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What I Read: October 2020

Collage of Books I Read in October

Hello friends and…enemies? Friends yet to come? Book lovers? People who care about books I read? I don’t know, ya’ll, who comes to blog posts of very small blogs? Maybe weigh in down in the comments so I know how to refer to you all.

Ugh. Another opening paragraph that is going to make my SEO go super crazy because I, just like every recipe blogger out there, take a million years to get to the point.

And what is the point, you may ask?

Books! Ya’ll seem to love it when I talk about books so without further ado, please enjoy this quick overview/review of the books I read this October.

The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (book)

Somehow this year, despite never having even considered the world of YA urban fantasy before, I have become a huge Shadowhunters fan. I’ve read almost every single book written by Cassandra Clare during these long stay-at-home days and loved them. The Clockwork Princess is no exception to my love – it was a little bit sexy, a little bit thrilling, a little bit heartbreaking and utterly compelling. Clare does a great job with love stories and this one somehow manages to wrap a love triangle in a way that is satisfying for all of the characters you love. Plus, the women she writes! The fully fleshed out female protagonists with a range of different motivations! So good!

If I can give you one piece of advice: read the Shadowhunters series in a different order than I did. I still enjoyed the books, but I did spoil some plot elements because of the order in which I read the books. (Specifically the conclusion of Clockwork Princess!) I don’t mind spoilers, but if you do I recommend this order:

  1. Mortal Instruments Trilogy 1 (City of Bones thru City of Glass)
  2. Infernal Devices Trilogy (Clockwork Angel thru Clockwork Princess)
  3. Mortal Instruments Trilogy 2 (City of Fallen Angels thru City of Heavenly Fire)
  4. Dark Artifices Trilogy (Lady Midnight thru Queen of Air & Darkness)
  5. Eldest Curses and short story anthologies

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (book and wine)

Don’t let this fun wine pic fool you, this book was devastating and thought-provoking. A firm critique of “white saviours”, Such A Fun Age hits a bit differently now than it would have if I had read it prior to June. The inciting incident takes place when Emira is called away from a fun night out to a work emergency. The woman she works for asks her to take Briar, the little girl she babysits, to a fancy grocery store at 11pm. Another shopper and the store security guard accuse Emira of kidnapping the little girl. This is fairly obviously because Emira is Black and Briar is white. This entire interaction is filmed by a white man, who wants Emira to take the video to the media while she just wants to put the whole thing behind her.

As you can imagine (because otherwise there would be no book), things don’t end there. Both Briar’s mother (Alix) and the man (Kelley) are determined to “make things right” for Elmira, revelations come forward and a lot of people who mean well are just generally icky.

I do want to be honest so you know what to expect. The ending of this book is not super satisfying and I think that is why it works. In this story, nothing gets wrapped up with a nice bow. No one wins and has all their dreams come true. The world, to wildly paraphrase Cabaret, is disappointing.

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (book and wine)

This book was really a true joy. Come Tumbling Down is the fifth novella in the Wayward Children series and it is the third one to include old favourite characters Jack and Jill. We get to return to The Moors and expand the scope of a world we already explored.

I don’t want to say too much more because it’s a pretty short little book and I’m afraid to give anything away. I’ll just say that Seanan McGuire is one of my favourite authors. No one does diversity and representation as seamlessly as she does and I find it hard to think of another author that has such joy for her own worlds/characters that she creates. I feel like some of her short stories sometimes feel like fan fiction that the author herself is writing (and I mean that in a great way). Really, check out anything she has written.

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners by Libba Bray (book)

The Diviners is spooky and atmospheric! Set against the background of 1920s New York City, it tells the story of a city beset by a mysterious murderer. Also magic. And supernatural powers. Ooh, and speak-easies!

Evie O’Neill is central character of The Diviners – a wannabe flapper from Ohio who can read folk’s secrets by touching an object that belongs to them – and she is equal parts vulnerable and self-absorbed. Despite sometimes being “too much”, she is still pos-i-tute-ly charming.

And Evie is only the tip of the iceberg. The Diviners is an ensemble story. It is filled with characters that take Roaring 20s archetypes and make them real.

But it is very very spooky. Don’t read it in the dark.

The first two “The Eldest Curses” books by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

The Red Scrolls of Magic and The Lost Book of the White books by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Did I save the best for last? Maybe I did! The Eldest Curses – The Red Scrolls of Magic and The Lost Book of the White – are a combo of a romance novel and an adult urban fantasy.

Look, everyone knows that Magnus Bane is the best character in the Shadowhunters world. Alec and Magnus are a classic couple. But The Red Scrolls explores the early part of a relationship when everything is unsure, set against the backdrop of a demon-hunting adventure. (Did Magnus accidentally start a cult? Maybe). And The Lost Book of the White checks back in on our favs when they are a bit more settled, also with adventure.

That said? These books are not for you if you do not already love the world and characters. No one is diving into Cassandra Clare’s world with the Eldest Curses series. So I don’t actually recommend them, unless you’ve read the rest.

Any more books that I read?

Witch please, is reading six books not enough for you?

Let me know if you liked this format and I’ll post again about what I’ve been reading in November! Or would you prefer more sporadic shorter posts throughout the month? Did you like it better when I just did little blurbs over on Instagram? Use the comments! Let me know!

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