Recently Read #8: Sci-Fi, Fantasy And Contemporary

Happy Wednesday, you guys! I hope you’ve had a good week so far – I sure have! As of publishing this post I’ll finally have you guys all caught up with the reading I’ve been doing in the past few weeks and I can’t believe I’m finally there. xD

As you can tell by the title, this post includes quite the mix when it comes to genre but that was kind of by accident – at least the contemporary book that I’ll be talking about. This post would’ve gotten out of control had I not shared a review for Aurora Rising (you should’ve seen that yesterday) instead of including it in here but taken that book out also gave me space to talk about the contemporary book so it kind of worked out!

This way, hopefully there’s something for more of you guys to read my opinion on! πŸ™‚ Now, let’s jump in and get you guys caught up on the last few books I’ve finished recently!

Reviewed Book(s)

As always, I’ll be linking you guys to any reviews I’ve already shared on the blog to keep these Recently Read posts shorter whenever possible. I should also talk about Furyborn for this particular post but I honestly flew through that book and don’t remember too much or enough to differentiate between Furyborn and Kingsbane. xD

All I can say is that I really enjoyed the book and you can read all about my thoughts on Kingsbane in the review that I’ve already shared on the blog! They’re definitely both books I’d recommend though – if you want a short answer. xD

What To Expect: two women separated by a millenia fighting to define themselves. a villain more seductive than the Darkling. a slow-burn romance that’ll have you yell for more. fascinating world and magic system. an ending that has me screaming and impatiently waiting for book 3!

My full review can be found here.

What To Expect: fast paced story set in space. a not so misfit group of people going on heists and missions. a YA novel that reads too young. an audiobook that I would highly recommend. established character relationships for half the squad. the soulmate trope had me wanting to yell at people.

My full review can be found here.

And now it’s time to talk about the two sci-fi books I read recently that ended up being on opposite ends on my enjoyment spectrum and I’m so disappointed as I was really, really hoping I would love one of them in particular.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

The first book we’re going to actually talk about for this post is Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, a young adult sci-fi novel which was released on January 28th, 2014 by Del Rey.

Here’s the thing with this book in particular. I actually bought this over two years ago and even hauled it on the blog back then and it’s just been sitting on my shelf ever since. And then for some reason, everyone was talking about it on Instagram stories during the month of May, so I finally bit the bullet. I read the book. And then shortly after got the sequel too because I just loved it that much.

And while I loved this book overall, there are a couple of things that I wasn’t happy with and are things I hope Pierce does better in the sequels – especially the role women play in his books. This entire series kicks off because Darrow’s wife gets herself hanged in the first few chapters. Her death is what propels Darrow on his journey and what motivates him the entire time – even where I’m at now in the sequel. It’s also brought up what almost feels like too much. Like, trust your reader to know that’s what motivates Darrow. You’ve told us more than enough times.

The other thing is that I feel like the female characters don’t get enough developement (unless they’re Mustang, in which case they get some) or really time on the page in this book. I mean, there are a number of female characters but they are reduced to quite small roles overall which I thought sucked. I really, really hope Pierce gives the women that he has as part of his cast more of a role in these next 5 books, I really do.

Another thing I didn’t enjoy in this book is the ridiculous number of things you have to remember and get used to as this world gets build in Red Rising. Pierce uses so many terms and I honestly had a bit of difficulty keeping up, especially as far as the hierachy is concerned and who is who and who does what. Luckily, Goldon Son has a double page giving us a rundown on all of that. xD

Now that we’ve talked about everything that I didn’t enjoy, let’s finish off with the things I did enjoy and that made me pick up the sequel so soon after finishing Red Rising!

Considering the fact that Red Rising is the first book to a (now) series and sci-fi with a lot of world building and introducing of new terms, etc. I actually ended up flying through this book! That’s definitely not always the case for me and I’m so happy it happened here!

Pierce Brown has this way of ending a chapter in a way that means you will want to know what happens next and since his chapters are fairly short you know you’ll read just one more chapter. Until it’s the middle of the night and you need to get some sleep. That has happened multiple times already with this series.

But it’s not just that the author writes fairly short chapters, he also introduces you to a main character that you can’t help but want to join on his mission of revenge and vengeance. Yes, the constant repitation of why he’s doing what he’s doing can be annoying but his focus and drive are awesome and I know I’m here for the ride, probably until the very end.

A fair warning, this world is dark. Pierce doesn’t hold back in the fighting and killing of people – or the way how they get killed. It might just be one of the most dark and gruesome books I’ve read so far.

