December Reading update and Book Review – Week 1

Hi, Welcome to my blog. This post is partly a reading update and partly a review post in line with my December reading plans.

Let’s begin with my reading update. I read 3 books this week and have started reading one more book. I struggled a little to complete the last 2 books and I am having second thoughts about my choice of books for this month. I haven’t started reading the biggest books on my TBR and that’s stressing me out a little. I realize I am not in the mood for heavy, thoughtful and sad books this month. I feel like starting some series or read some old favorites. Anyone else vibing the same way as I am? My current TBR is filled with a Haruki Murakami book and few historical fiction and nonfiction books. I am thinking of pushing them off to next year and haul some Graphic novels/Middle-grade books/series for this time. Let’s see.

Now let’s move on to the books that I did finish and my thoughts on them. I finished:

  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  • Things my son needs to know about the world by Fredrik Backman
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

The 5th Wave

Genre – YA Science Fiction
Author – Rick Yancey
Goodreads Rating – 4.06
Rrkreads Rating – 3.5

The book starts with an awesome quote from Stephen Hawking:

IF ALIENS EVER VISIT US, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.

This book is the first book in a trilogy. This is an alien invasion story and the aliens are not cute like E.T. They attack the Earth in installments termed as waves and each wave wipes out billions of people. By the 5th wave, there are apparently a handful of survivors. “Can the survivors continue surviving with their humanity intact?” forms the crux of the story.

The book starts strong. I liked the premise, the plot seemed to be going a good way and I was invested in the story till the midpoint after which I was tempted to DNF it multiple times. One thing that irked me a little was the multiple viewpoints. I loved Cassie and Evan’s viewpoints but was uninterested in Ben and Sam’s. Story from Evan’s viewpoint which was my favorite is told just once. I was left wondering why the author would do that? Why use a viewpoint just once? Also, not all viewpoints were handled as brilliantly as some and that’s a serious flaw for me.
I understand this is a first book in the series and most of the questions that arise in this might get answered in the next parts. But, I am not sure if I am even interested in reading the next ones. Except for Evan, I didn’t care much for any other characters. Cassie being the MC is literally out of action for most of the middle part of the book till almost the end, that was frustrating. The plot was ok, exciting in the beginning but dragging in the middle.
I liked the writing style especially the way he peppered extremely serious situations with wry humor, For example:

I hesitate for a half second. The stairwell is quiet and small, but it’s a good, cozy kind of small. Maybe I should stay here awhile and hug my bear, perhaps suck my thumb.

This is amazingly realistic. In high stress/life-threatening situations even the tiniest hint of happiness from our past does threaten to unravel something within us. This book showed that very well.

In conclusion, I am not eager to read the next installments of this series. That is by no means an indicator of the worth of this book/series. This is a good novel, just not my type. Probably a little late for that but I am realizing I might not be a big fan of sci-fi novels. I am yet to read a Sci-fi book that wows me. If you have any recommendations for your favorite brilliant Science fiction novel/series, please do let me know in the comments section. I really don’t want to give up on this genre, yet.

RRKReads Verdict – Pick, if you are a Sci-fi Novel fan.

Things my son needs to know about the world

Genre – Nonfiction
Author – Fredrik Backman
Goodreads Rating – 3.95
Rrkreads Rating – 4

This is a heartwarming & humorous book. I listened to the audiobook and I loved it. Surprisingly enough this is my first Fredrik Beckman book. Though I have his Beartown series and A man called Ove in my TBR, it’s this book that caught my attention and forced me to read. And I am glad I gave this book a chance. I don’t have much to say about this book except that it’s an advice manual from a father delivered in a humorous way to his son. I have given some of my favorite snippets from the book, below and that might encourage you to give this book a try. Talking about Google and how the internet affects every aspect of our decision making and in essence paralyzes our individual thought processes:

I googled like hell. You should be happy you even got out alive from there.

This gem about when to argue with your better halves/girlfriends 🙂 Fredrik is a genius. 🙂

The majority of life is knowing when to pick your battles.
No one has ever in the history of the world had an argument in IKEA that was really about IKEA.

On inequality:

I am a white heterosexual West European man with an education and a job. There’s not a single organism in the entire universe who knows less about inequality than me.

How very true and am glad he acknowledges it and finds it in him to teach his son about it. Fathers, please emulate him. His commentary on twitter, bathroom cleaning, etc were hilarious and I am pretty sure I scared some birds with my loud laugh.

So, yes, this is a book every father, son, wife, and mother must read. Daughters & grandparents too will enjoy this immensely. Just read it, you will not regret it. Plus it’s a very short read.

RRKReads Verdict – Pick, if you are a parent or want to be a parent.

Children of Blood and Bone

Genre – YA Fantasy
Author – Tomi Adeyemi
Goodreads Rating – 4.16
Rrkreads Rating – 4

The first book from a trilogy. This is a story of the fight between the oppressed Maji (people who are born with magic) and a tyrant King. It is not as political as it sounds though. Being a YA fantasy it is again a story of a bunch of teenagers trying to save the world, so callously messed up by adults, from the adults. I won’t say this is my favorite book but it is a unique book, one that I loved. For one, it has an amazing colored people representation. Beauty has been defined as never before. I loved the sound of the names, so unique and delicate on the ears. The writing style was great, the plot was different and interesting. The pacing was good.
It’s a very good YA Fantasy debut novel and deserves all the accolades it’s receiving. My only problem with the book is the romance part. I didn’t care for the romance in this book. It distracted me from the story and I didn’t like that. A part of me kept screaming, “Oh common! You want to kiss? Now? Get on with it, aren’t there more pressing matters? Like life-threatening, clan threatening matters that you need to take care of?
I understand this is a YA fantasy, romance is a given. Some fun and games, lightheartedness, childishness, etc is a given, but, in this particular story, it felt too out of the place. It is not much of a dampener for a book this good but yeah that’s my humble opinion. I am definitely continuing with this series. Expect the next book in the series Children of Virtue and Vengeance in my future TBR lists. Btw, a shoutout to the audiobook narrator Bahni Turpin, God! She’s amazing! Even if you don’t like the book you will still want to listen to the story thanks to her narration.

RRKReads Verdict – Pick, if you like a different story with unique characters, names, cultural and color representations.

So that’s my review update for this week. I have started reading All the light we cannot see for now, but I am not sure if I will continue with the rest of the books from my TBR this time around. I’ll update my reading progress in my next post. Till then, stay happy and blessed. Om Shanti.

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