Reading recap: September

After a dismal August, September turned out to be a slightly better reading month, but only because I cheated. I finished four books, but I read only two of them properly. The other two I had to skim to finish them. I should probably have stuck with my reading list, as that didnt fail me. Also, technically, I finished one of the books in October, but since it took me most of the month to reach the end, I’ll write it down as one for September.

First of the books I began to read was Railhead by Philip Reeve. It’s a young adult book – sort of, I guess, though I never figured out how old the main character was – with an interesting premise that hooked me from the start. A distant future where interstellar travel is done by sentient trains jumping through gates between worlds, and a petty thief who loves to travel on them. He’s lured into stealing something important and everything goes wrong, plunging the entire system into chaos. With such an interesting story, I should’ve managed to read it, but I got stuck half-way. I skimmed the book to the end – fairly carefully – and the story was good to the end and the characters turned out to be more than what they appeared at first. So I think it was a good book. We just weren’t a good match.

Railhead by Philip Reeve

The first book of the month that I actually finished was a stable in my reading diet: the latest Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich. Turbo Twenty-three was, as the title suggests, 23rd book in the series, and better than the previous couple of books in the series have been. The crime story was suitably mysterious, the funny bits weren’t a repetition of the same-old, and the author had finally stopped pretending that Stephanie will ever choose between her two lovers, and just allowed her to enjoy the ride. If this trend continues, the series might return to what it used to be: laugh-out funny.

Turbo Twenty-three by Janet Evanovich

The best book of the month by far was, as always, the latest Nalini Singh paranormal romance. Archangel’s Viper is book ten of her Guild Hunter series and told the love story of Venom, a vampire with the poison of snakes running in his veins, and Holly who has been forcefully made a vampire by an insane archangel. Most of the book dealt with Holly’s trauma and her emergence from it, which gave the love story space to grow. I liked the characters and I liked how they were together. The only complaint I have is that the book was slightly out of balance, as the first two thirds of the book was devoted to hunting down the person who wanted to kidnap Holly, which then was completely discarded in favour of a different plot. But since the book otherwise had a satisfying conclusion, I forgave it.

Archangel's Viper by Nalini Singh

Last, and definitely least, is City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte, which is a pseudonym for writers Meg Howrey and Christina Lynch. The premise was so promising that I borrowed the second book in the series with the first: a musicologist, Sarah Weston, is invited to Prague after the death of her mentor, only to be caught up in a time-travel mystery. Only, the book had almost nothing to do with it. There was a mystery story that wasn’t about time travel, or interesting for that matter: a US senator who didn’t want her KGB past to come to light. Presumably everything that took place in the mysterious castle where Sarah was invited to, was done by people working for the senator, but I can’t be sure, because I began to skim after reading about half of the book. Nevertheless, that was the most straightforward of the plots, though it only became clear at the end of the book. Then there was a hunt for everything Beethoven, a hunt for a golden fleece, and a really lame love story. At about half-point the book got to the time travelling, which was done by a drug that caused one to experience the energies of the past as if one were there – though how the people of the past were able to react to the energies of the future, I have no idea. Add to that a cast of characters that weren’t in any way interesting – including a long-living dwarf and a blind child prodigy whose role in the book I really didn’t get – and a travel guide’s worth of historical details of Prague and Beethoven, and you have a mighty mess in your hands. Nothing that was told in the set-up of the book had anything to do with the rest of the book, including the death of Sarah’s father, and only one of the plots got some sort of conclusion. I don’t know why I wasted as much time with the book that I did. Needless to say, I will not read the next book.

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

And that was my reading. I really hope October will turn out to be better.

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