Monday, July 19, 2021

Book Review: An Offer From a Gentleman and Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn


Goodreads Summary: Will she accept his offer before the clock strikes midnight?
Sophie Beckett never dreamed she'd be able to sneak into Lady Bridgerton's famed masquerade ball—or that "Prince Charming" would be waiting there for her! Though the daughter of an earl, Sophie has been relegated to the role of servant by her disdainful stepmother. But now, spinning in the strong arms of the debonair and devastatingly handsome Benedict Bridgerton, she feels like royalty. Alas, she knows all enchantments must end when the clock strikes midnight.

Who was that extraordinary woman? Ever since that magical night, a radiant vision in silver has blinded Benedict to the attractions of any other—except, perhaps this alluring and oddly familiar beauty dressed in housemaid's garb whom he feels compelled to rescue from a most disagreeable situation. He has sworn to find and wed his mystery miss, but this breathtaking maid makes him weak with wanting her. Yet, if he offers his heart, will Benedict sacrifice his only chance for a fairy tale love?

Goodreads Ratings: 3.96 stars with over 100,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Romance, Historical Fiction
Goodreads Challenge: 27/50
2021 Reading Challenge: #31 Read a book that takes place in Europe (Find the entire challenge here)

Previous Reviews on the series: The Duke and I The Viscount Who Loved Me

Book Review:

Well, I appear to be in one of my infamous series binges. For those of you who are new to the blog, just about every year, I find a series with several books in it, and it completely derails the entire challenge for me. I've entirely burned through books one through three of the Bridgerton series and started book four at four-thirty am. I can't stop reading these damn books. I blame Kayla since she got me into the show on Netflix and then bought me the first omnibus of books. I'm guessing she'll just shrug at me, blaming her. 

I really enjoyed how Julia Quinn worked a Cinderella retelling into An Offer From a Gentleman. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I think she made it work really well. I was instantly interested in Sophie and was rooting for her to get out of her predicament. There was definitely a sense of poetic justice. Also, Violet is a FORCE to be reckoned with, and I love it. I may have to dive into the prequels and see if it tells her story before kids.

I really liked Benedict in An Offer From a Gentleman. He wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but he was less damaged and not as big of an ass than his brother Anthony.  The whole you can be my mistress thing was pretty awful, though. I feel like he eventually redeemed himself. 

I feel like the common thread of drama with this series is lack of communication. They could have just gotten into acting out all of Benedict's inner fantasies a lot sooner if Sophie had just said "Oh hey, remember me from the mascarde?" 

I will say that the second epilogue left a lot to be desired for Benedict and Sophie. It ended up being largely surrounding Sophie's stepsister Posy and her whether she finds a husband. It was enjoyable, but I definitely wanted more of Benedict and Sophie's story.

I was going to write more on An Offer From a Gentleman, however I burned through Romancing Mister Bridgerton before this review was complete, and now they are all blending together in my head. It probably doesn't help that I am also rewatching Bridgerton as I write. What can I say, I'm obsessed.

Goodreads Summary: Everyone knows that Colin Bridgerton is the most charming man in London. Penelope Featherington has secretly adored her best friend's brother for...well, it feels like forever. After half a lifetime of watching Colin Bridgerton from afar, she thinks she knows everything about him, until she stumbles across his deepest secret...and fears she doesn't know him at all.

Colin Bridgerton is tired of being thought nothing but an empty-headed charmer, tired of everyone's preoccupation with the notorious gossip columnist Lady Whistledown, who can't seem to publish an edition without mentioning him in the first paragraph. But when Colin returns to London from a trip abroad he discovers nothing in his life is quite the same - especially Penelope Featherington! The girl haunting his dreams. But when he discovers that Penelope has secrets of her own, this elusive bachelor must she his biggest threat - or his promise of a happy ending?
Goodreads Rating: 4.05 stars with over 103,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Historical Fiction, Romance
Goodreads Challenge: 28/50
2021 Reading Challenge: # 12 Free Space! Pick any Book (Find the full challenge (here)

Book Review:

I adore Colin and Penelope. They are by far my favorite couple in the Bridgerton series. I read this entire book with a smile on my face. I am a sucker for relationships that start out as friendships. I was eagerly awaiting to get to their story as they were two of my favorite characters in the show. There's so much in this book that it's probably my favorite in the series. I feel like they both grew up so much in this book. Penelope grew out of being a wallflower and found her voice. Which is witty and fierce when she needs to be and otherwise incredibly kind. Colin grew out of his wanderlust. And him figuring out he was in love with Penelope was utterly adorable.

