You might have seen my previous go at Try a Chapter for my Barcelona holiday back at the start of September, and it worked so well helping me choose which books to take with me on holiday… whether I read all of them is another issue but shhhhh. And, much like with my previous holiday TBR, I’m not sure how much reading time I’ll actually get on account of the fact I’ll probably be too distracted by the magical world of Disney but I’m willing to try anyway.
There’s a good chance that I’ll be quite tired – ok, mainly my feet will be tired – at the end of most days of this holiday, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to take a few moments to read, so let us see which books I’m fancying reading, shall we? These are what I have to choose from:
The Poppy War by R.F Kuang
First Impressions: Everyone and their mother is singing the praises of this book as of late, and from just the opening I can see why. This book promises to be an intriguing epic fantasy novel with a Chinese culture inspired setting, telling the story of war orphan Rin who takes an infamously difficult test to earn a place at the Empire’s elite military academy. I’m told this is rich and complicated and follows Rin through many years through the academy and into politics and history and all that good stuff. I SO want to read it. Here’s the thing, though: will I have enough brain energy to devote to such a fantasy novel when I’m half-distracted by Disney? I’m not sure. But am I going to try anyway? Yep.
All the Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth
First Impressions: I am something of a sucker for books featuring exclusive secret societies in schools and plenty of rich people problems, which this book definitely sounds like it will have in spades. I tried this out for my last Try a Chapter blog post and I was suitably intrigued by this opening featuring the mystery of a disappearing mother and a strange house that the protagonists’ father built to keep the inhabitants in rather than keep the outside world out. So, yeah, colour me intrigued. However, I am nothing if not a fantasy person so I suspect I wouldn’t actually make this a priority, even if I only had limited options on holiday…
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
First Impressions: I mostly have no idea what this book is about but I’ve heard so many glowing reviews of it. One thing I have heard is that if you’re reading this book, you really need to be invested in it and properly focus on it, which may not make it an ideal holiday read to pick up and put down. However, after reading that first chapter? I’m too intrigued not to take it with me now!
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
First Impressions: There’s a quote on the back of this book from Glamour that reads “it’s impossible not to get sucker in” and do you know what? Glamour is spot on the money. Although I was apprehensive having been greeted by kinda complicated family trees (I only expect that sort of welcome in an epic fantasy novel!), the opening chapter is so funny that I’m pretty sure this would make the perfect light-er holiday read than a lot of other books I’m choosing from in this list.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
First Impressions: I’ve read this before in my previous Try a Chapter post and I really want to read this YA fantasy novel steeped in West African influences. I have heard such stunning reviews of this book and the hype does seem to be real for it. My one reservation about shoving this in hand luggage for my holiday? I have a really lovely Waterstones Exclusive Edition with beautiful red sprayed edges and I am worried it will get well and truly battered if I try to take it on holiday with me. So maybe, instead, this is something I make part of my priority TBR for the remainder of the year after I get back from my holiday?
The Dark Vault by Victoria Schwab
First Impressions: In V.E. Schwab’s typical style, the opening prologue is full of haunting ideas spun together in mesmerising sentences that just make you want to read on. Specifically, this prologue teases at the concept of a girl who is told stories, “stories about winding halls, and invisible doors, and places where the dead are kept like books on shelves.” If I wasn’t interested by that, I’d worry there was something seriously wrong with me. Literally the only thing that’s making me hesitant about taking this one is that it’s a bind-up of the two Archived novels so it’s quite a big and heavy floppy American-size paperback which isn’t ideal for trying to pack tightly into hand luggage. Hmmm.
So there we have it, folks, the winners are: Crazy Rich Asians, Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, and The Poppy War. What do you think of my selections? Have you read any of them and loved them? Or maybe you hated them? Or is there a book I should have picked instead? Let me know in the comments!