Welcome to September, y’all! Who’s excited? I love autumn. It’s my favorite season, with the atmosphere and colors and foods – it’s the best. Not looking forward to the cooling aspect, though. I’m not quite finished enjoying the heat. C’est la vie, I suppose.
Over the summer I’ve been pretty preoccupied to read a whole lot (having a job and trying to write a book will do that to a person, I hear), but I do have some titles to share with you! Some of these were pretty great, real keepers, so why don’t we take a look?
Moonscript— Buckle your seatbelts for an epic fantasy that will take you to the depths of darkness and back! I knew I wanted to read this book because the cover is gorgeous and the premise sounded promising (I mean, lost elf princes, anyone?). I was not expecting such a sweeping tale of freedom and redemption, of forgiveness, love, and family, spun throughout a grand adventure across mountains, jungles, and deserts, alongside a group of great characters. The lighthearted humor and wit balances well with the more weighty themes surrounding our salty elf prince (you heard me), culminating to a grand crescendo of battles and one of the most triumphant finishes known to man. Super good.
Finding God in Anime — Finding this book was a God thing, for sure. I’ve enjoyed anime ever since I discovered it in my teens, but struggled with the doubt if it was actually ‘okay’ for a Christian to watch and enjoy it (don’t ask me why, because it’s not like anime is any worse than Marvel or Star Wars). But I did. And then, just a little while ago, I saw this book pop up on my Amazon ‘recommended reads’, and got such a kick out of the idea that I had to pick it up. What a blessing! This book is full of devotionals by other anime-loving Believers showing how they have seen biblical truths (like unconditional love, sacrifice, and our need for community) throughout anime, and it struck me: Well, why not? Anime, manga— they’re stories, and God speaks to us and teaches us through stories. Jesus did it all the time. The medium doesn’t matter all that much in the long run. It was such an encouragement to me to learn there were other otakus in the family of God—believe it!
These War-Torn Hands — For the longest time I was never into westerns. For some reason, I never got excited about cowboys and guns. But add dragons? Yeah, baby. When a book is described as a fantasy western with dragons and elements of Arthurian legend, how can one say no? I’m glad I didn’t! This book was such a fun read! I actually loved it. Hayse captures the spirit of the Old West, filled with wild country and intrepid settlers, honorable good guys, morally ambiguous bad guys, and traces of a larger plot that go beyond the immediate threat. I enjoyed the sweeping storytelling (although I did get a mite confused here and there with the switching in POV. Probably because I was reading too fast to pay proper attention to the chapter headings . . .) The narrative also has this gradual unfolding of events that keeps you turning pages even though the pacing wasn’t often speeding like a train out of control. As for characters: wonderful. They’re a mess of stand-up lads and no-nonsense lasses, a hoot to read, deep and authentic. All in all, I am stoked for book two to come out in October!
Jonathan Haymaker — To be completely honest, I picked this book up because I liked the name Haymaker. It intrigued me with its classy ring. Also, the two primary characters are brothers. You’ll always get points from me for that. Just sayin’. The story itself read like a D&D or Pathfinder campaign. Underrated protagonist with skillz, epic quest, unfathomable odds, generational wars, and the quintessential boss battle. As someone familiar with D&D gameplay, I could pick out so many corresponding aspects of the story, and that did hold its own kind of charm. Nevertheless, the writing was unrefined. It felt like a campaign transcript almost, riddled with unnecessary detail, some incorrect detail (I mean, a person can’t walk three hundred miles in a week while hunting for their food and sleeping. (I’ve done the math)) and a rough finish. With a thorough round of edits it could’ve been a much cleaner, more engaging read.
Fuzzy — This is a cute middle grade book about a seventh grade girl making friends with a high-tech robot during a program at her school. A fast read (I started and finished in the same afternoon), it follows their misadventures as Max tries to teach Fuzzy how to be more human and Fuzzy tries to help Max do better in school before she’s sent away — uncovering more sinister plots by both the school’s Vice Principal and people in charge of Fuzzy. The pacing was great, the story charming, and the antagonists thoroughly antagonizing. Barbara and Max’s parents drove me up the wall. Overall it was a fun read.
Have you read any of these? What did you think? Do any of them spark your interest? Which ones?