February felt rather intense, particularly towards the end. I think that was because I went straight from an exam to a church weekend away so didn’t get any rest that weekend. The big bookish highlight was go and see Samantha Shannon at the Leeds launch for PRIORY, which was something new for me.
My reading felt much slower this month (17 books compared to 24 in January). Several of these books were very hefty as you can see in the picture above (also, I actually made a graphics-ish for once). However, I’m very proud of picking up books I wouldn’t usually read, and hope to push myself more in months to come.
I generally loved all the books I picked up this month, as shown by how hard it was to only pick one book for each of the ‘featured books’ below. It was so hard that I haven’t settled for one.
This month had two distinctive halves. The first was mainly Backlist books, and the second new releases. This is the month with the most anticipated new releases, so the most pre-orders. Due to shipping errors, I received all of them at least a week early. I even received a March release book three weeks early, in mid-February.
I’ve placed myself on a book buying ban until I’ve read all the books sitting on my shelves. Let’s see how well I stick to that. Existing pre-orders don’t count, right?
Favourite New Release
BLOODWITCH by Susan Dennard
I love the Witchlands series, and this fourth entry (book 2.5 SIGHTWITCH is essential to the story) utterly blew me away. I sat down at 11 o’clock at night and read the whole thing in one go. It was well worth the sleep-deprived daze the next day. The world-building is as excellent as ever, but the story tops the others by a mile. The stakes rise and rise, the twists shock you and the end will break your heart in so many ways. I can’t wait for the next instalment in the series!
Favourite Backlist Book
ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus
In an attempt to broaden my reading horizons, I picked up a few YA thrillers this month. ONE OF US IS LYING was the first one I read, and it’s hooked me into the genre. It was such a fun read; a riveting tale with so many twists and turns. McManus displays a masterful control of information reveal. If you’re looking to try this genre, start here!
A massive shout-out here for both THE CITY OF BRASS and THE KINGDOM OF COPPER by S. A. Chakraborty. These are the first two books of the Daevabad Trilogy. THE CITY OF BRASS was released last year, and THE KINGDOM OF COPPER this month. I utterly adored these books, and they just lost out to the the books featured above in their respective categories by a whisker. These two bookended the month – the first and last books read in February.
This trilogy is an epic, breathtaking tale set in a hidden/parallel world to our 18th century. It’s an Islamic-inspired fantasy, spanning from Cairo to the hidden city of Daevabad. Her world encompases everything from East Africa to India and the Himalayas. The books are full of djinn, magic, heartbreak and Chakraborty is utterly ruthless to her characters.
Most disappointing Read/Worst Book I’ve Read
The worst book I’ve read was WATER’S WRATH by Elise Kova, with the Air Awakens series as a whole taking most disappointing read.
The last three books in the series were a mess of jumbled plot and angst. Characters didn’t talk properly about their problems, so everything got worse. Tension utterly slacked off and a new villain sprang up out of the blue without development or motivation that didn’t feel hastily tacked on.
EARTH’S END was a bit of a wobble, with the magic system taking on leaps and bounds with no explanation. The villain up until that book just sat back and did nothing until the final scene – which undercut the ‘oh no’ of that moment as why didn’t he do anything earlier?
The final book, CRYSTAL CROWNED, was a bit better. There was a clear villain and goals for the characters – plus rather revolting ‘bad’ magic. However, there was a lot of time wasted and the climax essentially came down to a magical fist fight.
Overall I found the series disappointing as I’d heard so much about it, and I know I’m the minority with this opinion.
Most Anticipated March Release
SONG OF SORROW by Melinda Salisbury
UK release: Thursday 7th March
I was lucky enough to read SONG early and I can’t recommend it enough! The sequel to STATE OF SORROW, this book is another amazing YA political fantasy. Sorrow’s won the Chancellorship, and lost the country to her enemy. With his knowledge of her past held over her, how can Sorrow stop him from ruining the land?
Because I’ve already read SONG, the book I’m most looking forwards to reading next month is THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE, by Samantha Shannon. It’s just been released (February 26th), and is a feminist re-imagining of George and the Dragon.
As I mentioned, I went to the Leeds launch – my first ever book launch! – and it was so much fun (thanks Beth for persuading me to go!). It was great to hear Sam talk about this book and hint at the story. It’s a hefty book (800 pages) so my elbows are still killing from holding PRIORY and all of THE BONE SEASON books. I’m still not sure how I fit these in my bag.
What books did you read this month? Which ones are you most looking forwards to?