February Wrap Up! ’21

Happy end of February! My reading month was pretty decent, though I admit my blogging has suffered a bit. I’m hoping to turn it around in March, but we’ll see how it goes.

This is what I read:

Books

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin – I’m very late to this train, but I absolutely loved this book. I did a blabber on it earlier this month, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. This story takes place in a world that ends over and over again, and follows the people trying to live there.

5 stars

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – This was another favorite of the month, I absolutely adored it. A review for this one though likely won’t be coming, just because it’s been so long since I finished it. But who knows, maybe I’ll get inspired. But I loved this book just as much as the one above – I couldn’t pick a favorite between the two.

5 stars

The Book of the Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick – Unfortunately this book really disappointed me. I picked it up off a recommendation from one of my buddies so I was hoping to love it, buuuuut I didn’t. I felt the ending was too abrupt, and the characterization was one dimensional. I tried to read this with a mindset knowing it was middle grade or just above but I feel like I would have disliked this even if I had been twelve. Sorry pal.

2 stars

Manga

Ouran High School Host Club vols 8-18 by Bisco Hatori – I finished it! I finished my reread! Well, according to Goodreads it’s my “initial” read, but I did read it back in 2006 or so during high school. This reread though showed that the series holds up over the test of time. There are definitely some jokes in it that haven’t aged well, but overall? it’s pretty good. It was just as funny and sweet as I remember, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3.25 stars – 4.5 stars each

Shaman King vol 9 by Hiroyuki Takei – I’m really trying to catch up with this series. My sister lent it to me back in like April or May, so I’d have something to read during the plague, but I’m a bad sister and haven’t binged it yet like she’d hoped. I’m hoping to get a lot farther into it in March, or even complete it. We shall see.

So far the story is pretty decent. This specific volume wasn’t my favorite but I do like the series overall.

3.25 stars

Fanfiction

No striking ones this month, but I feel like that’s going to change in March. I’ve been eyeing another DBZ fanfic, and was just waiting for the right time to start it.


2021 Reading Goals

  • Read 100 books – 24/100
  • Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – 215
  • Reduce manga tbr to 50 – 147
  • Maintain blog schedule – 
    • January: Good
    • February: Passable
  • Finish my 10 in 2021 list – 1/10

Stats

  • 15 things read this month
    • 3 novels
    • 12 manga
  • 9 things purchased this month
    • 3 novels
    • 6 manga
    • Total money spent: 133.80
  • Genre breakdown:
    • 3 fantasy
    • 11 shojo
    • 1 paranormal

And that’s it! Lemme know how your reading month went!

February book and manga haul! #47

Happy Saturday! This month I picked up a few things, mostly manga, but there’s a couple books in there too. This is what I got:

As you can see, I picked up eight things – two books, six manga!

  • Inuyasha Vizbig editions vols 9 and 10 by Rumiko Takahashi – I finally caved. I’ve been collecting the original editions of this manga for years, but they’ve gone out of print and with the sequel coming out and the series getting popular again, the single volumes have become really hard to find, and when I do find them, they’re expensive. So I’ve decided to just pick up where my singles left off and get the bind up editions which are still in print and much more affordable. I believe I have eight more bind up volumes to get after this before I have the full collection!
  • O Maidens in Your Savage Season vols 7 and 8 by Mari Okada – These are the last two volumes in the series, now my collection is complete! I picked up this series I think two years ago and loved it. I’m gonna do a whole reread of this, I’m pretty pumped about it.
  • Given vol 5 by Natsuki Kizu – I need to catch up on this series. I loved the anime and at this point in the manga, it has to be past the end of the first season. Here’s hopin’.
  • Magus of the Library vol 4 by Mitsu Izumi – Same with this series, I need to catch up! I read the first volume and adored it. I’m hoping to binge the whole thing at some point here.
  • The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin – After completely adoring the first book, I had to pick these two up right away. I’m in the middle of the second one now and I’m really liking it.

And that’s it! If you’ve read any of the above, let me know! Happy reading!

Top 10 books that made me laugh out loud

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl

Happy Tuesday! Today’s topic is books that made me laugh. This is one of the few topics where I actually had a hard time narrowing it down, as opposed to having a hard time finding enough books. Originally, I came up with over 20 books that made me laugh, and I’ve narrowed it down to these, in no particular order:

Dragon Wing by Margart Weis and Tracy Hickman – This one I’m actually currently reading. There’s one perspective – a dwarf – that really has me tickled. Each time I get a chapter from his pov, I find myself giggling like a madwoman.

