March has come and gone, and here in Montreal, we are still waiting for spring. The weather this month has given me some serious trust issues. The only bright side of gross, snowy weather is the excuse to stay inside and read. I read five books this month, which is impressive considering my complete lack of free time. I only managed to read so much because every book was so addictive I couldn’t put it down.
I started the month finishing Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. It’s very rare for me to find a sequel better than the first books, but this series did it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Six of Crows, but everything about Crooked Kingdom felt so much more intense. The stakes were higher, the relationships grew in their complexity, and the plot was even more gripping. Inej is still my favourite character. Her character growth in this book was so wonderful to read. Throughout the duology, Inej struggles with an internal disconnect between the girl she was, and the woman she’s become. Her entire morality is built on what she learned from her parents, but her survival meant having to compromise that morality again and again. The battle between her two selves is evident in every choice she makes, but it helps her become the strong, resilient woman she needs to be. If I could give this book higher than 5/5, I would.
Following that, I read This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab. My favourite part of this book was the friendship that developed between Kate and August. Kate is a human girl who wants to prove to her father that she can be just as cruel and “strong” as he is. August is a monster who only wants to be human. The two are thrown together when the war between their two families comes to a breaking point. I really enjoyed reading about these two deeply flawed characters who find solace in each other, without it becoming romantic. This book did such an excellent job of building up the world and the characters, I can’t wait for the sequel to come out in June. I gave this book a 5/5 as well.
I loved V.E. Schwab’s writing so much, I thought I’d carry on with more of her books. The next book I read was the first in her Shades of Magic series, A Darker Shade of Magic. This was another epic fantasy tale featuring a platonic male/female friendship. Kell is a magician who can travel between worlds and Lila is a wannabe pirate with fighting skills as sharp as her tongue. The book is set in four different versions of Lond
on. The first, Grey London, is the one most similar to our own with no magic of any kind. The second, Red London, has the strongest magical presence. The third, White London, is faded and cruel where magic is rare and dying. The final, Black London, is the lost world where magic burned through everything and everyone until it was sealed off and dead. The world building in this book is incredible. They way Schwab describes the different Londons makes everything feel so real and alive. However, it was a bit of a slow start for me. It might have been bad timing with school, or it might have been the plot’s beginnings. Either way, I did really enjoy it by the end. I gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads.
Next, I finally dove into OwlCrate’s February book, Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I was initially super excited to read this one because of its comparison to The Night Circus. However, once I actually had it in my hands, I became a bit hesitant. I was worried that my high expectations would let me down, so I wanted to wait for the buzz around this book to die down before I gave it a go. And now, I can truthfully say that I loved this book. I was drawn in right away and could not put it down. I read the whole thing over two days. This book was magical and whimsical, and a little bit twisted. I read a review by HaileyInBookland where she described the world perfectly, calling it a “grotesque Wonderland-like world where the Mad Hatter is calling the shots.” I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loved The Night Circus. I gave it a 5/5 on Goodreads.
The final book I read this month was By Your Side by Kasie West. After all the intense fantasy and magic of the first four books, I wanted to close the month out with something light and fun. This book was perfect for that. It was so cute and sweet and left me with a smile on my face. I like to call books like this “book crack” because they make you feel all light and happy, but you get so addicted you never want it to end. I read the entire book in one day, and I wish I had more. This book also took on a few serious topics like the foster care system and mental health disorders, and I think they were addressed really well. Since the book is a light, romantic read, it didn’t dive into the complexities of either of these topics, but it touched on them in a way that was respectful and genuine. At the end of the day — well more like at 2 AM after forcing myself to stay up and finish it — I gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads.
And that’s a wrap on my March reading. Tune in later this week for my April TBR list!