We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year. It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges. This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different. One for authors and one for narrators. I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well. Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate? Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out. For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator? I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters. So here we go.
Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan. Narrator: Apollo. Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods? Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women. So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
Book with characters from various socio-economic backgroundsSilver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jeanby Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel. I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America. Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs. She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides. Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre. I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina. I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one. Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
I read a lot of fantasy novels and lately many of them have been relevant to what’s currently going on in our world. I would say that some of it is a reaction to today’s political and cultural climate but books and art have a history of being predictive. The Handmaid’s Tale was written over two decades ago and is just if not more relevant today then it was then. Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices might be her most political and timely series out of all her Shadowhunter series but it was years in the making first set in motion 10 years ago with the release of City of Bones. One of the main threats in Lord of Shadows comes from within the Clave itself. At the end of the The Mortal Instruments Series City of Heavenly Fire, the Clave started the Cold Peace. A harsh punishment against Fairies for their involvement in the Dark War. This has lead to anti-downworlder’s sentiment to spread among Shadowhunters. Once again proving that people, even supernatural people do not learn from their own history. Less then five years ago, they defeated Valentine, who’s group wanted to bring back the “golden age” of shadowhunters by ridden the world of downworlders and now the Cohort, a group of Shadowhunters are asking for downworlders to be registered and put into camps. They movements should be marked and controlled. Does that sound kinda familiar? It shouldn’t surprise any of you that the downworlders, particularly fairies are not happy and plan in invasion. While all of this is happening, the Blackthorns and Emma are dealing with their own issues. With each new book, they get more and more complicated with so many story lines that Clare is almost at George R.R. Martin level but not as many deaths. I’m not sure all are necessary but it does make for interesting reading. That being said to me the most interesting character is Julian. Here’s a guy who at seventeen runs the LA institute. He takes care of his younger siblings and is utterly ruthless. He will do anything for his family and his Parabati, Emma. Who he is also madly in love with as she is with him but that’s forbidden and for good reason. Parabati bond is pretty strong and only enhances strong romantic love to the point it drive them crazy. Yikes. As for the ending, I knew the character was going to die as soon as she admitted she was going to be friends with another character. It sounds silly but the way it was written it sounded so final as her arc was over at that moment. I was sorry to see that character go but boy there will be hell to pay now. Too bad we have to wait 2 years to find out what happens next.
The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh. Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May. Let’s see how I’ll do.