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Welcome to the November 2020 reading wrap-up. I just can’t believe it’s December already!
While I am, along with many others, quite happy to put 2020 behind me, it wasn’t all bad. This year has also brought me many good things, such as a change in career, more freedom, and finally decided to be a pro about my writing.
And, somehow, I’m not convinced 2021 is magically going to change all things covid. But I have faith things will get better at some point.
Anyways, on to my reading:
I finally started on one of the book series my father so graciously gave me from his library, called The Belgariad. I’m still not entirely sure why or how, but I’ve become quite obsessed with the series. I finished both Pawn of Prophecy and Queen of Sorcery and am almost finished with Magician’s Gambit. It’s just excellent!
Then, I also read a book I got from Netgalley, called In Lost Dreams the Four are Bound, and I listened to an Audiobook just for me, called Stoorzender. Which is Dutch, so I won’t go into it here (though, if you’re Dutch & interested in my opinion, you can always contact me).
I also did some external reviews: my review of Timewise is finally online. I also read Opaque, and We Are Voulhire: A New Arrival Under the Skies. But those I will probably talk about next month after those reviews have been accepted. Just a quick spoiler: I didn’t enjoy Opaque, but I loved Voulhire.
Read on for my mini-reviews of these Fantasy & Sci-Fi books I read for my November 2020 reading wrap-up, and decide what to read next.
You can jump straight to:
- Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings: YA Epic Coming-of-Age Fantasy
- Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings: YA Epic Coming-of-Age Fantasy
- In Lost Dreams the Four Are Bound by Bradley R. Blankenship: Dark Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
- External review: Timewise by Robert Leet: Contemporary Coming-of-Age Sci-Fi (time travel elements)
- Other blog posts I read in November
Mini-reviews November 2020
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
Genre: YA Epic Coming-of-Age Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
I absolutely loved Pawn of Prophecy, the first book in The Belgariad series. It just has everything you want: a good story, a great set of characters, and wonderful world-building. It’s just really one of those iconic Epic Fantasy books.
So, perhaps I’m a bit late to the party, but I joined it nonetheless.
In this first book, we meet Garion, a young boy raised by his Aunt Pol on Faldor’s Farm. It’s an easy and simple life, and he grows up without much trouble. But then the old storyteller Mr. Wolf comes by, which isn’t that unusual, but at that moment, Garion’s life is uprooted: they need to leave the farm immediately. Without knowing why he needs to leave, Garion goes with Mr. Wolf and his aunt Pol, joined by the smith Durnik. He quickly meets Silk, a spy, and Barak, a huge warrior, and together they go on a journey in search of a man who stole the Orb of Aldur.
The story is actually quite slow-paced; quite some portion of the book is still in Faldor’s Farm, where occasionally something happens, but not all that much. When the journey itself comes along, the pace is kicked up slightly, but things still develop quite slowly. This didn’t bother me, as it was still exciting and really eased me into the world and helped me get to know the characters. The ending was still riveting and pulled off nicely.
As far as characters go, my favorite has to be Silk. His remarks always manage to make me smile, especially when he’s bantering with Barak. Aunt Pol is also a great character and a good example that women can be both strong and caring. And she doesn’t take shit from anyone.
Garion, our protagonist, is a naïve but kindhearted boy, just on the verge of becoming a man. Pretty much the only thing that annoyed me was how clueless he is about all of it and how long it takes him to puzzle things together (although he still doesn’t get one crucial thing, even though it’s quite obvious). Especially considering some other things he puts together quite quickly.
The world-building is truly amazing; every city or village they go to, or every forest they travel through; it doesn’t matter. It all seems very real. The different kinds of people are difficult to keep apart, and sometimes I forget the names. We don’t get a lot of explanation about magic just yet, but that’ll come in later books.
So, if you love a good YA Coming-of-Age Epic Fantasy: read this series! It won’t disappoint.
This book gets a full 5 stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Queen of Sorcery by David Eddings
Genre: YA Epic Coming-of-Age Fantasy
Publisher: Del Rey
I’ll keep this review a bit shorter, as some things will overlap with the one above.
In Queen of Sorcery, our favorite companions travel to Arendia, where we meet some new characters and new challenges. Their quest becomes more and more dangerous as they travel from Arendia to Tolnedra, right into the very dangerous Nyissa. Wherever they go, it seems like more and more Murgo’s are causing trouble, making it difficult for the group to go after the one who stole the Orb.
One of the new characters is Knight Mandorallen. He seems a bit pompous at first and definitely tends to act before he thinks (which seems to be an Arendian quality), but he has a kind heart and is a great fighter.
Garion is slowly coming to terms with who he is and who Mr. Wolf and aunt Pol really are. Even though Garion still doesn’t know the full extent or what exactly the prophecy entails (the reader also doesn’t know everything about that yet).
I loved that we got to go through a few different Kingdoms, where everything is vastly different: Tolnedra is all about money and very practical. But they also don’t shy away from hiring assassins to kill their opponents. Arendia has a bit of the medieval-style system, where a lord (or Baron, I suppose) lives in a castle and has people working on his land. In return, they’re supposed to take care of their people, but they seem to be treated more like slaves. Although compared to the actual slaves in Nyissa, their life doesn’t seem too bad.
