Pretty on-brand of me to be posting this wrap-up late. 😎
You probably don’t remember, but back in December 2019, I posted my first 5-star predictions wrap-up, along with some new 5-star predictions. I gave myself until June 2020 to finish all the books, but that didn’t work out so well. [cough] because of The Starless Sea [cough]
Anyways, I’ve finally finished all five of the books I predicted that I’d give 5 stars, and I don’t know if I’m more disappointed in myself or the books. I was such a clown for being sure that I’d give all of or at least most of them 5 stars. I didn’t give any of them 5 stars, and my feelings for them mostly range from dislike to apathy.
Also, since I read most of these books months ago, please forgive me if my mini-reviews aren’t the best. I tried my hardest to remember how I felt about each book. :”(
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ★★★☆☆
I really liked this book when I finished reading it, but now I’m very “eh” about it. Yes, that is a real adjective. I’m keeping my rating, but this is one of my less positive 3 star ratings.
I say this in almost every review I write, but characters are extremely important to me. And unfortunately, the characters in this were super dry. I could tell that Samantha Shannon cared more about the world and plot than them.
I think a lot of you are excited to read this for the f/f romance, but I was a little confused about why Ead fell in love with Sabran. Very few of their interactions were shown, and from the way Sabran acted, it was hard for me to believe that Ead would start to care for her. Their romance had its moments though, and I loved that it wasn’t forbidden because of homophobia!
I think my favorite thing about this book is that it’s a feminist and inclusive reclamation of the fantasy genre. It has a generic fantasy storyline and it contains lots of common fantasy tropes, but this time the women are the ones saving the world, and they never experience misogyny, which was so refreshing to read!
Click for content warnings.violence, descriptions of miscarriage, peripheral degenerative illness, brief mentions of incest
Jade City by Fonda Lee ★★★☆☆
AHHHHH. I’m writing this after the announcement of the TV show adaptation, and though I may not be a member of Jade City Nation, I’m extremely happy that we’re seeing more diverse stories on-screen! I think these books will come across really well in TV form, I can’t wait!
Unfortunately, I didn’t love Jade City. And I’m very salty because That Part was spoiled for me. (If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.) I didn’t come across any explicit spoilers, but from the way some people were talking about it on Twitter, I quickly figured out who it was gonna happen to, and I wasn’t very shocked when it happened. I also wasn’t expecting this book to be so dense, oh my god. I’m not kidding when I say that this book killed all of my brain cells.
I found the worldbuilding superb though. It gave me wuxia vibes and reminded me of Asian gangster films! Actually, I think every part of this book was well-done. I just couldn’t connect with it because of how dense it was.
Click for content warnings.graphic violence, drug use, descriptions of addiction/self-harm, graphic injury, death, trauma, instances of abduction, peripheral mentions of rape
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson ★★★★☆
I finally read this staple of high fantasy!! And, um, it was good? It didn’t live up to the hype for me though. If I still used half stars, I’d give it 3.5 stars.
First of all, it’s very obvious that this was written by a cishet white man. I’m 99% sure that the planet it’s set in only has white people. And there were barely any women! Even though the protagonist is one, it was easy to tell that it was a cis man writing her. Does he really think that a teenage girl, especially one who grew up trusting no one, would fall in love that fast? 😭
Secondly, the writing was incredibly dry. I know many people find Brandon Sanderson accessible for his simplistic writing style, but this was honestly too simplistic for me. I just wanted a bit more flavor.
The book also dragged in the middle (something that I’m coming to realize that Sanderson books tend to do), and until now I still don’t fully understand Allomancy, which is supposedly the greatest hard magic system of all time. :”( It’s a great magic system though, and if my expectations weren’t sky-high from hearing so much about it, I probably would’ve completely fallen in love with it.
Still, I gave it 4 stars because some spoilery parts made me Emotional, and I really liked Kelsier!
Click for content warnings.mentions of rape, graphic violence, depictions of abuse
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger DNF
I started reading this book before the harassment allegations against the author were brought to light, and I want to make it clear that I never would’ve picked it up otherwise!
Due to the fact that I don’t think anyone should support this author, I’ll make my thoughts on his book brief. It’s very much inspired by anime and Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I just couldn’t connect with it, and to this day I have no idea why. I have never not clicked with a book so much in my entire life. I rarely DNF books, but I had to put this one down because it was putting me in such a slump.
Click for content warnings.violence, death, dismemberment, murder, mind control
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern ★★☆☆☆
Can someone with brain cells please explain this book to me??? I have no clue what happened in it!! I took more than a month to finish it because I was so confused about what exactly the plot was about, and until now I have no idea.
I briefly considered giving this book 1 star, but I’m giving it 2 because the writing was beautiful, and the way some of the storylines came together was well-done.
Click for content warnings.branding, bodily mutilation, mentions of child abuse, major character death(s), suicidal ideation
Now, onto the next batch of 5-star predictions! Frankly, I don’t have high hopes for these books. At this point I’ve accepted that it’s almost impossible for me to rate a book 5 stars. I’m just weirdly particular and picky with books. :((
The Burning God by R.F. Kuang– It took a LOT of effort, but I have an e-arc!! (Thank you so much Taasia and Ju, I love you both so much!!!) I’ve heard that the ending to this series is absolutely devastating, and I can’t wait. :))
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab– V.E. Schwab has written a couple of my 5-star reads, and I’m hoping that this gets 5 stars too! She’s been working on this book for ten years, and I’m excited to see if it shows!
Know My Name by Chanel Miller– Chanel Miller is the rape victim of Brock Turner, and this is her memoir chronicling her experiences at court and after she was raped. I think it’ll be hard for me to rate this less than 5 stars because of how powerful the subject matter is. Plus, I’ve heard that Miller is a good writer in general.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty– This is the book I have the least faith that I’ll give 5 stars. However, the Daevabad trilogy has such a loyal fan base, and I’m so excited to start it!
I’m not gonna set an official deadline, but I do hope to finish all four of these books by the end of the year!
Remember when I said that I probably wasn’t in danger of disappearing? Yeah, I spoke too soon. Sorry for disappearing!! So far, online school is manageable (I actually might like it more than regular classes?), but it does suck out a lot of my time and motivation to blog. Right now my plan is to schedule a post every weekend, and interact at least a little bit every weekday. Hopefully that works out, and I stop being so bad at blogging!