August 2020 Reads

So, August is essentially over. And here are the books I read!

(Yeah, it’s mostly fantasy again.)

The Dwarves by Markus Heitz

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Raised among humans by an expert magus, foundling dwarf Tungdil only knows about his dwarven kin through reading musty old books in the wizard’s library. And when he is sent on an errand of dubious importance, he comes into contact with his kinfolk, elves, and unspeakable evil. Will all his book-learning and limited experience with dwarven culture help him and his motley band of friends defeat the dark forces threatening to take over his adopted homeland?

To start off with, this book was okay.

It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, nor was it the worst book (here’s looking at you, To The Rude Guy In Apartment 5). The Dwarves is your average, middle-of-the-road fantasy novel heavily based on greater lore supplied by Tolkien. Much of the fighting and gore, while entertaining, began to feel old and overused after the first half dozen run-ins with orcs. To me, it read more like a YA novel trying to become just A, but missing the mark entirely.

Suggested if you like something with action and interesting plot, ridiculous happenstance, or maybe you’re just in the market for a fantasy novel that isn’t going to tax your brain overmuch.

Wool by Hugh Howey

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hundreds of years have passed since the world ended. The entirety of Humankind exists underground in a silo. And if you want to go outside? Go right ahead. But be warned: it is suicide to even breathe a word of the outside. For if anyone were to tell the authorities, you will be sent to clean. And nobody ever comes back from a cleaning.

I have started and stopped reading this book so many times over the last four or five years, but this time. This time, I finished it.

Come for the post-apocalyptic society, stay for the deadly intrigue. The main protagonist is stubborn, hardy and too curious for her own good (probably why I like her so much). Between fighting with IT for supplies and making preventative repairs before one of the giant, energy-generating engines explodes, Juliette doesn’t have time to take interest in matters Up Top. But when a job offer from the Mayor herself takes her by surprise, she can’t not go and see what the fuss is about.

The history and the lies intertwine beautifully to make up a rich backdrop for wonderfully flawed characters. Expect government-sanctioned murder, nerve-wracking adventures into unknown territories, and more questions than you can shake a stick at. What started off as a short story has turned into one of my favorite series. So reuse that paper, don’t talk about the outside, and don’t ever ever trust IT.

Because if you do, it could be the end of everything.

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Only girls can learn magic. Or at least that’s what Aster’s family has always believed. Yet Aster doesn’t feel any connection to the other boys and shapeshifting; he is drawn to witchery like a moth to a flame. And it could very well be his undoing, unless he can summon the courage to truly be himself.

The art! The story! The underlying message!

This graphic novel, the first by Molly Knox Ostertag, is a coming-of-age story set in a universe where magic is real and the consequences of straying from tradition are severe.

Like many a young child growing up in a world that didn’t understand, I feel for Aster and his plight. His family doesn’t like that he’s bucking the social norms. In fact, they believe it’s downright dangerous for him to do so, but only because it’s happened before and they were unable to stop the damage inflicted upon the family. Luckily for him, they learn from their mistakes and begin to accept him for who he is, not for what they believe he should be.

This story hit hard on so many levels. It’s taken a long time for me to stop trying to desperately fit into the tiny, rigid box society put me in, and reading about Aster’s push against his own family’s expectations, and their reluctant-turned-full-fledged acceptance of his differences just goes to show how far our world has come in accepting those who are different from the “norm.”

Out of all these, my favorite by far was Wool by Hugh Howey. Maybe it’s my mindset, maybe it’s the time of year, maybe it’s current events. Whichever way it floats, this book checked all of the boxes I was needing it to check. What were those boxes? I’m not quite sure myself, but they were checked, and efficiently at that.

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag is one of the better graphic novels aimed at the youths I’ve read in a long time. Her art style and dialogue drew me in so fast that I didn’t put this book down, even when I was trying to make myself lunch (peanut butter is permanently stuck in the cracks of my phone screen now).

And then we come to The Dwarves by Markus Heitz. There wasn’t much I thoroughly enjoyed about this book other than the fact that it was a nice palate cleanser after reading a good chunk of the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics my library had to offer. Read it if you want, or don’t. It’s not going to blow you away by its epic storytelling, but it might be good for a couple days of distraction.

That’s it for this month. Next month, we’ll be getting into some anthologies!!! (and no, I still haven’t finished that blasted Xena book yet. In fact, I shelved it for the time being. Bleh)

If you haven’t heard of any of the books above, I urge you to check them out! (Also, buy secondhand if you can’t get it from the library!!!) I’m all for supporting authors and whatnot, but times are tough and we need to work on reusing instead of buying everything new).

Pssst! Some websites I link to are affiliate links. It costs nothing extra for you (if you make a purchase), & it gives me a little something in return!

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