I feel like even if you haven’t read Red Rising yet, you might have heard of the Howlers before and y’all. Y’all. They are such an interesting addition to this book and the origin of their name and armor is gruesome. And one of my favorite Howlers has to be Sevro. This boy is out there, for sure. His mind is so, so wicked and he’ll for sure get shit done. He’s definitely the first character I’ll notice if he’s missing because he plays off Darrow so, so well!

Overall, I ended up really enjoying this first book and am already reading the sequel! I gave Red Rising 4-stars, hoping that Pierce will do better with the female characters in the next books so I can give him that 5 star rating that he would’ve gotten if he’d treated his female characters better!

The last book we’re going to talk about for this post and in a way the black sheep of the group is Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue, a young adult contemporary romance novel which was released on May 14th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press.

I know I said this book is the black sheep of this group of books but that’s in genre alone because I absolutely adored this book. You’ve probably seen this book all over your bookish social media accounts and probably in a very positive light too and I just want to add to all of that too because I’m definitely someone who agrees with everyone who’s been saying you need to read this book. ASAP too.

Red, White & Royal Blue introcudes us to an alternative reality where a WOMAN became president after Obama (y’all we would’ve been off so much better with this particular reality) and not only that. Her son, our loveable main character, Alex is a half white half Mexican bisexual cinnamon role who may or may not have had a crush on the Prince Of Wales (aka the person next in line to the British throne) since he was just 14 years old.

Something you may or may not know about me is that I absolutely adore the British Royal Family. I literally watched both William and Catherine’s as well as Harry and Meghan’s weddings on TV. The entire thing. That’s the level of love I have for them, so obviously I had to get my hands on a copy of this book (which I did, in audiobook format!) and read it.

The thing with my level of obsession? I kept picturing Henry as Harry (I mean, how could I not? Harry’s actual first name is actually Henry) and I kept trying to match up the actual members of the royal family with the characters the author created here which was quite fun, not going to lie!

Red, White & Royal Blue was such a fantastic book! It had great characters, fun storylines that included a fake friendship that slowly developed into more (hello one of my favorite tropes ever: fake relationships) all playing out in front of some super scenic scenarios. I would’ve loved to be at any and all of the locations with these characters!

Sure, there were small elements in the story that I didn’t quite buy (I mean, I ate up the First Son dating the Heir to the British throne but there were certain aspects related to characters around them that had me go ‘No way.’) but overall and as a whole, I adored this book and I think you should read it too!

I ended up giving Red, White & Royal Blue 5 stars and will definitely be keeping an eye out for what the author writes next!

Now, obviously I want to know if you guys have read either of these books too and if so, what you thought of them? Or do you have any of them on your TBR too? Let me know in the comments down below!

But! I also want to know what you guys’ favorite book was that you’ve read recently! And if it’s a contemporary novel with queer rep? PLEASE share! I want to try and fit in some more queer rep in my reading for June if I can! Thank you! πŸ™‚

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7 thoughts on “Recently Read #8: Sci-Fi, Fantasy And Contemporary

  1. Ahhh, so very happy to see you enjoyed Red, White and Royal Blue, I recently read that one and had such a fun time with it as well. I now get all of the hype ahah πŸ™‚
    As for recommendations of books with queer rep…. hmm at the moment I’m thinking of a book recently released that I’ve read and really enjoyed, Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas, there’s also the fantastic Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale, WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE because I’m a little tiny bit obsessed with it and aerm that’s all that comes to mind at the moment ahha πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I came to a funny realization the other day while writing a different post on why I might’ve liked Red, White & Royal Blue so much: it was in a way similar to Magnus & Alec’s story (from the Shadowhunter books) overall with similar problems and hurdles and thinking about it that way, I HAD to love this book!

      I’ve recently seen We Set The Dark On Fire pop up more often again! I’ll make sure to check out your recs, thank you! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I got so scared when I saw that Red, White, & Royal Blue was the black sheep! I thought that meant you didn’t like it! I adored that book and I’m so glad you did as well!

    As contemporaries with queer rep, my go to recommendation at the moment is Red, White, & Royal Blue, but obviously you’ve already read that! Besides for that, for some reason only graphic novels are coming to mind! If you enjoy those I’d suggest Bloom, On a Sunbeam, and Kiss Number 8!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh I have been meaning to read Red Rising for a while now, because I have heard a lot about it! It’s sad that the female characters get fridged or sidelines, I really hope that this will improve too, as I still plan on checking out the book! I’m happy to hear you could still enjoy the book despite that πŸ’— I think it’s also time I finally add Red, White & Royal Blue to my TBR because everyone has been raving about it and it sounds like such a great possible comfort read for me! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

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