In the Romancing Mister Bridgerton, we get to see not only who Lady Whistledown is, but how she came to be. Lots of drama ensued, of course. Some karma was definitely on the table for deserts as well. I loved the reveal, however. It was fantastic.

I'm not sure if I'm going to continue on with the series. I have access to the next two books in the series, however, I don't have a lot of investment in the remaining Bridgertons. What I've read of Eloise's story doesn't sound that interesting to me. Francesca has mostly been forgotten through the entire series, as has Gregory. The only other one I'd have any real interest in is Hyacinth. Plus, I should probably try and read other things. My birthday is next week, and I have plans to read another Wheel of Time book for it. 

Overall, what I've read of the Bridgerton series I've really enjoyed. I found them to be surprisingly witty and fun. I'm fairly obsessed, and I wonder if I would have had the same reaction to reading them if I hadn't watched the Netflix show. I definitely recommend for Historical Romance fans.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Book Review: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn


Goodreads Summary: 1814 promises to be another eventful season, but not, this author believes, for Anthony Bridgerton, London's most elusive bachelor, who has shown no indication that he plans to marry. And in truth, why should he? When it comes to playing the consummate rake, nobody does it better...
—Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1814

But this time, the gossip columnists have it wrong. Anthony Bridgerton hasn't just decided to marry—he's even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended's older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate is the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams...

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate is determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony's lips touch hers, she's suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself...

Goodreads Rating: 4.07 stars with over 134,000 ratings

Genre Listing: Romance, Historical Fiction

Goodreads Challenge: 26/50

2021 Reading Challenge: #30 Read a book with at least three different covers (Find the entire challenge here)

Previous Reviews on the series: The Duke and I

Book Review:

Hello readers, I hope everyone is having an enjoyable weekend. I hadn't planned on diving into another Bridgerton novel so quickly, but I was growing tired of trying to force myself to finish Oliver Twist. I ended up starting The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn and finishing all but 100 pages that night. 

If you are looking for a romance story that is realistic or adheres to modern ideologies of men and women being equal, this and most historical romances are probably not for you. In most romance novels that I've read, much of the drama stems from the lack of communication and some character flaws. This is no different, and I can see where people wouldn't like it because of Anthony's traits. At the beginning of the story, he's an ass for the sake of being an ass. He enjoys it and expects the world to bend because of his money and title. Of course, this is all a ruse to protect himself. Once he drops the controlling asshole act, I actually found him charming. He won me over with his saving of Penelope during a ball. 

I really liked Kate. She was feisty and so protective of her family. I think she was an interesting contrast to the "Ton's" high society. I liked how she didn't take Anthony's crap and frequently put him in his place.  Both she and Anthony were very similar, and I enjoyed their need to best each other to some extent. I felt like she fit in really well with the Bridgertons.

This second Bridgerton novel had a lot of darker tones surrounding death and the concept of mortality. There's a lot of focus on Kate and Anthony being near the age that their respective parents passed away. This hit really close to home for me as I'm battling that myself now. My mom died when she was 38, and I'll be turning 34 in ten days. I guess I picked an interesting time to read this one.

Overall, I really liked The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn. I pretty much inhaled this book and then started in on the third one. I definitely recommend this for readers who like historical romances. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Book Review: The Duke and I by Julia Quinn


Goodreads Summary: 
In the ballrooms and drawing rooms of Regency London, rules abound. From their earliest days, children of aristocrats learn how to address an earl and curtsey before a prince—while other dictates of the ton are unspoken yet universally understood. A proper duke should be imperious and aloof. A young, marriageable lady should be amiable… but not too amiable.
Daphne Bridgerton has always failed at the latter. The fourth of eight siblings in her close-knit family, she has formed friendships with the most eligible young men in London. Everyone likes Daphne for her kindness and wit. But no one truly desires her. She is simply too deuced honest for that, too unwilling to play the romantic games that captivate gentlemen.

Amiability is not a characteristic shared by Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. Recently returned to England from abroad, he intends to shun both marriage and society—just as his callous father shunned Simon throughout his painful childhood. Yet, an encounter with his best friend’s sister offers another option. If Daphne agrees to a fake courtship, Simon can deter the mamas who parade their daughters before him. Daphne, meanwhile, will see her prospects and her reputation soar.

The plan works like a charm—at first. But amid the glittering, gossipy, cut-throat world of London’s elite, there is only one certainty: love ignores every rule...

