The Week Gone By – 1/10/22 + Pondathon II Sign Up

We are already almost 2 weeks into the New Year and I also celebrated by 35th birthday this week, but otherwise nothing much seems to have changed irl, except maybe an increase in cases. Which means I’m even more stuck in my house and all I do is read, watch dramas or randomly browse Youtube. So, let me just update you all on what I’ve been doing.

As a Telugu speaking person, it’s sad that I hardly know anything about my language’s literature and publishing scene and don’t remember reading more than one novel in Telugu in my entire life (I’m not counting many of the spiritual and epics I’ve read). So this book has been on my radar for quite a while because a Ramayana or Mahabharata retelling is just my kind of thing, and seeing that it’s translated from Telugu made me more excited for it. And despite very short in length, I think this book filled the piece I felt was missing from another Ramayana retelling told from Sita’s POV – The Forest of Enchantments.  While this is indeed about the liberation of Sita, how she finally understood the importance of liberating herself from her dependence on her love for Rama and her marital and motherhood vows, what I didn’t expect was that this also about giving voices to those women in the epic who are marginalized or forgotten and didn’t get any closure to the abuses they were put through. It is thought provoking and really opened my mind – I almost felt like if I had examined Ramayana from this perspective before, maybe I would have liked the epic more, but I’ve never been a fan of it without being able to articulate why.

I can’t remember when exactly this book came onto my radar but it was a tweet about a review, and I was immediately fascinated by this story as soon as I finished reading it. The cover of the book also hadn’t been revealed then and I just had this fascinating premise and a glowing review but I was sure that I had to read this book and I knew that I would love it. The writing in this book was very accessible (I don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t be) and I found it very easy to feel engrossed in the story and not notice how much time passed. The pacing was mostly very fast, with things happening quickly and decisively, not always giving us enough time to process them. There is some action but primarily this is an investigative novel, with lots of trying to find out the truth and culprits, detangling empire wide conspiracies, peppered with much philosophizing about the importance of common law and Justice. It has its share of brutality and gore but it’s not an action packed novel – this debut is a highly engrossing investigative fantasy novel featuring enigmatic characters, with enough depth to let us think on about the good and bad of imperialism in this story and the affects of religious fanaticism, as well as the importance of enforcing the law equally and dispassionately, while also questioning if law and morality can always go hand in hand.

The one refrain I’ve heard is the constant comparisons to Ready Player One but that doesn’t matter to me because I have neither read the book nor watched the movie. I think because I’m not a gamer at all, a book with gaming and VR as it’s important components didn’t feel like it was for me. And this book starts off with an in-game sequence. But I think the author did a good job making the book accessible for non gamers like me with enough explanations – some might call it infodumping but I don’t find it to be too bad. The pacing also is pretty fast and there weren’t many moments where I felt bored. The author tries to incorporate elements like anti-capitalism and rebellion and the importance of working together in the face of oppression and I thought it felt organic to the story if not deeply explored. Our main character Mal is brave and kind and very much disposed to helping people who are in trouble, even if she doesn’t have much better herself. Her partner in crime and best friend Jessa may not seem like she is the same but she is ever loyal and supportive, even in dangerous situations. This was an engaging and interesting story about a dystopian corporate oligarchy and how people survive in this world where even basic necessities like food and water are rationed and in the control of two companies. You have some fun characters, an anti capitalist message and I love seeing an aroace character as well as great platonic relationships represented.

Another unexpected addition to my read pile and I have to say that this was a nice way to end the year. As a self confessed introvert who hates socializing but can fake being a loud and talkative person when very necessary, I found this pretty relatable. I liked the science behind the personality and behavioral types even if I didn’t always understand it. And I know I’m not a bad person for wanting to be alone and cherishing my solitude many times but sometimes it’s nice to see someone else say that. I did particularly find something to ponder about when the author was talking about introvert-extrovert couples and how to behave with introvert and shy children, so maybe I will come back to the author’s advise in these matters if and when I need them in the future. Overall a good book but may not be for everyone. The audiobook was also narrated quite well.

