Saturday, November 16, 2013

Books of 2013 (Part III)

I hit 30 books! This is pretty big for me. I think I might get to 40 by the end of the year, which might be the most I've read for several years. I also feel like I have a decent genre spread here, so go me.

22. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
23. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
24. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
25. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
26. House of Hades by Rick Riordan
27. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
28. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
29. Gone, Gone, Gone by Hannah Moskowitz
30. The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher

Best of the bunch: CODE NAME VERITY, omg, omg, omg. I eat all of the crow, you guys. Ok, but actually, I did expect this book to be good, but as usual, I have this complex where when a book has a ton of hype, I avoid it for a long time. And man, did this book have a lot of hype. I swear, it felt like CNV was every editor, author, and agent's favorite book of 2012. So I finally read it in September (meant to do a review, but failed), and wow. It was just as good as everyone said it would be. Yes, I think there are some structural problems and the pacing gets a bit wonky at times. But for sheer enjoyability, CNV was freaking awesome. And that ending had me crying very publicly in a coffee shop. So that was cute. I love friendship books; there should be more of them.

Surprise favorite: House of Hades? Confusing choice? Maybe. But my bar of expectations for books in the Heroes of Olympus series is set real low. The books are not and will not ever be as good as the original Percy Jackson series. I've gone on about this ad nauseum, but basically, I think Percy and his extraordinary voice carried the entire last series, and the concept was still fresh with all of the major Greek myths still available for satire. Rick is inevitably running out of mythological material (not his fault, just a fact that I am pointing out), and while the new characters are growing on me, the 7-POV style is really not my thing. Also, editing. The new books could definitely be shorter. But anyway, HoH was surprisingly awesome! Packed full of character development and fun plots. I am impressed that Rick is managing to milk older characters for as much as he is; it's cool that we still have so much to discover about them. He's made them more flawed and unsure, and I like it! And finally, without spoiling anything, the big bombshell reveal about a fan favorite character was extremely brave on Rick's part (well-written and only surprising in that the author was willing to go there; I think it was predictable based on the character's past development). I have major respect for him.

Biggest disappointment: Breadcrumbs. This is probably one of those situations, like Imaginary Girls, where everyone likes the book but me, so my opinion should be disregarded. But I had problems with the fact that the conflict is both miraculously resolved with zero climax and also nothing is resolved. Does that even make sense? I don't even know how it's possible for a book to close up so tidily and so untidily at the same time. It was like the author really just wanted to explore the emotional element, which is fine, but you can't then go write an external, quest-type plot and toss it to the winds when you don't know how to wrap it up. Didn't get it. The writing was pretty, so there's that. (Although I also agree with the criticism that the writing was absolutely incongruous with the main character. Like, using the word "accoutrements," I mean, really? I actually put the book down at that point and just laughed, because no elementary school kid would know what that word means. This is not a matter of the audience understanding it, because clearly, adults know that word. This is a matter of the book being from the POV of a young girl who would never use the words Ursu uses.)

Up next: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

Happy reading!

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