I refuse to believe it’s 2020. I feel like, in some part of my brain, it’s still 1215 and we’re still talking about the Magna Carta and King Arthur and whatever it was we all talked about in 1215, I don’t know. But anyway, I decided to write a yearly recap of 2019 or somesuch. God knows why, because no one could be less interested in what I did this year than I am.
Or is that true? It’s true that, as of the past two months, things have been looking up. I’ve been writing far more. I’ve been (astonishingly) learning lots of things. I’ve found books I love, and have been, in general, interacting with my life more. It figures that I only start liking the year once it’s almost over.
Nah, I don’t really want to talk about this.
Okay, I turned eighteen this year! And I also did decently on my SATs. That’s…Is that all I did? I feel like I spent most of this year in hiding.
But hey, I started a blog! That’s something.
You know, sometimes I see people say, ‘so, I’ve hit such a massive reading slump lately. I’ve only read 5401 books this month,’ and I’m just…No! You people are doing fine, don’t beat yourselves up over it! Sometimes I only read two books a year!
Shockingly, I did not only read two books this year. Let’s see if I can get these in order (I may miss some):
This one was very good. This book is so delightfully quirky while still getting quite dark in places, and can I say that dark fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously is my favorite thing? I also loved the bi rep so, so much, and it came at a time when I needed it, too. I’ll admit I was a bit scared when I (accidentally) read a spoiler about Adam and Ronan, because I just couldn’t see how they would work well together? But Adam got a lot of character development in this book, and I actually like him now, and something about Ronan and him really do just click. I will admit that I do think their relationship could have been built up over the previous two books, but it still works.
And also like…the plot was good and whatever other boring stuff you want me to talk about, but we all know I’m really here for the ships.
I will say one thing, though: More could have and should have been done with Gwenllian. You can’t just drop a magical character from the 14th century there in your story and then leave her to her own devices.
Eh. The Raven King was okay, and the writing was still gorgeous as usual. But I can’t help but feel like the ending was pretty anticlimactic. I remember feeling, right after I finished it, that I wish the author had written a historical fantasy about Glendower instead. I don’t know why. (I guess it is kind of an unfair complaint to say, ‘I liked this book, but I wish the author had written a completely different book in a different genre.’) I think the history behind all the worldbuilding was the really, really fascinating thing about all this, and it’s the part of the story that is consistently underplayed.
Also, did Ronan…Did Ronan really make a racist joke behind his Asian friend’s back, or did I misread that? And Blue, who gets so up-in-arms about other stuff, was willing to just laugh it off? I hope I misread that. (I don’t have a copy on hand right now, so I can’t say for sure. It did jump out at me when I was reading it, though. I know someone else mentioned it too, so I assume I didn’t misinterpret because tired or something.) I mean, it’s definitely not unrealistic for a white boy from the south, but it is a bit…disappointing.
Yeah. It was an okay book. Definitely not perfect. I still love the other three books, though.
This was just a three star read. Maybe a two? I don’t know. It wasn’t the worst book ever, but I didn’t love it at all. I liked parts of it (the setting, a couple of the characters, how alchemy was portrayed), and I hated other parts (the fact that most of the cast was underdeveloped, among other things). I wrote a review of this, which was actually my very first book review? I’m unreasonably proud of the post, considering it’s terrible, but the review still does make me laugh, so that’s good.
On the bright side, I did write some fanfic for this, and the book got me to look up some stuff about chemistry and alchemy, so that’s excellent. Did you know that the science of chemistry actually comes out of alchemy? Darn it, now I wish I’d actually learned some more chemistry. I want to be an alchemist, too.
I actually did pick up the second book at the library, and so far it’s way worse than the first one. My plan is to power through on the sheer force of my own salt so I can write a review, but I may DNF it.
So, objectively, this is a terrible book. Or, more accurately, there are very large peaks and dips in the quality. The plotting is excellent, and it can actually get very suspenseful and creepy sometimes. The romance is freaking cringey. Like, it’s probably a Shatter Me on the levels of books that I like, as in, this got a LOT of emotions out of me at five in the morning, but is it good? Would I read it again? Nah.
