Whoa. I read eight books in May and reviewed none of them. I’m going to add my (hopefully) brief comments in a two-part May reads series. The first four books I finished last month were:
- A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin: This book brought out my Goldilocks complex. It was a shade too epic, too gritty, too populated. In the end, while I was pulled into the story and the characters, I hated that some characters were Too Noble to Live (ie: they died for being naive enough to think that others were honorable like them), and that Martin could make me care enough about them to feel horrible when bad things happened to them. Plus, this is supposed to be a seven-volume epic that is not yet complete with lots more death along the way. My nerves will not take it, so I end with the first volume.
- Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene: Ah, I finally finished this rather academic and densely-written book. It was certainly interesting, but I wish it could’ve been lighter on the technical jargon. The term “occipito-temporal” will forever be branded in my brain.
- For all the Tea in China by Sarah Rose: This was a very accessible and quick read. It chronicles one the earliest incidents of industrial espionage, when Great Britain stole both tea plants and the knowledge of tea making from China in order to bring both to their Indian colonies and break the Chinese monopoly on tea. Fascinating, and duly filed away for future inspiration for a story!
- Fire by Kristin Cashore: This companion novel to Graceling takes us to the eastern lands, beyond the mountains. Here, instead of graces, you have monsters—beautiful captivating creatures. Fire is the last of the human monsters, able to read minds, with a beauty that everyone desires. She is caught up the political turmoil of the kingdom–fomented in large part by her monster father–to help the young king keep his throne. Fire struggles to understand her own role in the kingdom’s future, to put limits on her power, to find love and acceptance and belonging. The novel got off to a slow start, but Cashore conveys the desperation and danger and tension very well. So many of the characters—the king, his commander and brother, Fire herself–were so heartbreakingly young (in their twenties at most) that it made their story–the bold plans, the military slogs, the battles–all the more poignant. All these kids taking on the roles of adults! I think being 30 has started to affect me. 🙂