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Fence (vol 1) by C. S. Pacat | Blabber

Fence Vol. 1Fence by C. S. Pacat
Graphic Novel
112 pages
Issues 1-4
Published July 31st, 2018
Read Aug 7th, 2018
Spoiler-free blabber

I feel like I suffered from overblown expectations for this one.

I read Pacat’s Captive Prince trilogy earlier this year and absolutely adored it, so going into this one, I guess I was expecting to immediately love it. Unfortunately, my feelings toward this first volume are more mild than I was hoping. Don’t get me wrong – I did like this and I feel like it has a lot of room to become a favorite, but the first trade alone didn’t quite do it for me. And that’s my own fault there.

Fence follows a young man as he enters a school and joins the fencing team with the hopes of winning internationally. The main character is written in a way that didn’t quite have me rooting for him. I tend not to like characters with egos and nothing to back it up, and in the beginning, this one did. It wasn’t huge, not like Kvothe-level or anything, but seeing him not immediately being the best fencer was super, super refreshing. I grew to like the character more as the story progressed and he learned a bit of humility.

The character on the cover of the issue is the main character’s rival, and I found him to be much more amusing. He’s written to be a bit of a jerk, though very skilled. He also has an ego, but it bothered me far less, as he had the years and years of training to back it up, as opposed to have just brazen over-confidence in himself. He could still use a bit of character development, but I’m gonna not say too much more on that, given it’s only been one trade volume.

The remaining cast of characters were all interesting in their own ways, but none of them have really developed too much so far, so I haven’t really decided if I like any of them over others. Reading this trade, with the cast of characters and the tone it set, reminded me a lot of Yuri!!! On Ice and Free! . It had a light-fluffiness to it that was enjoyable to read. So if you’re not into quasi-romance that will eventually end up being actual romance, then this series will likely not float your boat. Because I can see it coming a mile away – the graphic novel is listed as lgbt romance, so I know it’s coming. The hate-to-love trope is strong in this one, man. I feel it in my bones, and I’m looking forward to it. This trope, when written well, is wonderful. When it’s not, it’s really really not. But having read C. S. Pacat’s attempt at the trope before, I know she’ll do a decent job of it, so I’m excited.

So, this first volume was a solid beginning, and it definitely has a lot of potential to become a favorite as the series progresses. But, I think my high expectations made me not love this one as much as I thought I would. I’m still going to continue it, and will buy the second volume when my buying ban is over, so I hope it only gets better from here.

3.75/5 stars

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Posted by on 08/11/2018 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik | Blabber

Spinning SilverSpinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Published July 10th, 2018
Read July 10th – Aug 1st
Fantasy
466 pages
Spoiler-free blabber

Reading Spinning Silver is like walking through an icy forest.

I could almost feel the chill in the air and the subtle fear in the back of everyone’s minds. The atmosphere of this book is both enchanting and unsettling at the same time.

I picked up Spinning Silver on its release date – I’m a huge, long-time fan of Naomi Novik. I first read her Temeraire series when I was in high school (and am in the middle of a reread now) and I picked up her book Uprooted on its release day a year or two ago as well. Everything I’ve read by her, I have loved, and this is no exception. I feel like at this point, she could publish her grocery list and I would read it.

Spinning Silver is a loose retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, set in a Russia-esque village and nearby town and follows a few different perspectives, one being the daughter of a money lender who frankly is terrible at his job. The daughter, Miryem, starts collecting on her father’s debts and soon cultivates the reputation of being able to turn silver into gold.

This attracts the attention of a Staryk king, one of the creatures who live in a world right along side ours, who run through the woods at night on a silver road that appears and disappears without warning, who attack villages and are obsessed with gold. The king unfortunately takes the words of Miryem’s reputation literally.