Absolutely Boyfriend by Yuu Watase – This is a six volume comedic romance about robot boyfriends, heavy on the comedy. I reread it for the first time since high school earlier this year and really enjoyed it. It’s so ridiculous..

Black Butler by Yana Toboso – I read this one recently – early 2020 – and fell in love. It’s hilarious, on top of all of its other amazing qualities.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – Again, a recent read. I wasn’t expecting this one to be funny but it really surprised me. It was hilarious. Especially any scenes with Clef, they cracked me up.

Mogworld by Yahtzee Chroshaw – I expected this one to be funny, as it’s written by the guy who does Zero Punction, but I still found myself surprised at how funny it was. This book was great.

Demon Diary by Kara – This is a seven volume comedy series about a young demon who has no idea what he’s doing being made into a demon lord. It’s cute and fluffy and so entertaining.

Life, The Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams – I feel like Adams is an obvious choice for this list. This one is my favorite so far.

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks – The narration in this has a bit of comedy in it itself, but the one character Kip is hilarious. He’s one of my favorites.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud – This is a series I read back when I was a teen, and I remember cracking up at Bartimaeus. He’s a djinn and he’s so funny. So sassy.

Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi – While this isn’t a comedy persay, it has a lot of comedic elements that are portrayed very well through the art style. This is a good one.

~~~

And that’s it! Books that make me laugh tend to automatically get high marks from me. I can’t help it, I’m a sucker for a good joke.

The Reread Tag!

Happy Day! Today I’m doing the reread tag, which I found on Zezee @Zezeewithbooks‘s blog. It was created by Brianna @Brianna’sBooksandRandomness. I wasn’t tagged but I can always pretend.

A childhood favorite you could read 100 times and still love

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – It was a staple book for me growing up. I have no idea how many times I’ve actually read it. Somewhere over 20 at least.

A book you DNF’d but would be willing to give a second chance to

The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl #7)

The Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer – As much as I love the first, second, and third Artemis Fowl books and consider those staples, for me as the series progressed, the worse the books got. I ended up DNF-ing this one, the seventh one. Though I can see myself giving it another try at some point, just because I do own the eighth and final book and do want to know how it ends. We’ll see.

A new favorite you would reread

Black Butler, Vol. 1 (Black Butler, #1)

Black Butler by Yana Toboso – This series ended up on my favorites list in 2020, and I do plan on rereading the first 28 volumes again before picking up vol 29. Hopefully vol 30 won’t be too far off either.

A book you hated and never want to read again

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Vol. 1 (Light Novel)

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime vol 1 by Fuse – This book made my bottom books of 2020 list, and I have 0 interest in giving it another shot nor continuing with the series.

A classic you read in school but want to try again

1984

1984 by George Orwell – I remember disliking this book when I was 17 because I wanted a happy ending. Now, I feel like I could appreciate the ending it did have more.

An author you would reread anything from

Hiromu Arakawa

Hiromu Arakawa, author of Fullmetal Alchemist, Silver Spoon, and artist of The Heroic Legend of Arslan. Everything I’ve picked up that she’s been associated with, I’ve loved. Any time she puts out something new, I’ll be all over it. Master storyteller, I’m tellin ya.

A series you want to reread for the fun of it

The Black Prism (Lightbringer, #1)

Eventually I’d like to reread Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series, but that will involve me finishing book five for the first time first :p

A book you’ve read but want to listen to the audio book

Assassin's Fate (The Fitz and the Fool, #3)

Basically any of the books in Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings world. I read all sixteen books physically but am considering picking them up on audio for a reread. We’ll see!


And that’s it! If you’d like to do this tag, consider yourself tagged. Happy reading!

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin | Blabber

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1)The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Book 1 of the Broken Earth trilogy
Published 2015
468 pages
Spoiler-free blabber

Just like I said in my blabber of Foundryside posted the other day, I was very late to this train, and very mad at myself for waiting so long. I buddy read this with my irl friend, and we both adored it (and are both neck deep into book two at this point).

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this book before.

I’ve read a lot of fantasy during my thirty years of being a human, and have experienced more of it through video games and tv and movies and whatnot, but this world is definitely a unique one.

Sloppy synopsis:

This book is set in a world that keeps ending, and it follows the characters trying to live in it. There are three main points of view in the story, each located at a different place on this continent riddled with earthquakes and volcanoes and other apocalypsey kinds of things, and it tells the story of their lives.

