I realized the other day that even though I have been reading at my usual rate, I have not been writing as many reviews as I should have this month. Ack! So this is a catch up mini-confessions post. I have four short reviews for your perusal. All of these were just ok books that I did like, but maybe not enough to write full reviews for.
Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
“You always have the power of choice, even when those choices seem limited. Never forget that.”
― Kerri Maniscalco, Kingdom of the Wicked
I am beginning to think that this author’s writing style and I just are not a good match. While I did like this book, I had some issues with it that sort of spoiled the whole experience for me. Emilia was one of my issues. I just never felt like I should care what happened to her. She makes a lot of reckless decisions, but everything always turned out ok for her!? She never had to face any consequences for her actions or decisions. I also never thought that the supposed romance between her and Wrath worked? Never felt the spark for the two of them. The world building felt a little lackluster as well. The book is set in Italy but the time period is really wishy washy? Middle ages? Renaissance? I just don’t know, and that really bugged me.
There were a couple of things I did like though. I did find the magical system interesting and the fact that there was forbidden magic. I also liked the different demon houses and how the demons, at least the few we met, aligned with the seven deadly sins. I really liked all of the princes we met and how Emilia experienced their different powers. I assume that in the next book we get to meet more, which is something I would enjoy I think. I loved Wrath and am hoping that we learn more about him in the next book.
I haven’t totally decided if I am going to go on to the next book yet. I probably will because I am intrigued about the different demons and hope that we get to see more of them and their world. But I don’t think I am in a huge rush to do so either.
The Return by Rachel Harrison
Publication Date: March 24, 2020
“You can’t erase your past when there are pieces of it scattered inside other people.”
― Rachel Harrison, The Return
This was a rather strange and kind of weird mystery/horror/supernatural story that had its moments. There were quite a few slow spots in the pacing which also made it difficult to keep my interest, but by half way through I was committed into finding out what had really happened to Julie and what was going on in that hotel!
This book had some good solid characters and really is about enduring friendships even when you are far apart and don’t see each other often. I liked Elise for the most part, even though she made some horrible life choices which are revealed throughout the book. Unfortunately she is the only narrator of this tale. I really would have liked to hear from the other women, which I think would have kept the narrative flowing a bit better. The friendship dynamic was well done, even the talking behind Julie’s back as to what was really going on with her.
The hotel setting was perfect. I really liked all of the different themed rooms and it overall left you with that much needed creepy feeling. The pacing was a bit slow in spots, but I was constantly changing my mind about what really happened to Julie as the book went on. The real story ended up being a bit lackluster and so quick that it almost seemed like it wasn’t that important? The whole thing didn’t quite work for me.
If you are looking for a creepy and atmospheric mystery/horror story that has a supernatural component to it, you should give this one a try.
The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
“I think that when you’re reading about death as entertainment, it should leave you feeling slightly uncomfortable, even slightly sick.”
― Alex Pavesi, The Eighth Detective
Out of this group of books this one was perhaps my favorite. I really liked the story within the story aspect of it. I also liked the analyses of the mystery genre. I found that to be very interesting and I was often thinking, hmm I never thought of it that way.
Each little mystery story was very different and unique from the others. Each one was meant to show off a different aspect of mysteries and they often did. They were all supposedly written in the 1930’s and they very much had that feel to them. It was also pointed out after the story that there were some inconsistencies in them that sometimes I also caught but often did not. Julia was very astute in her observations of those discrepancies. I also really liked the mathematical part of the explanation that Grant, the author of the book, gave as how the mystery genre works.
The dynamic of the two characters, Julia and Grant, was very interesting and the twist at the end of their story was one I wasn’t totally expecting. At least part of it. I was expecting something a bit bigger for the final reveal of their story, but found it to be satisfying in the end.
This one is a bit slow, but certainly worth it to work your way through. Especially if you enjoy a good murder mystery and often wondered about the genre and how it all works.
The Electric Kingdom by David Arnold
Publication Date: February 9, 2021
“But in a world consumed by Flies, kids were adults and adults were nowhere. How long you’d been alive only meant something when life itself wasn’t a luxury.”
― David Arnold, The Electric Kingdom
I started off listening to this one, but unfortunately that just didn’t work for me. The book is mostly told from two perspectives, but there was only one narrator, and I was having trouble keeping track of who was talking. The narrator’s voice also didn’t quite match the story either. Once I switched to the book, I was more into the story.
This one is a bit weird. I kind of figured out what was going on quite early, but was still a bit disappointed with how things all worked out. I thought the build up to the end could have been a bit bigger. Also there never seemed to be any kind of resolution to the whole thing. I didn’t necessarily need them to solve the whole Fly plague issue, but there just didn’t seem to be any kind of conclusion, which was perhaps the whole point of the story anyways. Sorry I can’t say more without spoiling it.
The writing is perhaps the star of this show. It was superb and I was constantly amazed at the way things were described. I often felt that I was right there with the characters. I really liked both Kit and Nico, and all of the characters that were in both of their lives. This is a very bleak world that they live in, but many of the characters were able to see hope in the world and keep on going even when things were at their worst.
This is another story about a plague wiping out humanity, this one caused by genetically modified bees, but everyone thinks they are flys. These bees swarm and attack and kill people and pretty much consume them. They pretty much go after anything that is meat and it is really hard to avoid them. So you can just imagine how tough life is here. But humanity does try to carry on, such as it is.
Although this is a little slow moving it is still a fascinating read on the resilience of humans in the face of certain extinction. If you like dystopia with some good characters and wonderful writing this is one you don’t want to miss.
Well I hope that you enjoyed my mini reviews and perhaps have made a decision to read or even not to read one of these books. Please remember these are just my humble opinions and you might find that one of these books is you favorite.