So: lots of new things and the stakes keep getting higher and the dangers more prominent. And if you’ve read the first book, you’re gonna want to continue with this one.
Also, a full 5 stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
In Lost Dreams the Four Were Bound by Bradley R. Blankenship
Genre: Dark Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy
I read this book for the Number’s in a Title challenge and got it as a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
And, honestly: this book wasn’t for me. It did have some good parts, especially the world-building and the plot, but it was a tad too confusing for me. I think the story just has a bit too many elements to really work (but that’s just my opinion, of course).
I don’t actually really know how even to describe what the story is about. But I’ll give it a try. We start the story in a sort of space-ship, where some virus attacks an AI. The people on board, one of which is Maximillian, captures the being that infiltrated their system. They’re after an entity they call the ‘Virage.’
Then we shift to a people who call themselves the ‘Hyunisti,’ who are suffering under a curse. They live in a place in the forest and live there quite peacefully. Elis is one of the few Talvuo (the Hyunisti race) who is from before the curse and has a longer life. Then two strangers come to their village, a brother and sister called Neris and Nerin (yes, even those names were too confusing in the beginning, because they’re so similar). Not too long after, another stranger arrived, who was wounded and needed care. This stranger was no other than the Virage. Neris and Elis take it upon themselves to heal the Virage, while Nerin is up to some scheming to take over the Hyunisti village. And this plan of his turns out to be quite dangerous and possibly disastrous. But can they actually stop it? And who exactly is this Virage? And will they ever be able to lift the curse from their people?
Those are the main question of the story, I think. But the way it’s told is often quite confusing. There were times where I thought I got it, but then this sort of dream-like chapter came, and it confusing again. While from the title, I understood that dreaming would be a factor; it didn’t seem all that coherent. And then with the added sci-fi element of the AI’s and the ‘other world’ people… it was just too much.
Another thing that wasn’t really my cup of tea was the constant sexual manipulation. It seemed that pretty much every chapter was about sex in some way. I don’t mind sex in books, but I felt it was used too often to get something or to advance the plot.
And the story was quite long, a lot longer than I felt it needed to be. It dragged quite a few times, with added details that I don’t think actually mattered that much to the plot. We saw several people’s background through dreams or visions where it wouldn’t have been necessary (or less of it would’ve sufficed).
Oh, and it’s actually the first book of a series, which I didn’t realize before I started reading. But I won’t be reading the next books.
So, unfortunately, this book was just 2 stars for me: ⭐⭐
Timewise by Robert Leet
Genre: Contemporary Sci-Fi, Timetravel
Publisher: Porter Field Publishing LLC
So, I know I actually had this already set up on my October wrap-up, but since it took quite some time for the review to be put online, I figured I’d just actually put it here.
Timewise is pretty much about Ron, and reads slightly like a memoir of his fictional life. It starts from the moment he meets Regina Russo, and how she helped him become the man he is. The book has quite a slow pace, and it’s not all that Sci-Fi-ish. Though, there’s a lot of emphasis on the science part. If physics is your thing, and you love learning about it, you will likely enjoy this book.
But if you want a more thorough review, check it out here on Online BookClub.
Other Blog Posts
New On This Blog
🍁 Want to know if you should start reading the Witcher books? Then check out my full review on the first installment: The Last Wish.
🍁 What’s gonna be new in December? Check out the 20 Best New Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Releases of December 2020
🍁 After Serpent & Dove, the popular tale of Lou and Reid continues in Blood & Honey. Read to know what to expect (spoiler-free, of course)
🍁 For those who love a good Sci-Fi book that’s like Star Wars, but with a bit more romance (MM romance, in this case), be sure to check out my full review for Echoes of the Storm
🍁 If you’ve always wanted to try a book box but weren’t sure where to start: check out this list with several great Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Subscription Box options.
Book Recommendations, Reviews & Bookish stuff on other blogs
🍁 If you’re curious about the Inheritance Games, then you should check out this review on abookloversadventures by Becki.
🍁 Tina reviews the Way of Kings, from the popular series by Brandon Sanderson (that I still have to start).
🍁 For some inspiration on YA Fantasy Books, you can surely find one you like on this list of 15 books by Jenny.
🍁 A great and very extensive guide on Chines history that will be great when you want to read the Poppy War, or are just interested to see what the book was actually based on, written by Tiffany.
🍁 On Tessa’s blog, you can see a book review of Kingdom of the sea and stone, with an actual excerpt of the book along with it!
🍁 Want to know if you should read The Invisible Life of Addie Larue? Check out this review by Amber!
🍁A new 2021 reading challenge by Rachael from TheBookListQueen! There are definitely some interesting challenges there to try out!
Book Recommendations, Reviews & Bookish stuff on other blogs
I hope you enjoyed my reviews or any of the other recommendations and blog-posts I linked here in my November 2020 reading wrap-up. I hope it helps you choose your next read for December
So, what will I be reading in December?
Well, I’ve started on Godsgrave (and so far I’m loving it), I really need to get started on Refuge (because the Netgalley timer is almost running out) & I’m going to read Dark Wild Times, which was sent to me by the author. And of course, I’ll keep reading the Belgariad series!
So, what did you read in November? Which was your favorite? And what are you planning to read in December?
Let me know in the comments!