February Did Not Finish List – Red Sister, All The Crooked Saints & A Foot in the River

All The Crooked Saints – By Maggie Stiefvater 

Goodreads Synopsis: Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect. 

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I decided to read this book because I heard that it was different than Stiefvater’s other books, and since hearing things like this had worked for me and Turtles All The Way Down, I figured it was worth the risk. In case you don’t know I have not enjoyed the Raven Boys series, but have not read any of her other books.

Unfortunately I didn’t like this book either. I could tell a difference in the writing style, but where John Green’s style had matured and sounded more realistic, Stiefvater’s style in this book was worse. It was so over the top and pushing to make you feel like the world was so cool and magical, and it bugged me so much.

I didn’t like any of the characters either, I didn’t feel connected to them or like I was able to sympathize with what they were going through. They just didn’t feel real, and so because of that I stopped reading.

I made it 100 pages into All The Crooked Saints before I decided to quit. I gave the book 2 stars, 1 star for being a diverse book I really think that’s to be appreciated. And another star for the what the world could have been, I feel like if the prose had been better I would have really liked the magic realism.

A Foot in the River – By Felipe Frenandez Arnesto

Goodreads Synopsis: But by comparison with other species, we are strangely unstable: human cultures self-transform, diverge, and multiply with bewildering speed. They vary, radically and rapidly, from time to time and place to place. And the way we live – our manners, morals, habits, experiences, relationships, technology, values – seems to be changing at an ever accelerating pace. The effects can be dislocating, baffling, sometimes terrifying. Why is this?

In A Foot in the River, best-selling historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto sifts through the evidence and offers some radical answers to these very big questions about the human species and its history – and speculates on what these answers might mean for our future. Combining insights from a huge range of disciplines, including history, biology, anthropology, archaeology, philosophy, sociology, ethology, zoology, primatology, psychology, linguistics, the cognitive sciences, and even business studies, he argues that culture is exempt from evolution. Ultimately, no environmental conditions, no genetic legacy, no predictable patterns, no scientific laws determine our behaviour. We can consequently make and remake our world in the freedom of unconstrained imaginations. 

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I always hate DNFing ARCs, but this book was just so boring I couldn’t get through it. And believe me I tried really hard to like it. I’ve tried to read this book off and on for probably a year or more. I can’t even remember now. I kept thinking maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction, or maybe I just had to start over and reread the beginning again. Nope. I just couldn’t get into this book. The synopsis sounds fascinating, but the actual book is all over the place and confusing and just plain boring.

I gave it one star because no book should take me a over a year to read.

Red Sister – By Mark Lawrence

Goodreads Synopsis: At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive… 

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

I was so excited for killer nuns, but I just couldn’t finish this book.  Red Sister promised a lot, and I’d heard some good reviews. But it just wasn’t for me I guess.

What I couldn’t get past was all the cliches. There was the chosen one trope, and Nona (our main character) is of course an angsty hardass girl who escaped death, then she meets rich girls at the convent who don’t like her and then in a ”surprising” turn of events has to learn to work with the girl she dislikes. I don’t what happens after that because I gave up at that point. Everything just felt like it was following the typical fantasy formula and I was bored.

I think the world was fairly interesting, it had a lot of unique pieces and the magic was definitely something I wanted to know more about. But it’s hard to continue a book just for world-building when you dislike the characters and plot. I guess I don’t know if I should say I disliked Nona, I just never cared for her.

I got about 200 or so pages in before I DNF this book. I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads because I don’t feel like it was total time waster, it just wasn’t for me.


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