The Week Gone By – 6/6/22

Hello everyone !!! How are you all doing?? After a long while, I felt like a week went by which didn’t make me sad or just down in general. I felt very energized and ended up reading quite a bit, and I also got the good news that my visa has finally been approved. With that one uncertainty done away with, I can finally go back to the US after being in India for an year and a half. Without further ado, let me talk about all my bookish updates for the past week..

When I first saw the cover reveal of this book, the immediate feeling was that I was upset I didn’t know a Mahabharata inspired fantasy novel was coming out soon, that too by a mainland Indian author. And the second feeling was how interesting the idea sounds and how cool the cover was. I was very very excited that I got an advance copy and I’m so happy that this turned out to live upto my expectations. The comp title of this book is Game of Thrones and the author also is definitely writing in a dark/grimdark fantasy space which is something I’m not quite familiar with. It usually isn’t to my taste but I wasn’t gonna let that stop me from reading this book. And it definitely took me a while to get used to the huge cast of characters, the immense brutality and violence, the epic scope of the world, and the liberal use of the word “whore” which I’m still not a fan of. But despite the expansive nature of this story, I didn’t feel confused because it’s still familiar ground and I enjoyed making comparisons with what I know of the original epic. If you wanna know more of my thoughts, you can checkout my full review here

This was a very impulsive read for me which I picked up after reading a lovely review of the sequel Tokyo Dreaming. It’s YA contemporary which is so not my thing anymore, so I didn’t have much expectations. It turned out to be cute and fun, emotional at places, a tad bit predictable but overall enjoyable just like The Princess Diaries. I definitely liked the parts about Izumi wanting to belong somewhere and trying to reconcile her American upbringing with a more conservative Japanese imperial culture, and all the narrative about her learning to speak Japanese, write Kanji and learn the etiquette was very nicely written. The romance is probably a bit of instalove but it’s kinda a staple of the genre at this point and I won’t begrudge it. Overall, I had fun and I wouldn’t mind picking up the sequel. 

I watch Hindi movies and shows very frequently but I haven’t read a book in the language since school and don’t know how good my reading skills are these days. But when I saw it was an audio, I knew it was the perfect format for me. And I have to say it was very satisfying. It’s been a long while since I’ve watched my favorite Mahabharata TV series, so listening to similar formal language spoken just made me very very happy. It was also quite interesting to listen to the story from various perspectives like Karna, his wife Vrishali, his brother Shon, Duryodhana, Kunti and towards the end, Lord Krishna. The story really goes into detail into parts the usual Mahabharata books don’t go into, especially the minds of Kunti during the time she gave birth to Karna, and Karna’s whole attitude about wanting to be a warrior but cruelly discriminated against his whole life. Karna’s POV was quite difficult at times because his despair seeps into the narrative very deeply and I was feeling depressed listening to how horribly he was treated by everyone. But then he also makes some choices which frustrate us because we know he is a good person and wouldn’t have made those same choices if the world had been a bit more kinder to him. Ofcourse, all these feelings are nothing new because ultimately the story of the Mahabharata is not gonna change and I know where it’s going, but it definitely feels a bit eye opening when you get to see what might have been happening in other characters’ lives. Vrishali and Shon were two characters whom I don’t think most versions even mention but they are really very good people who became a part of Karna’s struggles and tried to make him happy as much as possible. I also liked Krishna’s POV towards the very end where he is contemplating what choice to make – this was quite new for me because in most versions, he is god and you wouldn’t expect him to question himself.

I’ve had an idea what a progression fantasy means but having never read anything in the subgenre and no experience in playing video games, it took me a while into this book to realize what the essence of the subgenre is. But before that, I have to mention, the strength of the book is the world building and mythology. To be honest, I don’t think I can even describe this world in my own words because it was too wondrous and huge and I still think we have a ways to go to understand it better, and the mythology with the gods and their avatars and the dreamers is all very very intriguing. The author does a marvelous job revealing bits of it as we progress through the book, mostly learning everything along with our main character. The descriptions of the cities, weapons, landscapes, dream worlds, dragons and more are all absolutely stunning. The line between dream and reality is very thin and it’s very easy to get lost in it. The writing is easy to engage with, the pacing is pretty great, with action packed scenes interspersed between quiet ones, giving us enough time to digest all the information without feeling overwhelmed. The last quarter of the book was probably the best with so many more reveals and epic fight scenes, and a couple of short chapters full of unbelievable descriptions which I can’t even articulate properly.

