Books of June

Persuasion

Jane Austen 

I have read my fair share of exes to lover stories, and I have never particularly enjoyed any of them. Jane Austen changed that.

Persuasion would have been a better read in the fall, there is a cosy, “sitting indoors in a nice thick sweater, while it rains outside” vibe to it. It is at times a melancholic story and at the same time you know that it will have a happy ending, making the whole read overall cosy. Like a bad weathered fall day; it looks gloomy, but you know that eventually the sun will shine again and that knowledge means that the weather can be enjoyed to the fullest.   

It is not only a book of lost love, of course there is a sense of humor in it. In fact it starts with a brutal roasting of the main characters’ father. Multiple pages telling us how his only personality trait is vanity. How could you not love Austen’s works? That is just one of many examples scattered thru the book, Austen’s wit should never be underestimated. 

The worst part of this book is that I now have unrealistic romantic expectations. If my future partner doesn’t write me a romantic letter telling me how they feel and that they will respect whatever choice I make, then what is the point? I would even settle for an email, or a really long text. There is so much feeling in words. I adore it.     

Pride and Prejudice is the classic Jane Austen, and it will always be loved by me. But I think that Persuasion is my new favourite. The tenderness and sense of humor of the book just really speaks to me. I look forward to reading while it rains.   

Renegades

Marissa Meyer

I have recently decided to give up on Marvels superhero movies. I am no longer interested in movies, that only is meant to make money for Disney. I’m glad to have found this book series as a reading replacement for any future Marvel movie. 

This book starts with a somewhat typical anti hero that  goes undercover to infiltrate the good guys. So I was scared that the protagonist would see the “error” of her way, betray her former allies and join the good guys. She didn’t. 

Meyer portrays both sides as both good and bad, as it tends to be with different sides of politics. So far it is up to the reader to choose with groups values they believe in. 

One thing that helps with that, is having dual p.o.v. One from the girl protagonist and one from the boy that has a large role, however not being a lead character (he doesn’t get too much page time).

This is a good example of how to write a good fighter. Meyer actually shows us how the protagonist defeats her enemies and in what way she is powerful. Meyer doesn’t just tell us that over and over again without actually showing it, making the reader question the abilities.   Yes, I’m still upset over Throne of Glass….. But back to Meyer’s writing. She shows us how Nova, the main character, is smart, inventive and a good fighter through the entire book. It makes the whole book, which centers around superheroes and villains, more credible.

Another thing I like with the book, is the setting. It takes place after a revolution that dismantled all governments, leaving the world in anarchy. After that there was another revolution between the anarchist and people that wanted to restart a government. In the beginning of Renegades, the world is a police/military dictatorship with constant talk of making it a democracy. The “good guys” rule and ironically don’t realise that the world they created has as many flaws as the anarchistic had. I don’t think that I have ever read a book that takes place after the revolution when the world is getting rebuilt. It was an interesting and (for me) unique storytelling way, one that I look forward to returning to.     

The Migration

Helen Marshall

Reading a story about a pandemic that only affects children in a world plagued by climate change induced storms, it was almost like reading the news. 

The concept was good, and for most of the book I was on the edge of my seat. But I felt like the ending was severely lacking and that ruined the book for me. Children all over the world are getting sick, eventually dying, and after their death they start transforming. All good so far. But I felt like we never got a good enough explanation of why they were changing. That made the main characters arcs ending extra weak. I never understood if transforming was a good thing or not, so I mostly felt confused. Honestly, I would have prefered if Marshall just would have gone with aliens.       

There were other smaller things that bothered me too. Like how the main character managed to steal her sisters’ corpse from the hospital. A sister that died from the pandemic and whose body was to be taken care of carefully. How could that hospital be so easy to break into? Especially given that it was one of the leading research centers. This brings me to the only thing that I liked about the book, the doctor. She was the only interesting character, doing morally bad things ordered by her boss. Eventually her morals got the better of her and she gave the protagonist some horrifying information about how the hospital was conducting some highly unethical experiments. If only Marshall would have made them the bad guys.    

Except for the doctor most of the book was forgettable, particularly after getting to the end. If you want to read about a pandemic, just read the news.

