February 2015 Reads
February flew by, but somehow I managed to read a decent amount throughout the last month- 2 audiobooks, 2 comic book volumes, and 3 novels. Here's a round up of what I read and briefly what I thought of them.
The Android's Dream by John Scalzi
After listening to and loving Lock In by John Scalzi, I decided to pick up another of his books, especially since they all seem to be narrated by Wil Weaton. This is a standalone sci-fi novel, which focuses on trying to find a particular breed of sheep in order to prevent an intergalactic war. It's part action, part sci-fi, part mystery, but mostly it's really silly and fun. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This is a new thriller/mystery novel that was released in mid-January. I think it's best to go into this book not knowing much about the premise. The narrators for the audiobook were fantastic, they each nailed the personalities of the person they were portraying in the novel. I was so enthralled in the story that on several occasions, I sat out in my car not wanting to go inside to work because I needed to finish a chapter. Overall, I thought it was really well done and I think the only reason it's getting some not so great ratings is because people are expecting it to be the next Gone Girl. Personally, I gave it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Pretty Deadly vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick (writer) and Emma Rios (illustrator)
I've seen this comic series getting a lot of flak because people think it's confusing. While I wasn't completely lost, I had trouble keeping the characters straight. They kind of throw a lot at you right away. The artwork, while extremely beautiful, adds to the confusion at many points. Particularly in the 2 page spreads, the layouts were so jam packed that it was hard to figure out what to look at first and what order to read. I've never really had that problem before with comics. That said, I thought the story was really unique and I think I will continue on with the series now that I've figured out who is who. I gave this volume 4 out of 5 stars.
Black Science vol. 1 by Rick Remender, Matteo Scalera (Artist), and Dean White (Colorist)
Similarly to Pretty Deadly, I didn't love this one. I thought the space and sci-fi concept was extremely cool, but I don't think it is being executed as well as it could be. The art is fantastic, again, but I'm struggling with connecting to any of the characters. The main protagonist is actually kind of a douchebag. He cheats on his wife and sacrifices the safety of his family for his own personal goals to advance science. I'm definitely going to keep going with this series, because I'm curious to see how his character is developed, as well as the other scientists he is with. I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.
The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
This is book one in the Mistborn Trilogy and it is seriously just a ton of fun to read. This is a high/adult fantasy series which takes place in an extremely oppressive kingdom. The population is extremely stratified. The skaa are the slaves of the kingdom, owned by the noblemen. The noblemen are controlled by the immortal and all-powerful Lord Ruler. The first installment of this series follows a band of misfits and thieves, some with particular powers and abilities, in their attempt to rise up and overthrow the Lord Ruler. I loved this book. I cannot wait to continue on with this series! I gave this 5 out of 5 stars.
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
OH my gosh, this book completely had me hooked, I could NOT put it down. Of all the books I read this month, this was definitely my favorite. Again, it's so much better to go into this not knowing much about it. I will paste the synopsis from Goodreads, because there's no way I can describe it better.
"Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius." Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh. The Girl With All the Gifts is a groundbreaking thriller, emotionally charged and gripping from beginning to end."
5 out of 5 stars from me. Please someone read this because I still need to talk about it!
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
Wow. What a seriously beautiful novel. I loved the experience of reading it. This was only my second novel in the genre of magical realism, and it set the standard very high for any others I read in the future. This story spans many generations of the Lavender family, all of whom experience love and loss in such a heart-wrenching manner. You come to love this family and the strength they have to carry on. But, what I loved most was the amazing writing of Leslye Walton. The prose in this book is lyrical and flowing, it's almost like you're reading poetry or a song, yet in many places she's describing loss or horrific events. It's a beautiful juxtaposition. I gave this 5 out of 5 stars and I will definitely read anything written by Walton in the future!
What have you read this month? Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?