[article] January Round-Up

January Round Up
It’s time for my January book reading round up. I’ve had a good start to 2017, having read 8 books so I am bang-on target to read 100 books this year! I had university exams at the start of the month, which meant that the first books I picked up this year were some childhood favourites – Erin Hunter’s Warrior Cats series. I wanted something light and non-brain-taxing to read on my downtime from heavy philosophical papers and mathematical proofs 😉 
I then tried something by a longtime favourite author of mine, Brandon Sanderson. I normally read his adult works (I highly recommend Elantris and Warbreaker if you are at all interested in fantasy, they are superb) but I picked up The Rithmatist for a lighter work. Sanderson crafts the most exquisite and unique magical systems I have ever read, and this one was no exception. 
Another notable read was Carve the Mark, Veronica Roth’s new book which has suffered accusations of racist tropes, and Amanda Lovelace’s The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which was unfortunately not my kind of read at all.

Spotlight Read of the January: The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson


More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. 

Rating: 4/5
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

This is a read aimed at the younger end of the YA spectrum, but as an adult I still enjoyed it immensely. Once again, Sanderson’s creativity absolutely shines in his creation of a magical system based upon chalk drawings, and the murder mystery in, indeed, mysterious. 

Other Reads:

All the Birds In the Sky 
Charlie Jane Anders
Rating: 3/5
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Laurence builds a two second time machine and Patricia develops magical powers. They meet again as adults in this frankly bizarre exploration of adulthood, friendship, and the looming apocalypse. Recommended for people that enjoy trying something that is completely “out there”. 

Rising Storm, A Dangerous Path, The Darkest Hour
Erin Hunter
Genre: Children

I rediscovered some childhood favourites, featuring Firestar leader of Thunderclan as he explores friendship, betrayal, and what it means to be dutiful. Recommended for children and young teens, or people who read this many years ago and want to fall right into that nostalgia.

Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard
Rick Riordan
Rating: 3/5
Percy Jackson, Norse style. Magnus Chase is the son of a Norse god: troubled child and preventer of Ragnarok, accompanied by Valkyrie Sam and two sidekicks. Magnus is Percy Jackson, older but still with that characteristic Riordan sass. If you loved the Percy Jackson series, this is pretty much the same but with a fresh sparkle of paint. 
Carve the Mark,
Veronica Roth
Rating: 3/5
Thuvhet Akos is captured by the Shotet and given to Cyra, a woman whose currentgift brings her only pain and whose brother, Ryzek, is a murderous tyrant. Lyrical prose and a strong character-driven plot contrasts a lack of world-building and reliance on unpleasant racial/religious stereotypes.
The Princess Saves Herself In This One,
Amanda Lovelace
Rating: 2/5
A true case of “its not you its me”. This is a poetry collection very driven by an overall narrative of growth, rejuvenation and sorrow. Unfortunately I found the style wholly unappealing and an overuse of cliches. 
And that completes January’s reads. Do you have anything to recommend me?

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