January rewind

This is a look back at what I read in January. I'm not extremely impressed with myself, but I'll get over it, and I'll come back stronger in February. But here we go.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I liked this. It didn’t blow me away, but it was fine. So Station Eleven is about America and Canada, I guess, after a global pandemic that wiped out a huge part of the world’s population. It sort of starts on the night of a production of King Lear in Toronto, where an old, previously very famous, now slightly faded actor, named Arthur Leander plays Lear. He has a heart attack on stage and dies and this is the pandemic’s first night. The main characters of the story are sort of loosely connected to Arthur. The main protagonist is a young women, Kirsten, who was a child actor in Lear, who is now working in a theatre troupe that travels around performing Shakespeare. I liked a lot of it, it just fell a bit short for me, especially the end, and a crazy prophet, who did not get the page time I would have liked. I wrote a review, and here it is.

Legend by Marie Lu
I think I read this in three days. It’s a dystopia about a young woman named June and a young man named Day. They are very opposite, apparently. June is a rich prodigy who is 15, who is now a sort of high-ranking military agent. She is tasked with finding Day, a mastermind criminal, who is 15 as well. He is apparently the best criminal of all time, despite the fact that he is 15. It was… fine. It was fast paced and I thought it was readable. I thought it had a couple of flaws, like the characters being completely unbelievable. 15-year-olds are not the best criminals in the world. They’re not. And they’re not high ranking military agents. And both Day and June were infallible, perfect, masters of everything. It was fine. I don’t know that I’ll read the other two, but it was fine. Wrote a review here. 

The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw by Christopher Healy
This is the conclusion to the League of Princes trilogy. It was a lot of fun. They are hilarious and they’re cute and they grow up I guess, which I thought was lovely. The jokes work on more than one level. I love the princes. I love Christopher Healy. I love the princesses. I love the pirates, yeah, there are pirates! This might not be a huge shock, but I love pirates. I wrote a review of this as well. Whoo. I’m sticking to my resolutions so far.

Out of Oz by Gregory Maguire
Also, another conclusion to a series. The fourth book in the Wicked Years series. It’s about Rain, the daughter of Liir, granddaughter of Elphaba. It’s about a lot of things, but it’s mainly about her. There’s a war going on, Shell Thropp (King/Prime Minister) is having a religious meltdown and uses it to start a war. Dorothy Gale is back, Dorothy Gale, is amazing. She’s a ditzy weirdo, and she’s so American, and I love it. I really liked it. I thought it was great, and I wrote a review here.

Miss Marvel, volume 1 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (artist)
This is a comic book series about a young Muslim woman named Kamala Kahn, I think she’s about 17, living in America. She is kind of hooked on superheroes, and she loves her adopted country very much. She also loves her parents very much, and even though they’re quite liberal Muslims I guess they do expect her to be more obedient and respectful and different from what she is, so she isn’t really living up to their expectations. And she really tries to make them happy. Then she wishes for something, I forget what and I feel awful. Anyway, she makes a wish and she is given super powers from Captain Marvel. And this new superhero-thing she’s doing does not help with her parents being annoyed that she’s flakey and late. That wasn’t a great explanation. I didn’t do a full review, I thought I’d do graphic novel reviews sort of in bulk when I’ve read a couple.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
I really loved this. I loved this so much. David Mitchell is magical. I hope I never meet him, I’d completely freak him out. Anyways. This is about a young woman named Holly Sykes, sort of. David Mitchell’s way of writing is that he sort of writes novellas, or short-ish stories, and he puts them together and has a long read thread through his books. So there we go. I loved how all the stories seemed like normal, ordinary stories, and then suddenly something really, really, weird happened, for about two pages, and then it was never mentioned again until the fifth story when it all came together. I think it’s a good place to start if you’ve never read David Mitchell. I think it’s a book that’s sort of easy one to grasp. I loved how he brought in characters from his other novels, so I need to read those of his books that I haven’t read yet. He has an amazing ability to write different voices, which is astounding. They’re very different, they’re very clearly separated. I’m gushing now. I’ll stop. I wrote a review here.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I haven’t completely finished this, mostly because the West Wing is on Netflix and I’m obsessed. But I’m over half-way and I love it. I love it so much. It’s absolutely beautiful, the story is fascinating. Rochester is quite possibly the least pleasant human being on the planet, but I don’t remember how deeply I hated Heathcliff, so this feeling might change. I love Jane, she’s sort of a badass. She wants to be able to support herself and cope on her own. Even if she wants to marry Rochester she wants to be independent of him in a way. Which I think is fascinating. She is obviously sort of trapped by the time period and her poverty and everything, but she is quite modern and I like that. I will probably review this when I’m done, but obviously have to finish first.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
I didn’t finish this either, because the West Wing, but I really love what I’ve read so far, so I’ll finish it as soon as I can. This year started so great, then I remembered Netflix, and I live among boxes and chaos, which isn’t helpful. I think it’ll be better when I’ve actually moved. Let’s assume that’ll be better shall we? Yeah. Not really talking about the book there, but I find it fascinating so far.