Weekly Reads: February 22-28
Wooo-boy, what a wild ride of fiction this week has been!
I definitely thought that Outlander would end up taking up most of my week, and while it did take up half (and I had cracked the spine before publishing last week’s roundup) I managed to cram a few more novels in there, more specifically I read B.A. Paris’s newest book in a single evening.
Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
I realize that I was in the minority, in the small group of people who had yet to read this popular book until this week. I’ll admit that I was tempted to take another crack at it (I read the first 20 pages a few years ago and wasn't feeling it) when I saw the cast from the TV series.
What finally got me to give it another go was being gifted the book from an aunt who said, “Read this, and if you don’t like it I want to know specifically why.” Between it being a gift and her challenge, I was determined to give it another go.
There's so much to love about this book, and so much is that is so utterly distasteful, and yet, I'm sure, it's a relatively accurate glimpse into the past.
I enjoyed Claire's resilience, and understood that her willingness to adapt to this insane situation was born of two things, her upbringing spent traveling, immersed in different cultures, and the kind of tenacity for surviving each moment that comes with being in a war.
I appreciated Jamie's tender hearted ways and his sense of humor, but was appalled by many of his actions regardless of the context that was provided.
This was a brutal book and a beautiful book. It teased at greater mythology at work, not to be explained in this book at least. I was especially interested in the revelation of Geilis.
There were times when I thought editing out some of the lifestyle of the highlands could have made the book a good 50 pages shorter, but it was still an experience like no other.
I'm both eager to move on to the next book, but I needed something different in between before diving into the next epic read.
Final Girls, Riley Sager
So other than the Eat Like You Read It post I published earlier this week, I’m not currently reviewing this book. The PR team at Dutton who gave me access to the galley is interested in reviews coming out closer to the publication date, so check back this summer for more!
Everything about this book was a little bit thin. The characters were vaguely interesting, but it felt like we got a superficial scope of most of them. There was a hint of greater mythology that could have been interesting to explore further, but that never happened. There were bigger ideas that were given smaller pieces of plot. It felt like reading condensed and simplified version of a slew of other royalty books. I almost wonder if this was once a bigger book with a greater fantasy scope and perhaps it was edited down in favor of the mystery.
Mostly, beyond the paltry world building in the framework I think it's a mistake to consider this book "fantasy." Take away the idea of "The Forgotten" and this could be a mystery book from Victorian England.
Also, it felt a little like there was some borrowing from the movie Princess Diaries 2, which felt a little funny.
I did appreciate that the importance of friendship, especially female friendship was put at the center of the story, and I appreciated that there were so many female guards and a female of prominence in the council.
And I enjoyed that there was cat, and that Freya consistently made her a priority, major personal bias there.
The Breakdown, B.A. Paris
When I discovered that Paris had a follow up to one of my 2016 favorites, Behind Closed Doors, I needed to get my hands on it immediately. Thankfully the world has been gifted Book Depository! So while the US publisher won’t be releasing the book until June (Boooo) I ordered a copy from the UK publishers.
I was worried that she couldn't top Behind Closed Doors, and while this book doesn't top it, it does achieve the same deliciously intense drama.
I read it in one evening, unable to put it down, desperate to know how it would end.
I don't want to say much about the book, lest I give too much away. This is a book that should remain spoiler-free, so that any reader can enjoy the ride.
I only had one personal pet peeve, and as phone calls are mentioned on the jacket copy I’m not spoiling anything, and it’s that Cass freaks out about this phone calls to her home phone and I kept internally shrieking, “Just unplug the phone! And who has a landline anymore?” But that’s a minor detail, everything else is perfectly diabolical.
Now, what to read next?