May was an incredibly mixed reading month for me. I managed 9 books, not including two I DNF, and while there were definitely a few that I loved, there were also some that just didn’t live up to the hype for me. However, there were three books I read last month and absolutely LOVED, they are all unique and completely different reads & a mix of fantasy and sci-fi, but they all blew me away. What books from last month did you love? Have you read any of the below? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments.
A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark.
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.
So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.
Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems….
“The three of them sat there – A Ministry agent, a half-djinn, and a cat (likely), staring out past the balcony to the sleeping city they somehow had to find a way to save.”
“You! You can’t just walk in here! This is a crime scene!” “That would explain the dead bodies, then,” she replied. He blinked dumbly, and she sighed. Wasting good sarcasm was annoying.”
“Fatma blinked at the tirade. Of all the djinn these two had to go and wake up, it had to be a bigot.”
I had the highest expectations going in to having read the pre-novellas as it met every single one. I’m a sucker for Clark’s wry and sharp witted writing style and will admit to being a little in love with Fatma. The world building for this series is immense and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us next.
Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve.
Imagine Camelot but in Gotham: a city where knights are the celebrities of the day, riding on motorbikes instead of horses and competing in televised fights for fame and money.
Imagine a city where a young, magic-touched bastard astonishes everyone by becoming king – albeit with extreme reluctance – and a girl with a secret past trains to become a knight for the sole purpose of vengeance.
Imagine a city where magic is illegal but everywhere, in its underground bars, its back-alley soothsayers – and in the people who have to hide what they are for fear of being tattooed and persecuted.
Imagine a city where electricity is money, power the only game worth playing, and violence the most fervently worshipped religion.
Welcome to a dark, chaotic, alluring place with a tumultuous history, where dreams come true if you want them hard enough – and are prepared to do some very, very bad things to get them
“They’d rather have a world without magic than a world that contains something they don’t own. They’re like spoiled toddlers who want all the best toys so no one else gets to have them. We must be kept on a leash. It makes pets of us all.”
” Don’t you want to win some before you lose?’ Garad asks, as if they can sense his turmoil. It is an old and well-known expression. Fight, it means, fight for what you believe in and what you desire and what you want to be true. Win as many fights as you can until your final bout with the Death Saint – the one fight everyone is guaranteed to lose. Make your life count for something, because this life is all you get.”
I had no idea what to expect with this book but it was just brilliant! Perfect for any fans of the Arthurian tale we all know and love, but Eve made this world completely her own with Knights riding on motorbikes and settling the disputes of the land through televised fights. It has a fantastic cast of characters and an ending that instantly has you reaching for book two.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.
Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe.”
“You poked it with a stick?”
“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”
“I gasped. “Wait a minute! Am I a guinea pig? I’m a guinea pig!”
“No, it’s not like that,” she said.
I stared at her.
She stared at me.
I stared at her.
“Okay, it’s exactly like that,” she said.”
“Yes. There’ll be wars. Fought for the same reason most wars in ancient times were fought for: food. They’d use religion or glory or whatever as an excuse, but it was always about food. Farmlands and people to work that land.”
I didn’t think Project Hail Mary could top the Martian but it did. Slight more ‘out there’ sci-fi than he previous work, but filled with the same heart and wit we have come to expect. Another fantastic cast of characters, even if I can’t talk about my favourite because of spoilers but suffice to say Rocky is the best!