Bye bye, 2016! December was a great reading month for me. Though I read only 5 books, I loved those books immensely!
The Girl from Everywhere was one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. Time travel and pirates? Ability to travel to lands both real AND imagined? YES, please. Unfortunately, the premise was the best part of the book, as I barely got through it. Not to say it was bad, I just had completely different expectations. I did not connect with the characters AT ALL, their problems felt blown out of proportion, and I did not care for the romance whatsoever. There were a lot of redeeming qualities, though, too. I enjoyed the complicated relationship of our main protagonist with her father and their father-daughter dynamic. I loved the structure of the time-travel: you can only travel to places you have a map of (whether real or imagined), and you cannot use the same map twice. I loved the descriptions of places, both real and mythical. I will read the sequel and hope that all problems I had with the first book will be resolved.
I have heard many great things about Rebel of the Sands, and though it was not particularly unique, I was not disappointed, because it was a fast and easy read. It is quite forgettable, though, to be honest. I really liked the main heroin, Amani – she is a fierce, resilient and strong female lead. I did not care much for the romance, but I did like the banter between Amani and her love interest. The pace of the story is quite slow, but it does pick up towards the end when we finally get to see more of the fantasy and magic elements.
It is very uncommon these days to stumble upon a short, standalone fantasy that has it all: enchanting storytelling, imaginative magic system, whirlwind romance, strong and enigmatic characters, and a riveting plot that makes your palms sweat and heart race!
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is one of the most brilliant and outstanding pieces of literature I have ever come across. Its title says it all: it is ugly and wonderful. The book tells the story of a very resilient, incredibly smart young girl – Wavy – through the multiple perspectives of her family, teachers, friends, and the girl herself. This is a dark and uncomfortable tale about a broken childhood, domestic abuse, and the taboo romance a young girl finds with a much older man. The story has a brilliantly constructed, matter-of-fact, unsentimental narrative that does not pressure the readers to feel a certain way; quite the opposite, it allows them to draw their own conclusions and decide how they feel about the situation themselves.
My husband gave Illuminae and Gemina to me as Christmas gifts so I could not wait to dive into this series right away. Usually, I am quite apprehensive about stories told in such format (files, e-mails, debriefings, surveillance, typography, illustrations etc.), but this book does it remarkably well. My main concern was that I will not be able to connect with the characters due to such a factual and matter-of-fact way of telling the story, but I am happy to say that that was not the case here – I ended up liking the characters a lot. The setting of this story (SPACE!) is incredibly fascinating, the plot – very fast-paced and exhilarating, full of twists and surprising and heart-wrenching revelations!