Well friends, this is an incomplete What I Read written in the penultimate week of March. I’ve got 14 books to tell you about at this point, and you can bet the 13 hour plane ride I took last week added at least another to the list. Since 14 is a lot to get through, I’ll (try to) be brief!
In attempts to stay brief, I’ll only give full reviews for a few, and share general thoughts/ratings for others!
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
The writing style definitely takes a bit to get used to. Browsing some Goodreads reviews, you’ll see some hilarious yet accurate examples of how people struggled with this. For me, the beginning took quite a while. There were several scenes of pure description repeated and juxtaposed with different connotative language which I liked the first time, but was annoyed at by the third. By the time we learn the main character’s name (and yes, this takes a while) the story starts to get going. We follow Mia on her quest to become an assassin. Mia is a darken who controls shadow. She has a cat made of shadow as a companion. The world is fairly reminiscent of Assassin’s Heart, but the story quite different. I find Mia quite likable and gave this one 4 stars.
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
I had heard a lot about this and knew it wouldn’t be a real serious read for me. I went into it expecting a fluffy book, so to be disappointed even with those expectations is saying something. It’s about a high school student named Harper who suddenly has supernatural powers thrust upon her. This is NOT Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think it’s the southern belle things that really bothered me… perhaps it’s just not something someone who grew up in suburban Boston can understand. Beyond that, everything was too easy without any real world implications. Everything felt frivolous. The death of her sister was casually thrown in there for what reason? 1 star.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Again, I kept hearing so much about this book! It’s a compelling adventure with a healthy dose of mystery and a dark, dangerous feeling. It’s about a girl named Scarlett and her sister, Tella. Their life hasn’t been the best with their abusive father. They’ve always dreamed of going to Caraval– an immersive festival/show/game. Now, there are some things that don’t work for me, mainly the lack of character development, but it’s a fun and quick read. 4 stars.
Teams leave Seville, Spain for Liverpool, England. There, they make their ways to Anfield Stadium, home of Liverpool FC, to score two goals each against a goalie.
Leo and Jamal take a detour and make it to Anfield first. Jamal’s knee is still messed up from the bullying bulls. They finish up as Dave and Connor arrive. “I hope Dave and Connor go home!” says one of the Afghanimals. Me too, buddy.
Jen and Caroline are terrible at soccer, but the Brenchels are pretty good! They finish up next, just as Dave and Connor take the field. You’d think Connor has a bad knee too from his kicks. Oof. Jennifer and Caroline manage to make their goals before the father-son team.
The next clue takes them to one of my favorite places I’ve ever been, WALES! The drive shakes up the order of the teams, but at the aqueduct the teams encounter the Road Block: Poetry in Motion. On the 15 minute boat ride, a teammate must learn a Welsh gypsy poem and recite it for a language specialist on the other side of the aqueduct. If you didn’t know before, Welsh is a crazy language! I really loved this challenge and found myself trying to recite the poem along with them.
Here’s the poem:
Hei ho Heidi ho!
Fi yw sipsi fach y fro
Carafan mewn cwr o fynydd
Newid aelwyd bob yn eilddydd
Rhwng y llenni ger y lli
Haf neu aeaf waeth gen
Hei ho Heidi ho!
All the teams had to repeat the Road Block, but Brendan was the first to complete the challenge, followed closely by Caroline. Jamal and Connor struggle a bit longer, but finish up in that order.
Now the teams are back to England for the Detour: Shoot It or Boot It.
In Shoot It, teams shoot at clay pigeons. They must hit 16. Caroline is surprisingly great at this! The beat Dave and Connor through this side of the Detour. In Boot It, the teams fill up a pair of Welly boots with water and throw them. (I’m… not sure why…) They must use size 9 or 11. It actually looks pretty fun. Brendan’s throws get the Brenchels through this pretty easily, until they realize that they’ve used size 10 Wellies instead of 9 or 11. Jamal and Leo finally arrive as they are restarting.
The pit stop comes next, which determines the three teams racing for the million dollars. The teams finish in this order:
- Dave and Connor
- Jennifer and Caroline
- Brendan and Rachel
- Leo and Jamal
So, arguably, the strongest team was eliminated! The navigating ended up doing them in. I’m going Brenchel all the way in the finale, but really, anyone but Dave and Connor would be great. (Can he please. stop. mentioning his achilles?)
Who do you think will win it all?!