Welcome to the family, new favorite trilogy and first favorite series of 2019. So far I've been having a wonderful reading year, and it's largely because of The Themis Files.
I also want to quickly mention The Humans by Matt Haig, which got me into the hugest sci-fi mood at the beginning of December last year - and I'm still riding that wave. Thank you.
Only Human got me a little bit worried because of its unusually (and so undeserved) low ratings, but I'm happy that I didn't let that scare or influence me. I can see people maybe wanting a bit more action out of this one, but Only Human delivers so much more than that.
All of the events in this book hit much too close to home (minus the giant robot of course), but racism, discrimination based on pettiest reasons, bigotry, governmental manipulations - if you aren't careful you might think that you are reading a very non-fiction book about events around the world. Because this is our reality. And it's scary.
Now imagine if you could only have a do-over. If you could have all the power in the world to fix it - what would you do? Our main characters hold that power in their own hands (feet too), but instead they choose to fight each other over personal reasons. They fight while the world watches and crumbles under their feet.
Because this is who we are - we are selfish and ignorant humans. We are children in need of guidance - if this book does anything, is that it open your eyes to things you already knew, but tried so hard to ignore.
Only Human is absolutely brilliant. It pulls on emotional strings, it's believable and so easily connectable. It manages to focus on personal relationships and small things that matter on a scale of the world ending. Because the world ending is a very big deal, but what each and every one of us does on personal level while the world is ending, is also a very big deal.
You know when you read a first book in the series and you like it so much that you pray the second book is at least half that good?
Waking Gods blows Sleeping Giants out of the water.
It's funny, but as with the first book it took me a little bit to get completely sucked into it. About thirty pages. I feel like Neuvel eases the reader in slowly at the beginning of every book.
Because when the things start happening - they don't stop until the very last page. So I hope you're good at holding your breath for the long amounts of time, because you will be doing that a lot here.
It's a specialty of mine to not being able to write a proper and coherent review for books that I really, really, really enjoyed. I just can't find words.
In terms of writing, in terms of plotting, in terms of characters - this book improved so much from the first one. And I already thought that the first one was perfect. So, we're breaking physics over here, really. Waking Gods gave me a lot of feelings. I still can't believe that the author did what he did. And he did it so off handedly too!
What I loved the most is how brutally honest everything is - this book highlights everything that is wrong with humanity and everything that could be right, but because of our humongous egos and selfish nature, just can't be. This book has so much food for thought that you will need a to-go box!
You know when you read a book that makes all the other books out there obsolete?
THIS IS THAT BOOK
I gave it 5 stars, but really I wish I could have given it 6 stars, 7 stars, 8 million stars.
Also, can we talk about how aesthetically pleasing the cover is? It's all green and trees and it just radiates warmths - totally my jam!
Orange deals with a topic that I am usually not comfortable reading about. Mostly because it's almost never handled well in books (at least the ones I read). But this, this is BEAUTIFUL. I am still at a loss for words. Which is curious, because this being manga, it also didn't have that many words in it (relative to its 500+ page count), but it relayed emotions and feelings in the strongest, most heart wrenching and best possible way.
It is true what they say - a picture is worth a thousand words.
The cast of characters is amazing. They all have very unique personalities, and the way they come together is absolutely beautiful. Hands down the best portrayal of a large group friendship in a book.
And while at times the main character Naho, was a bit hard to read because of her extreme timidness and indecisiveness - in the end I realized that she couldn't have been any other way. She was shy to start with, but the burden which was put on her, made all of her decisions that much harder for her.
There were many small details in the book which would resurface later and hit you right in the feels. Orange is a masterpiece.
Will I ever love anything as much as I love this?
Orange volume 2 not only lived up to my expectations, it exceeded them. I don't know how, but it managed to be sad, sweet, heartbreaking and uplifting all at once.
This cast of characters will stay with me for a very long time.
Naho, who's sweet and timid, but possesses quiet strength and kind heart.
Suwa, who is the most selfless character I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Kakeru, who is so sad and troubled, but also loving and gentle.
Azu, who is loud and cheerful, and loved expressing herself.
Hagita, who's always grumbling and complaining, but a wonderful friend.
Takako, who is quiet, independent and strong, and will always have your back.
I love each and every one of them with all my heart.
What I loved the most was how the group of friends was willing to do everything they absolutely could to save their friend. Not once they thought that maybe it was his choice, that they should leave him to it and respect his wishes. No. They gripped him with all they could, they loved him, they hugged him when he needed it, they made him smile, they cheered him on. They always had his back. They fought for him and they showed him that life was worth living.