Goodreads Ratings: 3.6 stars with over 207,000 ratings

Genre Listing: Romance, Historical Fiction

Goodreads Challenge: 25/50

2021 Reading Challenge: #10 Read a book that's been turned into a TV show or Movie (find the entire challenge here

Book Review:

Happy weekend, Readers! I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I decided this week was a good time to start reading The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. One of my friends bought me the first three omnibus book sets after getting me to binge Bridgerton on Netflix. 

I started this on July 7th. I ended up staying up until 5 am to finish it. I was a little surprised at how much I really enjoyed the first Bridgerton book. I knew I would because of how much I liked the show, but I was surprised at how funny it actually was. I expected it to be cheesy because it being a romance, but there was a lot of witty dialogue that made me laugh. I found the Bridgerton family as a whole incredibly endearing.

I feel like Netflix did an excellent job with Bridgerton. There was a lot in the show that stayed pretty true to the first book. Obviously, they do have to change some things to make it more attractive as a tv show, so I felt like there was a lot more high society drama in the show than what was in the book. Now that I've read the book, I have even more appreciation for the show. I don't want to give too much away, just wanted to give anyone a heads up before they read the book or watch the show if they haven't already. One thing that Netflix took from the books that I thought was really cool was the color scheme of clothing, especially for the Featheringtons. 

In the version of the book, I have had a second epilogue. I'm not sure if that's standard for all versions or not. I enjoyed seeing what their lives are like when they're in their forties. This did give some spoilers into the later books though, however. 

Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I'm excited to start reading the rest of the series, though it may be a bit before I jump into the other ones. The husband let me loose at Barnes and Noble the other day, and I got a horror story centered around the Titanic and the Brittanica.  Anyway, The Duke and I, while kind of a cheesy romance, is an enjoyable story. I don't feel much research was done for the historical aspect of the book, but given that it wasn't trying to depict actual events, it's not that big of a deal. Definitely recommend it if you like Historical Romances.

Unrelated to the review, I wanted to talk about my trip to Barnes and Noble.  I wandered around the Science Fiction and YA sections to try and figure out what books I wanted and noticed a sign that read "Queer Magic". They had the entire store decorated for both Pride and Juneteenth, which I thought was great. As I continued to look through books nearby, a couple holding hands walked by the sign, and one of them got insanely excited and yelled, "Queer Magic! They have a section for us!" They had such pure joy that I couldn't help but smile. A little while later, I walked nearby them (still looking for a book), and they were just hanging out on the floor nearby this display, looking at the books together. It was such a cute moment that I nearly left the YA section just because I didn't want me being there to intrude. I just wanted to share this story because it was just such a beautiful moment and shows how much representation matters. I think that having representation like this can help break down barriers and help many people struggling with their mental health. I really believe things like this can save lives.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Book Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers


Goodreads Summary: 
In the powerful conclusion to Robin LaFever's New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins trilogy, Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.
She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has.

Goodreads Ratings: 4.11 stars with over 22,000 reviews

Genre Listing: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Adventure, Mythology

Previous Reviews on the Series: Grave MercyDark Triumph (As a warning, both of these reviews are several years old. I don't really go back in and update posts very often.)

Goodreads Challenge: 24/50

2021 Reading Challenge: #42 Read a book with the letter V in the title or Author's name (find the entire challenge here

Book Review:

Happy Fourth of July to all of my American readers! Happy Belated Canada Day to my neighbors to the North. I am so delighted it's Friday and that it's a long weekend. I somehow want to be really lazy all weekend, but also really productive. We'll see which one wins out. 

A bit of background story is necessary before I get into the review for Mortal Heart. I initially read the first two books of the trilogy back in 2014 or 2015. At the time, I either read them on Kindle Unlimited or from the library, but I can't remember which. I absolutely loved them and read through them pretty fast, but I wasn't willing to spend $10 on Mortal Heart just yet. I ended up breaking down and buying all three books not that long ago and reread Grave Mercy for #3 for this year's challenge. I was reminded of why I loved the book so much that I declared it my favorite book. I have a tough time declaring things my favorite, so this is a pretty big compliment from me. After that, I went on to read other things. A week or two ago, I was at a dentist appointment and got talking books with the Dental Assistant while waiting on the Doctor to see me. The books she recommended to me were all Assassin-based, so I recommended this series to her. After recommending it, I had it on my brain, so I reread Dark Triumph.