The story goes from there, weaving fairy tale with myth with an over-arching sense of otherworldliness. I think my favorite part of the book – and this would honestly book one of my least favorites parts of any other book – is that nothing is really explained. There’s magic, but no defined magic system. The book just says ‘this is the world this book is in, and there’s magic here’ and that’s that. There’s no training, there’s no lore, it just is. And it played really, really well into the feeling of ‘unsettling fairy tale’ the book followed.

So if you’re not one who can easily detached from reality and go with the flow, then this book may not be for you. But if you can suspend your belief and grasp onto the idea that this magical realm exists just because it does, then you’ll likely love this book as I did.

The author did a wonder job of both making the Staryk creatures seem utterly foreign and oddly human at the same time. I think this branches from the fact that names in this world are a sacred thing – the Staryk king’s name is unknown, and the other Staryks who make an appearance do not give up theirs either, but end up adopting names that Miryem gives them out of frustration. It’s an odd dynamic. While the character development for the individual Staryks is a bit lacking, the development for the race of creatures as a whole is a bit more involved. I feel like it’d be hard to develop a character too much if even their name is off limits to use. Again, something I’d normally be irritated by but it kinda just worked for this story, for this setting, for this tone. Color me surprised.

The plot as well just feeds into the mythical tone – Miryem, who has the reputation she’s created for herself, is challenged by the Staryk king to do just what she claims to do, turn silver to gold. And Miryem, ever resourceful, handles the situation to the best of her abilities. I think she’s my favorite character in the story. Out of the six perspectives, I enjoyed reading from hers the most. She’s determined, kind-hearted and morally on a good track. Some of the other characters are not so black-and-white, some are rather gray, but each are still written so you can see where they’re coming from, if not the justification for their actions. Together, they interact, the reader sees their different perspectives and motivations as the story unfolds, and together they push the plot forward. It was a wonderful experience.

Overall, I loved this book. I loved its tone, I loved its plot, I loved the sense of wonder it gave me. I’m going to be thinking about this one for a long time.

5/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 08/07/2018 in blabbers, Books, Review

 

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Second Annual Book Buying Ban Time

Coffee Time

Hello! Today’s post will detail on the book buying ban I have placed myself on.

Last year, around September or so, I made a post called ‘My brain told me I have enough books‘, where I talked about going to a library sale and not having the urge to buy a single book. Shortly after, I placed myself on a ban that lasted from then until after Christmas. And it actually worked – aside from the one book I mentioned in the post that I planned on buying that October, I bought 0 books the rest of 2017.

Well, I just went to Half Price Book’s clearance sale, and I’ve decided to make this ban an annual thing because holy cow did I get some books. This time, I’m starting now, in August. As you read this, I’m in Chicago. I might visit a book store there and buy a book. I don’t know. I might. But after this trip, I’m placing myself again on this ban. Again, I have an October exception: Wotakoi volume 3 and The Monster Baru Cormorant. These two books, I am buying.

And that is all. Between Now and Christmas, I will get nothing else.

Keep in mind, this book buying bonanza I just finished at the clearance sale still needs to be hauled, so I will have one more haul post and the end of September, but they will all be books purchased today or earlier. And the two books I plan on getting in October will be hauled at the end of December. Unless I get books as Christmas gifts, those two books will be the only ones in the haul.

I know I can do this, as I’ve done it before. And man, it does wonders for my TBR. (And lemme tell ya, walking into a bookstore on January 1st after not buying books for four months is heaven)

Wish me luck! If you plan on doing a full or partial ban anytime soon, tell me about it!

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 08/05/2018 in Books, Coffee Time

 

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The Hopeful Book Tag

Book Tag

Hello! A tag today. I’m doing the Hopeful Book Tag. I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but I figured it’d be fun. The original tag can be found here.


1. A book world you would like to escape to.

I feel like Harry Potter is too obvious. So, I’m going with the world of My Hero Academia. I realize that it’s full of villains, but it’s also full of heroes. It’d be so cool to go to Hero School, man.

