September Wrap-Up

I was feeling a bit slumpy in September (and I’ve been super-busy at work), so I’m actually quite surprised by how many books I’ve managed to read: 4 novels – most of them quite chunky – and 1 novella! And, more importantly, I really loved almost all of them! ❤

Melina Marchetta//Froi of the ExilesFroi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. The second book in the Lumatere Chronicles. This book follows Froi – one of the supporting characters from Finnikin of the Rock – on a mission in the enemy kingdom of Charyn, where a curse has taken hold, and no child has been born in 18 years… since the birth of Princess Quintana, whom the Charynites refer to as “Quintana the curse-maker”. I really enjoyed Finnikin of the Rock, but Froi of the Exiles was even better; the same brilliantly complex characters, and wonderful world, but built up even further, and a little easier to get into. I wish there’d been a bit more of Finnikin, but I really loved all the characters – new and old – who had parts in this new story. In particular, it was great to see how Beatriss and Trevanion’s relationship developed after their years apart, and the Charynite twins, Gargarin and Arjuro, were fascinating. The plot was wonderful, too; quiet or dramatic in all the right places, and there was a very sudden development right at the end of the book that made me very glad that I already had the sequel on my shelf, waiting to be picked up immediately. 😀5 stars

Melina Marchetta//Quintana of CharynQuintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta. The final Lumatere Chronicles book, and what a book it was! 😀 I obviously can’t say much about what happens, but all the story threads were tied up wonderfully, the romance (and this book is definitely the most romantic in the series) was great, and the writing beautiful. Froi of the Exiles is still probably my favourite of the three books, but it’s been a long time since I was this satisfied by the way a series ended. 🙂5 starsMichael Grant//Messenger of FearMessenger of Fear by Michael Grant. My Library Scavenger Hunt pick for September, which follows a teenage girl who wakes up in a mysterious place, remembering nothing of her life before. I was a little disappointed by this book, but I’ve already posted a mini-review explaining why.2 starsPhilip Pullman//Lyra's OxfordLyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman. A short story set a while after the end of the His Dark Materials trilogy, in which Lyra and Pan come across a witch’s daemon being attacked by a vicious flock of birds, and set out to help it on its mission. Obviously, this comes nowhere close to matching the sheer brilliance of the main series, but it was really lovely to be back in the His Dark Materials universe (and I believe I said something quite similar after reading Once Upon a Time in the North, too 😉 ), and it was doubly nice to be reading about Lyra again, at to see what’s been going on in her life, and how much she’s changed (a hint: not too much). The story was interesting, too, though I wish it’d been longer.4 starsWinston Graham//DemelzaDemelza by Winston Graham. The second book in the Poldark series, which is set in a Cornish mining community towards the end of the eighteenth century, and follows various members of the Poldark family, who are landed gentry fallen on hard times due to the falling price of the copper from their mines. I actually started reading this book sometime last year (pretty much immediately after finishing Ross Poldark, I think), but ended up putting it aside when I got distracted by other books – but I’m really glad that I’ve finally finished it! I really love the drama in this series, and the romance, and all the politics/economics (which is not something that I ever thought I’d find myself thinking) of the community where the main characters live. I had already seen the whole of the first series of the TV adaptation (which covers the events of the first two books in the series) before I started Demelza, so I already knew what was going to happen, but I found that it made me anticipate each new development, rather than making the story seem tedious.5 stars

Library Scavenger Hunt: September

This month’s challenge was to read a book with coloured page edges. Sprayed edges, I believe is the technical term (don’t quote me on that). The first book I stumbled across at the library was The Tattooed Heart by Michael Grant (which had the pages sprayed a wonderful bright red colour), and – reading the blurb – I was actually warming up to the idea of it being my pick for the month… until I realised that it was the second book in a series. ^^’ Luckily for me, though, the first book was sitting right next to it, sprayed black, so my September pick was…

MESSENGER OF FEAR
Michael Grant

Michael Grant//Messenger of FearMara wakes up surrounded by a mysterious mist, remembering nothing of how she got there, or even who she is (beyond her name). When the mist clears, she meets an old/young man who calls himself the Messenger of Fear, and what follows is a dark, introspective journey in search of both Mara and Messenger’s true natures.

I was really looking forward to reading this, but I have to confess that I found it rather underwhelming. The pacing was slow, and much of the book felt like padding for a barely-there story that was more like a prologue than anything else; an intriguing prologue, but a prologue nonetheless. The novel also talked a lot about bullying, and I found it interesting that the two primary cases that the book dealt with were shown from multiple perspectives – the bullies, the victims, and the (relatively) outside viewpoints of Mara and Messenger – but in trying to show every side of both cases, much of their complexity seemed glossed over, the people involved becoming archetypes rather than actual characters…

The book was, however, interesting, and I feel that if it had been a bit longer, and the characters a bit more fleshed out, I probably would have enjoyed it more. It does also set a rather promising groundwork for the series to build on, but I’m not entirely decided on whether or not I’ll be continuing on.2 stars

[Find out more about the Library Scavenger Hunt by following this link!]