Two Fun Summer Reads

I haven’t been reading as much, now that it’s warm enough to enjoy the outdoors. Although this does feel like a year without a summer…I’m still wearing sweaters in the evenings.

Whatever the weather, I don’t go long without finding a good book. Here are two of my favorites of the summer:

Abiding Flame

The story starts with Lynette Lamb and her grandson Jeremy, who is picked on by some other boys. It turns out Lynette and Jeremy are two of the few Christians left on Earth, a few hundred years into the future. Lynette is dying, so she sends Jeremy to live with his father, who is leaving on a space shuttle to join a colony near a distant planet. Meanwhile, a demon-possessed man threatens the safety of the shuttle.

In honesty, I had a hard time with the beginning. The scene with the boys picking on Jeremy dropped lots of hints about the world the author had built, but few of those hints were develop further. I was left wondering what was going on and how the allusions to “normalization” and the different colors Jeremy’s tormentors wore fit with the story. Some of this was explained, but not all.

Once Jeremy and his father left for outer space, the story picked up and I got interested in what was happening and how the characters would resolve their conflicts. While my interest was held to the end, I felt like the ending was a little contrived to wrap up neatly. There also were those unanswered questions from the beginning that left me feeling like something was missing.

In short, this was an entertaining read but the author could have done so much more with the interesting and complex world she had created.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Shadow and Bone

I wish I could remember how I found this one, because it was a terrific read. Alina is an orphan, now learning to be a cartographer. She’s on her way to the sea, but first has to cross the Shadow Fold, otherwise known as the Unsea, a dark and dangerous place inhabited by monsters and other horrors.

Her ship is attacked, and somehow she manages to fight off her attackers with some kind of light she had no idea how she summoned. She is then whisked away to the palace of the Grisha, those with magical powers to be trained.

The world building in this book is delightful, the story gripping. Alina struggles in her new role, but manages to find her way. This was a hard book to put down, and I found myself thinking about Alina and her trials even when I wasn’t reading.

A nice touch was the Russian and Mongolian flavor of the world of Ravka, which was a nice departure from the usual English or French of many fantasy novels.

To sum up, this was the book I’ve enjoyed reading most in the past few months. Like I mentioned, I don’t know how I found it but whatever I paid it was worth the price. I’m definitely going to read the others in the series.

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