In this world are creatures who eat stone, giant obelisks that hang out in the sky – forgotten relics of civilizations past, and people who can sense the earth moving under their feet. All three perspectives are such people. When earthquakes happen, they can quell them with their abilities, or make them worse.

The story sets up an interesting social hierarchy, placing these earth-sensers, orogenies, in a lower tier of people. They’re valuable, as they can stop an earthquake from demolishing a great city, but they’re also seen as less than. Between them, the stone eaters, the people who can’t sense the earth, and the Guardians – a group of people whose task it is to monitor the orogenies, a political undercurrent is created and fuels a large part of the story, on top of all the world-ending catastrophies.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed the social commentary this book provided. It touched on humanity, on respect given and received, and what happens when that isn’t balanced. The narrative from all three perspectives touched on this in different ways, each one interacting with an aspect of this established social hierarchy. I found it interesting and compelling.

The writing as well, was very readable. This was another one that I read my target number of buddy read pages each week in one sitting. I just couldn’t put the thing down. The first chapter opens in a jarring way: the world is yet again ending again outside – screams and earthquakes can be felt and heard, but the pov character is inside her house, and her world is already ending in a different fashion. Her son lays dead in her arms, murdered by his father, who has fled with their daughter.

That’s how the book opens, with that scene of many worlds ending at the same time.

And honestly it made me fall in love with the book right away. The pov is written from second person, which makes the scene all the more jarring and the more captivating. The narratives from the other perspectives were just as submersive. As the story progressed and we found out more about orogenies, the social system, and the geographical instabilities of the world, the more I was completely enraptured.

The back of the book has an appendix in it as well, as the narrative mentions multiple previous world-ended events in passing. It was fascinating reading about all of them. Each apocalypse is called a Fifth Season. And really, what sounds more interesting than an apocalypse known in the history books as ‘The Season of the Teeth’?

This book was just so fascinating. The stone eaters were neat, the orogenies were neat, how people lived on the land was neat. The social dynamics that evolved due to the constant barrage from the earth was neat. It was all just so neat.

The characters themselves, while I wouldn’t always call them ‘likeable’ were very believable. I don’t think the main characters were written to be entirely good or evil, but were written to be human – there were all sorts of gray decisions these characters made, either motivated through personal desire or through necessity. The back drop of a chaotic planet only made the potentially powerful decisions that more necessary.

So overall, this book was awesome. So awesome that I’ve run out and grabbed the next two in the series and plan on reading them right away (already in the second!) My buddy reader and I both loved this book, easy five stars. My expectations for this one were a bit high, considering it won a Hugo when it came out (and then so did its sequel the next year and then so did its sequel the year after that, which is unprecedented) and I gotta say, it totally lives up to the hype. This is a fantastic book.

5 stars

Top 10 Mardi Gras colored covers!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl!

Happy Tuesday! Aside from yesterday, my blog has been a bit quiet. This tends to happen to me after Blogmas finishes out – it’s like I burn out for a couple weeks. But I think I’m getting out of it now. I still intended to post the eight planned posts for February, they’ll just be on different days than originally intended.

So today’s topic is gonna help that: Mardi Gras colored covers – ie covers that are yellow, green, or purple.

Here’s a stack of ’em:

Some of these I’ve read, some I haven’t. I gotta tell ya though, I had plenty of yellow and green spines to pick from, but the purples shown are almost all the purples I own, minus one or two. If I ever publish a book, I’m going to make it have a purple spine, just to bolster the numbers for poor people like me who want purple books in their pictures! Rah!

If you’ve read any of the above, do let me know. :”D Happy reading.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett | Blabber

Foundryside (The Founders Trilogy #1)Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet
Book 1 of the Founders Trilogy
512 pages
Published 2018
Fantasy
Spoiler-free blabber

I am very late to this train. When this book first came out two (three?!?) years ago, I remember seeing it on the favorites lists of a lot of people. The premise of it did pique my interest at the time, but I felt no need to immediately pick it up.

Why did I do myself dirty like that?

Last month, I picked this up as part of a buddy read with Meredith @Allboutthembooksandstuff, a friend of mine that I’ve had since I was a teenager. I gotta tell ya, we both ended up absolutely adoring this book. I’m a bit mad that I waited so long to jump on the hype train.

Sloppy synopsis:

This book in set in a city ruled over by four merchant houses, each of whom have their territory walled off within the city limits. Anyone who doesn’t belong to one of the houses lives in the Commons, the area between the walls. The main character Sancia lives there, not belonging to any merchant house, nor to anybody else in particular. The narrative opens on her sneaking into a building to steal an item she’s been hired to steal. She doesn’t know what it is or what it does, she just knows that the buyer is willing to pay a lot of money. And right away, we’re introduced to the magic system, which I think is one of the coolest parts about this book: scriving.

