Wrap-Up: r/Fantasy Reading Bingo 2018

FantasyBingo_Leticia_12_2018I must confess that at a certain point in the year I lost track of the Bingo Challenge and my reading went to other directions. I think that one of the reasons was that I wasn’t always lucky with my picks for the different prompts, so eventually I distanced myself and started prioritizing shorter Readathons with the idea that I still had enough time to finish the Bingo later, but April came and the last four remaining books to complete the card remained unread. I completed only one of the rows entirely, even if I managed to read four prompts in all five rows.

Since I like no stress attached to my reading goals, I decided to post my final results in this Wrap-Up even though. And the unread books I chose for the last year’s challenge will be read, eventually. Not all books I chose for the challenge were for me, but I still liked going out of my favourite authors scope and trying new ones.

In addition, certain prompts were very interesting so I also read more than one book for them, I will be adding the additional books when I consider them special enough to mention.

 

1st Row:

Novel that was Reviewed on r/Fantasy

I chose Nice Dragons Finish Last by (Heartstrikers #1) by Rachel Aaron for this challenge and even started reading it, but somehow got distracted by other books, so I still didn’t finish reading this.

 

Novel Featuring a Non-Western Setting

The Killing Moon (Dreamblood #1) by N.K. Jemisin

I liked this book even if I considered it quite slow-paced (even for epic fantasy). The relationships, magic system and world could have been much more fleshed out too. I’m yet in doubt whether I will go on reading this Duology or not.

Additional Book:

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty

Awesome story world with Ifrits, Ghouls, Marids, Peri, Djinn and multi-layered characters. I’m following this series for sure.

 

Five Short Stories

I chose to read the anthology “The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories” by Mahvesh Murad (Editor)

I set it aside after reading five stories, mainly because I expected mainly a fantasy anthology when I started reading this and, true, all stories there have fantastic elements, but apart from this they are a mixture of genres. Therefore, I’ll finish reading this when I feel like reading literary, slice-of-life, or magical realism short stories.

 

Novel Adapted by Stage, Screen, or Game

For this prompt I read the whole trilogy of Ruby Red (Edelstein-Trilogie #1) by Kerstin Gier,  Anthea Bell (Translator)

Kerstin Gier is my new favorite fantasy and young adult author even if I don’t read her books in their original language, German. I may try it though sometime with “Die Mütter-Mafia” books. The whole trilogy was told in a light and humorous way that makes it a real treat for a relaxing afternoon. I also like the tension created by the time-travel plot and multi-layered characters. This was an entertaining, page-turner trilogy. The Audiobooks, narrated by Marisa Calin, were also very good.

 

Hopeful Spec-Fic

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

This was a different kind of science-fiction, quite enjoyable and focused on the characters and human interactions.

 

2nd Row:

Fantasy Novel that Takes Place Entirely Within One City

Beautiful Creatures (Beautiful Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia,  Margaret Stohl.

This was entertaining, very romantic and full of magic atmosphere. I watched the film based on this book, and will eventually go on reading this series.

 

Self-Published Novel

I had chosen Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension #1) by Andrew Rowe for this, but unfortunately lost track of it. This remains in my TBR though.

 

Novel Published Before You Were Born (1973, GenXer here!)

The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (first published 1955)

This book was a trip, you will want to jaunt yourself after reading it, LOL. Some allowances have to be made since this was written in the 50s, but I can fully understand why this is in a science fiction masterworks list. All the settings this book goes through, often in a disturbing, and very possible dystopian way, make it the revered classic that it is.

 

Any r/Fantasy Goodreads Group Book of the Month

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells.

Murderbot is a very original character, you can see why this novella has won the 2018 Hugo Award. I’ll be following this series.

 

Novel Featuring a Library

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Sometimes I read outside my favorite genres and with that I discover a great read. This wasn’t unfortunately the case here, but it could be due to Horror not really being a genre I enjoy. I started this book due to all good reviews on Booktube, but found it too confusing and at a certain point I stopped caring about the characters and plot and DNFed the book.

