The month of February had me reading nonstop. Honestly I couldn't help myself with this Hamilton reference because this month I had been reading like I was running out of time. The past few months, my wrap-ups have been pretty small. And though I am a major believer of quality over quantity, I have been wanting to get through books at a faster rate than previously. This month I read a total of 20 books, most of which consist of novellas, short stories, and poems, but there are some regular full length novels in the mix.
Silver in the Blood by Jessica Day George
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
❝ Now I am the queen of darkness and terror. ❞
This was the first book I read in the month of February and I was sadly not floored by it at all. I received this book from the publisher, mostly due to the fact that this book is blurbed as 'for fans of Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare' which so happens to be my top two favorite authors. Silver in the Blood takes place in Romania in 1890 following, two high society cousins Dacia and Lou who are sent from their homes in New York City to Romania to meet their family and learn a terrifying secret. This synopsis had intrigued me so much, but this book was such a let down. The beginning was incredibly slow, and honestly I couldn't find myself liking any of the characters. Due to the slow beginning, near the end it felt really rushed. I did like the plot and the concept of the storyline and also the Romanian setting. Even though I didn't love this book, I'm interested to see what's in store for the sequel.
Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
Overall Rating: ★★★★★ 4.7 stars
Welcome To Shadowhunter Academy ★★★☆☆ 3½ stars
The Lost Herondale ★★★★☆ 4 stars
The Whitechapel Fiend ★★★★★ 5 stars
Nothing But Shadows ★★★★★ 5 stars
The Evil We Love ★★★★☆ 4½ stars
Pale Kings & Princes ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Bitter of Tongue ★★★★★ 5 stars
The Fiery Trial ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Born to Endless Night ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Angels Twice Descending ★★★★★ 5 stars
❝ Mark grinned, something wild and fey in the grin, like sunlight glittering through a spiderweb. “And we do love mischief, Simon Lewis, and sometimes wickedness. But it is not all bad, to ride the winds, run upon the waves, and dance upon the mountains, and it is all I have left.❞
❝ Tell the Clave that I have saved more Shadowhunter lives, that I will be a Shadowhunter and be damned to them, that I will be a faerie and curse them! And tell my family that I love them, I love them, and I will never forget. One day I will go home.❞
Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy is what essentially pulled me from my prolonged reading slump. I can go on and on about the beauty of this novella collection, but I already talk about this too much so if you want more of my thoughts, read this post.
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Individual Ratings:Shadow and Bone ★★★★☆ 4 stars
Siege and Storm ★★★★★ 5 stars
Ruin & Rising ★★★☆☆ 3½ stars
“Na razrusha'ya. I am not ruined. E'ya razrushost. I am ruination.”It's been awhile since I've read an entire series back to back and finish them in one month. But after constantly putting it off I finally decided to finally read the Grisha trilogy. Shadow and Bone is set in an alternate Russia, Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a stretch of darkness infested with monsters, when Alina Starkov and her regiment is attacked on the fold, she emits a power that not only saves her and her friend's life, but may be the key to defeating the Fold and darker powers that threaten her country's safety. I really did love this at first, Leigh Bardugo did pretty well with the set up in Shadow and Bone, we are introduced to this unique world of those with magical power, grisha. The writing flowed well and she developed most of her characters thoroughly. The Darkling being one of my favorite characters to have read about. There is something so intriguing about the way he speaks and thinks, honestly what would I do to know what is going on inside his head.
But anyways, we move to book two, Siege and Storm which was my favorite book out of the three. In this I feel Alina really comes to her power more, not to mention that we are introduced to a new character, Nikolai Lantsov, whom I adore. And then we get to Ruin and Rising, I have always heard mixed things about this last one, but never paid no mind to it. I thought I would be apart of the few that loved it, but frankly that was not the case. The beginning was great, it wasn't until the end that I really began disliking it. Near the end things began to get confusing and misconstrued and honestly I felt this book contradicted a lot of what was said in the previous book, and the ending was so unsatisfactory. I just felt certain character could have had more closure and things could have been explained better.