Scriving is magic system based on written sigils that are carved into objects to change their reality. The sigils range from simple to mind-bogglingly complex. For instance, a sigil could be written on a carriage to make it think it’s always on a slope, therefore should be moving because it’s only natural to move downhill. And boom, you get a carriage that moves on its own, without the need for horses to pull it. Sancia herself has been altered by sigils – a metal plate in her skull, inscribed with the things, allow her to know objects. All she needs to do is touch them, and she learns their makes, their histories, and their weak points. Perfect skills for a thief, who needs to know if there are people standing on the floors in the next room.

So the story starts from there, with Sancia stealing this object and having to deal with the resulting consequences. The narrative introduces a cast of characters ranging from human to beyond.

My thoughts:

My favorite thing about this book was the humor. A character is introduced very shortly into the beginning that Sancia is able to use her scrived brain to communicate with, and their banter is so amusing. The character himself is sassy and quick-witted. Sancia too has a wry sense of humor about most things that happen throughout the story. I laughed out loud multiple times throughout the book. I really love it when a serious plot is interwoven with light-hearted-ness and the author here pulled it off perfectly.

Most characters I feel were developed pretty well, namely Sancia, Orso, and Clef. Orso is a scriving master, and his job is to carve sigils into items for the merchant house to which he belongs. Clef is well, a character that I can’t tell you about without it being a spoiler. But I feel that his character development throughout the book is really good. There were a couple characters I felt were a bit flat, and I’m hoping they get more development in book two. There was also a bit of a romance between two of the characters, and I’m not sure how I feel about how it was executed. I ship the characters mind you, but I feel the progression of the romance was a bit rushed. It’s a minor plot point though so I’m not super concerned about it, nor did my iffy feelings of it influence how I felt about the book as a whole.

The plot in itself was really interesting to me. In the synopsis I mentioned Sancia stealing an item without knowing what it was. The theft of it gets interwoven into a larger conflict, and involves ancient civilizations and carving new realities and beings that probably shouldn’t exist but do. I really love how vast the world felt, even though the entire book takes place within the confines of one city. It dove a bit into philosophy and ethics as well, touching on subjects like human experimentation, whether or not humans should be able to change the reality of the world, what happens when they do, and what is considered ‘ethical’ during wartime vs peace time. The various characters have different opinions on it obviously, and the topics are handled in a way that feel realistic.

The pacing as well was great. At no point did the story lag. I never felt like I was trudging along. Most of the time, I read the entire section of book I was to read each week for the buddy read in one sitting. It was really hard to actually put the book down and wait until the day we could talk about what we’d read so far.

Overall, I really loved this book, and I know Meredith did as well. It gets a definite five stars from me. Easy peasy. We plan on picking up book two in a couple months, and then we’ll pine, waiting until book three is released.

But yeah if you’ve been on the fence about picking this one up, definitely do it.

5 stars

February Currently Reading!

Happy February! Right now I’m reading some neato books! This is what they are:

Hood by Stephen R Lawhead – This is my current audio book! It’s a retelling of Robin Hood (obviously). So far it’s pretty decent! I’m luke-warm to Robin Hood to begin with, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to take to this one. But so far, I like it!

The Book of the Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick – I’ve been reading this one since the day after Christmas. The ‘Dead Days’ in the book are the days between Christmas and New Year’s, so I was hoping to finish it during those days. But hey, it didn’t happen, and that’s ok. This is about a magician that makes a deal that comes back to bite him, and he has only until the end of the dead days to set it right. So far it’s pretty good! It’s a bit slow paced, but it’s very interesting and atmospheric.

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – This is one of two buddy reads I have going right now, and man I love this book. I’m only a tad over half way through so far but I am absolutely smitten. If I’m being honest, I was a bit unsure of this one, mostly because of the hype, but augh it totally deserves it. This story follows a thief and a written magic and a heist and ancient beings and… and and it’s so good! It’s awesome! And it’s funny to boot.

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin – This is my other buddy read and I’m pretty smitten with this one, too. I’m very late to the bandwagon with this book and I wish I would have read it sooner. It’s so interesting – the world, the characters, the magic, the society, the history, all of it. I don’t even know how to describe this. Uh… This book is set in a world that ends over and over, and it’s about the people who live in it. I don’t really wanna saw more than that. It’s. Fantastic. I’m about three-fourths through it, and hope to finish this week!

