August was definitely my best month for reading so far, as I managed to read a grand total of sixteen books! I am starting to think my ambitious goal of reading 75 books this year is actually achievable. Since I have a few books to get through, let’s dive into the books I read in August.
I started off with the August 2022 Sword and Laser bookclub pick, Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. This is an urban fantasy novel that follows Peter Grant, a Constable at the London Metropolitan Police, who finds himself discovering the magical side of London through his wizardry apprenticeship. This wasn’t the first time that I read Rivers of London, but it has been a couple of years since I read it. I really enjoyed the mix of crime solving and urban fantasy, along with the British humour. This led to me reading several more of the Rivers of London novels throughout the month: Moon Over Soho, Whispers Underground, Broken Homes and the first graphic novel, Body Work. So far, my enjoyment of the series has increased with each instalment and I hope to continue to read it throughout September.
I also read another Sword and Laser pick, albeit back from 2007, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed it. I was aware that it was well regarded but I was cautious of whether it deserved its reputation. Aside from the pacing, it absolutely did. It hooked me from the first chapter, until the very end. Ender’s Game follows Ender, a young boy who is recruited to be trained as a soldier to fight an alien race that threatens humanity. Like with the Rivers of London books, I read a couple more in the Ender Saga series, Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide. Out of the three, Speaker for the Dead is the one I enjoyed the most, as I liked the interaction between the humans and the peregrinos. I found Xenocide to be a bit slower pace, due to the amount of philosophy and scientific talk, which does slow the plot down. However, I understand that the philosophy and science does set some of the plot points. Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Ender Saga.
The final Sword and Laser book I read in August is American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Again, this was a re-read but one I knew I would love and I did absolutely enjoy. Urban fantasy is one of my favourite subgenres of fantasy and when you add mythology and ancient pantheons, I know I am going to have a good time with the book. If you are wanting a book that travels throughout America and features gods from across the world, then American Gods is well worth a read. The other Neil Gaiman story I read in August was The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes. I basically wanted to read through some of The Sandman volumes before watching Netflix’s adaptation, so I will be reading a couple more volumes in September.
After reading the lengthy American Gods, I decided to read a couple of smaller books, Galatea by Madeline Miller and Breach of Peace by Daniel B. Greene. I have read Madeline Miller’s other myth retellings, Song of Achilles and Circe, both of which I really enjoyed. So, there was a bit of expectation with Galatea and unfortunately, it did leave me a little bit dissatisfied. I think this was due to its length- it was only 57 pages long, which doesn’t offer much room for character development. As for Breach of Peace, this was Daniel B. Greene’s debut story and the first entry in The Lawful Times series. It definitely shows a lot of promise, but again, I think the length of the book is what holds it back. It starts to build the world and offers a hint of the overarching plot, then it ends. Still, it has left me wanting more, so I will pick up the second entry in the near future.
Galatea wasn’t the only retelling of a Greek myth that I read in August. I also read The Children of Jocasta, by Natalie Haynes, which is a retelling of Oedipus and Antigone but from the perspective of Jocasta and her daughter Ismene. I actually really liked Natalie Haynes’ take on the story. I know some people will be upset at the lack of a certain element of the story but I found that it worked without it. I will definitely be looking at some of Natalie Haynes’ other novels.
I also dabbled in a bit of Egyptian mythology with a re-read of Pantheon: The True Story of the Egyptian Deities by Hamish Steele. This was such a fun read, that takes you through the creation of the world to the story of Horus and Set’s conflict. It is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but that is what makes it fun.
Finally, I managed to finish two books that I’ve been reading on and off for several months. The first is the only non-fiction book, Blood, Sweat and Pixels by Jason Schreier. Blood, Sweat and Pixels takes a look at the development of several popular video games from the past two decades. It was really interesting, I just wished that some of the games’ development cycles were explored in more detail. The second book was a Warhammer 40,000 novel, Mark of Calth. Mark of Calth is an anthology of short stories that explore the aftermath of the events in No Know Fear. Like with a lot of anthologies, there were some stories I loved like A Deeper Darkness, The Underworld War and Athame and others that I didn’t enjoy as much. Still, it was a solid read.
So what’s next in September? Aside from just reading more books, here a few books that I really want to reading this coming month:
- How High We Go In The Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu. This is the September pick for the Sword and Laser book club, which takes a look at what happens to humanity when an ancient virus is unleashed. It gives me Cloud Atlas meets World War Z vibes, so it should be interesting.
- Babel by R. F. Kuang. This is my most anticipated novel for 2022. I really enjoyed The Poppy War and I can’t wait to read R. F. Kuang’s latest story.
- Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.This is the fifth book in the Rivers of London series and I can’t wait to see what the fallout of the end of Broken Homes. I may also read a couple of the novellas and graphic novels as well, depending on time.
- Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card. I want to see how the events of Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide conclude, in particular Jane’s story and the fate of the fleet.
- Neuromancer by William Gibson. This is the next historic Sword and Laser pick, which is also a classic cyberpunk novel as well.
And that is the end of my reading update! Thank you to all of those that managed to get to this part of the post, it has definitely been a long one. Let me know in the comments what you have been reading, planning to read September or what you thought about the books I have read and I will talk to you soon!