Epic Reads, which is the social media presence/YA imprint of HarperCollins publisher, put up a blog post in the middle of August about their reading decathlon challenge. They suggested, to round out the summer, reading ten books in ten days.
Now admittedly, since it’s now mid-September and everyone has gone back to school, it’s definitely not summer any more, but I only found their reading decathlon post a few days ago.
In any case, I have lots of free time on my hands at the moment, since I’m finishing up my PhD (my corrections, thankfully, were accepted without any more changes, so all I have to do is print and submit my thesis) and editing the next issue of the UCL Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, but I don’t have any other pressing claims on my time, so I definitely think that I’ll be able to manage this challenge. I decided to start it on Sunday, because for some reason my calendar starts weeks on Sundays, so that it was easy to keep track of.
That makes today, Wednesday, day 4 of the decathlon, and I am well on track. Three days in, I’ve read three and a half books, and I think I’ll finish the fourth today. The only problem I have is choosing which books to read in my decathlon reading marathon!
Day 1 – Moth Girls – Anne Cassidy
I picked this book up for a steal at YALC – it was only £1! It sat in the middle of the pile of YALC books which sits on the landing outside my bedroom, because I couldn’t fit it in my room, for a whole month before I finally picked it up. I fairly raced through this, and read it in only a day, caught up in the story of two missing girls and wondering what happened to them on that fateful night. The intertwining of their story with Mandy, the girl left behind, was interesting, too.
While I was reading this book, I thought that it reminded me a lot of another missing girl book that I read ages and ages ago (so long ago that I sometimes don’t remember that I read it) called Looking for JJ. Imagine my shock, then, when I got to the ‘about the author’ bit at the end of the book and realised that it had been written by the same person. No wonder I thought they felt similar!
While Moth Girls was mostly interesting and kept me intrigued, I felt like the last section was padding, and didn’t enjoy it much at all. It left the end of the book slightly limp, and I felt that it would have been more effective if that section had been moved somewhere else.
Day 2 – Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
This book has been on my radar for a very long time. The beautiful covers regularly pop up in my twitter feed, begging me to read them, and the subject matter (angels and demons and war!) is definitely on a par with lots of other things I’ve read. So when I asked a librarian last week what I should read next, and this was recommended, I decided to take the plunge and read it.
There was lots of really interesting imagery in this book, and I loved that it was set in Prague, which sounds like a really beautiful city. Plus the magic/wish idea was intriguing, and I liked the idea of the war between chimaera and angels. But what I didn’t like was the insta-love between the two main characters (before they even really spoke!), even if it had a somewhat flimsy explanation between it. So I was kind of torn on this one. Some good things and some bad, but I liked it enough that I’ll read the sequels eventually.
Day 2/3 – Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas
This book is a re-read, in preparation for Empire of Storms, which was published yesterday. I have already re-read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and The Assassin’s Blade, so I’m well on my way. Empire of Storms, although I pre-ordered it, won’t be delivered until next week some time, which is a bit of a bummer, but at least it gives me time to catch up on the re-read before it arrives.
Heir of Fire suffers pretty badly from middle-book syndrome. It’s all about training montages, and plotting things. Nothing really happens in this book (I felt) in and of itself, more that everything is just ramping up the tension for the events still to come (lots of which are in Queen of Shadows). While I really enjoy this series, and am excited for Empire of Storms, Heir of Fire is definitely my least favourite so far, as it feels much like The Two Towers (Gandalf and generic hobbit go horse-riding. What else even happens in this book) or the first Harry Potter 7 film (The Golden Trio go camping. A lot). One to be kind of trudged through before getting to the excitement of Queen of Shadows (and hopefully Empire of Storms will be super too!)
Also, I really disagree with the cover art of this book. What on earth is she doing with that longbow? Where is her anchor point? She’s also gonna slice off her nose any minute now. And why on earth is she letting her hair get in the way like that?? Plus there’s absolutely zero instances of her doing any archery in the entire book. These are my complaints.
Day 3/4 – The Taggerung – Brian Jacques
Continuing my Redwall Re-Read as well, I’m on to the 14th book in the series (both chronologically and publication order-ly), The Taggerung. I’m only about a fifth of the way into this story of the insanely physically gifted otter Deyna, the Taggerung, but it’s already jam-packed full of the riddles, stories, feasts, poems, and epic quests that characterise Redwall books as a whole. I should have it finished by tonight. And I’ll still like it a lot. Plus, look at that awesome cover art. Look how fearsome that otter looks!
Because I’ve read this before, I already know that I’ve rated it, too. It was a Four-Star Read. ****
I’m almost halfway through this reading decathlon, and bang on target. Provided nothing terrible pops up in the next few days, I should definitely be able to finish on time, and it’s nice to have something to think about to direct my reading. I just need to make sure that I have the next books picked out and lined up so I don’t spend precious reading time trying to make decisions!