April & May 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

So, I’ll be honest. I don’t know what my plans are for this blog right now. I’m not abandoning it, but I just haven’t felt very motivated to write for it this year. I haven’t had the bandwidth for it since January. Hell, I’ve been working on this post for two months!

That said, I thought I’d pop on today to share some of my thoughts on the books I read in April and May. Over the past two months, I read five novels and four manga volumes. Of those, two novels were YA fantasy, three were adult fantasy, and four were shounen manga. The lowest rating I gave was 3.5 stars and the highest was 5. In other words, the quality made up for the quantity.

Anyway, let’s do this thing!!!!!


A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

Summary: Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.

A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.

A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.

The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

My Thoughts: I went into this book with tempered expectations and I think that really benefited my reading experience. Sure, the world-building is a bit muddled and some things seem a little forced. But I had so much fun reading this. I really liked the characters and the banter. Is it perfect? No. Am I giving it 5 stars anyway? Yeah. Check out my full review here!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

Summary: The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

My Thoughts: This book brings to mind that John Mulaney quote, “You know those days when you’re like ‘this might as well happen’?.” Bardugo makes so many plot and character choices I don’t like and never would have written, and yet I was content to stay along for the ride. Does it read like Bardugo wrote fanfiction of her own series? Yes. Do I care? I mean, yes, but I love these characters so much I’ll let it slide. This is definitely a divisive book and the only reason I’m rating it as high as I am is because I’m such a Grishaverse fan.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Summary: Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.

My Thoughts: I was pretty much guaranteed to love this book. It features gods as main characters, political intrigue, and writing by my favorite author. I will grant that it reads as the debut it is, but a debut of Jemisin’s calibur. Basically, it’s fantastic and you should read it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

Summary: In the city of Shadow, beneath the World Tree, alleyways shimmer with magic and godlings live hidden among mortalkind. Oree Shoth, a blind artist, takes in a homeless man who glows like a living sun to her strange sight. This act of kindness engulfs Oree in a nightmarish conspiracy. Someone, somehow, is murdering godlings, leaving their desecrated bodies all over the city.

Oree’s peculiar guest is at the heart of it, his presence putting her in mortal danger— but is it him the killers want, or Oree? And is the earthly power of the Arameri king their ultimate goal, or have they set their sights on the Lord of Night himself?

My Thoughts: This installment in the series takes place ten years after the first with great new characters. Personally, I think I prefer Oree as a protagonist to Yeine. She’s a blind artist who can see magic. She’s dope as hell! I think I enjoyed this one a bit more than The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but just barely. I can’t wait to finish out the series!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Summary: Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident— or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion— all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret— one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life— or rescue it from annihilation.

My Thoughts: It took me a while to truly grasp this book and fall in love the way I’d expected, but once I did, I really did. For the first half, I felt like I was being held at arm’s length and found the writing style too overwritten. And maybe both of those things are true. And maybe that’s intentional. All I know is, for a while I didn’t feel like I was getting it until suddenly I was. And now I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My Hero Academia, Vol.1 – 4 by Kohei Horikoshi

Summary: What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…

My Thoughts: So I decided to jump into a new manga series and naturally chose the one with over 300 chapters out. So far, it’s been a fun read. I’m not super attached to the characters yet and am still getting my footing in the world, but I’m hoping that changes as I get further into the series. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

What have you been reading lately? Tell me about it in the comments!

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