I actually think I liked Dark Triumph more than the first time I read it. I think I was able to appreciate her dark past a lot more this time around. There were also a lot of details I completely missed the first time around. As soon as I finished Dark Triumph, I had to dive into Mortal Heart. It was late, and I got very little sleep that night.  Such is my life.

I wasn't sure I'd like Mortal Heart nearly as much as I did the other two books in the His Fair Assassin series, but I really enjoyed this book by Robin LaFevers. I haven't been feeling very well and haven't been sleeping because of it. So Tuesday night, I ended up being up until 3am reading this book because I felt worse when I tried to sleep, and the book was too good to put down. I took a half-day Wednesday to rest and sleep in (this is all relevant, I swear.) When I woke up in the morning, I had like an hour and a half before I had to sign on to my computer for work (yay working from home!). Yeah, This book is so good that I was reading it before work, which is a thing that never happens. 

I really expected Annith to be unlikable as the main character. She came across as snooty in the previous books, and I felt like she was a showoff. I ended up really liking her. She was really guarded in the first two books, and not a lot was known about her background story. There ends up being a lot of abuse and secrets that she hid from Ismae and Sybella. This results in a lot of plot twists. Some of them were pretty predictable, but there were a couple that ended up being pretty shocking.

I think out of the three primary relationships in the trilogy, Annith's ended up being my favorite. It gave a unique spin on the series that I wasn't expecting. I won't give too many details about her lover, but he has definitely more of the broody bad boy type than the other girls' love interests. In addition to the romance, we also got a peek into other followers of the various Gods of Breton. There was a lot more background into the mythology, which I found really interesting. 

Mortal Heart gave a really fascinating look at Mortain's other followers called the Hellequin. This group of undead is painted as this fearsome delinquents, but one of the main messages of this book is that nothing is as it seems, first impressions can be wrong, and dark doesn't mean bad tropes. 

In addition to all of the mythology, assassins, and romance, there's also some history thrown in for fun! The historical period covered is during Anne of Brittany's reign as Duchess and how she becomes the French Queen Consort. Of course, author liberties were taken, but Robin LaFevers' does a great job after each book explaining where she took these and provides some truth to the history. It's incredibly well researched, from what I can tell, but I'm no expert. I really can't say enough good things about this book or the trilogy. Overall, this was an excellent conclusion to the series. I did learn, there is a duology as well. I think it follows Sybella's story more, but I'm not sure if Ismae and Annith make appearances.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Book Review: The Fever Code by James Dashner

Goodreads Summary: 
Once there was a world’s end.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed.

Goodreads Rating: 4.09 stars with over 39,000 ratings

Genre Listing: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic. Adventure, Teen
Goodreads Challenge: 22/60
2021 Reading Challenge: #20 Read a book you meant to read on last year's challenge (find the entire reading challenge here)
Previous reviews on the series: Maze RunnerThe Scorch TrialsThe Death CureThe Kill Order

Book Review:

Happy Saturday, readers! I'm excited to announce that I finally finished the Maze Runner series. It only took me a year and some change. One of my friends loaned me the entire series, and I had intended on reading it all the way through last year so that I wasn't holding on to her books for eternity. With the pandemic, however, Disease heavy dystopian did not feel like an appealing read. I've had about ten books lined up for this spot because I never complete challenges and get sidetracked.

This is going to be a relatively short review today. Most of what I'd talk about would be spoilers for not only this book but the whole series, and most of the time, I try really hard not to spoil anything. For those of you who don't know, The Fever Code is a prequel in the series. The events that happen are before the first book, Maze Runner. So chronologically, it would go The Kill Order, The Fever Code, The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure. However, if you've never read any of the series and aren't familiar with the story, I would definitely read Maze Runner, Scorch Trials, Death Cure, Kill Order, and Fever Code.  Reading it Chronologically would really take the fun out of the story and provide so many spoilers, in my opinion. That being said, now that I've read the whole thing, I kind of want to reread it starting with The Kill Order. It could be interesting, but that's a challenge for another day (or year).

I enjoyed The Fever Code by James Dashner, but I don't know if I was as into it as the other books in the series.  The entire time I was reading Maze Runner, Scorch Trials, and Death Cure, I really wanted the background story of before the kids got in the maze and how that came about. The Fever Code definitely provides that. We get a little background into Chancellor Paige, Newt, Chuck, Brenda, Jorge, and obviously Thomas and Theresa. The Glades makes an appearance once the Maze is complete. From there, we get a look at how the Gladers start to find their place in their new home. 