Never think that leaving a depressed and suicidal person to their own devices is a good idea. Never think that they know better what they want and what's best for them. They hurt. They hurt so much that they don't see any future beyond a fleeting moment. The can't see or know what's good for them, because they don't see good in anything. If you have that friend - be their light, be their goodness, be their reason to live. No matter what it takes. Always save your friend.
*If you feel confused by jumpy timelines - follow Suwa's necklace! If he's wearing it - it's a throwback. If he's not - it's a present time.*
It felt so good being back in Orange world. Being with these characters. Seeing them cry, seeing them smile. I love all of them with my whole heart. They are all precious little dandelions and they need to be protected at all costs.
This volume wasn't as strong as the previous ones for one reason - the whole gang wasn't in it enough. I missed their dynamic, I missed the jokes and their interactions and Yuza's cutesy outfits. There was some of it here, but not nearly enough.
I loved seeing Suwa's perspective. He was always my favorite and he still is. Behind his cheerfulness there is so much sadness, so much insecurity and regrets. He's so beautiful inside and out, even if he himself doesn't believe that.
While Orange Future doesn't add anything new plot wise to the story, it adds another dimension. It adds another set of emotions.
This is definitely a series that I will re-read a lot in the future. So much love.
You know what's great?
Picking up a book that you had decent expectations for and having that book blow your mind by exceeding those expectations tenfold.
Also, beautiful minimalistic covers are also pretty darn great.
It took me about two chapters to get into this. After prologue I was maybe intrigued. After chapter one I was definitely intrigued, but due to the format I didn't think that I'd relate or feel any feelings towards the characters. Somewhere in the middle of chapter two I was suddenly invested, intrigued and feeling all the feels! So, Sylvain Neuvel, bravo.
The format is fascinating. It's told in interviews, journal entries, news recordings and scientific reports. Sounds boring? You're wrong! It makes the story so multidimensional that you might feel like you're in the middle of it. You might want to check the view from your window, to make sure that there are no aliens invading earth. Just in case.
Also, I don't believe in aliens. So, for me to love a book about that topic so much, is definitely saying something.
The characters! Ohh, the characters.
Kara Resnik is.... quite a character! Pardon my word repetition. But she really is. She is also my favorite female character. Like probably ever. I don't even have to describe her, if you read the book you will understand Kara from the very first page of her chapters. She doesn't waste any time on petty introductions.
Then there's Mister Fun and Fluffy. That isn't his name, but he doesn't have one. So calling him whatever Kara calls him seems sufficient to me. He's quite a mystery.
There's Rose. Rose is a driving force of this story. She started it, forgetter or for worse.
And there's the Canadian. He's cocky and arrogant and doesn't spend much time with you in the beginning, but maybe he will warm up to you. And you to him.
There's more people involved, but I'm not here to give everything away. I'm here to tell you that this was impossible to put down. This felt like a movie, but also very life like. This is also one of my new favorites. And I'm about to binge the rest of the series. That's all I'm saying.
Well, this is going to be a short blog post!
In my 2019 reading goals and resolutions I mentioned that "if I don't read a single ya book in 2019, I'd be perfectly okay." And it still stands. However. I recently became a patron of the library again, so I wouldn't have to spend money on those books and there are few I had my eyes on for a while. Kind of.
The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1)by
So, I started this book in 2018. Like, ummm, October of. And got stuck at 16%. It may partially be because I was reading an e-book of it, and it just wasn't cutting it. Or maybe because the book is so boring, and quite generic. I don't know.
I want to check out a physical copy, to see if I will finish this, or if I will finally DNF it.
Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor
I wasn't the biggest fan of Strange the Dreamer.
But, I am kind of curious where Laini Taylor is going to take this story. Plus, it's only a duo-logy, so it's not like I am investing in large series or anything.
Hopefully it will be over quickly and painlessly. Maybe I will even enjoy it.
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology #1)by Leigh Bardugo
I don't have high hopes for this anymore.
It's way too hyped. Also, the book is over 500 pages long - what for? When I read Grisha Trilogy I LOVED Nikolai. But, it was 3 years ago, and I also loved Grisha Trilogy, and now when I think about how generic and annoying it actually is, I cringe. Hard.
But, I made my library order this, so hopefully it's worth it at least a bit.
The Bear and the Nightingale(Winternight Trilogy #1)by Katherine Arden
Now, my library has this shelved as adult fantasy, but Goodreads has it as young adult. So I'm not sure?
But it's better to have low expectations and shelve it as ya, so when I'm disappointed I have something to blame it on.
And that's it, folks.