September is over, and the first week of October has already started. How time flies, don’t you think?
For me, September was quite a turbulent month, as it was my last month working as a PhD researcher. It was tough to quit, but I’m still happy I did. Last week was my first week as a freelance writer, and I have to say it went quite well. I’m feeling very positive about it at the moment. 😃
Anyway, as always, this post contains some mini-reviews of sci-fi and fantasy books I read in September. This includes just two books, so I didn’t get much reading done this month, I’m afraid. Hopefully, October will be better!
So check out what to read next with these book recommendations!
Red Dust & Raindrops: Death on Mars by K. E. Heaton
Genre: Adult Sci-fi, family drama, crime
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. I have to commend the author for putting himself out there and contacting people to review his book. That’s not an easy thing to do.
That being said, I’m sorry to say I wasn’t a huge fan. The story is about man’s first mission to Mars. When the crew is launched into space, they discover that one of the crew-members is not who they’re supposed to be, which increases tension amongst all the members. When they arrive on Mars after a long 9 months, things escalate even further.
While the story had some interesting aspects, as some of the twists were good and surprising, I found it difficult to pinpoint the story’s genre. It might’ve been that my expectations were wrong, as I thought it would be a man-vs-the-elements story, such as the Martian, but this wasn’t the case. It seems to be more like a family drama, both amongst the crew-members as amongst actual family, and it has a hint of the crime genre. Naturally, it’s also sci-fi, since it takes place in space and has some futuristic elements. As far as science goes, I’m not an expert, so I don’t know if what’s used in the book is in any way realistic, but it felt realistic to me.
My biggest issues were with the characters, as I didn’t feel connected to them and felt that they weren’t fully developed. I also have issues with how the female crew-members are portrayed, as somehow all of them are total babes, and too much emphasis is put on that. I also would have liked more active scenes, because now the whole story was pretty much told to the reader, in a kind of reporter-like tone. If the ‘showing vs. telling’ would’ve been more balanced, I also would’ve felt more immersed in the story as opposed to experiencing it from a distance, if you get what I mean.
Finally, the one thing that really bugged me was the excessive use of ellipses in dialogue. I just didn’t like how it read. I think readers will naturally put in the pauses in their head when reading dialogue, inferring from what’s being said, what the context is, and all that, so it’s not necessary to put in ellipses all the time.
I rate this book 2.5 stars: ⭐⭐1/2
The Indivisible and the Void by D. M. Wozniak
Genre: Adult, Coming-of-Age, Adventure Fantasy/Sci-Fi
I received an electronic copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. And I really enjoyed reading this book. ❤️
Master Voider Democryos has his world shaken when he finds a note from his much younger wife that she left him for someone else. She’s run away. Heartbroken, he’s determined to find her. He receives his first lead from the beautiful Chimeline, one of the King’s harem. Dem’s wife Marine has disappeared with another voider—an incredibly dangerous voider, who’s working on something secret that will change the war between them and the Xian Kingdom. Dem leaves the citadel with Chimeline to find his wife and the voider, but along the way, he meets others who help him uncover the secrets of voidance and shake his ideals to the core.
It might be strange that I classify this as a coming-of-age, considering it is an adult novel, and this is a genre usually tied to YA. However, I think that adults keep on learning as well, don’t we? We’re constantly stuck in one perspective, which can be challenged by others, and then we need to re-evaluate our worldview and adapt. And that’s what’s happening to Dem as well. What I particularly like about it is that it’s written in first person and present time. As a reader, you’re so immersed in Dem’s way of thinking that you become caught in it as well, and change with him as he comes to new insights.
It’s a great story about different sides, conflicting ideas, coming together, and finding common ground. In that sense, this story feels very contemporary, and it’s an important narrative for today’s world, where it often feels as if we’re only drifting further apart from each other.
The world-building in the Indivisibles and the Void is also great, and the magic system is different from what I’ve read before, which is a nice change. The so-called Voiders use stones with certain parts in it, and when they touch it, they enter the Void. Here, they can manipulate what they call Indivisibles, which changes parts of the world temporarily. Opposed to this, there’s the Effulgency, who follow the Unnamed. They claim that the Voiders use ‘black arcana’ and that their magic is evil. There’s a lot more to it, and I thoroughly enjoyed how it’s explored in this book. I can’t wait to read the next one!
I rate this book 5 stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Very recently, I also started doing reviews on another website, called online book club. Here, I also received a free copy of a book in exchange for an honest review.
For this review, I picked Devil’s Eclipse by Christopher Williams, a collection of short horror stories. It seems perfect to read in October, especially around Halloween, but this book really let me down. I’m not usually very negative about a book, so if you want to see why I disliked this book so much, you can check out the review here.
Blog Posts I read
Below are some blog posts I read, that I thought were worth sharing. So check out these other awesome bloggers!
Book reviews & Recommendations
🍁 If you haven’t read Raybearer yet (like me), you will definitely put it on your tbr list after reading this amazing review by CW at the Quiet Pond.
🍁 Lauren at LoveYoShelf wrote a great review of Legendborn, a book that was released this September. I already felt compelled to read it, but now I know I have to. She also wrote this review on Blazewrath Games. I hadn’t heard of the book before, but it sounds like an amazing mix between fantasy, a sports competition (with dragons!), and finding your identity when you’re stuck between the country you were born (in this case Puerto Rico), and the country you live (in this case America).
🍁 It’s October now, which means Halloween is right around the corner. To get ready, definitely check out this list with books featuring witches by Christine at the Uncorked Librarian.
🍁 Have you seen the new Mulan movie? Well, I haven’t, but I heard it wasn’t great & not very representative of Chinese culture. So, as an alternative, Shaelea over at Shut Up Shealea created a list with Chinese authors’ books with a story similar to Mulan, but way more authentic.
🍁 Last but not least, over at the Fantasy Hive, Charlie Hopkins wrote a review for The Bone Shard Daughter. The book sounds super interesting! And also check out the update on the SPFBO: they’ve now chosen the final 6 semi-finalists. Exciting!
🍁 Check out who won the book blogger awards of 2020 in this post over at Drizzle and Hurricane Books, and see which other bloggers you might want to check out and follow! And send them a congrats!
🍁 An inspiring post by CW at the Quiet Pond about reading romance books when you’re demisexual.
🍁 Chana at Paper Procrastinators shares why you shouldn’t recommend books by white authors as being diverse.
🍁 Amber over at the literary phoenix has some great ideas on making her blog more inclusive, which I’m definitely going to implement & also a helpful shortlist on problematic authors with proof and where you can donate if you still want to read the book.
It’s a wrap!
That’s it for this September’s reading wrap-up. I hope you enjoyed the mini book reviews and my recommendations for other blog posts that have some other reviews and discussion topics. I hope by now you know what to read next for October!
For me, it’s going to be The Last Wish, DragonSpawn, and Echoes in the Storm. Hopefully, I even get to read a fourth book, but we’ll see!
What have you read in September? Which were your favorite ones? Any you didn’t like? Let me know in the comments!