The Lost Hero

Rick Riordan 

I read Percy Jackson when I was ten, maybe? And I loved the series, I even reread it. The last book ends with a new prophecy and a promise of new books. Back then I did not think of Googling and therefore learned of the new series much later. Had I thought of using the internet, I would definitely have made my parents buy The Lost Hero. And I would have been so very disappointed, as Percy isn’t in it. Rick Riordan is brave, I’v give him that. 

Now that I’m older the lack of Percy didn’t affect me as it would have. Instead I think it was a good move on Riordans part. It forces the reader to accept and get to know the new characters and not just wait for the old favorites to appear. Beside adding new characters, Riordan also adds more diverse representation. The first five books were great, kids with ADHD and dyslexia, but most of them were white. With The Lost Hero Riordan introduces one Native American protagonist and one Hispanic protagonist.  

As usual Riordan excels in writing funny. I was reading the book, at my friends’ and I kept having to take a break and read the funniest lines out loud to her. It was impossible to read all of the fun lines out loud because I did not have time to read the entire book to her. That’s how fun it is. It is not just how he writes that is fun, it is all of the bonkers situations they find themself in that’s also amusing. 

I can’t believe that it took me at least eight years to read this book.  I will most likely read the rest of the series before the summer is over. (I can’t believe that I’ll have to borrow these books from my brother!)       

Ash Princess

Laura Sebastian

When I opened the book and the ruler was called “kaiser” (German word for emperor) I was sceptical, it got worse when Søren was introduced on page eight. Do you know how annoying it is to read and suddenly an å, ä or ö just pops up in a word and ruins the flow. My brain is in English mode and suddenly the word forces it to face Swedish, it is a jarring experience. It didn’t help that Søren is an old man’s name, the Søren in the book is supposed to be young. I’m glad that I managed to look beyond my scepticism because Ash Princess is really good.

Sebastian is really good at describing emotions, one of the protagonists’ old family members is killed in the beginning of the book. There was no real time to form an emotional connection to him, despite that, I felt sad over his death, that is how good of an author Sebastian is. 

On the topic of violence, I like how it is treated. The protagonist is the princess in a country colonised and controlled by a people inspired by Scandinavia and Germany and it doesn’t shy away from how awful colonisation was. The princess is treated terribly in the castle and her people are exploited. The colonisateurs use their culture as fashion statements, but look down on all indigenous people. I like that Sebastian didn’t shy away from showing violence, since she didn’t do the thing that some other authors do, when seeming to almost glorify or enjoy the violence. Good work Sebastian, you are a decent human being.   

There were of course some things that I didn’t like with the book, foremost: I hate love triangles. This one is one of the better love triangles, but still. There were some other small things as well, but nothing worth mentioning. Except, she included a random å in the word wås. I thought it was going to mean mås (a type of sea bird). But no, it is the name of the goddess of cats. That was possibly the funniest moment of the whole book.

My only other problem is why didn’t I borrow all of the books at the same time? Now I will have to wait until the next time I go to the library to read the rest. 

Eliza and Her Monsters

Francesca Zappia

When the main character laughed at something on her phone, her parents asked her what was so fun and she replied “nothing” I knew that this was going to be a good book.  

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I deliberately took three days to read it, because I didn’t want it to end. It is the first book about teenagers that I’ve read, that actually feels relatable. I recognize myself in so many things that Eliza do. Her internet habits are similar to mine, the generation gap between her parents and herself is described wonderfully and I see myself in her feelings. The only thing to complain about, is that sometimes the chat language they use is a bit off, but Zappia is not a teenager so I’ll forgive her for that. It is way better than what some older authors try to write.

The mental health representation is on point. Eliza suffers from anxiety and while I don’t, I can say that her panic attack was written very realistic, it was almost painful to read. I had to take a break and calm down after reading it. Don’t know if that is a good or bad grade.

Like I said before, the internet and the generation gap was really well written. Zappia perfectly described what it is like to be in a fandom, how we interact with other people on the net and how it all works. Things that older people just don’t get. Older people were represented by Eliza’s parents, and often reading their conversations felt like revisiting old conversations with my parents. Or, you know, just any rant by old people that complains about the internet.    

Online life is great, and this book gets it. 

I’m not sure if any book about teenagers is ever going to live up to this one, but then again, when my generation start getting books published, then the internet will be well described. Until then I will have to suffer thru books where it, at times, seems like the kids don’t even have a phone, let alone internet activity. Side note, I think I’m going to have to buy this book, it was so good.  

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