Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: June 2016

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

girl in the road going postal Six of Crows The Novice rosie project Allegiant Queen of Shadows

 

Last month I read a total of seven books: The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne, Going Postal (Discworld #33) by Terry Pratchett, Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo, The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth and Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas.

I didn’t get quite as much reading done as I’d hoped during June: I no longer have the time to read on my lunch breaks at work, plus I bought some games in the Steam sale which just completely distracted me from doing anything else. I managed two Netgalley copies and FINALLY GOT MY RATIO UP TO 80%! It’s only taken me almost four years! Now I just have to work at making sure it doesn’t drop… I’ve been pretty good at not requesting stuff from there lately, in fact throughout 2016 I think I’ve requested less than 10 books. Progress 🙂 I re-read Going Postal (Discworld #33) by Terry Pratchett, which I first read before 2009 (before I had Goodreads). Most books I read before then have a 3-star rating, because I can’t always remember how much I enjoyed them. This one was bumped up to 5 stars after a re-read, so definitely worth it. However, my ultimate standout book this month was definitely Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas, which just broke me. I love that series so, SO much and I cannot wait for book five. GIMME GIMME GIMME.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read six books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge. I’m making really good progress with the villains and have defeated every one so far, but Brainiac, July’s villain, looks super tricky.
  • I have currently read 63 books towards my Goodreads goal, which puts me 13 books ahead of schedule.

 

Currently reading:

hundred thousand kingdoms
How was June for you?

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Review

Review: The Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu

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2 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Maybe I’ve just read so much fantasy that something has to be really unique to get my attention. Or maybe this book was just not that good.

From the very beginning, The Novice just felt like a generic fantasy novel: the protagonist a young boy who is ‘different’ from the others in his village, with unknown parentage. And then one day he discovers that he has a talent for summoning, and somehow ends up at a magical school. Yet the way in which he gets there is so coincidental, and I just had so many questions. It is mentioned so many times that new students are gifted a demon by a summoner on their arrival – but Fletcher just turns up with his. It is assumed it was gifted to him by Arcturus, the summoner who takes Fletcher to the school and who also teaches there, but no-one bothers to check whether he actually did, and neither does Arcturus correct them.

Basically, the requirements for getting into the school are never really explained – which is pretty much how it works throughout the entire book. There was a complete and utter lack of world-building: yep, it’s a fantasy world that has humans, orcs, elves and dwarves. That’s basically all I got. The four races don’t like each other, and orcs and humans are at war. Every single character was boring, flat and a stereotype – the hardy dwarves and snooty elves – and the whole thing was completely predictable, including the details of Fletcher’s heritage. And again, why are there so many fantasy worlds where women are second class citizens? There is all this fuss about how women are ‘finally’ allowed to be summoners. This is a FANTASY world. Even if you draw elements from medieval history, as many fantasy novels do, you don’t have to draw everything to make it more ‘realistic’ – especially as this is a book about magic and summoning demons. I certainly don’t remember learning about that in history class. The dialogue was stilted and awkward, and the writing boring and uninspiring. I love fantasy novels that paint a picture, authors that can summon vivid imagery of their imagined worlds with just a paragraph – but alas, The Novice is seriously lacking in any pretty prose.

Perhaps if I was younger – a LOT younger – and hadn’t read as many fantasy novels with which to compare this, I would have enjoyed it. As it is, it was a dull, predictable novel with no real heart or feeling.

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