But this is also the first book I’ve ever read with a bi main character. And I know it’s kind of stupid to look for representation in a Boy’s Love novel, from everything I’ve heard about the genre, but–I don’t think it was terrible? It wasn’t the best ever, but I don’t think it was terrible. And the characters honestly seem to love each other and have a lot of chemistry and they don’t die at the end. So I think that was what caused my unreasonably happy reaction over this book.
(Note that I am not averse to queer main characters dying at the end, as long as it’s because they’re going up against the evil empire and there was no way out of that alive, and not because one character dies of AIDS and the other jumps off a cliff because something something homophobia. Just like…don’t make it tacky. But it’s still incredibly nice when queer characters don’t die.)
I will say that I think the denouement is the weakest part of the book. Sex scenes are nearly impossible to get right, and kinky sex scenes are not really my preferred thing to read–no shame to you if you like them, of course (I should note that I skimmed the sex scene hard after about a quarter of the way through it, so I can’t tell you much about the quality, except…it is difficult to make a sex scene appealing to me and this wasn’t any different). And I also skimmed through a couple of the post-credits short stories and it seemed like they were kinda shit, so I didn’t read them ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But I’m reviewing the novel here, not the short stories.
I also honestly cannot tell you if any parts of this novel were problematic, because I read this at five in the morning and my brain can not tell what’s problematic and what isn’t at five in the morning. Sorry.
Overall, I liked the book, but I’m not sure I’d read it again, just in case those happy memories were a lie.
A really excellent book overall, but I won’t say much here because I actually wrote a review and have yet to post it.
I LOVE THIS BOOK. Easily my favorite book of 2019. I do plan on writing a review, but just in case I don’t get it up, read this for demon butlers, stubborn librarians, and absentminded sorcerers. And also, the story has a Howl’s Moving Castle feel, and it’s just really amazing in general. Go read it.
I think that was all the fiction I read this year? I could have read more and forgotten, but I don’t know.
I barely wrote anything at the start of the year, but I’m starting to get back into the flow of things. I’ve actually started writing fanfiction, which I used to never write, and so far it’s really fun. I also put four short stories onto my blog! I was going to link them in this post, but then I realized I have a little page with their links up there at the top of this website. So you can check them out if you want to.
In case you were wondering about my opinion on them, which you probably weren’t, I think ‘Bran and the Bear’ and ‘The Skeleton Harp’ are the best written, technically speaking, but ‘Sepideh and the Jinni’ and ‘The King and the Courtier’ are my personal favorites. My opinion could change completely by next week.
I also finally learned how to actually plot things this year, I think. And I think my writing may be beginning to hold together better? Hopefully? Anyway, I love writing, and even though it tried to the best of its ability, 2019 did not get to change that.
Obviously, I started a blog. I also posted some things on the blog, and I can’t really pick a favorite or even list my top favorites because I’m just that self-absorbed and like all of them, but I liked all my fairy tale and fairy tale-related stuff and also I reread my Cruel Prince review every time I want a laugh.
When I started this blog, I expected to consistently cringe over my posts a month after I put them out, but I actually don’t? It feels kind of nice to put my most badly-written self out on the internet. I mean, sure, my first couple of posts are objectively cringy, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ And some of them aren’t as bad as I thought they would be. I thought my post on Mordred and Guinevere’s relationship was terrible when I first put it out, but when I reread it a couple months ago, I didn’t think it was too bad. (Now, I could be completely delusional on this matter.) (Also, man did I used to overuse italics.)
I was thinking about listing my favorite bloggers like El did (with permission to take her idea, of course), but then I realized I’d have to list literally everyone I follow, so maybe not. You’re all great, seriously.
Anyway, screw it, despite the hard stuff, it has been a great year, and I’m so happy to make it to the end of it with you guys. Thank you for supporting me this year, and happy New Year!