January 2020 Round-up

Happy January Everyone!

I can’t believe that January has gone by so quickly! It seems crazy we’re already a month into 2020, with only 11 to go when it seems like Christmas was yesterday. I’ve read 26 books this month and I’ve definitely got lucky- I’ve enjoyed every single one of them! There’s been a good mixture of fiction from authors new and old as well as some nonfiction, mainly medical because that’s one of my favourite nonfiction genres.

I’ve also done some writing, by which I mean I realised that I needed to finish my first novel there and put the rest in a second novel, then realised that it’s now a bit limp because it doesn’t have the rest of the plot so  I need to do something about that. And right as I was about to finish the novel I came up with a new idea for another novel and got side-tracked, so am now in a bit of a writing-related mess.

So, without further ado I am going to give my top 5 books of January 2020, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER because choosing an order might kill what’s left of my sanity and lead to me being a mad, reclusive bookworm. Or more accurately a madder, more reclusive bookworm.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

What I liked about it: the unique format, gripping action and fast pace

What I didn’t like about it: my local library does not have the sequel

My favourite character: Hanna, a rich girl turned badass

Position in series: 2/3

Genres: sci-fi, young adult, fiction

Wool by Hugh Howey

What I liked about it: well thought out world building, lots of plot twists, every detail enriches the story in some way

What I didn’t like about it: too big to easily carry around

My favourite character: Jules, an all around legend and mechanics genius

Position in series: 1/3

Genres: sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, fiction

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

What I liked about it: rich culture, awesome magic, vivid characters

What I didn’t like about it: the sequel hasn’t even been announced yet

My favourite character: Zelie, a magic wielding, realistic emotioned maji

Position in series: 1/3

Genres: young adult, fantasy, fiction

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

What I liked about it: genuinely funny, well explained, honest and emotional

What I didn’t like about it: the lack of funding to the NHS, which is amazing

My favourite character: Adam, an ex-doctor

Position in series: standalone

Genres: nonfiction, medical, autobiography

For the Winner by Emily Hauser

What I liked about it: stunning setting descriptions, epic depiction of Ancient Greece and mythology, strong female character

What I didn’t like about it: nothing. Please write more Emily Hauser.

My favourite character: Atalanta, a bow wielding, powerful princess of Ancient Greece

Position in series: 2/3

Genres: historical fiction, fantasy, ancient Greece

Honourable mentions go to The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave for beautiful, lyrical writing, and to Renegades by Marissa Meyer for being fresh and all around excellent.

So that brings us to the end of my January top 5. It’s not a long read, but it certainly took me long enough to try and decide which five books to choose, and in the end I cheated by adding some honourable mentions at the end anyway! I hope your January reading has gone well and you’ve achieved any goals you wanted to! Get in contact and let me know or leave a comment below 😊

Children of Virtue and Vengeance Review

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is the second book in the Children of Orisha series. The novel starts just after the events of the previous book, continuing the incredible tale of Zelie, Inan and Amari and the struggle of the maji. This book was quite different in some ways, since Zelie managed to release magic it means that all the maji now have magic, as well as some of the non-maji, named titans. This changes how the battles are fought , as well as causing resentment as people who have oppresed the maji for so long for having magic now have magic themselves. Tomi Adeyemi artfully weaves religion, culture and magic together to create a brilliant setting for a fantasy novel.

The setting of the novel is like none I have ever read in a fantasy novel before, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The use of a different language for the maji added to the sense of a different world, and the source of magic, while quite traditional in being from the gods, was written in a refreshing way including religion seamlessly in the culture. The settings described were beautiful, especially the rebel base, an ancient sacred place.

This story was told from three viewpoints: Princess Amari, Prince Inan and Zelie, a maji. All the characters in this book were very realistic despite it being a fantasy, and having three viewpoints showed three distinct individual ways of thinking and seeing the world, giving the story greater depth than it would have from just one. Not only this, but the main characters genuinely behaved like young adults. They made huge mistakes and refused to listen to reason because they were angry. They gave up after fighting pointless battles and watching people getting killed, they doubted themselves and their abilities no matter how many times things went right, and it wasn’t shallow, silly worries that young adults are sometimes given, but the perfect mix between superficial and deep.  

If there is one thing I will always love in a book, it is a rebellion. I love the unity of forces against a common enemy, I love the underdog fighting again and again to right things in a world gone so wrong, I like the struggle to win without becoming the monsters they are fighting. Children of Virtue and Vengeance follows every moment of the rebellion which I quite liked, since sometimes books skip battles or fast forward in time. Showing each battle emphasised the struggle of the rebellion, and having main characters on both sides, desperately trying to reach out and find peace gave an inside view into the heartbreak, humanity and hardship that went into every brutal decision of the war. The aftermath of each battle, not just the whole war was clear, affecting how the battle continued and causing the character’s change to be shown more gradually through the story. But it wasn’t just darkness, hope was also beautifully illustrated, how groups of people facing adversity can come together to find hope in the bleakest circumstance, how they don’t give up.

And the ending? I have just one word for that. WHAT?! Okay, I’m done now. I adored the elegant, sharp writing of this book, and would definitely recommend it (although please start with the first one).

I’ve decided to add to my reviews a new thing where I decide whether I would have survived the novel. So, would I have survived this novel? I’ll be honest, probably not, unless I was a normal person living in another land. Apart from that I would probably be just civilian casualty #135.