While there was some action in the story, I don't feel like there was as much in this book as in the others. It mostly just goes through the day-to-day of the WICKED organization and how the maze came to be. There were some twists and turns, but overall, everything felt more level than the other books. I don't know if that makes any sense. Hopefully, it does. One of the things that bothered me the most with The Fever Code is a lot of it Thomas and Theresa are pretty young. Really until they hit their teenage years, the age the story said they were didn't really feel like it corresponded to how they acted or talked. I know, obviously, they're supposed to be prodigy geniuses, but it just didn't seem consistent to me and took me out of the story a bit.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I think I would have liked a little more action and maybe Thomas and Theresa to seem a little more like the age they were supposed to be. I never really felt like the age they acted and the age they were ever lined up. I did enjoy that I felt like a lot of the unanswered questions got closure, however. There's apparently a couple of short stories about Thomas's memories and Newt's experience from his account in The Death Cure. I think it'd be interesting to see a story from post-Death Cure. I think a lot of skills they learned in Maze Runner would come into play for that. It could be interesting. 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Book Review: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks


Goodreads Summary: Gavin Guile is Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is a high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live: Five years to achieve five impossible goals.
But when Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay to protect a secret that could tear his world apart.
Goodreads Ratings: 4.21 stars with over 109,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Fantasy, Fiction, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Science Fiction
Goodreads Challenge: 21/60
2021 Reading Challenge: #33 Read a book where the main character is a magic user (Find the complete challenge here)

Book Review:

Happy Friday, readers. I am super glad it's the weekend. I'm tired and thoroughly plan to sleep in tomorrow. (I stopped writing after this sentence and got back to writing this post this morning. I definitely did not sleep in, which is stupid.) I've been reading The Black Prism at the suggestion of Tress. She's been trying to get me to read this one for a while. I kept putting it off because, well, big books are scary. This one really fit in with a ton of categories on the 2021 challenge, so it seemed like a good time to finally dive into it.

I enjoyed The Black Prism; however, it took me a while to really get into it. The book is definitely a slow build, and I probably wasn't fully invested in the story until around 25-30% through. Brent Weeks let's little bits of info slip out in the beginning about the magic, and I was left kind of confused at how it all worked. Eventually, as we get to know more of the characters and how they use their magic, we learn more about the system. 

The magic system in this story is probably the most intricate that I've read. It's very complex and scientific. I had to have Tress explain its basics to me while I was reading because the details don't really come out all at once, which makes it even harder to follow. Once I fully understood it, however, I was really fascinated by it. There's so much detail about color theory in this epic fantasy novel, and it's incredible. I love the idea that drafters can call on their different colors to affect their emotions in addition to the physical properties and uses of each one. I just wish it would have been revealed a little more upfront so that I could have enjoyed it for the entire book instead of the last half or so.

There are a lot of plot twists in this book. I thought some (including major ones) were really predictable; some were not. Obviously, I won't go into specific details about these as I don't want to ruin the book with spoilers. I don't think the book would be as enjoyable without that element of surprise and some of the "Oh, shit!" moments. 

I was really drawn into Gavin's character. I thought he was kind of refreshing. Sometimes he was a good guy, sometimes he wasn't. It was kind of nice to see that line blurred. (And now, the song Blurred Lines is in my head. Dang it.) He was a really intriguing character, and I enjoyed reading things from his perspective. I'm intrigued to see where the rest of his story goes. I wasn't as drawn to Kip. I don't know if it was just because he was a self-loathing horny teenager or what. There were times when I thought he was funny and endearing, but there were many times when he annoyed the hell out of me. 

I really liked Karris, and I thought her backstory with Gavin was interesting. I'm really interested in reading more of that. I thought she came across as both feminine and tough, which I loved. I wasn't really all that interested in Liv's story. I'm not really sure why. I just wasn't that drawn to her character. Her father seemed intelligent, and he could have an interesting backstory. A lot of it was sort of revealed, but I think there's probably more information coming in later books. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I just wish the explanation of magic had been more upfront. There are many characters and information, so sometimes I found it hard to follow (which is why I don't typically read books over 400-500 pages often). There is a glossary and appendix at the end that I found really helpful, though. It gives a lot more information, but I didn't read it until I finished the book because I didn't want it to spoil anything for me. I'll definitely continue the series, but I'll probably give myself a break in between books. 


