This is Part Three of Three for my 2019 Book Overview.
My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2019 was 15 books, but I upped the number to 20 this August.
As you read through this overview, keep in mind that I believe no book is ever truly perfect. I rate books based on overall quality and enjoy-ability from my perspective. I may feel a book wasn’t written very well, but still give it a good rating because it had great characters, or I just really enjoyed it.
A person can love a certain book/series while another hates it, so please be courteous of people’s right to their own opinion.
On to the list for July & August:
14/20: Assassin’s Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1) by Robin Hobb
My Rating: 5 of 5
First, the writing in this book is really great. It is dense, so it is not a book I could read in a noisy environment, but it is almost like poetry. I really enjoyed reading this book in its physicality.
I usually avoid obvious tropes that are overdone in writing, like assassins, but I gave this book a try and LOVED it. This is a fantasy, but it is more focused on the difficult childhood of a bastard-born royal and his relationships that ultimately affect the fate of the kingdom. This book has a heavy focus on character relations and politics. The world is vast and characters interesting, and because of that depth, the story is a bit slow in plot.
Normally, I would mark down a book’s rating when the plot is slow, but there was never a moment, while I was reading it, where I felt like it was slow or wanted to skip forward.
It wasn’t until a week after I finished it, that I realized not much actual plot happens for a majority of the book, but I do not believe that is a problem. This book focuses on the state of the kingdom and the development of the main character.
The pacing also seems to make a case about how the main character felt. This was a huge episode of his life that he remembers as dragging and complex in relationships. The rest of the series, and associated series in this world, follow the main character as a real assassin as an adult, so this book is an origin story of sorts.
I may not have noticed the lack of plot, because I have read some legit slow books that had me skipping parts and rushing to finish it so that I could just move on to another book (cough cough currently listening to Fellowship of the Ring).
Yes, the plot of Assassin’s Apprentice is slow to develop, but cherishing the characters, world, and relationships (political and interpersonal) is the focus of the book, and it doesn’t feel like nothing is happening, because a lot of inter-character and political things are happening. I think a heavy plot would take away from the overall tone and development of the characters, so the slow pacing is actually a win, in my opinion.
In my opinion, this book is great the way it is. I can’t think of anything I would change to make it “better”.
I think the most interesting thing about this world is the magic system. The magic is something not just of moving things or creating elements, it is a connection of minds, even over long distances. In this world, only relatives of the royal family have this ability, but the main character is only half royal blood. The unnamed main character suffers through most of the book, fighting for recognition as part of the royal family, but he is also battling this other form of magic that surfaces within him: a literal mental connection to animals, which is seen as evil and dangerous by everyone.
This book is a wild ride of emotions, and the reader mainly watched the main character struggle and suffer through his childhood until he gets the chance to prove himself despite all those against him.
There is love, betrayal, neglect, and child abuse present in this novel, but it is not explicit in nature.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and connected well with the main character’s struggles. I can see myself picking this book up again some day.
I already own the next book in the series, Royal Assassin, and will continue it this winter, so stay tuned!
My Rating: 5 of 5
This little book is a collection of history, statistics, and advice regarding the feeling we all desire: happiness. Not only is there interesting cultural information in this book, but there is also an assortment of good feelings from the format of the laid back writing, cute images, and cozy atmosphere.
I really enjoyed this quick and useful read, that I recommend to people all the time. The information in this book is simple but important. I will be purchasing this book for myself, because it is packed with helpful reminders about self-love that we can all use every so often.
I will definitely be revisiting this book a lot throughout my life, because we all need a little reminder to take care of ourselves and cherish the moment every now and then.
Due to how much I enjoyed the style of this book, I will be looking into Wiking’s other books.
16/20: Forgotten Beasts by Matt Sewell
My Rating: 5 of 5
This is a cute children’s picture, nonfiction book about forgotten beasts (go figure) of history, that are both alive and extinct.
The art is super cute, the facts interesting, and the voice of the author pretty funny. I found this book to be whimsical and full of character (in regards to the voice of the writing). I actually found myself smiling and giggling while flipping through this pastel book for little ones.
I will probably pursue this book for my own children in the future, and I will look for more of Sewell’s books.
17/20: The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1) by Lloyd Alexander
My Rating: 4 of 5
This children’s fantasy novel, whose second installment was made into the Disney movie The Black Cauldron, is a fun read for fantasy lovers and a must for children that love adventure/fantasy.
The writing is elegant and characters pretty average in depth. The pacing of this book is a bit slow at times, but it is not very long and worth the ride, if you’re willing to lay back and enjoy it.
This is a great book for kids; I would have ate this book up when I was little.
I feel like the characters could have had a bit more depth and backstory, and the pacing could have been more consistent. With that said, I still really enjoyed this book.
I will probably not re-read this book for myself, but I will be reading the rest of the Chronicles of Prydian series, when I get the time.
18/20: The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter
My Rating: 4 of 5
I went into this early-grade chapter book without any expectations, but boy did this book still surprise me. I was not expecting the adult themes of loss, accusations of murder, and mental illness.
I will try not to spoil the book, but it is a story about three siblings, one of which is mute by choice, living in a small town in Europe with their father after their mother goes missing.
These kids are bullied for being strange, granted they are a bit strange, and even accused of killing their mother who went missing several years ago. The reader follows this unique trio to a far away city where they run into some questionable characters, acquire a many toed cat, stay in a castle with hidden traps, search for the mysterious Kneebone boy, and eventually discover the truth of what happened to their mother.
As an adult, the end of this book messed me up. It is not the happy ending you’d expect, and the story puts you on a bit of a roller coaster.
The dark, Gothic atmosphere of this little book is pretty satisfying, and there were some creepy parts where I was a bit freaked out and on the edge of my seat. On the other hand, there are a lot of slow parts that I wanted to skim through, so there is a bit of a pacing issue.
This book didn’t wow me, so I probably won’t read it again, but I did enjoy it.
Thanks for checking out my reading overview for 2019!
-Knight of Cups ❤
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