A review of the books that I have read in 2021 so far:
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas:
This book was the concluding book in a long fantasy series called Throne of Glass. Although I don’t think this series was one of my favorite series or even one of my favorite fantasy series, I still found it enjoyable. The series took place in a fictional world and all the characters were humanoid and most of them, including the main character, had magical abilities. I think the world was pretty interesting, although when it comes to fantasy books I always prefer the ones that are set in the real world just with magical aspects. This series had quite a few important characters which meant a lot of story lines to keep track of. It also switched between points of view which is something I really enjoy in books. I think the plot was really well developed but the characters, even after 8 books hadn’t really evolved, and if they had it wasn’t very well described. One of the things that I look for the most in a good book is fascinating characters and well developed relationships which I don’t think Sarah J. Maas did particularly well. This book especially, being the final book in a fantasy series, has a lot of battles which, although I enjoy fantasy books, I sometimes find dull. Overall I would recommend this book and series to anyone who enjoys new adult fantasy. I enjoyed reading it, but I most likely will not ever reread it.
The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare:
Cassandra Clare is an author whom I absolutely love. As I previously mentioned I look for books with entertaining characters and fascinating relationships and I believe that is something she does well. Cassandra Clare has written about 20 books that all take place in the same fictional universe (In fact she just released a new book last week that I can’t wait to read). Her fictional universe is set in the modern world (although a few of her books take place in the 1870’s and early 1900’s) and the characters in her books have superhuman abilities. Within the universe there are currently 5 different series of books, each centered around different characters. The Lost Book of the White is the second book in one of her most recent series and follows two characters, Magnus and Alec, who are a couple, and a few of their friends as they travel to Shanghai, China and fight demons and monsters that are trying to hurt them. The plot of this book definitely isn’t Cassandra Clare’s strongest and overall it certainly wasn’t one of her best books, but I still found it really enjoyable. There will be a third book in this series that I believe will be released sometime this summer and I look forward to reading it.
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare:
Obviously I love Cassandra Clare’s books so once again I did really like this story. This book is actually a collection of stories about one of Clare’s characters who has appeared in all 20 of her books (and is the only character to do so). The character’s name is Magnus Bane, the same Magnus from the previous story. Magnus is immortal and has witnessed so much in his life which gives him a lot of interesting stories to tell. The Bane Chronicles was a series of short stories about his adventures around the world. The stories took place throughout the last 300 years and he interacted with some famous historical people, such as Marie Antoinette and some of my favorite characters from other Cassandra Clare books. Once again this is not one of her best books, but I do enjoy these books that are collections of short stories and it was nice to get more back story on one of her most exciting characters.
Circe by Madeline Miller
For several years now I have loved Greek mythology and loved hearing the different variations of all the tales. Circe is a book about the Greek sorceress Circe who appears in several Greek myths and is famous for being the witch who kept Odysseus on her island after turning his crew into pigs in Homer’s Odyssey. One thing that I love about Greek mythology is that there is no correct version so any author can use the same figures and portray them completely differently. The first book I read by Madeline Miller was a book called The Song of Achilles which is a retelling of the story of Achilles and Patroclus. The book was from the point of view of Patroclus who loved Achilles and painted him in a much better light than many traditional authors did. Achilles has generally been portrayed as aggressive and solely focused on fighting, however, in Madeline Miller’s book Patroclus doesn’t focus on that side of Achilles, only on the compassionate side and it makes for a fascinating story from a different point of view. Miller did the same thing with her retelling of the story of Circe. In The Odyssey, Circe is displayed as an evil sorceress who uses magic to entrance Odysseus and keep him on her island, Aiaia, unwillingly. The book Circe depicts a different version of that story and many others. In the book, Circe is hated by many gods and other immortal beings and the reader feels sympathy for her. The plot of the book did advance somewhat slowly, but as someone who values character development over the plot, I didn’t mind. I hadn’t read many stories about Greek mythology in the last few years and this was a great way to recall that fascination. I loved reading about the ways that an immortal being interacts with the world and reading about her exchanges with gods and other Greek mythology figures that I have spent time learning about.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
In the past year I have started reading more classic books and I have found quite a few of them more interesting than I thought I would. I have a newfound love for Jane Austen novels and so I decided that I would probably like books by the Brontë sisters too. I really loved reading Jane Eyre. It was so interesting to read about someone who may have been perfectly ordinary during her time but who’s life I find incredibly alien. This book kept me reading constantly because of the sudden discoveries of lost relatives and the interesting plot twists that kept me thinking. Charlotte Brontë’s writing is incredible and I found it very easy to read. This book is a classic for a reason, captivating people for the last 150 years and I would recommend it to anyone.