I really loved the way September began and ended. I finally finished my re-read of the James Clemens fantasy series (which I started back in April!) and I got to read another Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel. In between, there was some good and some not-so-good. Here’s what I read last month:
Wit’ch Gate, by James Clemens
(originally read May 2009)
4 stars (changed from 3 stars)
After the epic battle in the previous book, the characters split up to tackle their own missions. I thought it all tied together well, though it’s still hard when some of the subplots are just more compelling than others. I think it has a lot to do with the characters, and the fact that there are so (maybe even too) many. This is my least favorite book of the series, but I liked it more as a re-read.
Wit’ch Star, by James Clemens
(originally read May 2009)
Given how full this series already felt going into this last book, I was surprised by the amount of new characters and conflicts that are still being introduced at this point. It does all come together in the end, though, and I (mostly) enjoy how the story is resolved.
Marathon Man, by William Goldman
The Princess Bride is one of my favorite books (and movies), but I really didn’t know what to expect from this one. It was a pleasant surprise in that Goldman’s writing kept me reading, even when I wasn’t totally hooked on the story. The downside is that I never really did get hooked on the story. I guess time will tell, but I don’t feel like this is one that will stick with me.
(read my ITW review here: Marathon Man)
We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart
The fact that it was a quick read and I picked it up for a blog discussion kept me from DNF’ing this one, but I could tell right away I wasn’t going to like it. The writing style completely turned me off. There was an interesting story in there, and it even made me feel something in the end (which is the main reason it gets 2 stars instead of just 1), but I just didn’t get the same thrill out of it that most readers I know did.
The Last Policeman, by Ben H. Winters
I gave this one till a third of the way through, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t holding my interest. Police procedurals, just straight-up trying to solve a case, usually bore me unless the case is really interesting, or there’s enough else in the book to pull me in. Surprisingly, this all taking place in a world that’s about to end in six months just wasn’t enough.
I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga
I’d call this a YA novel for people who don’t like YA. The main character has a girlfriend, but it’s not a romance the way you think of YA romances that take over the story. It’s heavier on the self-discovery than you’d get from an adult thriller, but given the character’s upbringing, it doesn’t feel out of place. I will say, though it’s not a terrible cliffhanger, it’s not a complete story either.
Time Rep, by Peter Ward
This is a really fun time-travel book, and I liked it better than Peter Ward’s other novel, Note to Self. The humor was a bit much for me at times; less is more, especially when coming from a third-person narrator. So all of these little asides pulled me out of the story and kept me from becoming fully engaged. But it was still an interesting idea and an entertaining story.
The King’s Curse, by Philippa Gregory
Even though it’s bookended by significant events in her life, this really doesn’t feel like Margaret’s story; instead, for most of the book, it feels like she’s on the sidelines telling everyone else’s story. Also (and maybe this is just a result of having read too many of Gregory’s other books, seeing other endings at several points throughout this one) it seems to go on and on. It was enjoyable enough to read, but not my favorite of hers.
The Lost Island, by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
Any readers who are hoping for a Pendergast book will be disappointed. The Gideon Crew series aren’t smart thrillers, just pure fun escapism, and I think this is my favorite one yet. Eli Glinn has always been one of my favorite characters in the Preston/Child universe, and this book actually calls all the way back to Ice Limit (and has me thinking I should re-read it). It’s a bit ridiculous, but in the best way.
What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty
I liked this a lot more than The Husband’s Secret. Memory is always fascinating – this reminded me of a more dramatic version of Sophie Kinsella’s Remember Me? – and the idea of not being where you thought you would ten years ago is, sadly, all too relevant. It also had hints of Rainbow Rowell’s Landline, although I think the relationship issues were handled much more realistically (lack of magic aside) in this book.
Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton
There are only a handful of books I’ve read after seeing the movie, and even fewer that I read knowing the movie version very well. I wish I could know what I would have thought of this book on its own, but it’s too hard to do anything but compare. While the plot does vary some, what really struck me was how different many of the characters are, Hammond in particular. It was good, but – as with most Crichton – there was a lot that pulled me out of the story and prevented me from liking it more.
The Lost World, by Michael Crichton
I thought this was better than the first book, though that could partly be because I wasn’t constantly comparing it to the movie (which I barely remember). It’s sort of a cross between Jurassic Park and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World… which I can only assume was an inspiration for the sequel, if not the original book. The premise is intriguing, but I still had trouble connecting to any of the characters; it felt like they were only there to give lectures or advance the plot.
Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, by Gurihiru & Gene Lueng Yang
This was such a great story. I liked this one better than The Promise, if only because I felt so much more invested in it. It’s such a powerful moment at the end of the series when Zuko demands to know the truth about his mother, and now he (and we!) can finally get some closure. I’m not big on comics, but I’m glad I decided to read these Avatar ones.
What was your favorite book last month?