In August I did a post about reading short books, around 300 pages, in September. I listed 5 books that I was going to read that fit this category and except for one of them I accomplished this goal. So, here are some mini-reviews of those four I did get done.
Desdomona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney
As I mentioned in a previous post you really should check out Pages Below the Vaulted Sky’s review of this book. She does a far better job than I ever can of explaining this magnificent book. And now that I have read the book, I agree with her assessment even more. I loved Desdemona and Chaz’s friendship. They would go to the ends of the world for each other and they do. I also loved that Desdemona, although a spoiled brat at first, was appalled by her father’s pact with the Goblin King, and is determined to do what is right no matter the cost. There is so much to love about this little gem of a book, and not a lot to say except that if you love high fantasy, then you must put this one on the top of your TBR post haste.
Rise of the Crow by Jeremiah Franklin
I ended up liking this one way more than I thought I would when I started it. The story is hard at first, because every character does what they have to in order to survive. Killing becomes the new norm and neither character shows much emotion or remorse, but just does it in order to survive. The writing is sparse and harsh as well, which fit the tone of the book perfectly. I think anything else would have been just wrong. Both Sawyer and Sara are survivors and leaders. Sara’s father was an interesting character, and was one you won’t learn to like. He is harsh and way too hard on Sara and Sawyer. Mason a young boy that Sara rescues is a bit of a puzzle through out the book, but I think will play an important role in the story.
This book is not just about killing and surviving in a harsh landscape, but there is the start of a story around a group of religious zealots called the Cult of the Crow. I don’t want to spoil it too much, but they perhaps will do more harm to the few humans left than the virus that initially wiped out humanity. It will be interesting to see where this story goes in the next book.
Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
I always enjoy reading about the witches of Discworld, they always bring a smile to my face and I often find myself laughing out loud. This particular story is a fairy tale mash-up with Cinderella being the main story that the witches find themselves in. Magret inherits a Fairy godmother wand and recruits Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax to journey across the Disc to Genua to help Emberella not marry the Prince. Along the way they encounter Vampires and the big bad wolf, along with Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and some other fairy tale characters. Magret struggles to control the wand, but only succeeds in turning everything into pumpkins. Nanny Ogg’s cat Greebo, also has a bit of a starring role in this book. It was his antics that often had me in stitches. If you liked the other Witches books you will love this one.
Hexed: The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
So in my original post I talked about reading Hounded the first book in this series and I did read that one, and wrote a full review. I quickly followed up with the second book, which I also read in September and it was also under 300 pages, so I’m counting it. Plus I wanted to review it, but not do another full review.
This second book was even better than the first. Lots more action and Atticus getting in way over his head with some new witches which are trying to move into town. In dealing with the aftermath of the first book, Atticus finds himself at odds with the werewolves and the vampire that he keeps company with. I loved that everyone keeps asking him to kill Thor, which he keeps refusing to do, until he really needs some help with the witches and then he gives in. He doesn’t kill Thor in this book, I believe that is the story that comes next. His dealings with some of the goddesses are also very amusing and occasionally almost life-threatening.
I love how the author weaves multiple mythologies into the narrative and into the history of the world. Another well done story that makes me want to pick up the third book as soon as I can.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This is the one book that I still haven’t read. I still fully intend too, but I think I will now wait until winter as the book seems to fit that time of year better. It still sounds like a great book, and I have so enjoyed her middle grade books, that I really want to read this. Her writing is so atmospheric and wonderfully immersive. This is definitely a book that I will be making the time for soon.
These have all been very enjoyable books that I hope you will consider reading as well. I will keep you posted about Katherine Arden’s book as I know many of you loved that series.