I may be stretching things a bit by considering these all recent reads, since one was a book that I read two months ago now, but I purposely wanted to mention these three books together since they are three of the biggest fantasy books that I was excited to read this year. Aside from my series goal for the year, I’ve also set myself a list of 21 priority books to pick up this year, as well as a different list of 21 books that I expect to be 5 stars. I’ve had these kinds of goals each year for a couple of years now, but I don’t think I’ve ever completely finished my lists within the year. I’m hoping that this year will break that streak and I’ll actually prioritize the books the way I’d planned. Unlike my series goal, I didn’t necessarily make myself a schedule of when to read these books so it makes it a little more challenging to remember to fit them in. When it comes to longer fantasy books, I tend to aim for long weekends or other times where I have a few days off work because they are books that I really want to pay attention to. I’ve already read three of my most anticipated books from my list this year, and I’m so glad that I got to them all so early!
It’s been exactly two months since I’ve read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, so it’s not quite “recent” anymore, but it’s a book that I really wanted to mention anyway! I’ve been waiting to read this one for years because I kept seeing V.E. Schwab mentioning it and the concept sounded so fascinating. I was a little anxious going into it because I thought it couldn’t possibly live up to all the hype, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I loved it just as much as I expected! To be fair, the book was quite different from what I thought it was going to be. This book reminded me quite a bit of classic fairy tales because of the whole idea of bargains and the unanticipated consequences of the agreements that were made. I thought Addie was a fascinating main character and I loved seeing all the methods she developed to work around her curse and how she would often use it to her advantage. I also loved the exploration of loneliness and legacy. I don’t want to go into too much detail about this one since it is still new enough that it’s a pretty high risk of spoiling it for others, but I thought this book was incredible. It was so beautifully written, and definitely lived up to all the hype around it. I can see where some might find it slow-paced or a little boring, but that was not the case for me at all!
A month ago, I read A Court of Silver Flames, which was another book that I’ve really been looking forward to! I was very late to pick up ACOTAR in the first place before finally giving in to the hype, and I was surprised to find that it quickly became a favourite series. I went into it with quite low expectations, but Sarah J. Maas’s writing and especially her characters very quickly won me over. I was looking forward to this one because of the focus on Nesta and Cassian, who were both characters that I loved in the original series. I loved the way this book dealt with the long-lasting impact of the war on Nesta and several other characters, and I especially loved Nesta’s prickly attitude toward the beginning and the dynamic it created between her and Cassian. I was a little surprised to notice that I found Rhysand a bit more irritating than in the previous books, but I mostly chalked that up to being in Nesta’s perspective. I also was not surprised by the reason for his behaviour, although I have to say that I was not particularly invested in his and Feyre’s storyline, unfortunately. I loved the development of the relationship between Nesta and Cassian, although a little taken aback at just how graphic some of the sex scenes were. Having read all of Sarah J. Maas’s other books, I expected these scenes to be explicit, but these ones felt even more explicit than what I remembered from previous books. I also loved the friendships Nesta develops with Gwyn and Emerie and the training the three of them undergo. To be fair, I don’t think I connected with this book quite as much as I did with the rest of the ACOTAR series, but I still really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the next one, although it’s a long way off.
Just two days ago, I finished Rule of Wolves, which I’d been very highly anticipating ever since I finished King of Scars last summer. I took advantages of a couple of unexpected days working from home to start this one, although I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t get quite as much reading done on those days as I expected (but that had to do with my schedule, not the book). I did need a bit of a refresher on King of Scars before picking this one up, but luckily I was able to find a very detailed summary online. It’s a good thing I did, since there were some very important plot points that I had completely forgotten! As expected, I absolutely loved this one and the characters were a huge part of the reason why. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this many times before, but Leigh Bardugo has very quickly become one of my favourite authors. Again, I’m hesitant to say much about this one because it is a very recent release and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. I will say that I loved getting to revisit several characters from earlier books in the series, and I especially loved the development of Nina, Nikolai and Zoya. I’m still a little confused by the fact that the series is called the Nikolai duology when Zoya still seems to be the star, but she’s a great character too. I loved the alternating perspectives and especially enjoyed Nina’s chapters. I did find myself a little confused at times about the war between Fjerda and Ravka and the reasons behind it, but I think that’s mostly to do with it being so long since I’ve read the previous books. In any case, I was very excited that I got to read this one so soon and I loved it!