First, Middle, and Last Impressions – April 12, 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!

Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway – Science Fiction/Mystery & Thriller

Why I want to read this: The description reminds me of The Alpha Trial by Lian Skaf, which was a big surprise in how much I enjoyed the cross between a medical procedure and the legal process. This sounds like it’s more on the mystery side, but it still involves a medical procedure, so I’m intrigued.

First Impression: I think this is mostly a mystery, but has some interesting SFF elements. I’m hoping it’ll really evoke that noir feel, otherwise I’ll be highly disappointed since the word is right there in the title.

Middle Impression: I’m still not getting as much of the noir feel that I would like, but I do like Cal and his humor. I also like how confident and efficient he is, even if it gets him in trouble. So far this is interesting, but it just feels like one thing is stacking up on another and I’m not seeing a ton of progress in the case, which is fine because this is just the first half, but I feel kind of stuck.

Last Impression: So, I liked Cal. He kept things interesting as he used a combination of his brain and limited brawn, but there was just this dearth of depth to him that I kept expecting and kept not getting. Otherwise, so much of the second half of the book was all about various versions of a “ghost story” that Cal kept trying to hunt down and tie to his case of who killed a Titan. It tended to, more or less, be about what I expected and predicted, and I expected so much more from this noir-style mystery, but I think more of the effort went into the style and tone than the story. About half of this felt like it was all about Cal chasing his tail in circles, about a quarter was this ghost story, and the last quarter was things actually coming together.

The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart – Fantasy

the bone shard war andrea stewart

Why I want to read this: This is the third book in the Drowning Empire trilogy and I’m invested so may as well finish it. I also just really want to read more about Mephi because the way his and Jovis’s story ended in book 2 just broke my heart.

First Impression: I’m expecting to love Mephi, of course, but the story has also really grown and expanded since the first book, so I really have no idea what to expect.

Middle Impression: I have to admit I’m struggling a little. There’s a two year time jump to this book from the second, and I just feel like I’m running to catch up and can’t quite get there. Other than that, the first half seems almost entirely focused on Lin, Ragan, and Dione and their search to find and claim the white bladed swords to keep them from each other. It makes this book feel more like a quest, and I’m feeling like the third book in a trilogy should be a lot more than that.

Last Impression: The second half is much stronger and action-oriented than the first half, with some nice revelations, so I liked it a lot better. There was also more of Mephi, and he is awesome in so many ways. I don’t know why, but I always have the urge to snuggle with my non-snuggly cat every time I pick up this book. Anyways, the ending was a bit of a surprise, which I liked, and I especially liked that it kept the characters, well, in character. It was great to see how all the set up during the first two books really led to how this story finished.

Merry Arlan: Finding The Heir by Will Soulsby-McCreath – Fantasy

merry arlan finding the heir will soulsby mccreath book review

Why I want to read this: I’ve been following Will’s blog for the past few years and adore their writing and stories, so of course I read the first book, Merry Arlan: Breaking The Curse, and will of course read the rest of everything they write. After all, the first book sparked last year’s reading challenge!

First Impression: This sounds like it’s going to be fun! Certain revelations were made about Merry at the end of the first book, and now there are consequences Merry has to deal with. I also just can’t wait to see Merry and Kalik together more, and spend time with all of her friends.

Middle Impression: Well, I was so into reading this one that I was about 2/3 of the way through before I realized I had reached the halfway point. I definitely like how the story just keeps rolling on!

Last Impression: Really, I could cry with how incredibly diverse and accepting this world is. I mean, an Elven Queen in a wheelchair?! I adored these characters, and loved the depth and history given to so many of them. What was fun was getting to see the Elven lands as Merry has been forced to return, partly to accompany her late uncle’s former Lackey to trial and partly to take her place as the next Lord Smeeten against her wishes. I really loved how Merry’s desires and duties were at complete odds with each other, but the fun part was discovering, bit by bit, more of Merry’s story. This story really flowed well, deftly weaving several plots together, but one of my favorites was the handling of Merry and Kalik’s nascent romance.

The Malevolent Seven by Sebastien de Castell – Fantasy

the malevolent seven sebastien de castell

Why I want to read this: It sounds like fun. Really, that’s it. I like the description and the way it’s written. I’ve also read reviews of the author’s previous books, so I’ve been curious and couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

First Impression: The description sounds like so much fun, so I think this will be an amusing read. I’m actually finding myself less interested in what the story is about and just wanting to have something fun and amusing to read right now.

Middle Impression: I think this might not quite be for me. It’s definitely amusing with some great lines, but it’s kind of growing old. I like Cade, but I feel like he’s talking to me, as in he’s telling me this tale and making frequent asides that have just worn on me with their frequency. Sometimes it feels like info dumping, and I do not feel amused. I also have no idea what’s really going on because Cade and Corrigan’s job seems well-spelled out, but now they’re taking forever gathering a crew and are now taking on a side mission? I thought this was a time-sensitive kind of thing. On the bright side, I do like Tenebris, the diabolic Cade deals with. He’s fun.

Last Impression: After a first half that seemed to take forever to get things going, the second half was like rolling down a hill. It was one thing after another with Cade piecing what was going on with rapid fire speed. I guess it makes sense with what he had been in his previous career, but I really saw so little of it and how smart he was in the first half that it made the two halves of the book just not jive well together for me. I also went into this thinking it was about seven bad guys, but I had a hard time seeing that. Other than all the swearing and crass language and behavior, I had a hard time believing they were bad guys; they had too much heart for me to believe that. Still like Tenebris, though.

The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer – Fantasy, Women’s Fiction

Why I want to read this: I’m not really sure; the story just calls to me. It sounds dreamy and magical, and I’m just so intrigued by what this Clock Island is. As someone who has a bit of an obsession with time and clocks, I just can’t wait to dive into this.

First Impression: First of all, I adore the cover. A book about a special book and a contest to find it sounds just like a magical adventure to me, but I also think it’ll have a lovely quality to it, kind of dream-like.

What about you?

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