Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire | Book Review

★★★☆☆
January 12th – 15th

I was so excited for this book. This is the fifth installment in the Wayward Children series, and seems to be a direct sequel to the third and first books (which I didn’t like) containing the characters from the second book (which are my favorites). I’m I’m unfortunately finding a pattern with this series that I only like every other book, which isn’t fun.

Luckily, they’re short enough that I can get through them, but we’ll get into what’s actually happening here.

Following the events of the first book, Jack and Jill return to the Moors. At the start of this book, we see Jack return, passed out in the arms of Alexis, her reanimated girlfriend. But Jack doesn’t seem to be fully Jack. Instead, she’s in Jill’s body.

Part of my problem with this book is that it had a quest storyline, similar to the third book, that takes place in one of the worlds. While the quests sound fun in theory, there just isn’t enough time to flesh out the stakes and consequences, and as a result there are no stakes or consequences. The people she brings along to help her don’t even end up helping her, as she does all of the work themselves. The most they do is act against her and make it more difficult for her to continue. Even the culmination of the book, the final battle which will help Jack get her body back, is wrapped up within a few pages.

This book also contains characters I find very hard to deal with, and McGuire’s style of bouncing around to what each character is feeling can be hard to follow. The characters repeat themselves, or justify their actions verbally, because there isn’t enough time for their character arcs to do it for them. In addition, we’re constantly met with “back when she saved her world” or “when he defeated the monster in his own world”, and it feels a lot like we’ve missed out on some really fun adventure stories and are stuck.

At the end of the book, we barely get a reaction from the characters once they’ve returned to the school. Cora especially, who you actually saw struggle with being in another world and returning, doesn’t even say or do anything at the end, and we’re left to wonder if she’s going to be okay mentally after the toll The Moors took on her.

My favorite of these books have been the second and fourth books, which concentrated on one character finding their doors and going into their world. McGuire seems to do better with a smaller scope, and I hope she’ll give us more of these prequel stories in the future, as the quest storylines at the school aren’t doing it for me.

-Siobhan

2019 Reading Stats

Alright, so here it is. A recap of everything that I read in all of 2019. These stats are coming from a mix of Goodreads, which is where I track everything I read, and my personal stat spreadsheet. There’s a link to my Goodreads profile in the sidebar.

I read 13,086 pages across 48 books.

The shortest book I read was Bound by Mark Lawrence at 49 pages. The longest, also by Mark Lawrence, was Red Sister.

The most popular book I read was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, which 970,697 other people read.

My highest read genre was Graphic Novel this year at 12, and second highest was Fantasy at 7.

Most of the books I read (18) had an average page length between 300-399 pages.

36 of the books I read were in the adult age range, 11 were young adult, and I read 1 children’s book.

My average rating for 2019 was 4 stars. This doesn’t surprise me at all, because I felt like I read some really great books this year.

Most of the books I read this year were digital. 41 of them I read on my iPad. I read 4 hardcovers, and listened to 2 audiobooks. This is a huge change from last year, and all prior years, where I’d been primarily reading physical hardcover books. This stat really surprised me in how much I’m moving toward ebooks.

For some author stats, I read a pretty even split of male vs female authors. 23 were male, 25 were female. I also read from 40 authors which were new to me this year, and only 8 were authors I had read from before.

Finally, here’s my top 5 books of the year, in no particular order:

  1. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
  2. Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  4. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  5. Normal People by Sally Rooney

At the beginning of the year, I also set some goals for myself. I wanted to
– Read 52 books
– Read more non-fiction
– Only purchase books that I knew I’d love

I was four books shy of reading 52 books this year. I read one non-fiction book, so I don’t know that I can mark that one complete, but I was really good about only purchasing books I knew I’d love! What this meant was I really dialed in to purchasing books from authors who I loved, or series that I really enjoyed. I used the library a lot more this year. This strategy really worked for me, and I think the Red Sister series is a good example. I read the first two books from the library, right before the third one was set to come out. I decided that I loved the series enough to buy it, and bought all three books at once. I’m definitely going to continue using this strategy for physical books, as I’m just out of space on my bookshelves.

This year, I want to:
– Read 52 books
– Read the 5 oldest books on my Goodreads TBR
– Read from 10 different countries

The individual goals I set for myself were to read specific books. Those books were ones I’m really looking forward to, but unfortunately didn’t get to read.
– Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
– Shades of Magic (Series) by V.E. Schwab
– Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
– Circe by Madeline Miller

Though these are all books I do want to complete, I’m going to choose a different batch this year for my goals. This year those are:
– The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
– Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
– Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia
– Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
– The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

I’m excited for this year of reading. I have a lot of content planned for posts, and I’m excited to see where this year takes us.

Happy New Year!
-Siobhan

Wilder Girls by Rory Power | Book Review

★★★★☆
October 31st – November 8th

I’ve heard about this book a lot. I’ve heard it described as a female Lord of the Flies, but spookier and weird. I guess if you aren’t super familiar with a more speculative horror genre, and you’re in the YA demographic that this book is aimed at, that’s a fair comparison. To me, a more apt comparison is Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, a book which I was not a huge fan of.

This book was different enough from that in ways that I liked, but also still had the atmosphere and descriptions which were my favorite part of Annihilation. I think Rory Power did a great job bringing a different type of horror genre to a young adult audience, and I hope that this introduces a lot of YA readers to horror books as something they can continue to enjoy.

This book takes place on Raxter, an island off the coast of Maine and home to an all girls boarding school by the same name. The island has always been slightly strange, with blue crabs and flowers that turn black after being picked. Now, there’s the Tox, a sickness which changes the girls and makes them wild. Hetty has her eye sealed shut and blooms over it. Byatt has a second spine. Reese has a hand with silver scales.

There are others, girls with two hearts, silver hair that glows, each one unique and slightly stranger than the last. The island is twisted too, with trees that grow too fast, and animals that are far more feral than they used to be.

This book reads almost as a slice of life into the strange world that these girls live in. It takes place a year and a half after the Tox began, as their numbers continue to dwindle and a cure seems less and less likely. Secrets are uncovered and things begin to change again. This book is about friendship and more than friendship. It’s about relationships with parents, and closing people out, and letting people in. It’s a slow burn, a slow story, and a slow progression.

I liked this book a lot. It was weird, and cool, and ominous, and gory. It’s a book that I would recommend to people who like horror and not having all the answers to all the questions, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

Rory Power has another book coming out next year, and if it’s anything like this I think I’ll really enjoy it.

-Siobhan