2. A romance that left you all mushy inside.

Woo, yet another opportunity to talk about Wotakoi! 😀 This is my current fave. It’s so cute and pure and fluffy.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)

3. A friendship we should all aspire to have.

I feel like the friendship between The Fool and FitzChivalry Farseer in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world is wonderful, even if I wish it had a different dynamic. I love reading about these two together. It’s such a joy (except when Fitz is being a ding dong, but y’know)

Fool's Fate (Tawny Man, #3)

4. Intermission! Insert the cutest picture of your pet or the cutest animal picture you can find.

This is Nina. She’s something.

https://i.imgur.com/FFjebAw.png

5. A character in a leadership role that inspires you.

I’m going to have to go with All Might, again from My Hero Academia. I absolutely adore this series and adore this character. He’s just too much and I wanna hug him.

All Might My Hero Academia I Am Here GIF

(gif credit to Funimation)

6. Recommend three (3) books that fill you with hope.

V for Vendetta, Ella Enchanted and Ship of Destiny. All three end leaving the reader with the feeling of ‘things could get better now’ or ‘thing have gotten better’, depending on the book.

V for VendettaElla EnchantedShip of Destiny (Liveship Traders, #3)

7. (Optional) Tag people

I’m gonna tag Ace, Orangutan Librarian, Zezee, MetalPhantasmReads, Dragons and Zombies, and Jenna Bookish! If you’ve done this, link me it so I can read! If you haven’t, DO IT PEER PRESSURE.


Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 08/04/2018 in Book Tag, Books

 

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August Currently Reading | ’18

Currently Reading

Hello! Today is my first anniversary with my husband! If you’re reading this, I’m currently on a plane, bound for Chicago! This is what I’m currently reading:


The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks

The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)

This is one of my two back-burner books – ones that I’m ‘reading’ but haven’t actually touched in a while. What I have read of it, I’ve very much enjoyed. I think I’m mentally delaying this book because I don’t wanna have to wait super long for the fifth one. ;~;

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1)

This is the other back-burner book. I’m also enjoying this one a lot, too. I had began it on audio book and decided it wasn’t for me. Instead of DNFing it though, I picked it up as a physical copy and went from there. Oh it was so so so much better. Will likely end up adoring this one.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P Beaulieu

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)

This one I am buddy reading with a friend, but we haven’t touched it lately. After I finish the next book I’ll be listing, this one will be my full focus again. Hopefully both of us end up enjoying it.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver

This is going to end up being one of my favorite books. it’s just so atmospheric and I adore it to pieces. This is what has distracted me from all my other books. It’s just so lovely. If you haven’t read anything by Novik yet, what are you even doing with your life.

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)

This is another one, that if it keeps going in the direction that it is, will end up being one of my favorite books. I’m reading it as an ebook and it’s just absolutely fantastic. It’s so full of allegory and quotable passages – I adore it.

Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik

Victory of Eagles (Temeraire, #5)

This is the fifth book in Novik’s Temeraire series and I’ve officially reached the point in the series where it’s no longer a reread for me. I hope it continues to be just as wonderful as its predecessors!


And that’s it! Now do you see why I only finished four books last month? It’s because I’m reading everything and their moms at the same time.

I’ll be in Chicago until the 6th, so responses may be a bit delayed – sorry! Thank you for taking using your time to read my blog – I appreciate you. 😀

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 08/01/2018 in Books, Currently Reading, TBR

 

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July Wrap Up | ’18

Wrap Up

IT’S NOT EVERY DAY YOUR YOUNG MAN TURNS ELEVEN, NOW IS IT?!

Happy bday Harry. This is what I read this month:


Books

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku vols 1-2 by Fujita

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku, Vol 1 (Otakoi: Otaku Can't Fall in Love?!)This is my latest obsession. This series is fantastic. It follows two working adults, both rather nerdy, who decide to date each other, because they feel they’ll be able to understand each other’s obsessions better than people who aren’t as nerdy. It’s simple, it’s fluffy, it’s about adults instead of teenagers. I loved it.

I wrote a spoiler-free blabber on the series and I’m happily awaiting volume 3.

