January Wrap Up

 

The Cupcake Chronicles (4)

Hiya!

Since I have seen many people doing this and I thought it to be a pretty cool idea, I thought to do the same. Now, when I started the month, I already had some ideas as to what I was going to read. I had already started my yearly re-read of the Hobbit and had passed into the Lord of the Rings – the Fellowship of the Ring. Then there were more books that were new and something I had never read. Well, I say new, they aren’t really.

In January I read quite a few really good books. However since I was reading two big books  I didn’t read many different books. However since my blog is so new, I decided to add little bit of the year before. The noteworthy ones, anyway. So, without further ado, here’s my January reads!

Lord of the Rings : Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

I don’t think I need any introduction to this one. It’s been on my favourites list for so long now and I think it shall remain so. I doubt anything will ever replace the top spot of Lord of the Rings. I first read it when I was in Year Nine, about fourteen years old? And boy, it really fired up my interest in fantasy. I mean, sure I used to read fantasy before but it used to be in my mother-tongue, Marathi.

I didn’t start learning English till I was almost ten years old so I had not known any of the classics. I started late. Reading Fellowship of the Ring gave me a sense of wonder I had never felt before and to this day, that feeling is still alive. I don’t know what it was about the book that drew me in and let me never leave, in the most happy way. I started the tradition of reading the books once a year, I have never missed a year till now and I don’t mean to. I won’t babble too much about the Fellowship of the Ring because that could literally take hours, ask my sister. (I guess you can’t ask her but you get the point.) Lord of the Rings is my holy book, if you will.

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

Before go into the review, I want to say that I had never really heard of Tad Williams till last year. He’s not someone who is super famous where I live which is surprising. After reading this book, it’s obvious that he has a really wonderful way of weaving a tale. Still. I did come to know about the author and it’s never too late to read the books.

As for the Dragonbone Chair. I will admit that initially I wasn’t too keen on the book, the first few chapters are rather a drag to be perfectly honest but there comes a point when things finally start to pick up pace and then, it’s a ride I absolutely loved! The first book seems to make Simon its main character and maybe that’s where it fails a bit because the book introduces such interesting characters that it’s sometimes really hard to read what Simon is thinking. However after almost one fourth of the book is over, it really starts to get interesting and I couldn’t put it down. I literally had dinners where I was reading and eating at the same time.

One great thing about the book is the way its mythology is told, the author nails it perfectly. His world is built with deep thought and planning and I like that. Nobody is perfect and even Simon (whose POV I was starting get bored of reading) has his moments. His characters are really good and once you get into the thick of it, you can not put your book down.

Part of the reason I started reading this trilogy was the fact that it was complete. I really like to know beforehand that I don’t have to wait for the next books, I have done all the waiting for Harry Potter and ASOIAF for far too long. I would definitely recommend reading this if you are a Tolkien fan or just a fantasy fan. It has a charm of it’s own and you should at least enjoy it once.

The Ice Dragon by G. R. R. Martin

A weird, little story that I have been meaning to read for a long while. People all over the world now know of G. R. R. Martin and his very famous book series A Song Of Ice and Fire, I don’t need to introduce this guy. He has also written a book called The Ice Dragon which I hadn’t really read much about and was really eager to get my hands on.

I did and I am glad that I did? I absolutely loved the main character, she’s written in such a lovely way. Yes, it’s a children’s book but frankly, I think anyone can enjoy it. It doesn’t quite have the heavy-handed world politics or the grimness of the world that he paints in his other books and I think that’s why I like it more. I love that Adara loves winter because it’s my favourite season too. (Childish, I know but I don’t care.) The way he presents his dragons in this one is telling, there’s no direct connection to the world he built up in ASOIAF and I am glad of it.

Its story is a bit odd and I am still not sure if I am happy with the ending or not but I liked reading it so, there’s that. I guess I was hoping for a happier ending but then, that’s on me. This is G. R. R. Martin we are talking about and I don’t know why I hoped for a happy ever after. I suppose, in its own way, it is a happy ending.