First thing that comes to mind is how much the cover and the writing complement each other. Not only is this book beautiful on the outside, the writing is absolutely gorgeous and it feels like the author took meticulous care in crafting every single word. The pacing is slow because the story is covering the main character’s life from childhood to atleast her 30s and more, but it only accentuates the connection we get to make with the main character. I also liked how the time skips were seamless and it was quite palpable on page that the characters had grown and changed in the time we couldn’t get to read about. The magic system with the binding plane and the threads connecting people was also something I found very unique and I was amazed at how well the author was able to integrate these elements into this story. And this lovely writing was made even better by the masterful narration of the audiobook by Soneela Nankani. She is very good at expressing the various emotions of the characters and I was so engrossed listened to it, that I walked more than I usually do as part of my daily routine.

Yes, I’ve actually been rewatching Who Rules the World on Netflix because I want to enjoy the show on the big screen. Just haven’t felt like watching anything new. Maybe I will binge Heroes once all episodes are out.

New Covers

Very interesting cover reveals this past week. I probably am most excited for Dead Country because it’s a new series in the Craft Sequence universe, and now I think I should finish all the books in the series first.

Dessertathon and Marvel-A-Thon Updates

I am having fun participating in both these readathons. While I did make some TBRs, you know me and it’s no surprise that I’m reading stuff based on my mood. But I am managing to cross off the prompts and gain points for my teams, so everything is well. For now, I have read three books for the readathons and I hope I will read many many more.

Posts from around the Blogverse

It is PRIDE month, so all lovely bloggers are posting lists of their favorite queer book recommendations or their Pride TBRs and I wanted to share some of the amazing lists I checked out this past week…

Michelle @ Magical Reads2022 LGBTQ+ YA Releases || Maddie @ Inking and Thinking65 LGBTQ+ Books Releasing in 2022 // Celebrating Pride Month! || Zainab @ Dead Bookish SocietyMy Favorite Queer Reads || Fanna @ Fanna for Books12 YA Queer Books by Authors of Color To Start Pride Month With || Beth @ Before We Go Blog33 Books With LGBTQIAP+ representation to add to your TBR || Lori @ The Reading Fairy10 Books that features Asexuality Characters || Elli @ AceReaderReading My Rainbow 🌈 // June TBR || Alicia @ A Kernel of NonsenseBook Lists: Pride Month TBR

Taylor from Mead Between the Pages posted a review of Gunmetal Gods by Zamil Akhtar on Before We Go Blog and I loved reading it because I recently finished Lightblade by the author, and it was so unique and interesting – Link.

I am always excited for new Steve Berry books and I’ve been waiting for the release of The Omega Factor because we are getting a new hero in this. So, it was a lot of fun reading Matt @ Book Reviews to Ponder talk about it – Link.

I have the arc of Babel and I’m eager to get to it soon and as I already have so many expectations, they have only increased after reading absolutely gushing reviews by Luther @ InfiniteFreeTime and Petrik @ Novel NotionsLink1, Link2.

I really enjoyed The Gilded Ones last year, so it’s nice to know that the sequel The Merciless Ones is equally wonderful as listed by Isha @ Paperback TomesLink.

Beasts of a Little Land is something I’ve had on my radar but was unsure if I should but this lovely review by Paige @ Just One More Pa(i)ge is definitely very encouraging – Link.

I’m not a Horror reader which is why I haven’t wanted to read Hell Followed With Us, but Saima @ Stories with Saima wrote such a wonderful review about it that I’m rethinking my stance – Link.

The Dandelion Dynasty is high up on my TBR, and I’m glad Blaise @ Under the Radar SFF Books loved The Veiled ThroneLink.

Steph @ Steph’s Story Space has just started the Aru Shah series and I’m loving her thoughts about it and I hope she will love the rest of the series too – Link.

One of my oldest blogging friends, Tova @ Petyr Baeish Books has an amazing recommendation post full of Asian books which are ruining my TBR and I hope you’ll find some interesting ones in it too – Link.

And finally, I had to share this brilliant post by Khyati @ Bookish Fame about How Reading Books Saved My Life and I found it so so relatable to me – Link.

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

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