Looking Back at November 2013

The year is drawing swiftly to a close and it won’t be much longer before I turn the page on 2013 and begin working on my 2014 reading goals. But, it’s still 2013 as of today, so it’s time to take a look at what I read during November. A quick glance at the list reveals I was a little bit wild in my reading selections for the month. I have some middle-grade fiction mixed in with young adult, sequels to books I read last year, and some recommendations I received from co-workers and friends. There was even one novel I read which had been on my Kindle for over a year waiting for me to get to it.

The books I read in November:

Of these eight books, I can easily divide them into two groups: ones I thought were fantastic, and ones that were just okay. The books from November that I thought were fantastic are Crown of Midnight, Caliban’s War, Lot Beta, and Storm Front. All four of these were everything I hoped for and more. In the “just okay” category fall Allegiant, The Eye of Minds, Year Zero: A Novel, and The Fall of Five.

Crown of Midnight was a magnificent example of how an author can learn from their writing and improve immensely. Everything I found lacking in the first book of its series was fixed in Crown of Midnight. The characters were more balanced, the story more grounded and believable, even the general quality of the writing. I went into reading Crown of Midnight thinking it would be similar to the first book, Throne of Glass, and that was okay because the first book was a good bit of fun. Instead I was blown away by the growth Sarah J. Maas demonstrated in her writing and her ability to tell a story. At this point I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment of the series.

Caliban’s War was simply a terrific sequel to an already very strong first book in a trilogy. I enjoyed it much more than I enjoyed Leviathan Wakes, and I’m expecting the concluding volume, Abbadon’s Gate to keep the trend alive. As for Lot Beta and Storm Front, they were books recommended to me by my brother-in-law and co-worker. I realized they weren’t very long so I gave them a shot and wound up loving them.

As for the other four books, they were all decent enough, but they just didn’t impress me in particular. James Dashner’s The Eye of Minds was solid work, but in my opinion doesn’t live up to the same level as his first offering in the genre, The Maze Runner. The trouble I had with Allegiant isn’t that its a bad book, it’s actually the best of the trilogy it serves as the end for, but as a result of that, it sort of fails because the entire trilogy should have been written at that level, not just the final book.

With December already halfway done, and the holidays fast approaching I’m not sure how much more reading I’ll get through before the new year. I’m almost finished with The Daedalus Incident, and after that I’m hoping to get through the final four books in my “Waiting to be Read” pile: Abbadon’s Gate, On Writing, Promise of Blood, and Dragon Wing: The Death Gate Cycle. Two of those are quite short, the other two are around 500 pages in length. If I can get that list finished before New Year’s Day I’ll be sitting pretty having beaten last year’s books read and total pages read marks.

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5 thoughts on “Looking Back at November 2013

  1. Now you’re making me curious about Crown of Midnight. I thought that Throne of Glass was awful and full of cliches (and hated myself for not being able to put it down and being so obsessed with it even though I thought it was bad). But if she improved as a writer, then I may have to give it a try. 🙂

    • Yes, it is significantly better than Throne of Glass. There are still a few cliches, but there almost has to be in young adult fiction these days. However, all of them are toned down to a very tolerable level.

      On top of that, the entire “assassin barbie” persona the main character was doused with in the first book is basically gone. Now, that character is a strong, yet very attractive woman, and she appreciates a fancy dress, but all of the giggling and obsessing over it is gone. Instead she is much more believable as a person.

      I say give it a try, even if you don’t agree that it’s fantastic, I’d be pretty shocked if you didn’t at least think it was a much better book than the first overall.

      • Oh good. The dresses in the first book drove me crazy, as well as the giggly love triangle. Meanwhile, we kept hearing that she was a badass assassin, but we never really saw her do anything to prove it. At the same time, as I said, I couldn’t put it down. The story itself had potential, and if the writing has improved, I might like the sequel a lot more.

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