The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
❝ He understood then. The Grisha lived as shadows did, passing over the surface of the world, touching nothing, forced to change their shapes and hide in corners, driven by fear as shadows were driven by the sun. No safe place. No haven.
There will be, he promised in the darkness, new words written upon his heart. I will make one. ❞
This is a Grisha trilogy novella that tells a story of the Darkling, before he became the Darkling. Honestly, I may have cried a lot while reading this. This novella is fairly short, it follows the Darkling and his mother as they finally settle in another town as something they constantly must do. They find a grisha camp, as this were the case due to the fact that the world pretty much despised grisha and hunted them down regularly. You see the Darkling as just a boy, yes he has his strange dark power, but in this story you see him have many boyish wants. A longing to fit in, to make friends, to stay for a season and not move around all the time. It's heartbreaking to see when he experiences cruelty, the point where you can see him not being able to trust anymore. I can imagine that after this novella is where the change takes place, where he feels he no longer needs anybody, where he really grows into his power and longs to make the grisha great and respected again. I honestly wished this could have been longer.
The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
❝ Because I am a doll, and a servant. because I am a pretty thing and a soldier all the same. ❞
This is another grisha trilogy novella, one from a scene from Shadow and Bone from Genya's perspective. I really enjoyed this novella, due to the fact that Genya is one of my favorite character's from this trilogy. It was really interesting to see her interact with the Darkling because we never really get to see them talk privately and I always wondered what made her want to join his side initially.
The Devil & Tom Walker by Washington Irving
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2 stars
"The good people of Boston shook their heads and shrugged their shoulders, but had been so much accustomed to witches and goblins and tricks of the devil in all kinds of shapes from the first settlement of the colony, that they were not so much horror struck as might have been expected."
The Devil and Tom Walker is a classic story about a man who meets the devil in the woods and ends up working for the devil due to his own greed. I had to read this for my English class, so I understood the theme of greed, corruption, and the trees surrounding the Indian fort representing the mortal decay of all the men who have sold their soul to the devil. It was statement to say that those who are too consumed with money are practically in the clutches of the devil. There is a lot of deeper meaning and motifs to be had from this story, but honestly it just wasn't my favorite.
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4 stars
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
I have finally read one of the most influential poems in American literature. It was kinda sad that I have not read anything from Poe besides that of The Tell Tale Heart. The Raven is a dreary, phantasmagoric tale of love worn man who let's an ominous raven in his house. While reading this I did listen to the audiobook and it gave it an even more atmospheric feel to the story. you really get Poe's single effect of dreariness and despair. I definitely long to read more by him.
Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
"There can be no doubt that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition—for why should I not so term it?--served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis."I further delve into Poe's work with the Fall of the House of Usher. It's a grim short story where the narrator is invited over to his old friend Roderick Usher of the Usher estate. Upon meeting he sees Roderick has changed greatly since their childhood, his face looking weary and hard. The house is an entity of itself as you fall back into normal creepy tone of Poe's writing, you begin to see how the house mirrors its inhabitants. I just thought this story was okay, but maybe if I read it again in the future I could appreciate it more.
Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2½ stars
“A teacher (a good teacher) is composed of molecules of education and intelligence, bonded together by patience and passion.”Was not a fan at all. Kate Malone is your typical straight-A, smart, female character who is somehow careless enough to apply to one college. That's right, one. Kate only applies to MIT because she feels as if she is a shoe-in. This novel is essentially her dealing with her decisions, and by dealing I mean constantly complaining about everything unfair about her life, because of her rash decisions. I listened to the audiobook of this and honestly if I hadn't this would probably have a lower rating. I did like the narrator's voice, and honestly Kate could be funny at times when she wasn't constantly whining, but the end of this story sort of cuts of that kind of does it for me.