 

 

3rd Row:

Subgenre: Historical Fantasy OR Alternate History

Servant of the Underworld (Obsidian and Blood #1) by Aliette de Bodard

I mainly picked up this book because it is extremely rare to find books with an Aztec setting. I liked the original world building/story elements in this book. I can imagine that for someone who likes the blend of mystery/historical fiction this is a four/five star read.

** spoiler alert ** One of the reasons I rated it three stars is that for me alone the main character’s arc was very slow paced dragging the plot with it. I couldn’t understand why Acatl acted the way he did most times, always in doubt whether he should act, blending aloofness and insecurity with resourcefulness. It was part of the story, but it was also shocking how Acatl and others sacrificed animals all the time without a second thought on the waste and cruelty of their way of life, and how quickly they dismissed people’s deaths as every moment occurrence. I wonder if the Aztecs were really like that or if they were more like us, willingly ignorant of the brutality of our world most of the time? An original, thought-provoking and interesting read in any case.

 

Novel Published in 2018

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

This book was an entertaining page-turner. I liked especially the original characters, and the well-constructed fantasy world with historic background. I’ll be checking out the next books by this author.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Thomas Nelson–FICTION for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Novel Featuring a Protagonist Who is a Writer, Artist or Musician (NOT: Kingkiller Chronicles)

Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Were it for the writing style and the original premise and setting alone I would have given this book five stars, but the main relationship in this book is so… ** spoiler alert ** I’m not really sure of how to finish this phrase, perhaps: “hopeless-through-the-whole- book-until-the-end-when-I-was-happy-that-it-was-finished”?

I’m tired of stories were the heroine is unnaturally and endlessly humble, selfless and self-sacrificing and the (anti) ‘hero’ is cruel, blase, cold and treats other women badly because supposedly they were not as great as the heroine is.

Perhaps this is how fairy tales are supposed to be, but to me it feels really outdated and even unfair as gender roles go? I’m tired of the trope of “there isn’t a bad man, only a man who has not found the perfect woman to change him for the better,” because for teenage girls this is not the best thing to believe in. Perhaps the purpose of the story was to show that the heroine was better off without that troublesome relationship, but it didn’t feel as if she made the decision of finishing the relationship herself. No, she was freed by the cruel ‘hero’ because ‘she was better than the other girls.’

I cringed every time Liesl said ‘Mein Herr’ to her husband, always so subservient and meek. Again, this was only another of the story elements but it made everything sound so old fashioned. True, the Goblin King helped her to grow up enough to express her music, but did she really need him to become a composer or to be happy at all? Perhaps the next book in the series will answer this question

 

Novel Featuring a Mountain Setting

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas.

It’s with the same characters from the trilogy, that I liked well enough to reread, but extremely little really happens. I hope the next books have more plot to them.

My pet-peeve with novellas is that they are mostly too short to introduce as many new and interesting things as a novel, and this one felt like a long epilogue of the third book. I would rather have a spin-off based on any other character than the main ones, or a collection of different POVs from side characters.

 

2017 r/Fantasy Top Novels List

The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1) by Katherine Addison.

This is so hyped but I can’t see what’s that all about…

The story reminds me of “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen. However, the stakes, the tension and the action of the mentioned book aren’t present at all. The main character has a lot of time to think, meditate and complain about life… I’ve already read 110 pages and not much happened. I don’t manage to care enough to read everything. This book isn’t for me.

 

4th Row:

Novel with Fewer than 2500 Goodreads Ratings

Blood of Wonderland (Queen of Hearts Saga #2) by Colleen Oakes.

I expected more from this sequel after enjoying the first book so much. It felt flat and rushed up, I was just wondering why characters were acting into certain directions, it felt forced with the main character, Cheshire and Wardley.

The story world just went by, interesting but not being really explored in detail, although this seems to happen often in YA.

 

Novel with a One Word Title

Armada by Ernest Cline.

I liked this even if I still prefer “Ready Player One” by this author. I would love a next book where Zack Lightman would meet the aliens and try to find out what they are plotting 😉

 

Novel Featuring a God as a Character

I chose The Curse of Chalion (World of the Five Gods #1) by Lois McMaster Bujold for this prompt, but haven’t read it yet. However, all Bujold books are on my TBR!