~~~

And that’s it! Four books that I’m currently reading, and I have many more planned for this month. Let me know if you’ve read any of these!

January Wrap Up ’21

Happy end of January! I swear, this month went so fast. It still feels like March of 2020, but that’s another story.

Anyways, I read nine things this month, most of them manga. This is what I completed:

Books

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb – I wrote a blabber for this one, if you’re interested. I buddy read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks and found this final book in its trilogy to be… decent. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it either. It was decent. For more in depth thoughts, check out that blabber.

3.75 stars

Manga

Ouran High School Host Club vols 3-7 by Bisco Hatori – This is a such a pleasant, ridiculous series. I originally read this back in high school, but that was before Goodreads, so it’s my first time officially marking it as read. This past summer for my 30th birthday I bought myself the box set of this series, and I’m now making my way through it. There are 18 volumes total, so I’m hoping to finish it by March or so. This series is so outrageous and over the top, it’s fluffy and nice and wholesome. Some of the vocab it uses is outdated though and can be considered offensive, so fair warning. It was made back in the mid 2000s.

But overall? So far I’m really enjoying this series. 3.25-4 stars each.

Kamisama Kiss vol 1 by Julietta Suzuki – This one I picked up last year some time after a recommendation to do so ‘if I want more series like Inuyasha’. So far it’s decent but I feel like I’ll need more volumes to make a full judgement on the thing.

3.75 stars

Yana Toboso Black Butler Artworks vol 2 by Yana Toboso – Technically this isn’t manga but it’s the closest category. This is a book of extra arts by the author of Black Butler. It’s a gorgeous book itself, on top of the art included within, and I really hope I can find the English translation of vol 1 at some point.

5 stars

Fanfiction

I’ve been reading a lot of fanfics recently, and some of the more well-known ones have entries in Goodreads. So I’m going to start covering the ones I read on a couple conditions: 1) if they’re popular enough to have a Goodreads entry, therefore count as a book toward my Goodreads goal, or 2) I just really liked it to the point where I want to share what it is. I’m sure there will be a lot I read that aren’t worth mentioning, but the good ones I’ll be sure to link to.

This month I read one notable one, namely You’ll Be the Death of Me by Niteryde, which is a Dragon Ball Z fanfiction that tells the story of the three year gap between future Trunks warning of the imminent android invasion and when they arrive. It focuses mainly on Bulma and Vegeta, and how the two came together, because it’s a canon thing that they did, but it’s never talked about how. So this fanfiction writes the story of their romance, and I really enjoyed it. 4 stars


2021 Reading Goals

  • Read 100 books – 9/100
  • Reduce physical fiction tbr to 185 – 200
  • Reduce manga tbr to 50 – 152
  • Maintain blog schedule – 
    • January: Good
  • Finish my 10 in 2021 list – 0/10

Stats

  • 9 things read this month
    • 1 novel
    • 7 manga
    • 1 fanfiction
  • 6 things purchased this month
    • 3 novels
    • 3 manga
    • Total money spent: $99.47
  • Genre breakdown:
    • 1 fantasy
    • 1 romance
    • 6 shojo
    • 1 paranormal

And that’s it! Lemme know how your reading month went. Happy reading!

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb | Blabber

Renegade's Magic (Soldier Son, #3)Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb
Book 3 of the Soldier Son trilogy
691 pages
Fantasy
Spoiler-free blabber of this book
Spoilers for books 1 and 2
Blabber for book 1
Blabber for book 2

I have complicated feelings about this one.

This is the third and final book in Robin Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy and… unfortunately my least favorite of the three. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book. I just didn’t love it like I was really hoping to.

This is the last novel that Robin Hobb has published that I had yet to read, so I was hoping to go out with a bang. I’m not sure if my desire for this affected my enjoyment of the book or not, honestly.

As per usual, I read this with Zezee @Zezeewithbooks, and we both ended up having similar ‘ehhhh’ feelings throughout.

