August Reads

Gosh, time moves by so fast! Just last month, I was in the US, spending time with the family. Today my life is in boxes as I prepare to move into my new apartment.

Which means I’ve been behind on reviewing new and upcoming books, but I did make a nice dent in my TBR. I decided that rather than writing a full review on a single book, I’ll give you my thoughts on what I have read in this past month. It adds a bit of variety!


The Library of Fates
by Aditi Khorana32766747

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?

My review: ★★★☆☆

The book started off strong but just got weaker and weaker until the end, where it felt like the author was in a rush to finish. There was a massive sequence that careened completely off the rails, although the epilogue was sweet. It became hard to suspend your disbelief.

 

The relationship was also a little weak for me. The first love interest was great, and I understand why it could never happen, the second becomes hard to believe. There’s no chemistry.

Also – I checked, but Spiders have legs, not tentacles. That sure messed with me! There were examples of lazy editing (like obnoxious repetition) that got to me as well.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
by Mackenzi Lee29283884

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this year-long escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My review: ★★★★★

Oh. My. Gosh. This book was so much fun!

It’s fun, it’s quirky, it’s cute, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. It’s one of those books where the characters face real life and death consequences, but the read itself is light, a fun adventure to really just throw yourself into and devour.

I mean, it has everything: Pirates! Medical malpractice! Gentlemen! Naughtiness! Love! And oh, how I swooned for the romance! It was perfect, I found myself rooting for Percy and Monty from page one. I love the character growth, the humor, just everything.

Not to mention the historical accuracy! It’s really neat to read a book that takes place during a “grand tour” of Europe. To image a little what it would have been like to be rich and young in the sièle des Lumières – or, to exist without privilege, either.

Oh! And they go through my hometown! They don’t have the best time there, but it’s really fun just to be mentioned. MARSEILLE RPZ!


Want
by Cindy Pon

32333174Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

My review: ★★☆☆☆

I’m disappointed with WANT, but probably because my expectations were set too high. When I finished it, I didn’t feel the urge to read it again, and even while reading it I had an incredible sense of deja-vu.

I think if it’s your first time reading scifi, you’ll enjoy it immensely. It’s got action, cool technology, exciting plot and a future that scares you because it’s so realistically possible. But for a massive fan of scifi, I found it full of clichés, and very predictable. I felt like I had read the same thing before.

Lots of things were far fetched and irked me. Not the science, actually: but the plot itself. The logic behind sending Zhou in undercover – to befriend the woman he once kidnapped, the daughter of a man who had a man hunt out for him? – is just absurd, and bugged me out of the story. Other decisions like that made the story not flow easily.

And other small things got in my way of truly enjoying the book: the fact that Iris always has to be doing something dangerous (her only character trait is that she’s dangerous, and this gets repeated over, and over again) for example. The characters other than Zhou or Daiyu were flat, with the author reminding us over and over why they’re not. But one character trait does not make a character complex.

It just was hard to get into the style. The constant repetition of traits, the fact every chapter starts days/weeks forward and then Zhou has to tell you “we were doing this,” the lack of chemistry between Zhou and Daiyu…

I’m disappointed, because I was really excited about this novel. I mean, it’s so cool to see a novel set in Taiwan! And that cover, wow! Taiwanese MCs! But the story fell flat. While the worldbuilding was extremely realistic (as I said, real enough to scare me) the plot was nothing new.


 

So those are the other books I read in August! Have you read them? If so, what did you think? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below!

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