didn’t care. There wasn’t really any sort of build up of anticipation and the ending was a little too open ended for me. ⭐️2/5 stars
Geekerella by Ashley Poston – For the majority of the book Elle just got on my nerves. Letting Catherine and Chloe walk all over her and just bowing down to them and not doing anything about it. Just accepting all of the horrible things they do to her and not trying to fight back at all. Other than that the book wasn’t bad at all, it was a little tropey at times but overall pretty fast paced and entertaining. ⭐️3/5 stars
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – If I had not seen TV show first I think I would have been very confused by this book. There isn’t quite a set structure to it. We read solely from Offred’s point of view however, it jumps quite a lot from past to present and their isn’t a whole lot of information given about what is happening. I was left feeling quite unfulfilled with this book. The ending was quite abrupt and didn’t really wrap anything up or answered any questions. ⭐️3/5 stars
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – a good majority of the book bored me. All of the spacial/sciency talk didn’t do anything for me personally and kind stilted the pace of the book. It was only 400 pages but it felt like closer to 600 to me. I picked this book up and put it down several times during the month and really the only reason I managed to finish it was because it fit a challenge in the Reading Rush. There wasn’t really anything in the book that was driving me to pick it up and finish. ⭐️3/5 stars
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – Some of the decisions that Rin made kind of grated me. She was definitely right when she said that the Gods have no sway over her, she made all of the decisions that led her to that ultimate conclusion and most of those decisions didn’t sit well with me. When she chose to side with Altan over Master Jiang that’s really when I knew I wasn’t feeling her anymore. She wouldn’t heed the advice of those who have had years and even decades more experience than her. ⭐️3/5 stars
The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin – It was just kind of ok…. We definitely delved a lot deeper into the story and the reasoning’s behind the study of the defect, but I wasn’t really left with any overwhelming feelings after the ending. I started to question Mara and her decisions a lot in this book. Yes I know she was tortured and has had a lot of emotional and physical trauma happen to her in a short period of time, but I didn’t really like who she became after she escaped. ⭐️3/5 stars
Queen of Nothing continues pretty much straight after The Wicked King ended. Jude is still banished but she is currently doing odd jobs for the local Fae to try and make some money, until her sister turns up with some information that could lead her back into Faerieland.
I liked that Jude had some time to dwell on herself and come to the conclusion that she isn’t the smartest and she was ultimately tricked and beaten by Cardan. She actually admitted that she wasn’t as good as what she thought she was and I really appreciated that growth from her. That was really the only thing that I didn’t enjoy about this series, how pretentious and unlikable Jude was and I think she has redeemed herself a little in this book!
The pacing was a lot better in my opinion in this book than the rest of the series. I feel like everything has already been established and we just jumped straight into the action which I enjoyed! It kept me engaged and wanting to read on to see what will happen next.
The love story kind of left me feeling a little unfulfilled. There wasn’t really enough of a buildup of tension for me and all of their interactions were way too brief for me. Their reunion was way too anticlimactic and there isn’t enough depth in their relationship for me to truly believe in it! They hardly spent any time together and we only get one scene where they really express themselves and how they feel for each other.
I can never really anticipate or predict what is going to happen in these books which I like in a fantasy. Sometimes I can get a little too predictable and I lose interest in the plot but that never really happens. It got a little too political and not quite fantastical for me at times. All of the strategy talk and the movements of the armies bore me , if it would of cut out a lot of the planning and extending the schemes and action I think I would of liked this book a whole lot more!
⭐️3.5/5 I liked this lot more than the previous books, still didn’t blow me away though!
Even though I made my thoughts on Jude perfectly clear in my review forThe Wicked KingI cant help but be curious as to how the story will continue. I think I said in that review that I wouldn’t be reading the next book when it comes out but…. I bought it anyway! When an author creates a character that could bring out so much emotion in me I have to kind of honour that and at least finish the series. It’s not only Jude, I just think I’m not a fan of the Fae in general. The ACOTAR series is probably the only exception but I haven’t liked any other series about faeries so far in my reading life. I would like to see how she manages to get out of her current predicament and what Cardan will do to her. Enemies to lovers is one of my favourite tropes and so far they haven’t really succumbed to their feelings for one another, so I’m intrigued to find out how that plot point will progress. From what I remember these books are pretty quick reads so I guess I will give Holly Black one last chance to redeem herself in my eyes!
I decided to do a little spin on this week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt and instead of characters traits I like I thought I would go with character traits I dislike!! There is usually a commonality between all of the characters I tend to dislike in books and when I really sat down and thought about it this was the list that I came up with!
There is just something about naïve main protagonists that just gets on my nerves.
Example: Charlie from Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Those characters that are just all me, me, me!
Example: Billy from Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Characters that have no backbone and just let everyone walk all over them.
Example: Elle from Geekarella by Ashley Poston
I really don’t like characters that judge other character without knowing/talking to them!
Example: Zuri from Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Characters who think they are better than other people!