5/5 stars each

 

 

Wildest Dreams by Kristen Ashley

Wildest Dreams (Fantasyland, #1)I did not like this one. At all. I thought it was poorly written, the characters were awful, the plot was… okay. It was just all around not a good time for me. I wrote a very spoilery rant-blabber on this one.

It follows a young woman from our world who pays a witch to transport her to a parallel universe, where she assumes the identity of another version of herself, a princess. And then all these borderline abusive ‘romantic’ things happen and it’s super unhealthy ‘cute’. ._.

1.5/5 stars

 

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik

Empire of Ivory (Temeraire, #4)Rereading this series is so much fun. This is the fourth book in Novik’s Temeraire series, and officially the point of no return: When I first read this series as a teenager, this is the last book I finished. I got part way through Victory of Eagles, but only about a hundred pages. So now that I’m listening to that one, I’m in all new content territory.

I love this series so much.

5/5 stars

 

 

 

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Other Things

  • July lasted for ages. I feel like we’ve been in this month for six years.
  • I went to the Half Price Books Clearance Sale and got a butt-load of books. Soooo now I’m on a book buying ban, but that’ll be its own post.

Maybe that’s why July took so long – every day was full of stuff but nothing was really noteworthy, if that makes sense.


Reading Goals

  • Complete my Goodreads Challenge of 40 books: 43/40
  • Complete my 10 in 2018 list of books: 2/10
  • Keep book buying low (6-8 books/season):
    • January-March purchases: 9
    • April-June purchases: 12
    • July-September purchases: I don’t wanna talk about it
    • October-December purchases:
  • Get my physical TBR down to 270 books: Need to recount
  • Finish the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge by Mar 31, 2019

Fantasy Bingo 2018


And that’s it! Happy reading! 😀

 
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Posted by on 07/31/2018 in Books, Wrap-up

 

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Books to take on the plane

Books for the plane

Hello! This coming Wednesday is my one year anniversary with my husband! So to celebrate, the two of us are going to Chicago to see Wait, Wait, Don’t tell me! recorded live! And we’ll be there just under a week, so we’ll do other stuff too like eat pizza and check out some Chicago-brewed beer.

If you’ve ever been to Chicago or live there and have some suggestions of stuff to do, lemme know!

Otherwise, I plan to read on the plane trip and maybe down time while there. These are the books I’m going to bring with me:

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)

I won this book as an ebook for completing the r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge this past year. I started it about a week or so ago and am roughly 25% through it so far.

Guys, I love this book. It reads almost like a classic epic. It’s full of allegory and quotable passages… and I’m only 90 pages in! Like I feel like this will be read in classrooms in fifty years. It’s just so cool. It follows a man named Thomas Senlin, who arrives at the foot of the Tower of Babel – a giant stone construction that shoots up into the sky, so high that nobody has seen the top, nor is it knows if the top is even a finished product – with his wife. He shortly loses her in the crowd and has to ascend the tower himself to find her. Each level of the tower is something fantastically different than the one before. It’s. So. Cool.

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley P Beaulieu

Twelve Kings in Sharakhai (The Song of the Shattered Sands #1)

This book, I’m buddy reading with a friend. Both of us have gotten a tad distracted from it recently, so I’m hoping that me focusing on it again and telling her that will motivate her to read it more, too. I’m liking this one so far, but I’m not a huge fan of the main character. She’s not awful, but she reminds me a lot of the main character from The Throne of Glass series, whom I find irritating. Hopefully the plot of this one ends up making up for it.


Part of me wants to bring another physical book, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, which I’m also currently reading. Another part wants to conserve space for souvenirs… the likelihood of me completing the two above is small, especially when I tend to not read as much during down time as I plan. So, if I somehow get a good chunk of either of these done by Wednesday, I’ll bring another. If not, I won’t.

Posts for Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday of this coming week will be pre-written, and any comment replies on my end will be a bit delayed – sorry!

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 07/29/2018 in Books

 

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