First, Middle, and Last Impressions – March 1, 2023

I love taking a look at a book cover and description and then coming up with my own idea of what the book will be about. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m so wrong it’s almost funny. So I’ve decided to write about my first, middle, and last impressions of each book I read, as well as a little bit on why I wanted to read it because sometimes, when I’ve finished, I really can’t remember.

The first impression is based solely on the cover and description. What do I think it will be about?

The middle impression is kind of a check-in on how the story is going about halfway through.

The last impression is my final thoughts on the book, what I’m left thinking.

I hope you have as much fun with this as I will!

The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan – Fantasy

Why I want to read this: This is the second in the Empire of the Wolf trilogy. The first book wasn’t completely my cup of tea, but I found the intersection of legal thriller and high fantasy fascinating, so I’m looking forward to what the second book holds as I think it might be more fantasy than legal thriller. I think, considering the way the first book ended.

First Impression: Well, based on the description, nope, it looks like it’s crossing crime/legal procedure with high fantasy. This time it’s a kidnapping instead of a murder, which seems a bit low key after the murder, but there’s also a lot of other things at play, so I think this will be interesting.

Middle Impression: So far I’m finding it more interesting than the first book since there are so many threads and some fascinating political maneuvering, though it sometimes feels like there’s too much to keep track of. The kidnapping plot line is interesting, but it somehow feels a lot more tame than the murder investigation in the first book, almost as though it was thrown in as an afterthought because I guess each book has to have a central crime? The high fantasy elements are more interesting to me, though. But I could do without the sudden romance development because I thought, from the first book, there wasn’t going to be that kind of relationship playing out and now I feel disappointed.

Last Impression: There was too much going on in this book, so insufficient attention was given to them and they were poorly woven together. I can see how the separate plots will likely come to a head in the last book, so I’m interested to see how it will play out. This feels like it’s not just the end of the empire, but also the story of Vonvalt’s slow unraveling, but I like how Helena feels like she’s coming into her own. There are some great secondary characters that kept my attention, but the story wasn’t as strong or as coherent and properly woven together as I would have liked.

In an Orchard Grown from Ash by Rory Power – Fantasy

in an orchard grown from ash rory power

Why I want to read this: A part of me actually doesn’t since I found the first book of this duology just okay, but the way it ended makes me curious. And I’m already halfway through so may as well finish, I suppose.

First Impression: I don’t really care about what this book is about. I’m just interested in Nitsos since I loved the way the first book left off with him and I’m dying to know what he does next. It’s all about that forgotten sibling!

Middle Impression: Well, it’s more or less as I expected. After all, I’m not reading this because I loved the first book. Unfortunately, I find myself profoundly disappointed by what’s happened to the one character I wanted to read this for. Fortunately, I am adoring Chrysanthi, but I’m a little confused because I thought this duology was about Rhea and Lexos, but Chrysanthi feels like the main character here.

Last Impression: It’s so much worse than I expected, all because of Nitsos’s story arc. I did like Chrysanthi and her love interest, so that helped hold things together. At least, it kept me reading. I was majorly disappointed with Rhea and Lexos, and the other romantic subplot just massively bothered me. I like the LGBTQ aspect, but there’s an entirely different one that just bothered me and made me mad.

Lest Lies Down by James Ladd Thomas – Fiction

lester lies down james ladd thomas

Why I want to read this: Well, this one dropped into my inbox some months ago, so it’s about time I read it and give that review I promised.

First Impression: From the description, it sounds interesting. It’s about an odd man, and I do like odd characters, so I’m intrigued, though I suspect this is 100% slice of life, which is fine, but I’ve found fictional slice of life stories have almost no plot to hold it together.

Current Progress: 43%. I wasn’t too sure when I first started this one. Lester is kind of odd in the first chapter, and then it skips forward an unspecified amount of time, but it now seems to be about him starting his new job as a hospice nurse. It’s interesting to see him with each of his patients and the things he learns about them, life, and death. It gets a little too chatty and philosophical at times, kind of as though everything and the kitchen sink is being thrown out there, but then there are some good moments and I can see a depth to each encounter that I kind of like. I’m just not a big fan of the episodic way the story is unfolding.

What about you?

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