SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #57-58

Book #57 was "The Dream Thieves," second in the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, as an audibook. I picked up the first book on a whim and loved it, and I loved the second book as well. The book follows Blue, the daughter of a psychic, who falls in with 4 private school boys -- called "Raven Boys" for the school's logo -- in their search for magic and a long-dead king who can grant a wish. The first book brings everyone together and sets things in motion. The second book explores more of the boys' strengths and weaknesses and interactions, focusing largely on Ronan, who reveals at the very end of "Raven Boys" that[Spoiler (click to open)]he can pull physical items out of his dreams. Adam Parrish also made a big sacrifice at the end of the first book, and the consequences of this are felt in the second book. I adore this series and really love Will Patton as the audibook reader. Highly, highly recommended.

Book #58 was "The Shadowed Sun" by N.K. Jemisin, the second in a duology. As I was preparing to write this entry, I went to find my review of the first book in this duology, "The Killing Moon," but I can't find it. I know I must have read it in 2012 or 2013, but apparently I didn't track it. I liked the first book but found it flawed. Jemisin creates a world that feels like a mish-mash of Egyptian and Arabic culture, with a big pantheon of gods, many castes and factions, and a magical system that uses dreams to do healing work. The first book focuses on someone who has perverted this dream magic to attack enemies and gain power. I liked the characterization and the plotting and the magical system but found the actual prose a little clunky in places. I put off reading the second book in the duology until now because I knew that it was set in the same universe but followed a mostly different set of characters, though a few of the characters in the first book come back as secondary characters in "The Shadowed Sun." I thought the prose was a bit better in the second book, but I find her dialogue to be excruciatingly stilted. I know she's trying to get across a foreign feeling or the elevated way people speak in the presence of royalty, but nevertheless, the dialogue doesn't feel natural at all - nobody, even in extremely casual cicumstances, ever says, "All right" but "very well" instead. That criticism aside, I did enjoy the second book as well, and thought Jemisin did a nice job with the competing factions, the double-dealing and back-stabbing and all the hidden motivations. This story takes place 10 years after the first, with the "City of Dreams" being occupied by the Kisuati and the population plagued by killing dreams. Hanani, who is the first woman to be trained as a "gatherer" in the citie's magical system, gets drawn into the intrigue and must save her city and help the man who wants to be prince once again defeat the occupying army and stop the dream deaths. If this sort of fantasy is up your alley and the problem with the dialogue I mentioned doesn't bother you, I'd recommend the two-book series.

1. Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time" [nonfiction]- David Oliver Relin and Greg Mortenson (unabridged audiobook)
2. The Detroit Electric Scheme [fiction]- D.E. Johnson
3. Classic Philip Jose Farmer 1964-1973 (Volume 5  in the Classics of Modern Science Fiction series) [fiction/short stories]- PJ Farmer
4. "The Aspern Papers" and "The Turn of the Screw" (omnibus volume with notes and commentary) [fiction]- Henry James
5. Ever After (11th in "The Hollows" series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
6. On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family [nonfiction]- Lisa See
7. Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama [nonfiction/ graphic memoir]- written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel
8. My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir [nonfiction/memoir]- Noelle Hancock
9. House of Leaves [fiction]- Mark Z. Danielewski
10. Ready Player One [fiction]- Ernest Cline (unabridged audiobook)
11. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America [nonfiction]- Barbara Ehrenreich
12. Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life [nonfiction/memoir]- Harriet McBryde Johnson
13. The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
14. Ivanhoe [fiction]- Sir Walter Scott
15. Ancillary Justice [fiction]- Ann Leckie
16. Beauty Queens [fiction]- Libba Bray (unabridged audiobook)
17. Burnt Mountain [fiction]- Anne Rivers Siddons
18. Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia [nonfiction]- David Greene
19. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex [nonfiction]- Mary Roach (unabridged audiobook)
20. The Likeness [fiction]- Tana French
21. Atonement [fiction]- Ian McEwan
22. The Westing Game [fiction]- Ellen Raskin (unabridged audiobook)
23. Nappy Edges [poetry]- Ntozake Shange
24. Childhood's End [fiction]- Arthur C. Clarke
25. Tartuffe [play/drama]- Moliere, translated and with introduction by Richard Wilbur
26. Bicycle Diaries [nonfiction]- David Byrne
27. Cotton Comes to Harlem [fiction]- Chester Himes
28. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox [fiction]- Eoin Colfer (unabridged audiobook)
29. House of Sand and Fog [fiction]- Andre Dubus III
30. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes [nonfiction]- Maria Konnikova
31. Blood Colony [fiction]- Tannarive Due
32. All the Light We Cannot See [fiction]- Anthony Doerr (unabridged audiobook)
33. The Summer Prince [fiction]- Alaya Dawn Johnson
34. The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science [nonfiction]- Douglass Starr
35. The Three-Body Problem Cixin Liu [fiction]- Cixin Liue (translated by Ken Liu)
36. Daisy Miller [ficiton/novella]- Henry James
37. Raven Boys [fiction]- Maggie Stiefvater (unabridged audiobook)
38. Faithful Place [fiction]- Tana French
39. Babyji [fiction]- Abha Dawesar
40. Motherless Brooklyn [fiction]- Jonathan Lethem
41. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? [nonfiction/memoir]- Jeanette Winterson (unabridged audiobook)
42. Unbound (third in the "Magic Ex Libris" series) [fiction]- Jim Hines
43. The Undead Pool (the Hollows series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
44. On Such a Full Sea [fiction]- Chang-Rae Lee
45. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [nonfiction]- Annie Dillard
46. A Widow for One Year [fiction]- John Irving
47. The Broken Cord [nonfiction]- Michael Dorris
48. The Count of Monte Cristo [fiction]- Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook)
49. The Dark Forest (second in the The Three-Body Problem trilogy) [fiction]- Cixin Liu
50. The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family [nonfiction/memoir/graphic nonfiction]- Paul Karasik (author/illustrator) and Judy Karasik (author)
51. Bossypants [nonfiction/memoir]- Tina Fey (unabridged audiobook)
52. The Golem and the Jinni [fiction]- Helene Wecker
53. Lock In [fiction]- John Scalzi
54. Broken Harbor [fiction]- Tana French
55. The Buddha of Suburbia [fiction]- Hanif Kureishi
56. Something Wicked This Way Comes [fiction]- Ray Bradbu

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