Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Sunshine: Too Darn Hot Edition

So, two books again this week.  My only thought is that the crazy heat we had here slowed down all my brain functions, including reading.  I don't know.  Thankfully, we had a crazy thunderstorm here on Friday (Keith Olbermann posted a great shot of lightning hitting the Empire State Building!) so it's cooled off a bit.  Anyway, here's what I read in my LAST FULL WEEK of teaching.  (Next week is just three days!)

What I Read This Week: 

 Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy, #1)Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shadow and Bone is a really fabulous read. I think its biggest strength is the way Leigh Bardugo marries fantasy and totally real, truthful relationship elements (big and small "r".). Like, the fantasy elements were fascinating and like nothing I'd ever seen before, and I loved them. But I also felt like Alina's relationships--with Mal in particular, but also with the Darkling, and with Genya, and with the Summoner girls--could be transplanted into a contemporary novel and be enough to carry a strong story all by themselves. Sometimes in fantasy, the relationships take a bit of a backseat to the magic, or it feels like the magic is central and the relationships are just for fun. But in Shadow and Bone, the relationships are integral to the magic, and the magic reveals important truths about the relationships. I think this could be a good bridge to fantasy for people who tend to like thoughtful, relationship-driven contemporaries. It's also a great new read if you're already into fantasy, though, so well done Ms. Bardugo!

For Darkness Shows the StarsFor Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up because it's inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, and ultimately I found that my experience with it reminded me very much of my experience with that novel. I felt like For Darkness...took its time getting started, but once I got about halfway through, I was really engaged and just wanted to keep reading. I was a little disoriented by the setting at first (although by the end I totally wanted to read more about the world, which is an interesting take on a post-genetic-engineering-apocalypse society) but I thought the Luddite-Post-Reduced caste system was a cool way to set up the social divisions of Austen's England. I thought Peterfreund wove in the key parts of Austen's original story well, without being held back by it. I would totally read a standalone story set in this universe, especially if it involved some of the supporting characters from this book. I was really interested in Ro, and I wished we found out more about how much the lowest caste, the Reduced, could really understand. If you're looking for a really different take on post-apocalyptic living, or if you're a big Austen nerd (like I am), you may enjoy For Darkness Shows the Stars

View all my reviews


  1. I just started reading FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS, and I'm just starting to get into it. A little slow at first, but that didn't bother me too much. I like the take on PERSUASION, so that's good. :)

    1. Thanks for turning me onto it with your summer reading list! I did enjoy it--I think the review was hard to write because I'm coming off a string of books that I LOVED--and I know that always leaves me more critical, even when the next books I read are really good. (That definitely happened to Legend. I may re-review it when the next one comes out.)


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