I only read roughly about 30 books this year (which is appalling in book blogger circles if I was book blogger). I have been looking elsewhere and books as my regular anchoring points in life have been neglected.
I thought I'd include some of the thoughts I had on a few of the books I did manage to finish (anyone who follows me on Goodreads knows I start a ridiculous amount of books and there are a few survivors in the end.)
January: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This was a brilliant book. I love how medieval sentiments, racial, gender and identity politics were fed into from of an engaging character's life within a vivid world of magic and music.
March: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
If her short story collection inspired me to pick up the pen again a few years ago, this sequel was a sucker punch of prose-world-storytelling beauty. I liked the first book but found that the quick set-up of the past-life characters' relationship didn't really foster an emotional connection for me as a reader which is why I didn't love it as much as others did. I also found the focus on the physical beauty/perfection of the main character distancing - I understand from an art student's perspective, Karou may posses classical features which are perceived as perfect but I just recoil from imposing a perfect beauty standard which has imperialistic/classist associations. This reflexive reaction hearkens back to experiences of having my flat nose pinched and pulled by my mother as a child because it did not fit what she was taught was beautiful in any culture (yep, post-colonial tangent.)
Anyway, the second book blew my expectations away because it was dark and explored the flaws and vulnerabilities of its characters in a complex fantastically gritty world. The characters I had found difficult to understand in the first book became more real for me in this one. I really can't wait for the final book.
To be continued in Part 2 of 2013...