April Wrap Up

I expected April to be a great reading month but it was unfortunately pretty awful (relative to other months).

I found it really easy to want to read and want to pick books up but incredibly hard to actually finish them. This has resulted in my starting books constantly but seeming to just make it partway in and not finishing.

It’s weird to be in such a good reading mood, yet at the same time not be able to settle down to an actual book. I have now just started picking the books up depending on my feeling that evening or hour.

So, what did I actually manage to read…

Clare Mackintosh – After the End
This book is about a couple who have to make a decision about whether to continue to treat their terminally ill son to extend his life but to the detriment to the quality of his life, or whether they should stop treatment and spend the remaining time with their son without extraordinary measures.

Clare Mackintosh is a writer I usually enjoy immensely; unfortunately, i didn’t love After the End. The first part of the book alternates between the perspective of the wife, husband and occasionally the doctor as the young boy slowly becomes more ill in intensive care. It is intriguing and engaging and I found it wonderful to see the differing views and the ways that the characters were handling this tough situation. However, halfway through the book we then see a split timelines, with each alternative chapter taking place not just with a different character, but also with a different timeline. The chapters were so short that this led to my feeling disconnected to the characters and their experiences and I no longer felt the connection to them like before. I would say that this is a narrative method that I am never fond of and others may enjoy it much more, but I think the nature of the extremely short chapters really hindered my enjoyment there.

Sylvian Neuval – Sleeping Giants
A Science Fiction novel that focuses on a covert operation to find the disparate pieces of a large metal object that is clearly futuristic in nature, and yet dates at least 6000 years in the past. It follows a team of researchers and military personal as they undergo the operation to piece together the object and find its functions.

I have only seen good things about this series and how compelling it is. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t agree and got really bored about halfway in. It is all written in interviews and the occasional journal entry, despite this, the writer manages to make clearly distinct characters who have differing personalities and that is a great plus of the novel. However, the plot and story fall apart and become extremely repetitive. Description is difficult to follow – especially as it is only through dialogue anyway – and so it is hard to picture the ‘object’. On top of this, things just seemed to become convoluted in an ultimate conspiracy ‘James Bond’ kind of way that felt ridiculous rather than compelling. I did finish this but I will not be continuing with the series.

Jay Kristoff & Amy Kaufman – Gemina
The second in the Illuminae Files, this series follows the survivors of an attack on the Kerenza mining colony as they try to escape from the perpetrators. It is set further in the future when a case is being answered for this disaster and is told entirely in case files, interviews and ‘evidence’ offered. It becomes clear that all is not right with this situation.

I really enjoyed The Illuminae Files. The novel was great sci-fi, full of plot and intrigue, but also featured a large amount of horror elements and had characters you could love. The second novel, Gemina, follows a different set of characters, but I found the same elements present here. The conversations between the characters are typical of YA and the amount of action in here is a bit unbelievable, but then they are kids kicking arse in space, so I am happy to suspend my disbelief? There were grotesque aspects and they were horrifying which really appealed. There is a moment in here which made my jaw drop (although I should have seen it coming) but I felt extremely emotional about a character and was shocked by what had happened. I became attached to them all and felt a real sense of peril throughout. I loved how it tied up together at the end and I am really happy to see the return of previous characters. I’m now really looking forward to continuing this series and finding out how the case resolves itself.

Sophie Green – Ghostcatcher
The third and final book in the Potkin and Stubbs series, a middle grade hardboiled detective series which features a lot of classic ‘noir’ tropes. Lil Potkin is a wanna be reporter who has finally found her way in to reporting the corruption within Peligan City. Working alongside Lil is Nedly, her best friend and the saviour of Peligan City who is now being hunted down for no good reason. Together they must help save Nedly and continue to expose the corrupt regime to ensure that the people of Peligan remain safe.

I have devoured every book in the series so far and this one is no exception. Sophie Green’s writing is exceptional and I quite often find myself stopping to tab or note down a particular line that I have found amusing, lyrical or just so well in keeping with the noir nature of the book that I had to take stock. I have fallen in love with the characters who are very flawed and extremely human. Lil and Nedly make a wonderful pair, both are young and in their own heads but they also have a great friendship. Lil can be oblivious and quite selfish sometimes, but she is young and truly cares for her friend. I also love the adults that feature in this novel. While Lil is allowed a lot more freedom, it makes sense within the confines of the novel; however, the world is not devoid of adults and they act as role models and good counterparts to Lil and Nedly. Abe is your typical hardboiled detective who definitely has a heart and each additional character makes sense within the genre and world. They all have distinct personalities, even if featured rarely, and help to flesh out the world. The atmosphere of Peligan City is dark, dingy and definitely corrupt. It is a menacing force and this is compounded by the villains and ghouls that haunt the novel – whether real or well… real. I was drawn in to every aspect of this and the ending packed a massive emotional punch. A fantastic series with a very worthy final novel.

So, these are the books that I finished in the month of April!

Despite having a tough reading month, I have also read two 5-star reads this month and thoroughly enjoyed them. All in all, a success.

I hope your reading month has gone well! Stay safe,