So this book picks up directly after the second one ends. Nevare has now used magic to the extent that he’s essentially lost himself to it. Soldier’s Boy has taken over control of his body and for the majority of this book, Nevare is trapped inside, helplessly witnessing the actions that this alter-ego is taking while using it. Because Nevare can’t actually do anything and because the book is solely from his point of view, the narration becomes very, very passive. Large parts of it are him watching his body move around and lamenting in his horror and frustration at not being able to do anything about it. 

And I gotta tell ya, it got irritating after a while. I mean, the situation was realistic, at least in the world of the story. What else did Nevare have to do aside from lament? He was trapped! But like… the narration decision I wasn’t a huge fan of. There was all this stuff going on – machinations of Soldier’s Boy and the Specks, things with Epiny and Spink, all sorts of stuff – but the narration didn’t touch nearly enough on that because Nevare was the only POV and had limited visibility of it all. Usually I like single POV stories but I feel like it was a flaw in this novel. I get why it was done, mind you, but it really created an irksome and boring chunk of the book, at least for me.

Luckily though I still liked Nevare as a character, even though he was being annoying. I’m not sure Zezee did as much, which I think meant I enjoyed the story a tad more (though if I’m wrong, correct me friend :p) Nevare really grew on me as a character, because his development from book one to three was awesome. In the beginning, he was essentially a stick in the mud, and expected everything to be given to him as his birth right. By the end, he had become a worldly, compassionate human, able to see things from others points of view to the point where he realized his peoples’ way of life might not be the “right” way or the “only” way. Aside from his unfortunate situation and lamenting of it in book three, his character arc was pretty great.

Another thing I liked about this book was how it handled “good” and “bad”. The two nations in the book, the Gernians and the Specks, are at odds with each other. The Gernians want to build a road to the sea, straight through the Speck’s territory. The Specks don’t want this because building the road would mean chopping down their ancestor trees – huge, sentient things where the spirits of their dead reside. The conflict comes because the Gernians don’t understand the spiritual importance of these trees, and the Specks don’t understand the Gernian’s need for new trade. So neither side is “bad”, really. They both have good goals – save their nations – but they cannot understand the other, therefore each thinks the other is the antagonist. Nevare is smack in the middle by book three. Especially with Soldier’s Boy spending more and more time in Speck territory, Nevare is able to pick up these nuances and contemplate each side’s point of view. I think this was handled really, really well and when Nevare was lamenting about this particular topic, it made for some interesting reading.

We also got some of the side characters back, though not nearly as many as I had hoped. Spink and Epiny in particular played a large part in this novel, which I think was great. I said it last time too but their relationship is just wonderful. They’re so open and trusting with each other, and they understand each other without really having to explain themselves. Their situation during this book was affected a lot by Soldier Boy’s doings, and it caused a bit of conflict between them and Nevare. I really liked that communication was big in this though: there was no ‘but let me explain’ and then walking away. Epiny basically always demanded a thorough explanation every time something happened that caused a conflict, and it held her, Spink and Nevare together like glue, and I really loved her for it.

Some side characters though we didn’t get to see again. Namely I was hoping to see Gord, a character from book 1. In book 1, he was Nevare’s classmate and was bullied mercilessly for his weight. Initially Nevare thought poorly of him for his size but grew to respect him for his character. Gord got a good bit of development too when he was present in the narrative, and then the plot took a turn and he basically disappeared. In retrospect, I see that Gord as a character was set up to be a parallel: he was fat and Nevare respected him less for it, and then the magic took over Nevare and he got fat and people also lost respect for him. Gord was essentially a plot device and it left me feeling salty. I get that the message was ‘people are more than their bodies and should be treated as such’ but still, I wanted Gord to come back. I wanted comradery between Gord and Nevare. I wanted it!

I want a full book about Gord, dammit.

As for the ending, I think it was pretty satisfying. No spoilers, mind you, but I do believe that aside from the characters from book one that are basically never mentioned again, the story wraps up well and most of the plot lines are brought to a close. It was a good ending and left me feeling complete. Because of that, my enjoyment of the book bumped up a bit. The book itself definitely dragged at times, but the way it finished off made up for it (a bit).  I’m not gonna say anything else on it other than ‘I definitely liked it’.

So yeah, this was my final Robin Hobb book, at least until she publishes something else (please?!?!?!) Despite me not loving this book, she’s definitely my favorite author, basically ever. And now that I’ve completed her books I feel a void in my heart, and I need to reread everything lickity split. I wonder if I would reread this book in a few years if I would enjoy it more? It’ll be interesting to see.

Rating: 3.75 stars