I know when I requested a copy from the publisher I wasn’t expecting this to be the next National Book Award winner.* I expected a somewhat light fluffy read with a bit of drama and hoped that it would pull at my heartstrings just enough to make me get that giddy feeling of a new-found/re-discovered romance and that’s exactly what I got.
Now that I’m starting to settle into my new job (and have two weeks of vacation – when this posts I’ll be somewhere between Seattle and Alaska), I’m starting to catch up on galleys/ARCs that I received at the end of 2016.*
This is one of those books that goes in the pile of I would probably never pick up on my own, but since the publisher sent it and it was vaguely interesting to me I read it. I found the concept interesting and the idea of goodness outside of institutionalized religion is something I “believe in,” so I figured why not.
The book itself was easy to read and I enjoyed Viljoen’s writing style and the bits of himself he let seep into the book, but overall this was just a meh book for me. I’ve definitely read books that were much more focused than this one and maybe that’s what it was for me, what felt like a lack of focus.
When I read April Daniels’ debut novel, Dreadnought I lamented the length of time I had to wait until the second in the series came out. What I didn’t realize then or now was that it was only in January of this year that I read Dreadnaught and less than five months later I was able to request Sovereign, the sequel.*
Sovereign picks up not long after the events of Dreadnought and Danny is coming more to terms with her powers as Dreadnought and coming more to terms with her transition. As much as I enjoyed this book, it’s not as strong as the first. It really felt that Daniels got too heavy-handed with the queer politics, as fascinating as they were, and it distracted too much from the story for my taste. I get that it’s an integral part of the story, but it honestly just felt too much like a crutch.
I wanted to like this so much more than I did. And this says a lot about both myself and the book/writer. Even though my response isn’t that friendly to the book there were some occasional one liners that made me smile.
When I requested a copy of this book from the publisher,* I wanted to identify with the characters, I wanted to revel in our shared experiences of growing up in the south during a certain time, but I just couldn’t.
Perhaps this is because I didn’t grow up in the deep south (I grew up in a military town in NC) or maybe because my family wasn’t too religious, (we went to church some times, but we were Episcopalian and compared to other southern denominations, they’re pretty damn liberal), or perhaps it’s just because of the writing or the non-shared experiences of the book that i just couldn’t click with it.
It’s very rare that a book will grab me and keep me reading through a whirlwind of emotions. I’m so grateful someone from the publisher reached out to me about this book.* All I knew going in is that the main character is LGBT (she’s transgender, but also a lesbian) and this is a superhero story. It didn’t hurt that it was a young adult book (yay more diversity).
The publisher didn’t compare it to Perry Moore’s Hero, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think it deserves a mention. Although it’s about a cisgendered (born and identified) male, the group of quirky superheroes in that book reminded me a lot of where I’m hoping Dreadnought will go in the series. Continue reading “Book 473: Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) – April Daniels”
I’m not one to generally read debut novels unless I hear from a friend that it’s great. However, with all of the great books coming out of Dutton recently, when they reached out to me about this one and I was intrigued by the blurb, I of course said yes.*
This being said, I of course probably should’ve re-read the blurb on the back before I started, but I didn’t and it was a bit of a shocker to all of a sudden be thrown into a plane crash! But if I would’ve re-read the blurb I would’ve remembered that it was set in Boston, and a large part of my excitement reading the book would’ve been lost! Thankfully, it was well written and interesting AND I got to experience the Boston portions as if I had NO idea (because I didn’t) that they were there! Seriously, she spent a half page on Anna’s Taqueria! [Anna’s website] Swoon!
I had no idea who Steven Gaines was and after reading this, I don’t have that much more of an idea. I’d love to say I’ve done more research but I haven’t, but I may try to read Philistines at the Hedgerow later this fall as we’re going to a wedding in the Hamptons and it’s about property there.
All of this being said, my thoughts are not a bad thing, especially as I enjoyed his writing, but an observation of my usual lack of background knowledge going in to a book.
The lovely people at Open Road Media reached out to me with a copy of One of These Things First* as I had previously read In Youth Is Pleasure and I can see the similarities in story, style and experience even though they’re set in different countries and quite a bit apart temporally.