Four books in January might not seem a lot but when you’ve got plenty of other things going on, it’s actually a fairly decent amount! I’d say six is an average number for me so I was just behind that, although I am also making time to listen to Anne of Green Gables on audiobook which did also affect how much I read. Regardless…here is what I read in January.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
I went into this book expecting something very different from what I found. I had picked up from somewhere that this was a dystopian and I was not at all prepared for how dark and uncomfortable a read it would turn out to be. It is indeed in the dystopian category but is written as though it is a historical piece of work. In our world, girls suddenly discover that they have the ability to generate electrical currents in their bodies and as such there is a shift in power with women becoming the dominant gender. We follow four characters who become significant figures during this time and each play a different role in the changing of society. There were a lot of things I didn’t enjoy about this book, predominantly the fact that women so quickly became power hungry, evil pieces of work subjecting men to all forms of physical and mental torture but as I said above, it did get me thinking and it did get me talking to people. How would women behave if they were given more power. Would they have more compassion or would they immediately become power hungry moguls, as this book suggests. Overall it is one I would definitely recommend but you have to go in prepared to find the plot slow until the last 100 pages or so, and to know that there are a number of scenes which are not pleasant to read.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
Why do I do these things to myself?! I mentioned that one of my goals this year was to finish reading series that I had already started but given the way I felt about A Court of Mist and Fury, ACOWAR wasn’t a book I was planning on picking up any time soon. Yet…I decided that there had been enough time passed that I could try and pick it up and read it as though it was a completely individual book and I’m glad I did. I think that I enjoy Sarah J Maas’ writing enough that I need to make my peace with some of her writing flaws. So, she might have a limited book of adjectives and she might prefer to write longer sexy scenes than the politics of a society but when she does write about things of interest such as fight scenes or politics it is enough to hold my interest. Although she is writing more books in this world, ACOWAR is the final book in the original trilogy so I can’t go into too much detail. Suffice to say it is a dark YA fantasy about fae. And it wasn’t half bad.
The Widow by Fiona Barton
After the heaviness of The Power and ACOWAR, I felt the need for something quick and straightforward to read so I decided to pick up The Widow. This is a psychological thriller about the widow of a man who was accused of abducting a 2 year old girl. At the start of the book we discover that her husband has just died and she has decided to give her side of the story to a reporter. It wasn’t the most complex thriller I’ve ever read and I saw the ending coming a mile off but it was quick and easy to read and exactly what I needed.
Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
I read The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff last year and really enjoyed it’s originality so when I spotted this second hand, and knowing it was one of the books which Jenoff was best known for, I immediately snapped it up. It is the story of a young 19 year old Jewish girl who must live a double life during the second world war in Nazi occupied Poland. Her husband leaves her after just six months to go into hiding as he is part of the Polish resistance. Due to her husband’s connections she is provided with false papers and must live life as a gentile and in a turn of events she ends up working for the Kommandant, one of the most powerful men in Poland at that time. In order to help the resistance, she begins an affair with the Kommandant and events unfold from there. I honestly didn’t enjoy this book as much as I wanted or expected to. I felt the characters were very difficult to connect with and the only one who had any depth was the Kommandant. Our protagonist was wishy-washy and just didn’t sell the story for me. I would say that this is a great entry level world war historical fiction if you are looking for something which isn’t too complex to read. It doesn’t break any new ground in terms of the story line and the ending is rather convenient but it isn’t terribly written and is pretty easy to follow. Compare it to the likes of The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See and I think you will be a little disappointed but it is okay for what it is, in my opinion.