What I’m Reading: August edition
2 September 2012
Yesterday was September 1st. I’ll admit I didn’t even realize this until about 7:30 at night. Until then, it was still August in my mind…probably because I was on revision, and when I work under a deadline the days seem to fly by and blend together until I reach a point where I couldn’t tell you if it was Sunday or Monday, let alone the actual date. So in short: I’m sorry this review post is overdue!
Anyway, as many of you are aware, I started a massive re-read of the Harry Potter series in August. I’m in the middle of GOBLET OF FIRE as we speak, and I’m going to hold off on sharing my thoughts on any of the books until I’ve finished the whole series. (I sense a massive Harry post in the near future!) This re-read-athon has obviously slowed my pace for other books in my TBR pile, so I sadly only have two to talk about today. Here are the non-Harry novels I read in August:
Kiersten and I share an editor, and I’m always anxious to read what else said editor is working on. (Especially when I tend to love all of her projects/authors). Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early ARC of MIND GAMES, which is Kiersten’s first novel releasing after the PARANORMALCY trilogy. This novel couldn’t be more different from PARA, but I think I love it even more. (I’m afraid Evie will hear me saying this.) Told in alternating POVs, MIND GAMES follows sisters Annie and Fia, both in present and pass timelines. The two both have unique supernatural powers and attend a “school” that is capitalizing on those powers in questionable manners–many of which include threatening one sister’s life to make the other bend to their will. Fia, the younger of the two, is maybe the angriest character I have read in a long time (Lani Taylor mentions something similar in her blurb) but I loved her nonetheless. As she tries to break free of the school without risking her sister’s safety, things get ugly.
The novel is short (only ~250p) and near impossible to put down, which makes for a thrilling read. The girl’s voices are distinct and clear, and the ending left me satisfied, but desperate for the sequel, which I believe comes out next fall. If it, too, is only around ~250p, I’m going to be cursing the publishing gods for not letting me read this all in one 500p mega-book. Darn, do I hate waiting. ;) But if you liked PARANORMALCY, pick this up come February. And if you didn’t like PARANORMALCY, you should still pick this up, seeing how different it is! Kiersten does not disappoint.
I’d heard S.J. Kincaid’s INSIGNIA pitched as Harry Potter meets Ender’s Game, and simply had to snag myself a copy. Having finished reading, I can definitely see the comparisons. A skilled gamer and con-artist, Tom Raines is snatched up by an elite military training program and whisked off to Pentagonal Spire. Here, he’ll train under the aid of an advanced neural implant (that makes him half-machine, in a sense), with the hopes of impressing higher ups and being cleared to fight for his country in WWIII–a global resource battle in space being fought remotely by the nations’ most skilled fighters.
This is a lengthy book, and until the plot kicks in, much of the focus is on Tom’s day-to-day adjusts at the academy. This is the side of the novel that felt Harry Potter-esque to me. We meet a quirky cast of students, some colorful teachers/staff, become acquainted with the technology of the Spire, and learn an awful lot about the world and its current state by way of lessons and conversation. Some of the fighting, training, and technology harkens to Ender, as does the premise of recruiting gifted youth to fight in a war, but the books are very different–there is no alien enemy in INSIGNIA. However, the real beauty of INSIGNIA lies in the quiet questions that are posed beneath the plot. Kincaid never shoves them down the reader’s throat, but by the end of the novel, many were rocketing around my head. About technology and where the line between human and digital blends. About war and politics and corporate greed. About virtual reality, and how it is as real as it is virtual. This was a fun, satisfying debut. I’ll gladly pick up the sequel and follow Tom through some more training next year.
That’s it for me! Like I said, I also read Harry Potter 1-3 this month, but I’ll keep my thoughts to myself until I finish DEATHLY HALLOWS.
What about you? What did you read and love in August?