April 2020 Reading Wrap Up – Part Two [Books]

April 2020 2

January  / February / March Part 1 / March Part 2 / April Part 1

Welcome to my April Reading Wrap Up, Part 2! Like March, I read a lot in April. 18 books in total. I’ve hit a little bit of a reading slump in May, so hopefully May’s Wrap Up won’t need 2 parts to go through. But anyway, here are the other 9 books read in the second month of lock down.

Bone Harvest – James Brogden

bone harvestMy Review

I really liked this book. Brogden’s novel spans decades, starting with World War I and coming right up to a now alternative 2020 where Covid-19 doesn’t exist. Instead, all these characters have to worry about are the VE Day Celebrations. Or at least they think so. This novel really hit a couple of sweet spots, and I really do recommend it.

The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, Volume 1

twilight zone

My Review

This was a very enjoyable listening experience. These radio dramas are fully casted, and contain multiple stories, all of which had that strong Twilight Zone feel to them. I only came to this show fairly recently, but I absolutely love anything to do with it (Tower of Terror is a ride I refused to go on when we went to Florida, because I was five and terrified, and was my second favourite ride visiting Disney Paris) including this audio production.

The Seven Endless Forests – April Tucholke

seven endless

My Review

This had all the makings of a book I wanted to love. Female led fantasy based around the King Arthur legend, I was sold. Unfortunately, the book itself wasn’t that great. It rambled, a lot, and there was little to resemble King Arthur’s story found in the pages. This one definitely wasn’t for me.

Catalyst – Tracy Richardson

catalyst

Review Coming Soon

This was a book I read for one of the Write Reads blog tours. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy this one. It took some really interesting ideas and felt like it simplified them too much. And presented simple ‘solutions’ to the main crises’ we’re facing today. Was a little disappointed, but keep an eye out for the blog tour, as I’m sure other bloggers felt differently from me.

Shades of Magic, Volume 1: The Steel Prince – V.E. Schwab

shades of magic steel prince

My Review

I don’t know which situation I would prefer: always having a few Schwab books to read, or being completely caught up and eagerly awaiting the next one. Either way, just like with Vicious, I knew picking up this graphic novel I would love it. I haven’t come across a Schwab book I didn’t like. If you’ve read the Shades of Magic trilogy, I highly recommend jumping into The Steel Prince.

Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds: The Musical Drama – H.G. Wells

war of the worlds

My Review

Another great listening experience! Though sadly there is no singing in this one. It was still very enjoyable though, and the cast involved was excellent. I definitely recommend this one, as the soundtrack is amazing.

Tiger Queen – Annie Sullivan

tiger queen

My Review

I enjoyed this one. It was a fun, easy read that had be completely hooked. A good YA novel, that maybe leans a little too much on various tropes, and could have done with stronger female characters, but overall, like I said, it was enjoyable.

Dark Ends – Edited by Clayton Snyder

dark ends

Review coming soon on Dead Head Reviews

This is an absolutely brilliant dark fantasy anthology, and one I really suggest picking up. This anthology is made up of novelettes, many set in worlds already created by the writers. Which is great because with every story I definitely found myself wanting more.

The Deception of Kathryn Vask – Mark Steensland

the deception
My Review

My final book for this month. The Deception of Kathryn Vask is a fantastic, tight play that I can easily imagine on stage, and will hopefully one day get to see on stage, too. My review is nothing but glowing praise for Steensland, and recommendations to keep an eye out for this one.

And that is it for April! How did your month go? I seem to be going through books faster than I realise at the moment, though it has calmed down for May. I’m also reading slightly longer stuff this month, and listening to American Gods on Audible which is really long. I amended my Goodreads Goal to 75, after hitting the 50 mark, and I’m currently on 55 so I’m pretty happy with that.

Tiger Queen – Annie Sullivan [Books]

tiger queenTo rule Achra, Kateri – the king’s daughter and only child – must defeat her suitors to prove her right to rule. Gaining the crown means she can fulfil her promise to her dead mother to protect her people. Achra suffers with a long drought and frequent windstorms, made worse by the Desert Boys who come into the city to steal water from the people. When she finds out who her last suitor is, Kateri faces a choice – remain and be defeated, losing her chance to rule, or escape into the desert, seeking help from the last person she ever thought she’d speak to.

Tiger Queen is a YA Fantasy, set in the desert and in a corrupt, broken city where the rich have all the luxuries they need and the poor are forced to abandon their third children after the king brings in a two children rule.

I really enjoyed this book.

Yes, it’s got familiar tropes, yes it’s a touch predictable, but honestly? Sometimes that is exactly what you need. And those elements (I think) can work well in YA, when the target audience might not have come across the same things as many times as, say, an adult reader like myself.

I liked Kateri as a character. She starts off sheltered and naive, with her world painted in black and white. She fully believes the king is doing what is best for the people, and the Desert Boys are evil. Kateri doesn’t question it, not until she escapes into the desert and actually meets the Desert Boys, realising they are, in fact, simply children trying to get by.

The Desert Boys were fun to read about, a mixture of Lost Boy’s and Robin Hood’s Merry Men, all eager to prove themselves. And I really liked the scenes between Kateri and their leader, Cion – there were really good moments here, ones which just made me smile.

Kateri is determined, and keen to do right by her people. She’s not a character given to moping, and she is willing to step aside if she thinks it’s the right thing to do.

There were, however, some things which I didn’t like as much.

I feel there could have been deeper relationships between Kateri and some of the other women presented in the story. For the most part, the women here are just shown as caretakers, from Cion’s aunt, to an elderly lady looking after abandoned babies. Kateri’s maid, at the start of the story, could have been a good source for this, but it feels like a missed opportunity. I also think there could have been ‘Desert Boys’ who were maybe Desert Girls instead – this is a fantasy world, and given the situation, its doubtful every girl in the city would be content with things, especially when male children are favoured and there is a strict two children rule.

Other than that, this was a really enjoyable, action packed read, well written and tightly paced. If you enjoy YA Fantasy with a focus on romance, I suggest checking out Tiger Queen.