I bought the e-book because frankly, the paperback was too expensive for the content. It still is, from what I see. However if you are die hard fan of Martin or are just getting into the whole ASOIAF world, maybe give this one a try. It’s not all bad.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

I am a self-confessed mythology fan, I admit it and to see Neil Gaiman write a book Norse mythology was like a dream come true. I have to admit that I bought the paperback as well as the audiobook because…well, because I can, really.

Neither of them disappointed me. The book is a bit like an introductory course for Norse mythology and sometimes it feels as we are being treated as children but if you listen to the audiobook, my god, it really makes everything magical. Neil Gaiman manages to reel you in with his voice and spins you a story of wonder and gods and their very odd natures. I absolutely loved reading/ listening about Loki, he’s kinda my favourite of the Norse gods, then it’s Odin. They are both so weird and complex and absolutely fascinating.

I would listen to the book again for sure. If you are at all interested in Norse mythology and want to know about it, this is the book for you. It’s not too complex that you wouldn’t know what’s what but nor is it too childish where you feel like a child yourself. Sure, there are a few places but those few places are overwhelmed by all the other great content of the book.

The Just City by Jo Walton 

An interesting take on Plato’s Republic, this book paints such a picture. Athena, goddess of wisdom, collects people from all over the world, from different timelines and settles them on this ‘perfect’ island. It’s all a test, an experiment and the way it’s written certainly makes it an engaging read. I hadn’t known much about the author before I read this book, mostly through my own ignorance, I suppose. I think, in a way, it’s a good thing I didn’t know much about the book or the author.

Overall, I really found it interesting and attention-grabbing. I really liked the way the author writes, the way she introduces the characters and the way she sets the plot into motion but there was something, I don’t exactly know what, that didn’t really manage to keep my interest. I have very mixed feelings about this one, ugh!

I am still not sure if I love this book or not, it’s a great book and I am sure that if I read it one more time, I could grow to love it. Everything that I love about mythologies is packed into this one and more. There’s a sequel? And I am planning on reading it but as I said, I am not really sure if I absolutely loved it or not, it’s very frustrating.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

I might be very biased about this book, given my love for the Iliad in general.

I was initially very reluctant to read this book, mostly because it was basically Iliad told in Patroclus’ voice. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this.

And this and this and this.

Gosh, I love this book. I fell in love with it the moment the first few chapters were over, Miller really manages to bring people in and keep them there. Even though I knew what happens and how, I was still hooked. I was expecting the end and yet, even with all the preparation, I wasn’t ready for it to end. I am not ashamed to say that I cried. I would probably always cry when it comes to the end of the Iliad, I think.

However, the story is so old and yet the author managed to make it sound fresh and lovely and painful. I have already fangirled over this in a previous post so I would not do it here again. Let’s just say, I would recommend the hell out of it to everyone. Yes, everyone.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

The last book I read was this one. I read it in one sitting, on the last night of January. Yeah. I am that bad.

I have been seeing this book everywhere and had wondered if I should give it a go. It’s not fantasy nor is it science fiction or classics, those are my favourite genres when it comes to reading but I am really glad that I gave this book a chance. It’s something entirely different and made me appreciate a new genre. For all that I am up for being adventurous when I am reading, I generally don’t stray from my genres. So, this was a lovely change and one I would love to see more often.

I am not used to reading poetry (not the traditional modern poetry at least), not really. However the way Rupi Kaur writes makes it really easy to read and understand her points. Her to the point writing and lovely use of words makes it a delightful read. Although the subject of the book is a bit dark, there’s light too and that’s what I love about it.

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And that’s it for this post. Keep an eye out for this month’s wrap up in March. Hopefully, I will have some more books to present to you. Have you read any of the books before? If so, what’s your opinion about them? Do you agree with my review or would you like to add your own bit to the conversation?

 

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