Welcome to my first wrap up of the year! I’m trying a new format where I link to some of my favourite blog posts and YouTube videos I watched this month, as well as talking about the books I read. I might start including tv shows and movies next month as well. Who knows?
Books I read
In Search of the Trojan War by Michael Wood (1998) DNF
I was really interested to get my hands on a non-fiction book that explored the Trojan War, but I just couldn’t get myself engaged with the text.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I love Madeline Miller’s writing so much, and she truly excels at character driven novels. The Song of Achilles is an LGBT retelling of Homer’s The Iliad from Patroclus’ perspective. It follows him from childhood and centres around his relationship with Achilles. It also explores the valorisation of war, violence and hyper masculinity in society, with Patroclus acting as a sort of foil. He is the antithesis of Greek society at the time, being a kind, gentle, pacifist. CW: Violence.
Here, The World Entire by Anwen Kya Hayward (2016) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is 83 pages of pure pathos. It’s a first person recollection of Medusa’s life, focusing on three key scenes, moving from present to past. The writing was beautiful and I was completely invested in Medusa’s story. CW: Sexual violence.
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (2017) DNF 28%
This Nigerian inspired fantasy had fantastic worldbuilding and an interesting magic system. Unfortunately the pace was quite slow, and I didn’t like the first person narration. The main character just seemed really flippant, and I was sort of like ‘if he doesn’t care, why should I?’
Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor (2018) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is the third and final novella in the Binti series. It explores family, grief, anxiety, self-identity and culture. Plot-wise, there was a lot happening here, and some parts felt quite disconnected from the rest of the story. The narration changed mid-book which was disconcerting, and I wasn’t much of a fan of the romantic elements that ‘developed’ in this volume. CW: Violence.
For the Immortal by Emily Hauser (2018) ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This is the third in a series of companion novels. I wish I had read the others first because some elements followed on from the previous books. It’s a retelling of a few different Greek myths revolving around Hercules, Theseus and The Iliad told from Admete and Hippolyta’s points of view. The world building was great, and the plot and main characters were engaging. CW: Violence, sexual violence.
In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The fourth in The Wayward Children series, this companion novella tells the story of Katherine Lundy and her adventures in The Goblin Market. I really love this series and how the magic system is evolving with each story. The premise of The Goblin Market is the concept of fair trade, and it was fascinating to see how McGuire wove it through the story.
The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes (2017) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I am obsessed with Greek mythology retellings, and this one is phenomenal. It’s a realistic historical retelling of the Oedipus and Antigone myths from Jocasta and Ismene’s perspectives. The writing was excellent, and the world building and setting were thoroughly researched. I was completely immersed in this world, and so invested in the characters. I loved Haynes’ take on the myth, and she definitely made it her own. The novel alternated between Jocasta’s story, told in third person narration; and her daughter Ismene’s story, which was told in first person. I cannot wait to write a full review of this book, and I’m looking forward to Haynes’ forthcoming novel, A Thousand Ships, which is a retelling of The Iliad, and is set for release on 2 May.
Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer (2019) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A standalone retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, Echo North is a gorgeous, atmospheric novel. The world was magical and whimsical, and there was a library of book-mirrors! I loved how the author incorporated other influences such as the Cupid & Psyche myth, Tam Lin, and Peter & the Wolf, to make the story unique. The writing was flawless. And I loved the relationships in this novel, especially between Echo and her friend Mokosh, which surprised me.
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (2005) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
As the title suggests, this is a retelling of The Goose Girl. It’s a gem of a story. I really loved the Ani’s growth throughout the story, changing from a shy, cloistered princess, to a confident young woman. It explores themes of friendship, self-confident, and identity. It was low on romance, and high on friendship, which I appreciate. I also thought the magic system was interesting – some people have the ability to speak to animals, some can influence other people, and some can speak to inanimate things, like fire. I liked that the magic was a useful tool, but not a solution to every problem. I also liked that it was like any other skill, something to be practiced and honed over time. CW: Violence, animal death.
Catch up on my Blog Posts
Favourite Blog Posts
The Fever King review by Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams
Sawkill Girls review by Elise @ The Bookish Actress
The Cold is in her Bones review by JenAcideByBibliophile
Literary Blogging 101: Why your blogging voice and style matters by Lara @Naiji Book Bae
Favourite YouTube Videos
2019 New Bullet Journal/Planner Setup by Inprint
PLAN WITH ME| January 2019 Bullet Journal Setup by AmandaRachLee
PLAN WITH ME| February 2019 Bullet Journal Setup by AmandaRachLee
A Portrait of Womanhood & Patriarchy: Circe by Madeline Miller Book Discussion by Beautifully Bookish Bethany
Turning myself normal for the first time in 11 years by emilia fart
Best books of 2018 by Tome Riddle
10 TIPS TO GET INTO ADULT SF & FANTASY by Elliot Brooks
Most Anticipated February Releases
Enchantee by Gita Trelease
An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James
What did you read this month? What were your favourite blog posts/ YouTube videos? Any recommendations? Should I start including more varied content?