Review Catch Up: T.H.U.G. and Smoke & Iron

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I know that everyone loves this book and now it’s a movie and it’s important, etc. etc. And while I appreciate the book’s message and themes, I had a really hard time relating to it on any level. Characters and themes just didn’t resonate with me. I acknowledge that I have lived a pretty privileged life and as an Asian American, I just don’t personally have that much in common with Starr or any of the other characters (even the Asian character).

So my review comes from that perspective. There were some aspects of the book that I couldn’t tell if they were on purpose or not. For example, Starr is going through this really traumatic experience and is trying to make these big decisions, but then she has these moments where I feel like she’s super immature. Is that the point? Or is she an inconsistent character? I honestly can’t tell. I didn’t find her super likable, but again, is that the point?

I also felt like some characters were a bit exaggerated. I thought her boyfriend felt like an exaggerated white boy, I felt like her racist friend was an exaggerated frenemy, I felt like the cop who shot Khalil was an exaggerated bad and manipulative cop. Once again, is that the point? Have I been so sheltered my whole life that these characters seem a tad unrealistic to me? I know that extreme people exist and have even dealt with some of them, but these characters just felt less genuine, like cardboard cut-out characters.

Overall, Khalil’s story is heartbreaking. I feel for every family who has a story or is living a life that echoes Khalil’s. I think this book did a good job of tackling an issue that shouldn’t really be political, but has somehow become political. This book is obviously really popular and a lot of people have really loved it, it just wasn’t so much for me. The characters, the language, and the pacing all combined together made this one hard for me to get through and in the end, I thought it was just okay. 3/5


Smoke and Iron (The Great Library #4) by Rachel Caine
I think this series was originally supposed to be a trilogy? I’m not even mad that it’s stretched out to be at least five books. There are definitely some series where it feels like the author drags everything out and nothing of consequence happens from book to book, but that is not this series. This series is action-packed and this latest book is no different. We’ve got all the same characters that we know and love and it’s such a joy to watch them continually develop through this fourth book. Jess is such a delightful main character and I really enjoyed the switching perspectives, especially when we got to Khalila’s portions. I can’t remember if the previous books switched perspectives like this one, but it was definitely necessary with all of our characters separated.

I think this series was originally supposed to be a trilogy? I’m not even mad that it’s stretched out to be at least five books. There are definitely some series where it feels like the author drags everything out and nothing of consequence happens from book to book, but that is not this series. This series is action-packed and this latest book is no different. We’ve got all the same characters that we know and love and it’s such a joy to watch them continually develop through this fourth book. Jess is such a delightful main character and I really enjoyed the switching perspectives, especially when we got to Khalila’s portions. I can’t remember if the previous books switched perspectives like this one, but it was definitely necessary with all of our characters separated.

I think this series was originally supposed to be a trilogy? I’m not even mad that it’s stretched out to be at least five books. There are definitely some series where it feels like the author drags everything out and nothing of consequence happens from book to book, but that is not this series. This series is action-packed and this latest book is no different. We’ve got all the same characters that we know and love and it’s such a joy to watch them continually develop through this fourth book. Jess is such a delightful main character and I really enjoyed the switching perspectives, especially when we got to Khalila’s portions. I can’t remember if the previous books switched perspectives like this one, but it was definitely necessary with all of our characters separated.

Something I really love about this series is that it has such a wonderfully diverse cast without seeming to try too hard. Sometimes books include diversity for diversity’s sake and it’s done in a really stiff and obvious way–not the case with this series.

I love books that imagine different iterations of the library and what Caine has come up with is really quite fascinating. The entire world that she’s created is so rich and detailed. She really brings her vision of Alexandria to life. I would highly recommend this series to pretty much anyone and those covers are to die for. 4/5


2 thoughts on “Review Catch Up: T.H.U.G. and Smoke & Iron

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