There are a number of reasons I don’t like to do full review posts for books, but I still want to share my thoughts on some of the different arcs I received this summer, especially since I’ve moved my monthly posts to more quick takes. So I thought I’d share a bunch of short reviews in a series of arc roundups.
First up are the first three advanced copies I read from Book Expo and Book Con (technically Trail of Lightning was an early finished copy and Spinning Silver and Time’s Convert were arcs). These three were great books to start with because I really enjoyed all three of them.
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
This book was amazing!! All I knew going in to Trail of Lightning was that it was a post-apocalyptic monster-hunting story full of Navajo mythology, and I think that’s honestly about all you need to know. It’s set in a future version of the southwest United States, after energy wars and a massive flood and various other disasters have altered the world we know today. But those aren’t the only changes to the world: the gods and monsters of Navajo legend are back, and the prickly and independent Maggie has been asked by a village to track one of those monsters down.
It took me a little bit to get into the story and get a feel for the world, but it made for such an immersive experience once I got there, which just added another layer to this amazing story. I came to really like Maggie even though she’s a hard character to get to know, and of course I’m a big fan Kai, the son of a medicine man who tags along with Maggie during her adventures. The mystery of what’s going on with the monster Maggie was tracking made this a real page-turner, but so did wanting to learn more about the world and the characters and just generally find out what happened next. And like I said, the backdrop of Navajo culture and mythology really enriched the story and made it even more fascinating.
This book was a bit gruesome for my taste—people keep saying it’s YA, but I would definitely consider this an adult book, though it will appeal to a lot of YA readers. But I was so hooked that I didn’t even care, that’s how much this story gripped me. I’m officially obsessed, and I can’t wait for the next book, Storm of Locusts, which is due out next spring. And I think this is part of a four-book series, so there are lots more adventures in this world to look forward to!
And not to fangirl the author too much, but she’s also got a middle grade book coming out in Rick Riordan’s new imprint that will also deal with Navajo mythology, plus she’s got this matriarchal Anasazi-inspired fantasy that she’s working on that sounds amazing. I fully plan to read a lot more books from Roanhorse and highly encourage you to check out her works!
Trail of Lightning is on shelves now.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
I actually hadn’t read anything from Naomi Novik before picking up Spinning Silver, though I’ve been meaning to read Uprooted and His Majesty’s Dragon for a while. But after being totally engrossed by Spinning Silver, I will definitely need to bump those up my tbr!
Spinning Silver is a bit of a hard book to describe. It’s loosely a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, but I think what’s most important to know is that this is a great piece of storytelling, so if you like fairytales, I think you’ll like this. It follows Miryem as she takes over her father’s money lending business and makes it successful. Only her success at turning things into gold has caught the attention of the Staryk, a mysterious race of winter people who threaten Miryem’s village, and their demand that she turn silver into gold has farther-reaching consequences than she could have ever anticipated.
This is definitely a slow-paced book, so don’t go in expecting to rip right through it. But that said, it’s incredibly immersive, and it was really hard for me to put this book down. The first part was kind of boring for me, but once the world was established and the Staryk started to play a bigger role, I was hooked. Novik did a masterful job laying out this story, and I loved how she gradually added in more points of view to expand the story more and more. This was also different from anything else I’ve ever read, and I loved it. My only complaint is that it was almost too true to the fairytale tradition in that I would have liked to know a few of the characters better, but the story stayed slightly removed from them. Overall, though, I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to read more of Novik’s works.
Spinning Silver is on shelves now.
Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness
As a big fan of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls trilogy, Time’s Convert was easily my most anticipated book that I wanted to get at Book Expo. This was the one book I really wanted to get, and I still can’t believe that I managed to get my hands on it!
Time’s Convert is the first in a planned spin-off trilogy from the original All Souls trilogy, which starts with A Discovery of Witches. I’ve mentioned that series numerous times on my blog, including reviewing the first one here, but if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s basically a fantasy trilogy about witches and vampires and daemons, full of secrets and hidden powers with a heavy dose of Elizabethan history. They’re great reads, and I highly recommend them.
Time’s Convert gets a lot more into Marcus’ backstory. We get to learn a more about his past during the American Revolution, as well as his present relationship with Phoebe, who is being turned into a vampire in modern times. Plus we get to revisit Diana and Matthew and learn more about what’s happening with their half witch, half vampire children.
I really don’t want to say too much about this book because I think fans of the All Souls trilogy should just go into it blind and trust that they’re going to completely enjoy returning to these characters and this world. I really enjoyed it, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
That said, I do think it could have used some work. I’m not sure all of the POVs were necessary, and this story lacked the drive and momentum that was present in the original books. I did really enjoy this book for itself, but I also think a lot of my enjoyment was carryover from the first trilogy. I’m totally fine with that, though, because I really liked getting to know some of these characters even more and getting some of my questions answered. I’m excited to see what Harkness has planned for book two!
Time’s Convert will be released on September 18.
Needless to say, I am very pleased with the first batch of arcs I picked up at Book Expo and Book Con. All of these books were excellent reads that I really enjoyed, and I think you will too!
Have you read any of these yet? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments which one you’re most excited about!