Welcome back to another round of Monday Minis where Fab catches up on their TBR! Many thanks to all the publicists who sent me eARCs of these three books via NetGalley, all opinions are my own as usual.
Skyhunter by Marie Lu is your average YA science fiction novel. While I have enjoyed some of her earlier work, I found that this one read quite generic, and didn’t think that it particularly stood out. In fact, I considered DNF’ing it but kept hoping that I’d be sucked into the story. The story is about Mara, one of the last nations standing against the colonial force of the Karensa Federation, and its legendary fighting force, the Strikers, in particular. Talin is one of these Strikers, and when a prisoner is brought to her unit, she has to figure out whether he is a spy, or whether he might be a weapon that can help her side. Skyhunter as a whole is fast paced, but ultimately, nothing in in stands out and makes you connect to the story or the characters. I felt like it was a commercially-driven book, rather than one where I could tell that the author and the whole team behind it loved what they were doing and were thrilled to tell this story – especially because I struggled to really see what the story itself was, the plot felt quite meandering despite its pace, and the characters rather bland. This one is a miss, unfortunately.
I really enjoyed The Charmed Wife by Olga Grushin. This is an interesting take on fairy tales – Cinderella is very much not taken with the reality of her life after years of being married to the prince and is looking for a way out. This is a story full of unlikeable characters, of people you don’t necessarily want to feel for, but ultimately do empathise with. And that speaks to Grushin’s skill with words. But the pacing is off in this one. It feels choppy in places, and drags in the middle at times. It also has much more of a literary fiction feel than what I usually read, which might explain some of the struggles I experienced with the pacing. It does discuss what goes into making a marriage successful – from both sides, which I thought was really smart – and quite satirically portrays fairy godmothers as morally ambiguous characters. And my favourite parts were probably the little mice and their dynasty of self-replacing descendants! This is one to check out if you are into fairy tales, meta-analysis and intellectually challenging books.
If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich isn’t my usual fare, but I’ve previously enjoyed Gonzales’ work, and so I picked this up on a whim on NetGalley and thought I’d give it a shot. And to be entirely honest, I still don’t quite know what to think about this one. This is the story of Saturday, a boyband, where two members end up falling in love with each other, to the dismay of their controlling management. Zach and Ruben, as well as Angel and Jon ended up growing on me throughout the course of their story and I really cared about them and their fates by the end of it. It was really frustrating to see how the boys were treated by their management when all they want to do is live their reality and share their love with the world. Staying in the closet when you’re ready to come out isn’t something that anyone should have to deal with, and I’m happy with how the story resolves. However, I did feel like it dragged on and was longer than needed – but the pacing issues I had with the story may be more down to the reader I am than the book itself as I rarely read contemporary. It’s definitely a fun book to spend a couple of hours with!