My January Wrap Up

This year's January ends in a blink of an eye and so 2022 doesn't feel brand new anymore. The sentiment is marked by the arrival of my first wrap-up of the year: I managed to finish three fantasy, one contemporary, and one poetry in totalI'd say it's a quite good start reading-wise.

(Please skip this part if you haven't read Red Queen)
Following where we left off in the first book, Glass Sword starts with Mare and Cal as a refugee, running away from Maven and her evil mother Elara with the help of the Scarlet Guard. Now taking refuge from an abandoned secret island called Tuck, Mare is introduced to one of Farley's leaders, the red-eyed Colonel who seems to look at the Red-and-Silver fighters with disdain. Mare and her small team decide to leave then. With only a list of names from Julian to hold on to, they start the search for people like her and Shade, people with Red blood and Silver ability. But the attempt is all like a deadly game of chase. With Maven breathing on her neck, almost always one step ahead, Mare realizes how much the rebellion is costing her loved ones and herself. She knows that she is starting to turn into the monster she is trying to defeat.

Simply put, Glass Sword was a story of running away, recruiting the other chosen ones, while at the same time trying to outsmart the enemies. The formula was quite familiar: I had stumbled upon a similar trope in the second book of other dystopian stories, and just like the priors, a trope like this bored me in the beginning. The search eventually became repetitive with only a little twist here and there. I had even seen that ending coming from the start. But I was glad that the last few chapters finally picked up. Even if they shared only a small portion compared to the search of the newbloods, they were quite memorable still. Something about Mare's journey kept me on my toe all night, and it's not even because of her.

As seen on the pretty pink hardcover, this book is a collection of poems following the topic of love and heartbreak. Like the other two books by the author, the poetries are mostly short and the illustrations simple, but they go with each other well. It was certainly a delight trying to figure out what the drawings attempted to represent, and since the diction wasn't difficult to understand, connecting the line was quite easy.

For those of you who have a soft spot for love poems, Something to Remember Me By may be a book for you. The words were easy to digest and the love/hurt narrative was actually very easy to relate to. 

(Please skip this part if you haven't read Red Queen and Glass Sword)
Picking up where it left off, King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard is actually quite true to its name. The story begins right after Mare is captured by Maven and put in the cage with manacles made by Silent Stone to keep her powerless. She has become Maven's perfect puppet, playing the role of the fragile Lightning Girl fearing the Scarlet Guard, luring the newbloods into the mercy of Maven's. But Cal will stop at nothing when Mare is concerned. With the Scarlet Guard still organizing the attempt to overthrow the Silver king, unexpected alliances are made. Norta is now left with nothing but wars on all sides.

While the mixed reviews around this series didn't stop a lot of readers from finishing the second book and then picking up the third, I could see why some of them decided to stop halfway. The first half of the story wasn't engaging enough to the point that I feared this book would put me in a slump, however. It wasn't until Iris Cygnet, the Lakeland princess, came to the scene that I wholly dropped the thought of DNFing the book. Iris breathed life to Mare's repetitive narrative, and since then, King's Cage actually became better if not great even if we barely got to see her in the last half.

(Please skip this part if you haven't read Red Queen, Glass Sword, and King's Cage)
After Cal’s betrayal, Jon’s prophecy begins to become clear: Mare will rise, and rise alone. Now walking towards different paths, Mare and Cal strive for their own goal, though they still need to uphold their alliance in hope of defeating Maven and the Lakelanders. The big, final war will come soon, and Mare determines to keep Maven at bay and her loved ones safe.

I love having something to look forward to every night, and this book had unexpectedly been a good addition to my night-time routine. It only took a better part of one week, unfortunately. I found it strange that somehow 600+ pages didn’t feel like enough while at the same time it felt like they were. Like most of the reviewers before me have said, it’s hard to talk about this book without putting everything in the open, so to make this review spoiler-free, I suppose some short highlights would do: War Storm was good; the best even out of four.

Following the story of a third-year Ph.D. candidate named Olive Smith, The Love Hypothesis is a book exploring the theme of women in STEM. Having just discovered that her date might have hit it off with her very best friend in the world, Olive is desperate to prove that she is totally fine. But Anh doesn't want to break the girl code even when Olive explicitly asks her to. To erase the doubt forever, Olive claims that she has moved on and dated another; she even goes as far as kissing a random dude in the middle of the night just to prove a point. Unfortunately for her, that someone turns out to be the infamous lab tyrant Dr. Adam Carlsen. Without her even knowing, she is now in the chaos that is her own life. Adam agrees to fake-date her for his own reasoning, but what started as something stupid and fake eventually leaves Olive wanting more. And she is obviously petrified by the idea.

In conclusion, The Love Hypothesis was funny, entertaining, and cute. There were some unrealistic parts somewhere along the way, and I wouldn't lie, some scenes felt a bit cheesy; but it's rom-com and I loved it. It certainly is the kind of book that I would recommend to fellow rom-com lovers.