I did not hit my March target. Part of that is the fault of COVID-19, since I was stuck at my parents' house for two weeks longer than I thought I would be (I shouldn't complain; as far as early quarantine goes, it was quite pleasant). And the picture for this post isn't entirely accurate; I forgot to take a picture of the books I read and left at my parents' house when I made it back to London over this latest weekend. Oh well.
Anyway, read on for my March wrap-up.
Best book of the month: The Doll Factory
Most 'pleasant surprise' book of the month: The Municipalists
Most disappointing book of the month: Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World
Worst book of the month: The Holdout
Scales of Gold (4.6★/5), by Dorothy Dunnett
The most involved, complex of the House of Niccolò books so far. The action starts in Venice, and covers things happening in Bruges, but the majority of the plot focuses on Nicholas and his crew's voyage across Africa to try and get to Ethiopia and corner the gold market there. There are way more characters in this book that have ever been introduced before, and ends on a pretty massive cliffhanger that's got me absolutely itching to get back to London so I can dive right back into Book 5. Scales of Gold, for me, is just a smidgen too long - but the beginning and the ending are absolute immediate roller-coaster rides of emotional whiplash and punches, and God help you if you ever stopped paying attention to the tiniest little details in Books 2 and 3 that led up to that.
Long Bright River (4.2★/5), by Liz Moore
Already reviewed - read it here.
The Municipalists (4.5★/5), by Seth Fried
A slightly weird, very speedy, silly and fun read about a tag-team of a United States Municipal Survey bureaucrat and his AI buddy on a quest to stop a string of terrorist attacks in Metropolis (a basically glorified version of New York City on steroids). There's a lot happening, and it's all entirely ridiculous, but it somehow manages to be both silly and heart-warming, and I giggled out loud multiple times. A good, fun, easy, light-hearted read.
The Holdout (2★/5), by Graham Moore
I've reviewed this one here.
The Age of Light (3.2★/5), by Whitney Scharer
Fascism: A Warning (3.8★/5), by Madeleine Albright
A bit of a simplistic analysis - I think I would have appreciated something less broad and more targeted, and something more analytical than purely comparative or historical. But, globally, still a pretty useful and easy-to-read distillation. Terrifying to read in the context of a global pandemics and whole cities (looking at you, London) going on lockdown this month.
The Doll Factory (4.4★/5), by Elizabeth Macneal
A creepy, solid Victorian thriller. I've reviewed it here.
Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World (3.3★/5, by Tom Holland
Reviewed here. Spoiler alert: I had some THOUGHTS.
The Game of Kings (4.5★/5), by Dorothy Dunnett
Another Dunnett historical fiction winner. Read my review here.
Bonaparte, by Patrice Gueniffey (3★/5)
A fucking MONSTER of a book that I've been reading since New Year's and I've finally, finally, finally finished it. This book was way too long and there's a second half coming at some point in the future. Patrice, get yourself a better editor.
Queens' Play, by Dorothy Dunnett (4.5★/5)
Book two in the Lymond Chronicles, and another whiplash-inducing rollercoaster of a story. Francis Crawford is in France now, protecting Queen Mary of Scotland from an anonymous assassin and his aristocratic employers; and, once again, there's too much going on to really keep track of it all. All the strong points of The Game of Kings are here, and it's slightly more readable - mostly because Dunnett scales back on the random languages and verse dropped in, and since you know the characters a bit better they're easier to track across the pages.