Happy Saturday morning to you! Recently, I have managed to read and return a decent chunk of my towering library check-outs, so as a reward, I decided to do the only intelligent thing possible: check out more books! I did have to create a limit so as not to overwhelm myself and potentially end up back into the tidal pools of a reading slump. Originally that limit was two books, however, I then made the mistake of walking by the Japanese literature sections… and thus added two more. Ah, the life of a book junkie.
One of the books is a hyped YA fantasy that I have been on the fence about buying. When it caught my eye on the New Releases shelf, I thought it’d be much better to rent it out and see if I like the story before tossing my money at it. The others all caught my interest due to their fascinating premises and also because my weakness for Japanese literature is like my weakness for cats: feeble as holy hell!
Take a look at the books down below and let me know if you have read them, or plan on reading them in the future, or if they just aren’t your cup o’ chai.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
To Kill a Kingdom is a young adult fantasy book that revolves around a young lady named Princess Lira who is one of the most lethal members of the siren royal family. She possesses the hearts of seventeen princes and is revered across the sea until she’s forced to kill one of her own. The punishment for her crime is something that Lira detests most—to become human. Ripped from her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver the heart of the human prince, Prince Elian, to the Sea Queen, or face being a human forever.
I snagged this book because I have really been into mermaid tales as of late, and this sounds like a twisted and dark version of The Little Mermaid, of which I adored immensely when I was younger (the original tale, not the Disney film, although I did like that one too). I will admit that the hype, as per normal with me, has me cautious, but I’m going to try and be optimistic about it! Also, it’s a stand-alone, which is becoming increasingly rare for the genre. I always appreciate stand-alone books.
Confessions by Kanae Minato
Confessions is an #OwnVoices Japanese crime fiction thriller that follows Yūko who calls off her engagement in the wake of a terrible tragedy. The only person that she had to live for in her life was her four-year-old daughter, Manami. Following an accident at the local middle-school where she taught, Yūko inevitably offers her resignation, and has one last lesson that she must teach to two of her peers, setting into motion a psychotic plot for vengeance.
Japanese crime fiction, especially thrillers, tend to be extremely dark and fucked-up, and excellent examinations of the human psyche, particularly the parts that humans refuse to acknowledge as a distinct part of being human. The premise for this, not only sounds like something I would absolutely fucking love, but one that will be intense and hold me at the edge of my bed (where I typically read) from beginning to end. I’m also a sucker for revenge narratives.
A True Novel by Minae Mizumura
A True Novel is an #OwnVoices Japanese fiction literature book-set that has been described as, “A remaking of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights” that takes place in post-war Japan. It begins in the 1960s in New York, following a guy named Taro. He is a very ambitious Japanese immigrant who is trying make a fortune. Taro’s story is shared via flashbacks and multi-layered stories that come together to reveal his life from being an impoverished orphan up to his eventual success and wealth—despite the prejudices that he encountered—and his obsession with a girl from an affluent family.
I saw this at the library and checked it out before realising that I had checked out Volume 2. Believe me when I say I was sad to discover this upon getting home. However, I went ahead and reserved the first volume, and should be able to pick it up soon! Nevertheless, the main draw for me with this novel is that it has won Japan’s most prestigious prize, the Yomiuri Literature Prize, and that it’s essentially an examination of Japan’s westernisation and emergence of a middle-class. Stories like this are always so bloody interesting and offer so much insight into the cultural evolution of a country or group of people.
Asteroid Made of Dragons: A Novel by G. Derek Adams
Asteroid Made of Dragons is an adult science-fiction and fantasy novel that had such a badass and awesome cover to it that I grabbed it without reading the premise. I don’t usually like to know much about my sci-fi and fantasy books going into them, so if you are interested in learning more, you can check out the GoodReads page for it here.
When I looked it up on GoodReads, I found that it is actually the third book in a series, however, many people have stated that you don’t need to read the first two books in the serial to read this specific title as it has characters who aren’t in the first two instalments. My cousin has read this by itself and said it is a very pleasant and satisfying reading experience as a stand-alone. I found books one and two on Amazon for 99 cents each and bought them. I will more than likely read it in order (yay, OCD), but I don’t think you need to worry about it too much if it catches you fancy.
Those are the four books I snagged at the library a couple of days ago. I’m amused (*silently sobbing*) by the fact that half of these were part of serials without any indication of them being so. Okay… A True Novel did say volume 2 on the spine, I just wasn’t paying attention. Shame on me. Either way, excitement has flooded my veins in anticipation for reading these beauts. Do these look or sound interesting to you?