Monday Minis

Welcome back to anther round of Monday Minis, where I try to reduce my stack of books to read and review. This has been a bit of an odd week as I’ve been stuck at home self-isolating, dealing with migraines as well. But hey, I got myself some work, and a lovely new guest blogger! Be prepared to read her first review later this summer – I’m very excited to welcome the lovely Anna – give her a follow on Twitter here.

Thanks to the publishers for sending me review copies/eARCs of these books. All opinions are my own.

The Forevers by Chris Whitaker is a YA published last week from Hot Key Books. The central hook of the story is that an asteroid will be destroying life on Earth in a month’s time. Mae and her friends, teens in a world where consequences seemingly don’t matter are trying to figure out how to navigate their lives while actions and consequences are disassociated. Be aware that this means that this book contains potentially triggering content – off the top of my head, there is mention of past self-harm, suicide (on and off page) and sexual assault (off page). While this all creates an intriguing scenario and high-stakes tension, the story itself leaves much to be desired. I did not feel emotionally invested and found that the pacing felt inconsistent – this book should have been a page-turner, but I struggled to get through it because it did not manage to hit the sweet spot of balance between plot, characterisation and stakes. I think the closest I can describe it as aimless – it never felt like the characters were trying to achieve anything other than manipulate each other. So I think this one was just not for me, even if it had its good moments.

Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron is the second in her trilogy (which began with Kingdom of Souls in 2019 – check out my review of the first book here) and is out from Harper Voyager in the UK. This continues the story of Arrah and her friends after the events of the first book, and is a true middle book. It relies heavily on details from the first one (some of which I’d forgotten despite recently rereading it) and while there was some resolution of story threads in Reaper, it feels very temporary. This second book adds to the background lore of the world, with a strong focus on the Orisha and their politics and the way they influence the characters. While I did really enjoy reading it, I didn’t love this as much as I did Kingdom. Due to the added dimensions to the storytelling in this, the character relationships that had been one of my favourite elements of the first book did not get as much space as I would have liked. It is a very solid follow-up, and I’m still looking forward to the third book in the series.

The Breach by M.T. Hill has been out for a while – it came out from Titan Books last year (big shame on me for taking this long to getting around to reading it! I’m sorry!). This story revolves around Freya, a journalist investigating a young climber’s death and Shep, a trainee steeplejack. As they follow leads, they discover something that will affect more than just their investigation. This really is an odd one. Partially investigative mystery, partly science fiction and partially a thriller. But these various elements really didn’t slot together for me. It read very disjointed – and on finishing the book I still hadn’t really figured out what the initial hook of the story was. The book relies on tenuous connections and I honestly found the lack of continuous logic very frustrating. I didn’t think that any questions really were answered by the end and I was left unsatisfied. This is one I would not recommend.

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