I won’t lie; my reading in March was not quite what I expected it to be. With the reading retreat at the beginning of the month I had sort of expected to get a whole lot of reading done. Never mind that I chose an 800+ page book, my expectations were still way up there.
What I couldn’t have counted on was catching some form of respiratory sickness (yet to be confirmed as the respiratory sickness) which would wipe me out for much of the month. When I don’t even have the energy to escpae into my books, then I know something is up.
So it was that I only managed to read two books in the whole month of March (again not forgetting that one of those books was a mammoth) and I enjoyed one and disliked the other. So pretty good going, right?!
The links below are affiliate links; if you click through and purchase anything it doesn’t cost you any extra but is a great way to support me and my content.
Blood Orange – Harriet Tyce
At the start of the year I picked up three majorly hyped books; The Binding, Where The Crawdads Sing and Blood Orange. The Binding I didn’t love, Crawdads I adored and Blood Orange…well.
This is a mystery thriller about a woman (Alison) who on the surface appears to have it all. She has a loving family and is working as a criminal barrister in London. Her career appears to be on the rise, as, at the beginning of the book she is handed her first murder case. Of course nothing is quite as it seems and we soon discover that our protagonist has a problem with alcohol and is also having an abusive affair with a colleague. Alison’s story begins to mirror that of the case she is currently working; a wife accused of murdering her husband.
My main issue with this book was the unreliable narration. It was the same reason I didn’t enjoy Girl on a Train or Appletree Yard; so I think if you like those books then you would enjoy this. I also didn’t like any of the characters. Every single one (bar Alison’s daughter) made despicable and poor decisions and didn’t appear to have any redeeming qualities. I still now can’t decide if that was a deliberate choice on behalf of Harriet Tyce or if she genuinely believes people can be so awful. I certainly like to see at least a glimmer of hope in characters, and people in general and in this book there was simply none of that. At all.
The book was very readable and fast paced with some good twists but unfortunately not one for me.
The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
At over 800 pages, Priory is not for the faint of heart. This adult fantasy fiction is a lot to digest and although I eventually gave it 4 stars it took a while to get into. It’s also a very tricky book to explain concisely as so much takes place. In the world Shannon has created we have the East and the West and thanks to a disease known as the Red Sickness these two parts of the world are divided. Each has their own rich history, political system and religion and they are basically polar opposites of one another. That is until a common enemy threatens to rise and somehow the East and West must come together to face and defeat the threat.
This book is blurbed as a feminist Lord of the Rings and I would 100% agree with that. There are some seriously strong, kick-ass female characters in this book and we follow the perspective of a number of different characters, each of whom goes on an epic journey (both literally and in terms of self-discovery).
I loved it and I feel like this may have nudged into a 5 star read for me but for two things. umber one, that for the majority of the time I was reading this book I wasn’t myself, thanks to the respiratory illness, and the fact that there is a lot of info dumping which takes place at the start of the book. I had basically no clue what was going on for the first 200-250 pages as there are just characters thrown at you and historical figures referenced and religious beliefs waved around and it’s a lot to follow and get your head around. Once it all falls into place and the story proper begins then it really is wonderful, but it does take its sweet time. And that is definitely something to keep in mind, especially if you aren’t a big fantasy reader.
Overall I am pleased that I picked this up, and I would certainly like to reread it at some point in the future. It is rich and vivid, complex and entertaining with dragons and queens, assassins and warriors, love and betrayal and so much more in the telling. I’d highly recommend it.
And that is it for my March wrap up. Sorry it leaves a little bit to be desired. Hopefully April will be all that much richer for a) feeling like myself again and b) getting more reading done!!