Just like a lot of other people, my month didn’t go as planned. COVID-19 spoiled many of my plans and made me feel anxious and confused. But I am glad me and my family are healthy. At some points I totally wasn’t in the mind-set to read. There were also days when books were a great way to escape the real world for a while. I managed to read five books in March. The Shadow Sister was one of them, but I already included that one in my Pondathon wrap-up. Here are my thoughts about the other books I read.
The Pearl Sister (The Seven Sisters, #4) by Lucinda Riley – 4 stars
The fourth parts tells CeCe’s story. She was an important side character in the previous book, so we already know her a little. CeCe still is different than I expected. She isn’t as confident as she appears. Because I sometimes feel insecure too, it was easy to connect to CeCe. I also liked the fact that she has dyslexia. In real life I know quite a lot of people with dyslexia, but there are few book characters that have it. CeCe’s story starts where the previous book ended. With nothing left to loose, she goes to Australia to discover her roots. On her journey, CeCe hears about the Scottish Kitty who lived hundred years earlier. As companion of a rich woman she travelled to Australia. What was meant to be a temporary stay, became Kitty’s new home. I love that The Seven Sisters take me all over the world! I didn’t know a lot about the history of Australia. So it was very interesting to learn about the culture of the Aboriginals. I admire all the research Lucinda Riley did for her books. All stories are based on facts and she often included characters that really lived at that time. As usual, I am looking forward to the next part!
The Testaments (The Handmaid’s Tale, #2) by Margaret Atwood – 4 stars
When I first heard that there was a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, I thought it was unnecessary. I decided to still give it a try after someone recommended it to me. The story is set around the same time as The Handmaid’s Tale. There are three characters who tell their story: an older Aunt who experienced the foundation of Gilead, a young girl who grew up in Gilead and a girl living in Canada. The different perspectives give interesting insides in how Gilead was founded and its position in the world. When comparing The Handmaid’s Tale to The Testaments, the books are very different. The Handmaid’s Tale has an oppressing and grim atmosphere. The Testaments is more hopeful and rather driven by the plot than the characters. Both books are good in their own way, but I think The Handmaid’s Tale had more impact. It left me with a small book hangover, while The Testaments was ‘just’ a good and exciting story. In the end the sequel was indeed not absolutely necessary, but I do think it’s an interesting addition to the story.
The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy, #1) by Katherine Arden – 4 stars
The book has a slow start, but gradually a good story unfolds. It’s set in a fantasy version of medieval Russia. Our main character Vasya lives in a small village where it’s almost always winter. Around the fire people tell each other stories about demons that claim unwary souls. Vasya knows these stories aren’t just fairy tales, because she can see the spirits. She gets friends with a domovoi, the household spirit, and a vazila, the spirit of the stables. It was easy to like Vasya. She is courageous and loyal and I also liked her connection with nature. I love the fact that the whole story is based on Russian history and folklore. It’s clear that the writer did a lot of research and knows a lot about Russia. A drawback for me was the plot. It’s basically a fight between good and evil and the plot twist didn’t really surprise me. But the atmospheric setting and Vasya herself made this book worth reading.
The White Mare (Dalriada Trilogy, #1) by Jules Watson – 3,5 stars
Trigger warnings for rape and graphic violence.
I found this big book coincidentally between my mother’s books. The story is set in Scotland at the time of the Roman invasion. Of course I learned about the Romans in history class, but they were almost always the heroes. It’s interesting that this story gives me a different perspective. Yet, the start of the story is quite slow and the writing style was sometimes a bit too dramatic. That’s why I almost gave up on The White Mare. The interesting setting and eventually the characters kept me reading. Our main characters are the Scottish princess and priestess Rhiann and the Irish prince Eremon. They are prepared to do anything to prevent the Romans from conquering their land. It did take some time before I came to like the characters. But Rhiann and Eremon grew on me. After a few hundred pages the story got more exciting. In the end I do think it’s a good story. I even consider reading the sequel.