In February I read one less book than January, though I did make good progress in several books I’m currently reading. I’m still feeling motivated with my reading challenge and haven’t fallen behind.
The Crown (Selection series #5) by Kiera Cass
This is the final book of the Selection series. If you can remember from my January reading blog post, this book is set in the America of the future, where royalty governs the country and the Princess finds a husband through the Selection (think: The Bachelor, only on steroids).
The Crown didn’t stand out as a particularly well written or well thought out novel; of all five books in the series, this one felt the driest. The characters didn’t have much depth, the dialogue was stilted, and the original idea of the Selection didn’t feel quite so original. It was a repeat of the previous book with the addition of closure to the dreaded love triangle.
Rating: 2/5 stars
I Had Such Friends by Meg Gatland-Veness
This novel was set in rural Australia, which I appreciate. Whilst there are many well written books set in other countries, I’m very interested in how authors portray Australia and if I can relate to the novel in a way I can’t with other fiction.
The story begins when a high school boy dies in a car crash. I know that sounds bad, but I’m drawn to stories like this because they uncover and dig into people’s reactions and journeys in the aftermath. I don’t enjoy reading about grief, but I’m interested in the human response and how an inciting incident can change and grow people.
This book was rougher than I was expecting and took turns that surprised me, and because of this I gave it two stars rather than three. I like that it was trying to be realistic, but the different components and characters didn’t quite mesh; they felt thrown together at the end in an attempt to finish the book in a neat little box.
Rating: 2/5 stars
Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians series #1) by Kevin Kwan
The premise is an American-born Chinese woman (Rachel Chu) being invited to Singapore by her boyfriend (Nicholas Young). Rachel doesn’t come from a rich family whilst Nick’s is one of the richest families in Singapore, and has pressures to marry accordingly. The plot focuses on Nick’s mother trying to break them up whilst surrounded by the complicated, chaotic lives of the rich, entitled relatives. The amount of drama shoved in this novel is hilarious, and the lengths the characters go to to stay rich and relevant is bizarrely captivating.
For the first 100 pages or so I did get a bit lost with all the different characters and connections; each chapter changes point of view, and most characters are somehow related (shown by a confusing and large family tree on the first page). But once I got into the flow of the novel and understood the relationships between characters I immensely enjoyed the book. It’s over-the-top and strange and fascinating.
Rating: 4/5 stars
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
The only book I finished this month that wasn’t from the library, and the February favourite.
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is placed under house arrest – indefinitely. This house arrest takes place in the hotel where the Count had been residing, resulting in him moving to the attic rather than staying in his luxurious room. I would tell you more of the story, but so many small things happen that create this world inside the hotel, that to tell you much more would spoil the loveliness in not knowing where it’s headed.
This is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. The language flows, each word building on the one before it. The novel is elegant and classy and draws you in. I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what was going on, or that I wouldn’t be able to connect to the characters. But I didn’t have to worry as I was hooked from the start.
We journey through the Count’s life in the hotel as he meets interesting people, grows as a person, and discovers life in a way he never has before. He’s intelligent and funny and offers insight to a world I knew nothing about. The novel is gentle, and you find yourself halfway through without even realising it. When I read the last page it felt like a lifetime had passed since I first picked it up; I was completely connected and invested.
This novel is heartwarming and full and rich and I cannot recommend it enough.
Rating: 4/5 stars
China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians series #2) by Kevin Kwan
The characters from book one return, ready for Nick and Rachel’s wedding (but don’t let that fool you into thinking his family is pleased about it).
New drama mingles with old, stubborn characters as varying families strive for wealth and power whilst digging up dirt on everyone else. This sequel is refreshing as the focus is less on romance and more on family dynamics as secrets and motives are revealed.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Rich People Problems (Crazy Rich Asians series #3) by Kevin Kwan
After being cut off from his family because of his marriage, Nick returns to Singapore to a badly ill Grandmother – holder of the family inheritance. With all relatives back together and fighting for heirlooms, this novel is hectic. Add in some proposals, divorces, schemes and scandals, and you’ve got the only possible ending to the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy.
I didn’t like this novel as much as the other two, but it was still entertaining in it’s own right. Frenzied, exaggerated, disturbing, yet thoroughly enjoyable.
Rating: 3/5 stars
I’m planning to go to the library this week, and the promise of a new batch of books is exciting indeed!