Hey, all! Now is the season when everyone is talking about their summer reading lists, what kinds of books they like to read in the summer, and even some of their favorite places to read on these sunny, warmer days. I, for one, cannot say that I am a seasonal reader – I’ll read anything, anytime – or that I have any fancy reading places like up trees or in hammocks. Hammocks are my brother’s thing, and the only climbing tree in our yard has poison ivy crawling on it. No way am I flirting with that viridian death-plant. So, the next best thing (and far safer) is the couch on the front porch, though I’ve also been known to take a book and sunglasses out to the greenhouse.
Where are some of your go-to places to read?
And speaking of reading, over the last two-ish months I’ve read and started more books than I have in a goodly while. Some were awesome, some were so-so, but each one took me outside of myself to one degree or another. So, let’s take A Look Back.
Alta ─ The second book in the Dragon Jousters series, it follows much the same path as the first. The story progressed without a whole lot actually happening, with far more political chess going on, although the action did pick up in the last handful of chapters, which was a nice change from the lazy-river pacing the majority of the book had. It was interesting, although I feel that Kiron (and the others, really) is too perfect. Too well prepared for everything, working too well with each other at all times with no real flaws, everything works out for them too well too much of the time. And yet, in spite of all that, I still find myself compelled to continue reading. It’s oddly relaxing.
Jip, His Story ─ Now that I’m older, I’m finding more and more of the sorts of books I wish I’d known about when I was a younger reader. And most of them are outside of my preferred genre, too. Go figure. This book is by the same woman who wrote Bridge of Terabithia, which I loved, and this story captured me in much the same way. I gobbled it up in one go because I couldn’t put it down. It’s a compelling look into the backwoods life of mid-19th century Vermont, with that bittersweet, harsh reality of society from that era. It’s a happy-sad, fun-scary kind of story with an unforeseen twist. Definitely one to add to the library of any reading grade.
Curse of the Spider King ─ In my copy of this book, there is a sticky note that says ‘This book is WICKED AWESOME!! – Gale’. Well, thank you, Gale. You are quite right. This story has everything I’ve come to love from Batson, who co-wrote it. Nothing about it is really unpredictable, but it was such a joy to just read and watch everything unfold. It was so much fun. There were a lot of characters to follow, and it took a bit to remember who everyone was, but everything came together beautifully with excitement and danger, evil trees and superpowers, magical books and librarians wielding swords─ it’s hard not to get behind all of that. And this is just the beginning! Adventures really are funny things . . .
Sanctuary ─ Following in the same vein as its predecessors, in regards to typos and exposition and whatnot, this book also happened to be the most ‘exciting’ one in the Dragon Jousters series so far. There was more action, more emotion, and more things going on in general, which made it read faster. It had a classic ending, too, being the original conclusion to the series, and it felt complete, so it’ll be interesting to see where the fourth and final book goes.
Venom and Song ─ WOW. If Dragon Jousters is a lazy river, The Berinfell Prophecies are a waterslide. This book hardly left room to breathe, and I devoured the last couple hundred pages in one go. I’ll say that with so many main characters ─ and ones that have such similar names ─ it took some work to keep them all straight, but the story was powerful and loaded with love and forgiveness, hard choices, wrenching sacrifices, and moving revelations. And, you know, giant dragonflies, creepy dungeons, and gassy Gnomes. I can hardly wait to see where Batson and Hopper go with this next.
Aerie ─ This was the final chapter of the Dragon Jousters, and it was very possibly the best one. The pacing quickened a bit, with subplots filling the empty space and making it that much more interesting. With its low scale romantic rivalries, large scale nagging mothers, dark mysteries, drunk pigeons, gigantic foreign armies, and manifestations of the gods themselves, this felt more like ye olde fantasy adventure.
So! Have you read any of theses? If so, what did you think of them? What have you been reading of late?