November is over, which seems so strange as it means the year is almost over. It’s also the end of NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) which I managed for once (well, at time of writing, I have ~1k words to go to hit 50k, but that seems doable!) However, writing so much does mean that my reading took a hit this month.
Best New Release
SILVER IN THE MIST, by Emily Victoria, is the author’s second book and is every bit as much as an ace YA fantasy as her debut, THIS GOLDEN FLAME. I would have loved it for that representation alone (more ace and acespec characters in fantasy please!) but it was also such a fun read too.
This is a fantasy spy novel about a world split in two and plagued by mists that both sides blame each other for. Enter Devlin, a spy sent to befriend and kidnap an enemy magic wielder to help her home. I also really appreciated that our heroine doesn’t have magic. While some around her did, she was fighting with wits and fists alone.
Best Backlist Read
This month, as part of a blog tour, I read the entire Hanged God Trilogy, by Thilda Kold Holdt (OK, two of the books count as backlist, one new release, but I’m including it anyway because 2/3s is enough IMO.)
This is Norse-mythology inspired epic fantasy about the coming of Ragnarok with an enormous cast. The first instalment, NORTHERN WRATH, includes a lot of historical fantasy elements (set in 10th century Denmark), but from book two (SHACKLED FATES) the series goes much more into the epic, secondary world sort of fantasy. It is a nice balance.
Most Surprising Read
My book club book this month was RIVER KINGS, by Cat Jarman, a non-fiction history book about the Vikings, focusing on their spread across Europe and into the Middle East. It uses a lot of archeology, particularly modern techniques like isotopes in teeth and DNA extraction, to shed new light on the topic.
I had no idea how the book was going to go – either as a book club book (we’ve never read non-fiction before) or as something to read (my non-fiction reading this year has been so hit and miss) but I was pleasantly surprised by just how readable the book was and have been recommending it to all sorts of people (including total strangers!)
Best UK-Authored Read
Keeping with the very Norse theme of this list (which does accurately represent my mouth, which was entirely unplanned and I think only worked because they all had different focuses), I really enjoyed LOKI, by Melvin Burgess.
As you might have guessed from the title, this is a retelling of Norse mythology based around the character of Loki. This goes from the creation of the world to him being imprisoned to await Ragnarok (but not reaching Ragnarok – I think I’ve read the publicity right and there’s going to be a series of Norse retellings from the author, so another book will probably cover that?)
Nothing in this category this month as I haven’t read any debuts!
Most Anticipated December Release
A FIRE ENDLESS, by Rebecca Ross is the sequel to one of my favourite reads this year, A RIVER ENCHANTED (a complete duology published within one year!! Less waiting to find out how it ends! And the publisher, Harper Voyager, has done that twice this year.) You can be sure I will be dropping whatever I am currently reading to pick this one up as soon as it arrives.
I loved the gentle charm of the first book, and I’m sure that slow, stately pace that is just so beautiful to read will continue into the second book.
How was your November?