Happy Monday everyone! This week is catching up with some of my NetGalley backlog time – I’ve been trying to read already published books to reduce my TBR, and sadly, none of these really clicked all that much with me. They’re all decent books, but I’m not the ideal reader for them. But in any case, huge thank yous to the publicists for sending me eARCs of these titles, all opinions are my own as always.
The City of Dusk by Tara Sim is one of those books where I’m really not sure how to feel about them. I was super excited for it, and then it took me forever to read it (literally, I kept reading a few chapters, putting it down, and then coming back to it, I think it took me a couple of months!). This is the first in an adult epic fantasy from an author who previously wrote YA – and a lot of people have been saying that they think it reads as YA still. I don’t agree with this. The main characters are adults. They’re not teens. They may be young, but they’re not literal kids, and it doesn’t read like YA in terms of pacing either – which, to me, was a good thing. It is a story that works better for adults, and the crossover audience aging out of YA (aka those of us who still love YA even though we’ve technically outgrown it years ago). However, it is too long. Tension isn’t consistent, and so the book feels very meandering, which I think contributed to me putting it aside again and again. It seemed like the author was still trying to find her stride in this new series and world, and while I’m intrigued enough to want to read the next book, I think this one may have needed another round or two of polishing to truly shine.
Wilder Than Midnight by Cerrie Burnell is a middle grade fairy-tale inspired fantasy. It is the story of a princess and a girl raised in the woods, of greedy royals and determined girls. It is a fast read, and an entertaining one, but I found that neither the plot nor the characters were allowed much nuance. I know it is a middle grade book, and there is certainly allowance for simplification with that age group, but there are so many wonderful middle grade books out there that do have that nuanced approach and are much more satisfying reads. I found the black-and-white morality, the predictability of the tropes and the lack of depth in the main characters didn’t let me get emotionally invested in their fates and thus did not make Wilder Than Midnight stand out for me.
The Symmetry of Stars by Alex Myers unfortunately has been one of the more disappointing books I’ve read recently. I simultaneously feel like I only finished it because I loved his last book, The Story of Silence, so much, but also was far harsher on this one than I may otherwise have been for the same reason. I also have to admit that I picked up The Symmetry of Stars without knowing much about it because I thought I’d like it as much as the author’s previous book – but I think I liked that one for its story and themes more than Myers’ own work now that I have read another one of his books. In some ways, The Symmetry of Stars addresses some similar motifs concerning nature and nurture as The Story of Silence did, showing parallels between the books, and letting them function almost as companion pieces of a sort. However, the tone in which they are written differs enormously, as does the manner in which the motif is addressed. While The Story of Silence did so almost whimsically through medieval romance, The Symmetry of Stars is a very philosophical book. It is wordy, and it seems to go in circles at times as it argues with itself. It features a larger cast, but all of the characters stay fairly non-descript and bland. And at the moment, that is just not something I’m vibing with. I was expecting to love this, but, to be entirely honest, I was bored. I kept hoping that I’d change my mind, I’d find the magic of The Story of Silence, but I didn’t. If this is one you’ve been ogling up for yourself, I’d encourage you to check out a sample first to see if you mesh with the writing style.