Bullet reviews: Blood Song, Hammered, Throne of Jade

I'm about 3 months behind on reviews, what a way to start the year! In an effort to catch up, I'm going to do bullet point reviews so that I can get my thoughts out quickly and catch up by the end of the month! Some books I read in the last 3 months need full reviews because I have so much to say about them, so there will be a few of those too!

My first 3 books are Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, Hammered (Iron Druid chronicles) by Kevin Hearne, and Throne of Jade (Temeraire) by Naomi Novik. Funnily enough, Blood song is book 1 in its series, Throne of Jade is book 2, and Hammered is book 3!

I put them all together because they're all fantasy books, I read them all in October, and they all got 3 stars. 3 stars from me usually means I was kind of bored with the book, it was annoying enough for 2 stars but it wasn't enjoyable enough for 4. Perfect for bullet reviews, because I never have much to say about 3 star books!

13569581Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars

What I liked:
  • The warrior monk situation was really cool, and I liked seeing the different orders of monks and their different perspectives on life
  • I liked that the MC was telling his own story from the "present" (a la Name of the Wind)

What I didn't like:
  • Al Sorna is kind of boring. And a total Gary Stu, he literally is the best at everything and everyone loves him
  • For almost every aspect of this book, I kept comparing it to other books I've read that did it better: It had the monks and political turmoil of Emperor's Blades but without the mind-blowing world and awesome character development. It had the political manipulations of The Traitor Baru Cormorant without the same level of intelligence and brutality. It had the friendship and complex family relationships of Robin Hobb's books, but without three dimensional characters I could love (and love to hate).
Recommended for... 
People who haven't read too much fantasy before, fans of Name of the Wind (it has a similar tone/mood/protagonist, but not as well written)

9595620Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Genre: Urban fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I will never stop loving Oberon. He's one of my favorite bookish dogs :)
  • I read this at an airport so it was nice not having to think too hard to keep up with the story despite constant interruptions/announcements
  • loved the diversity of mythological cultures incorporated in this book, and the Norse pantheon was a pretty cool idea

What I didn't like:
  • The Norse gods weren't as awesome as I'd hoped. Most of the Norse gods seemed like 2D bullies and idiots, and while I don't mind the farcical and tongue-in-cheek portrayal of mythological figures, I would appreciate a little more effort to make the "villains" as interesting as the heroes.
  • There was a huge section in the middle where each character got a whole chapter to explain why they hated Thor. It was literally 100 pages of infodump in the middle of the book. There had to have been a better way to incorporate those backstories!
  • This book just seemed like a placeholder. It ties up loose ends from Atticus's previous promises in books 1 and 2, and sets up for more shenanigans with Atticus, Granuaile, and the Greek pantheon. There isn't actually that much plot in this book
  • A bit annoyed that there were hardly any women with significant roles in this book, especially now that Granuaile is supposed to be taking on a greater role as Atticus's apprentice. She didn't get to do much.
Recommended for: If you're looking for a fun, sassy urban fantasy and aren't afraid of committing to a series, this is for you! The first two book were their own contained story but this one is mostly setup for later books

14069Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

Genre: Fantasy, Historical fiction
Rating: 3/5 stars

What I liked:
  • Temeraire and Laurence's friendship is incredible, and they continue to grow together and individually
  • It was cool to see how different life is for Chinese dragons compared to European ones. It was kind of cute that Laurence was so jealous of Temeraire enjoying the company of his fellow Imperials!

What I didn't like:
  • The plot was incredibly slow. Half the book is just on a boat getting to China, and almost nothing happens on the way. As cool as Laurence and Temeraire are, these books are really hard to pay attention to because so little is happening. 

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