Reading Slump! BOO!
It’s funny and I totally never thought this could happen, but I hit a bit of a reading slump. It’s really odd when you go from finishing at least two books a week to not even finishing one. Part of the issue for me I think could have been the week (my family was celebrating the one year anniversary of my father passing away) or perhaps I just wasn’t reading the right type of book.
I’ve been working on a bookish feature for RPGamer.com and I think part of my slump may be coming from the fact that I’ve been reading a lot of texts for it related to the idea of roleplaying and roleplaying games. That being said, I’m pretty sure it’s part of why I haven’t been able to find books that are just screaming for me to devour them. The last ARC I finished was The Tyrant’s Daughter and that was two weeks ago. That isn’t like me! Usually I’m pushing out reviews, reading my ARCs like a boss and providing content for you guys.
I think the slump could also be attributed to the pile of school work I have as well. I’m in my second year of my library technician program and I am loving it, but the work load is a bit killer. By the time I get home some nights I find myself curling up into my warm bed and sleeping than reading or gaming. It’s odd, but I am looking forward to our little Spring Break coming up.
It hasn’t all been bad, truthfully the two books I’m reading are fairly long. I am also reading a shorter ARC that River has already completed and it seems to be the one sucking me in the most. The ARCs I am reading The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, The Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, while the book I am working through for the RPGamer feature is Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward. The RPGamer feature is coming along well and will probably be ready by the time my study week is over. I still have one more text after Villains that I need to complete, but we will see how it goes. I am actually enjoying both ARCs I am in the middle of, especially The Truth About Alice — that book really can suck you in and it begs the reader to really piece the “truth” together, so it’s very engaging. As for The Stolen Songbird, it’s a good book but a very slow burn. There’s a lot of cheesy humor, but the characters are pretty fun though so I keep forgiving the cheese factor as it appears. I’m about 50% through it so hopefully you’ll all see a review soon!
Truthfully what I am curious about is how you all deal with reading slumps? Do you just let the slump take hold or do you cycle through a bunch of things until one catches your interest?
Anywho… moving on!
So I’ve mentioned #WednesdayYA Book Club before, which is run by @TheBookRat and @lizpatanders. The first month they got this book club running we read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, which I was excited to read and it disappointed me. Funny enough, my beautiful co-blogger, River, had told me (knowing my taste very well) that I would not like the book, and she was right, yet… I COULDN’T STOP READING IT. For me, Shatter Me has really interesting, if awkward prose at times, the story doesn’t entire know what it is, and the characters are horrifically polarizing. As a reader it was a book that didn’t do enough right for me to love it and yet I couldn’t stop turning the pages, I couldn’t contain my desire to keep reading. To me this book is not good at all, but the fact that I want to read the sequels shows you how a polarizing book can sometimes leave a lasting impression. I only have two questions about this book: one, where are my ladies at?! and two: when can we see a spin-off adventure starring Kenji, aka the best character in Shatter Me?
ANYWHO… for the month of February, we are reading (and I have completed as of Monday night), Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. This is another very polarizing YA read, mostly because the characters are a little on the problematic side. A good chunk of this book revolves around Kami hating on a poor, popular girl (poor as is not rich, not sad) Holly, yet her reasons always seemed so unjustified to me especially considering Holly is so darn nice to her. Kami’s behaviour in the book ranges from slut-shamming to obnoxious, to sympathetic oddly enough. Her negative qualities are awful and they stick out like a sore thumb, yet at the same time I think it’s interesting how Kami understands that what she is doing is wrong and ultimately tries to atone for it.
The majority of the setting and characters felt very cliche and one note. It’s weird how many people were gushing how unique this book is and yet I felt like I was reading a different book. I don’t hate Unspoken as the writing can be gorgeous when it wants to be and the characters are serviceable, if a touch one note (minus Kami), but I really struggled to connect with the characters at all and that’s usually a sign for me that a book is just eh and not amazeaballz.
And then there was Ash and Jared who were just… boring. They were so one note and bland that I really didn’t get the appeal of their characters. Male love interests have to work hard to win me over, and it’s usually because they are often written in a very one dimensional way. Much like Shatter Me this book also suffers from insta-love, though I’d argue Shatter Me at least has a lot more character development than Unspoken. I can totally see the appeal of Ash and Jared for some readers, but they just never did anything that struck my fancy and in fact their behaviour often made me dislike them more.
I feel like in terms of writing there is quality for the most part in Unspoken though a lot of the humor was so cheesy and out of place sometimes that I found myself face palming. On the other side of the coin when the humor worked, I did laugh and enjoy where the narrative was taking me. There is a good mystery story here, but I feel like halfway through the book the mystery really became second fiddle to the romance-paranormal… whatever you want to call it. I ended up rating Unspoken 3 STARS on Goodreads, but I’m unsure as to whether or not I’ll be continuing the series. If the library ends up getting the sequel, I may give ti a whirl, but it’s not a priority at this point.
Oddly enough, I mentioned I was in a reading slump. What I failed to tell you all is that my reading slump turned into a gaming binge. More particularly, I devoted some time to completing a visual novel called Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc which was recently release by NIS America last Tuesday for the PlayStation Vita. Danganronpa is Battle Royale meets Phoenix Wright in a morbid tale of kill or be killed. “Killing Games” or “Blood Sport” fiction is surprisingly huge in Japan (and was oddly a part of my university dissertation, yeah I’m odd). They love the idea of characters being placed in an unwinnable situation and fighting to destroy a mastermind of who has placed them in that situation.
Interestingly this style of novel and visual novel are slowly becoming huge in the Western Markets thanks to The Hunger Games, though I think Japan really takes this genre further by adding a heavy layer of horror and discomfort, something not a lot of YA has yet to touch. It’s an interesting genre to explore, but the mystery surrounding the events of Danganronpa are really why you should play it. It’s a game that plays to your inner fears, places you in uncomfortable situations and asks you to make decisions that could affect the life of someone else. What’s even more fascinating is that the overall message of fear and terror gets flipped on its head and the end result is something very rewarding, if completely unexpected. The gameplay is really second to the narrative and if your okay with texts like Battle Royale than Dangaronpa will feel like a cakewalk by comparison. If you enjoyed Phoenix Wright or have played the Zero Escape games, than definitely check out Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc!
Though I will admit, Monokuma does give me the willies. *shutter*
Everything *IS* Awesome
Despite the looming sad feeling I’ve been facing, everything has been really darn awesome. I mean, I saw the LEGO Movie, that’s how awesome it is. My husband is a big LEGO nut, and to the point where we don’t even have children but I still buy him LEGO kits for Christmas and his birthday. Needless to say we went with a dear friend of ours and basically came out singing “Everything is Awesome” (which, Tegan and Sara rules, by the way) as well as screaming SPACESHIP! in the car. It’s a movie that isn’t what you expect right away and is better because of it. Totally worth checking out in the theaters in you can make the time for it.
The End? THE END!
This post has gone on long enough and while it probably lacks the entertainment factor of River’s awesomeness, I figured I’d share what’s been up with me the last few weeks and why perhaps you haven’t seen as many reviews or even content as of late. Sometimes life throws you curve balls, and sometimes it gives you creepy Teddy Bears. At the end of the day I leave you with this question: How Do You Deal With Reading Slumps? Please post in the comments as I’d love to hear your answers!