Recent Reads | September 2020
September ended up being a really good reading month for me. I was able to finish most of the book I had planned to, with some that I had started a few months ago, as well as finding some all-time favourites. So here's everything I read this month!
1) The Broken Kingdoms, The Kingdom of Gods, and The Awakened Kingdom, N. K. Jemisin (The Inheritance Trilogy books 2, 3 and 3.5)
I have a full review of this series right here if you want more in-depth spoiler-free thoughts on the whole trilogy. But overall I really enjoyed this world, the characters, the politics and the religion dynamics. N. K. Jemisin definitely became an auto-buy author for me, I loved her writing so much, and truly appreciated her way of highlighting real-world social commentary and issues within a fantasy setting. I gave The Broken Kingdoms 4/5 ⭐️, The Kingdom of Gods 3.5/5 ⭐️ and The Awakened Kingdom 3/5 ⭐️.
2) Everything I Never Told You, Celest Ng
So, I started this back in November, put it down, started it again in March, read half of it, and only picked it back up again this month, finishing it in a day. This is a character-focused story following a mixed-race family, after Lydia, one of their children, goes missing. In true Celest Ng fashion, this goes back and forth between before and after the event and you're trying to piece together what happened to Lydia. I feel like my enjoyment of this book was diminished because it took me so long to go back to it, but I also didn't enjoy it as much as Ng's other book. At the same time as they're quite similar, being that they're both about family dynamics and explore the little things that make a family fall apart, Little Fires Everywhere had a bit more of a mystery going on that didn't happen in this one. I do love Celeste's writing and think she's marvellous at creating characters and stories that feel absolutely real. This was also a very raw and true exploration of grief and it's one of those books that make you so angry and heartbroken that you can't even fully say you enjoyed it, because it's so hard-hitting. I'll forever pick up whatever Celest Ng writes next, as she's amazing in writing family-focused stories with heavy topics. 3.5/5 ⭐️ (There are trigger warnings for this, and if there are certain subjects you can't read about I'd recommend looking them up. I won't share what they are as it really spoils the book).
3) The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien
Well, I'll start it off by saying I'm really glad I finally finished this book. I've been listening to the audiobook on and off for six months now, and I believe that gives you a good picture as to what I felt towards this one. The Hobbit is a classic, very beloved and praised and, although I fully recognize and appreciate everything Tolkien did for fantasy at large, with this and the Lord of the Rings, this wasn't for me. It took me so long to get through it because I didn't particularly connect to any of the characters nor was I fully interested in the plot. In case you don't know (because I didn't, having never watched the films) this is a story about a group of thirteen dwarves that are joined by a hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, to reclaim the Dwarven kingdom from the dragon Smaug. My problem with this was that there were too many plots leading up to the main focus of the story. I felt like the goal was being dragged on and on and when we finally got to it, it was incredibly anticlimactic. This is a 300-page book that feels like it's at least double that, besides having so many characters and I couldn't tell either of them apart. If you are interested in reading this I do think the audiobook narrator (Rob Inglis) did an amazing job and his acting was half of why I carried on reading this, I don't think I would've if I was physically reading it. I do recognize the world Tolkien created and still plan on reading the Lord of the Rings but my overall opinion on The Hobbit is simply that I did not care. Not for the characters, not for the plot and, honestly I just wanted it to be done. I acknowledge that this paved the way for fantasy and I do believe, had this been one of the first fantasies I encountered, I could've really liked it. But this just wasn't anything special. 2.5/5 ⭐️
4) Princess Mia, Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries Series, book 9)
Will I ever be done with this series? Who knows, but I'm happy to report that this ended up being one of my favourites so far! Mia really grew as a character and her annoying teenage self was most of the reason as to why I was growing bored of this series. This also set up the next novel really well and I think it'll be very interesting, as it switched up the politics and everything Genovia centred is always my favourite part of these books. What also made me like this one a lot was that Mia is finally getting more involved with her role as a princess (and liking it), she's not idolizing Lilly anymore thankfully (honestly, will never get why Lilly is THE most annoying character I've ever come across, she needs a slap across the face real fast) and something happened with her romantic life that I *loved*. 4/5 ⭐️
5) The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon
I loved this so much that talking about it for only a tenth of a post wasn't enough so I made a whole review on this which you can read here. I loved the world, the writing, the character, the romance (it was my favourite, not gonna lie). There are dragons, politics, religions, queerness and a brilliant plot. The only that made this not quite a 5-star read was that, with all the richness of this world, the final battle fell a bit flat. 4.75/5 ⭐️
6) Clockwork Princess, Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices, book 3)
I technically finished this in October, but I'm not gonna wait a full month to talk about it. I was a bit scared going into this because not only had I never read a Cassandra Clare series conclusion, but also everyone raves about this book being their favourite and, having loved the second one so much, I was worried it wouldn't live up to the hype. I didn't end up loving this as much as Clockwork Prince (I think that one just shocked me by how much I loved it) but I really enjoyed it and felt like it ended the story in a great way. I don't know, something just didn't quite make it for me, maybe it's because I want my characters to suffer a bit more, maybe because it was quite predictable. Then again, it was exactly as I thought a Cassandra Clare conclusion would be. I just think I liked the second book more because seeing characters falling in love and figuring out their feelings is one of my favourite things in books, and in this one there wasn't much of that, although the angst levels were huge. And let's be honest, I read this series purely for the romance. 4/5 ⭐️
Those were all the books I read in September. Although I really wanted to have finished the Princess Diaries series, I'm still really happy with all the nine books I managed to read and can't wait for October and all the spooky reads it'll bring. Also, I have changed my Instagram theme for October and will be posting a bit more than usual, if you'd like to check it out, here's the link. Let me know what you read in September in the comments below!