I didn’t even realize this was a retelling of The Brothers Karamazov but I can’t comment on that part because I have no clue about the source material. Other than that, this book is a mix of litfic, thriller and family drama. The writing was engaging enough because I really didn’t put it down much once I started. But it was also pretty slow paced for most of the book and I had many moments of frustration. I also just couldn’t like the characters. I agree that characters don’t have to be likeable for a reader to enjoy a book, but maybe I’m not that objective of a reader. Overall, I think this was an engaging, if slow paced read that you might like if you are in the right mood for it. The mystery doesn’t start until more than halfway through though, so if you are looking for an out and out thriller, this isn’t it. But I liked how the author kept us from guessing the true culprit until she revealed it herself and it was quite a revelation. However, it was a decent family drama which shows the unexpected dark side of immigrant family dynamics and if that’s your jam, pick this up. 

DNF at about 14%. I really wanted to like this book. But the suicide ideation in the first chapter itself put me off immediately. It’s too much of a trigger for me to feel comfortable. I still continued reading but couldn’t get into the story anymore. But I have to say that whatever I did read, I found the writing to be very beautiful and I’m sure others who love urban fantasy can appreciate this one better than me.

I only watched a couple of episodes of Sword Snow Stride this week. The acting is pretty good but I find the pacing to very slow, so I am not very interested in binging it. But I will get to it slowly.

I obviously had to binge the new season of Queer Eye and shed copious amounts of tears because what’s better than that.

New Covers

The US cover of Babel was released and I had to share the two together because I can’t decide which one I like more. What do you all think?

Pondathon II

CW @ The Quiet Pond is back with the second edition of Pondathon, this time an yearly one. This time the goal is for everyone to read many books, finish the side quests and get magic back to the forest. I am not very good at explaining stuff, so you can find all the details about the readathon here and the details about signing up and character creation here.

I have created my character BUNBUN, who is a garden bunny and an emotional support to her friends in the garden. My inspiration for this was definitely the hoard of Lan Zhan’s bunnies in MDZS (or The Untamed) which are all adorable and such a support whenever anyone needs some love and stress relief.

I’m dreaming I’m the bunny in Yibo’s hands.

I don’t think I will be making a specific TBR post because I know I will read whatever I’m in the mood for anyways. But I hope I will read some of the books I mentioned in my Series I Want to Read post here.

Posts from around the Blogverse

Sara @ Lyrical Reads posted a beautiful review about one of my year end favorites, Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan – Link.

I haven’t really heard much about The Witch’s Heart before but absolutely loved it’s review by Paige @ Just One More Paige. Who knows, maybe I will pick it up – Link.

I don’t really much of YA SFF but this review of The Kindred by Michelle @ Magical Reads was a lot of fun – Link.

I’m not much of a creative person, so I prefer nicely designed planners rather than making my own bullet journal. But I was absolutely blown away by both Hannah @ Sprinkled With Words and Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads stunning bujos for 2022 – Link1,Link2.

I adored reading Iron Widow last year, and I was happy to see that Sophie @ Beware of the Reader loved it too – Link.

Both Petrik and Celeste @ Novel Notions decided to buddy read Spinning Silver after hating the author’s previous book Uprooted and they both loved this one. I really enjoyed reading their reviews and maybe now I can checkout SS too – Link1, Link2.

I’ve heard a lot about Tahira in Bloom and got the book myself but haven’t managed to read it yet. Recently, I found Eliza @ Leviathan Libraries review of it very sweet – Link.

After having really enjoyed Allison Saft’s debut Down Comes the Night, I am very excited for their sophomore book A Far Wilder Magic, so it was very exciting to read Kashvi @ Misty Realms‘s gushing review about it – Link.

Hollis @ A Take from Two Cities has been my Goodreads friend for a long time and I love and trust her reviews a lot, so I’m actually very happy to share her review of Little Thieves, one I really enjoyed reading last year – Link.

This is technically not by a blogger but I was fascinated while reading Akshaya Raman, author of The Ivoky Key‘s post about the resources that helped in her research for the book – Link.

And that’s all for my weekly update. How have you all doing? What lovely books and blogs have you been reading and have you found any new favorites? Any new webseries to checkout ? Do share all your thoughts in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “The Week Gone By – 1/10/22 + Pondathon II Sign Up

Add yours

    1. Pondathon is pretty cute and there’s no prompts for the main readathon.. so it’s just reading whatever we want 😊😊
      And yay.. I hope you do pick up The Justice of Kings.. it was really such an engrossing read.

      Liked by 1 person

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