 

Novel by an Author Writing Under a Pseudonym.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) by James S.A. Corey

I started this but stopped because I could not bring myself to go on reading. I’ll perhaps pick this one later again, right now I find it too slow-paced and I don’t fell like committing to a very long series when the first book isn’t for me.The world is interesting though and it left me curious enough to watch the first season episodes based on the books. **spoiler alert**  Sigh… I’m really tired of zombies whether they come from ice or space, and I think they spoil every story they appear in. To me zombies always seem like a cheap and cliché plot device to add action to a plot the author has no other stakes for.

Subgenre: Space Opera

The Empress (The Diabolic #2) by S.J. Kincaid

I’m in doubt how to rate this book, it was quite original and full of really unexpected plot twists.  I wonder how the story is going to continue and can’t wait for the next book.
Audiobook: The reading of Candace Thaxton was as five stars good as in the first book.

 

5th Row:

Stand Alone Fantasy Novel

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.

This was an original take on vampire stories and the world building was awesome.

I found it somehow slow paced and thought that a couple of flashbacks were placed too late in the story, but I was happy to find similarities between this book and The Cruel Prince.

This book should be getting a sequel.

 

Novel by a RAWRR Author OR Keeping Up With the Classics

I chose The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #1) by Glen Cook but couldn’t get to it.

 

Novel from the r/Fantasy LGBTQ+ Database

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo.

I liked more this sequel than the first book in the Duology due to all the feels and the depth of the character stories.

Additional Book:

China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh

This was very well written, a literary, slice-of-life, dystopia. At the beginning I thought Zhang aloof and could not relate to him, but as the story progressed I understood that it isn’t easy to survive in a world that condemns most things about you. I considered the chapters with the other characters really great too and loved the story set in Mars.
A beautiful book, to be read without hurry, as the awesome food-for-thought about human condition that it is.

 

Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook

Paper Girls, Vol. 1 (Paper Girls #1- #4)

#1- I like it but the story is all over the place. I’ll go on reading and see where is going.

#4- Finally we start to get some answers after three volumes of saying “Um, what just happened” like one of the robots in the series and we go on reading this page turner.

Additional Graphic Novels:

Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine – (Bitch Planet (Collected Editions) #1) by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Goodreads Author) (Writer),  Taki Soma (Illustrator), Valentine De Landro (Artist), Robert Wilson IV (Artist)

This is awesome, I would recommend it to anyone, especially with how politics is going nowadays in the world.

Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch (Bitch Planet (Collected Editions) #2) by Kelly Sue DeConnick (Goodreads Author) (writer),  Taki Soma (artist), Valentine De Landro (artist). –    This is awesome and everybody should read it. 😉

 

Novel Featuring the Fae

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

This book has nice descriptions, a really nice cover, premise, and so much hype that I was completely underwhelmed by it.

It could have been better but the pace was terribly slow and at a certain point I wasn’t caring anymore about the story or the characters. I dropped it on several occasions because nothing interesting was happening. Even the romance was insta-love, and it also dragged. For me this was only an over hyped book where the hype had not real reasons to be there.

And you, do you agree/disagree with my opinions on the books I picked? And have you already committed to a year-long reading challenge?

2019 r/Fantasy Book Bingo Reading Challenge

I’m doing this challenge again this year.

Way Too Fantasy

Some of you have probably noticed me talking about book bingo  around here and were wondering what exactly I was going on about. Well, now that it’s after April 1st (the start of the new bingo period) I thought I’d do a post about it.

r/Fantasy Book Bingo is something I initially started on kind of a whim. Several years ago, after I’d been skulking about reddit’s r/fantasy community for a bit, I found myself engaged in thread about book challenges. In the discussion I mentioned having done a book bingo before and then said ‘I should make a fantasy one for the subreddit’ and a couple of people were like ‘yeah, you totally should’ and thus r/Fantasy Book Bingo was born.

So, what is r/Fantasy Book Bingo? It’s a year long reading challenge with the aim of getting readers to branch out, look at books they may have otherwise…

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