I’m still getting back in the groove of things after my trip to Maine. I was able to get a few books read since then and now I’m ready to discuss!
Quick Lit is a monthly feature hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy.
Little & Lion – Brandy Colbert
After a year in boarding school, Suzette (aka Little) comes home for the summer, not sure where she stands with her family… and in her love life. As Little is trying to figure out her sexuality, she also is trying to gain trust back from her step brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I’ve been waiting months for this book to be released. There’s not a lot of literature with bisexual characters (definitely getting better!), so I was glad that the protagonist deals with those questions. What I wasn’t expecting was a whole diverse of cast of characters.
Little & Lion not only does a great job with Suzette’s story, but also how they portrayed Lionel and how he is coping with mental illness. I was afraid that he was going to be the romantic tortured hero, but not at all. Lionel is having a hard time coming to terms with his diagnosis and that he is going to be on medication for the rest of his life. Lionel’s desperation for normalcy broke my heart, and his episodes of mania were impactful and terrifying.
Sadly, as well as the main story lines are done, the details could have been strengthened. Many of the side characters aren’t fully developed and I felt a couple of plot lines got left at the wayside. Also, a major decision that Suzette makes at the end of the novel… don’t know if I completely understand it.
Final Verdict: The details might be muddled, but this is a strong YA coming of age story that highlights diversity on all sides.
Roughneck – Jeff Lemire
Can one stop the cycle of violence in a family?
In this graphic novel, Derek Ouellette is a washup hockey player who lost his chance for glory due to a violent altercation. Years later, Derek is now a ‘thug’, beating up anyone who crosses his path, while wasting away in the forest tundra of North Dakota.
Derek’s sister Beth, whom he hasn’t seen in a decade, comes to him for help, running away an abusive boyfriend. Can brother and sister find a way to let go of a past that has haunted them and find purpose again?
At the beginning of the this year I read Jeff Lemire’s Sweet Tooth and really loved it. What is interesting about Roughneck is if it wasn’t for the difference in name I would think this is prequel that focuses on the character Tommy from Sweet Tooth. Lemire just loves rugged washup hockey players.
I thought Roughneck was a really strong look at what parents pass down to their children. There were a few moments that really got to me, and I started to choke up. I also really liked the stark blue and white illustrations, only getting full color for flashbacks.
Final Verdict: Highly recommend unless you are very squeamish about violence.
The Magician King – Lev Grossman
If you haven’t read The Magicians, then this is your warning!!
Turn back now…
Alright, so The Magician King takes place two years after the first book, and we find Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia have settled in as Kings and Queens of Fillory. Life is a dream, but King Quentin is still unsatisfied and growing restless.
Quenton loves Fillory but desires adventure and wants to go on a ‘quest’. After choosing a mundane task that requires going to a remote island, Quentin thinks he’s about to embark on a grand quest and ends up sending himself and Julia back to Massachusetts, on his parents’ lawn.
I think many readers had a problem with the Quentin in the first book, The Magicians, especially since his arc was very subtle. Quentin does begin the second slightly better but his boredom can get grating. I thought his character was stuck, but I was happy to see that by the end of the book that there was a deep change within him.
But this story really belongs to Julia, as we’re given flashbacks about what happened to her the years Quentin was at Brakebill and the first Fillory trip. While Quentin had magic dumped in his lap, Julia had to scratch and claw to have magic in her life, and her obsession took a great toll on her.
And the ending… I was shocked by the ending. The last fifty pages of this book broke me to pieces. I don’t know what the next book is going to be about, but I can’t wait to dive into it!
Final Verdict: The series is not for everyone, but this second installment got a big thumbs up from me.
***(TW: This might be a slight spoiler, but I do think it’s important to note that there is a rape scene in this book.)***
Other reviews from the past month:
If you want to know my thoughts on the The Magicians check out my review here.