January Reads

I read some wonderful books in January.

Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta
This is epic fantasy with gritty, modern-day themes. I struggled a bit at the beginning, but a plot twist around the end of Act 1 (my distinction, not the author’s) completely hooked me and I gobbled up the rest of the book. I think fans of Turner’s The Thief and Martin’s Game of Thrones might like this one. It’s sold as YA and definitely requires a mature reader, but should appeal equally to teens and adults.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This is an emotionally wrenching story about a boy who’s mother has life-threatening cancer, and the monster who visits him. I often avoid books that look like they’re going to be sad, but this one never felt manipulative and never lingered too long on dark moments…without reason. It’s masterfully written and a very powerful read. (It reminded me of I Kill Giants, a fantastic graphic novel by Joe Kelly and Jim Ken Niimura, also highly recommended.)

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex
I’ve been a Rex fan since The True Meaning of SmekDay rocked my world a few years ago. Cold Cereal didn’t capture me as strongly, but it’s still a highly imaginative and funny adventure story with a truly bizarre cast of characters. (Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read an ARC.)

The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss (See my post.]

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
I have to admit that I was first drawn to the cover, which I think is gorgeous and dynamic. Although billed as a YA dystopian novel, much to my delight this is more of a post-apocalyptic adventure. Strong heroes — both male and female — plus an intriguing retro-future world made this a quick, fun read.

This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (The Dark Endeavor Chronicles #1) by Kenneth Oppel
Want to hear how my ereader tricked me? This book was 413 pages when I loaded it onto my Nook. I dug in and was thoroughly enjoying myself in the adventure until the midpoint, around page 207, when something very dramatic happened. I stopped and expounded at length on the interesting plot decision and subverting of the 3-act structure. I speculated about where the book would go next. And then I turned the page and realized the book was actually over. The second half of the ebook was a public-domain version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. D’oh! Despite my confusion, a very fun YA read with a strong, colorful voice.