Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Reading Challenge - 1 to 5

Last August I decided to keep a reading log, writing down when I started and finished a book, and how many pages it had. This was done mostly so I could know how many books I read in a year. My answer usually was "a lot", but I had no figure to go with that.

This year I decided that I would make a challenge out of it. I will read 75 books in 2010. Call it a New Year's resolution. Of course it won't be purely 75 books. Graphic novels will not be taken into account, very small books might not be either.

Here are the first five books, with a very small review on each (the first book was started still on 2009, but I will put it on this list anyway).

1 - Shadowmancer by G. P. Taylor.

Shadowmancer This book seemed to drag on, and on. I thought I would never finish it. Overall I didn't like it. It felt too much cliché, and had too many religious undertones. To tell the truth, I thought I was being preached the entire time. And I don't like that. I never related to the characters or with their quest, most of the time I thought they were running around aimlessly.


2- Alphabet of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip

Alphabet Of ThornThis book was bought mostly because of its cover. It is simply stunning.

What is most fascinating about it is the scenery. A city built on the top of the cliffs, with only a small staircase carved onto the rock to reach the sea; a beautiful forest, everchanging, that houses a magic school.

The story is also very good, discovered bit by bit as Nepenthe decipherers the book written in thorns, a secret language. The story told on this book eventually crosses with Nepenthe's own story and the story of the kingdom she calls home.

So, why is this not a great read? Because I couldn't care less about the protagonists. I never identified with any of them, and they were not very likeable either. If not for that this book could easily become a favourite.


3 -  Kushiel's Chosen by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's ChosenThe second book in the Kushiel Series, and it doesn't disappoint. There is intrigue and romance like in the first book, and very good characters.

But the issues I had with the first book continue in this one (and will probably continue throughout the series): the writing style does not convince me. Maybe I'm too picky, or just prefer things simpler, but most of the time I have the feeling that the author wrote with a thesaurus right next to her. Changing the name of real places (and people) only slightly was much more of a deal to me on the first book than on this one. Maybe I got used to it.

But all in all, it is a good story that left me wanting to read the next in the series.


4 - The Phoenix by Ruth Sims

The Phoenix I found this book to be average, and in some parts didn't fully convince me that it could be true. This is a gay romance, and one of the man involved is very religious, which bring the whole feeling guilty and committing a sin drama. But he still goes to bed with another man without a second thought.

It was an amusing read, not too graphical when describing sex scenes, which is a bonus, because I wasn't looking for smut, but character development. But it failed short on that.


5 - The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy TravelThis is more of an encyclopaedia than a book. It is funny in most passages, and does catalogue most of the fantasy clichés. But it still feels like reading a dictionary.


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