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Book Review: Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler


Goodreads Summary: 
The Nebula Award-winning author of Kindred presents a “gripping” dystopian novel about a woman fleeing Los Angeles as America spirals into chaos (The New York Times Book Review).

“A stunner.” —Flea, musician and actor, The Wall Street Journal

Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.

When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed, and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.

This ebook features an illustrated biography of Octavia E. Butler, including rare images from the author’s estate.
Goodreads Ratings: 4.17 stars with over 85,000 ratings
Genre Listing: Fiction, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Speculative Fiction
Goodreads Reading Challenge: 20/50 (Heyyyy, I'm finally caught up!)
2021 Reading Challenge: #47 Read a book with 

Book Review: 

Happy whatever day it is, Readers. I've completely lost any clue as to what day it is this week. I took Friday off and had Monday off for Memorial Day. Now I feel like I'm Robin Williams in the original Jumanji asking what year is it. 

Anyway, I picked up Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler sometime late Friday early Saturday Morning. It's a bit of a unique pick for me because of the religious undertones, but ultimately I had been eyeing it for a few weeks on Kindle Unlimited. I liked the concept, and the cover art really drew me in. 

The book follows Lauren Olmania, a teenager trying to survive a harsh world with her family after the world goes to hell. The build to the world being absolutely insane is a slow build, and it's not overly apparent until a few chapters into the story. Once the reader gets to know Lauren a bit, it's explained that communities are walled off, water is as good as gold, and that outside the walls is complete anarchy. I don't think it's genuinely understood how desperate the outside world is until Lauren's brother Kieth runs away from home. 

Keith leaving home is the start of a lot of unfortunate events for Lauren and her community. This ultimately pushes Lauren outside of the wall as well. That's when we really start to understand the world she lives in. Arson, rape, robbery, murder, and cannibalism are just another day for the characters. What I never really understood was what caused the world to be that way. The book starts in 2024, but beyond a brief statement or two about Climate Change, it's really never explained why Lauren's world is post-apocalyptic.

I enjoyed the survival aspect of this story. Lauren, despite her age, is brilliant. She often came across as older than because of her intelligence. This is actually addressed in the story due to her stepmother and father being teachers and teaching her. She graduated high school relatively young and then went into college classes. She also helped her stepmother teach the community's children. I thought Lauren was resourceful and came across as a leader. Her hyperempathy was interesting, but I don't know that it was essential to the story. If it had not been included, it wouldn't really have taken away from the story all that much. 

Where the story started losing me was the whole Earthseed thing. This is a concept that Lauren starts to explain her views on God. She starts journaling everything, and the story is presented in journal form. Some of the ideas she expresses are interesting, but they began to veer a little too close to Heaven's Gate for my liking. (For those playing the at-home game, Heaven's Gate was a cult that committed group suicide so they would board a UFO and transcend into immortal beings.) So, the whole purpose of Earthseed is that God isn't a person. God is change (Okay, I can actually understand this.) However, after an astronaut died on their way to Mars, Lauren has decided that Earthseed's destiny lies among the stars and that they need to gather follows and make a living in Space. In the story, Oregon, Washington, and Canada seem to be the promised land for Californians trying to escape. So as Lauren tries to travel to safety, it becomes her pilgrimage to acquire followers for Earthsed. Along the way, plans are made for the community they are going to develop.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler addresses many deep topics, and I genuinely feel that it was ahead of its time when it was initially published in 1993. It's won a ton of awards since then, and I can understand why. As a survival story, Octavia found a way to address racism, climate change, rape, and even includes modern slavery. These aren't even all of the diverse topics it manages to discuss in its 330 pages. A lot of it was tough to read, which I think is the point. While reading it, I kept thinking, "Hell. This is only three years away and feels completely plausible." So for Octavia E. Butler to have this foresight thirty years ago (cries in getting old) is remarkable. 

Overall, I enjoyed the story. I liked Lauren as the main character. I appreciated her intelligence, her resilience, resourcefulness, and the leadership she provided her group. The speculative future was eerie but still exciting to read. What kept this from being a four or five star for me was the cult-esq religion and the fact that barely eighteen-year-old ends up falling for a fifty-seven-year-old. Sorry. I try to be open-minded about things, but this was just a little cringy to me. The story does manage to address both, however. At one point, Lauren is asked if her religion is a cult, and she and her guy do have a discussion about the age difference. (Sorry, I can't remember his name.) I don't know if I'll end up finishing the series. I'm not ruling it out, but it's not anything I feel that I have to read right away.