Diversity in media – Discussion

This post is brought to you by Children of Blood and Bone, which is my current read. I’ve talked a little bit about this in my review of The Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin (which btw, if you’re looking for diverse or just good fantasy and you’ve not read it, what are you waiting for?), but I want to take the time and discuss it properly.

As I said, I’m currently reading CoBaB and the more I read, the more I come to realise, and I know I’ll probably get stoned for this, that this is one of those books that suffers from diversity hype syndrome. Where a book is hyped to heavens for no other reason than being diverse. Listen, I love seeing diversity in media. But I also like good media. I like good stories, good characters. I don’t see why there needs to be a trade-off and I don’t think a book should be called good just because it is diverse. Diversity does not a good book make. And I am willing to bet a finger that if CoBaB were about a bunch of white people in a medieval European setting, same characters, same story, just not diverse, it would have got a big collective shrug from the book community because it is mediocre at best.

It really bugs me when this happens because it tells publishers and authors “Well, people are going to buy bland, mediocre, unoriginal books as long as they’re diverse.”. And as a reader, that is NOT the culture I want to promote in the book industry. Because we as consumers, are ultimately what shapes the industry. What shapes every industry. I want good diverse books. That’s the culture that I want to promote.

Another thing that really annoys me is when a book is hyper-aware of its diversity and is basically pointing a big red arrow at itself that says in neon colours “DIVERSE!”. Every other page, you’re just reminded about how diverse this book is. You’re reminded that Jimmy has the biggest crush on his army buddy Paul or that Rajesh’s skin is dark brown at least once a page lest you forget for a split second that THIS IS A DIVERSE BOOK. It’s good to write diverse books and you can be proud of having written a diverse book, but the story and the characters should still be the main focus of your book if you are writing a novel. You want to send a message, okay good. Do it through compelling storytelling. Not by stating it on every page.

For example, take Black Panther and CoBaB. Both are trying to convey pretty much the same message about racism and the oppression and horrors that black people have gone through and are still going through. One of them does it well, the other doesn’t. Black Panther has a compelling story, great characters, great action, great setting, great dialogue, compelling villains, it packs a mean emotional punch and it states its message loud and clear. There’s no trade-off. And Black Panther is a 2 hour film. CoBaB is 500 page novel. It has way, way more opportunity to do all those things than Black Panther did. Granted I’ve only read about 250 of them at the moment, but that’s half the book. If the first hour of Black Panther were dull, had zero character development to the point where the characters were interchangeable, had an evil, mustache twirling villain nobody would watch it.

My objective in this post was not to drag CoBaB. It was just an unfortunate victim of circumstance because that’s what I’m reading right now so it most easily lends itself to me for examples. The Hazel Wood. Another example of a book that screams at people about its diversity. Admittedly, it’s not as diverse as CoBaB so it has less opportunity to do so, but it still does it and it’s still annoying. I just really want good diverse books and I really want people to stop calling mediocre books great just because they’re diverse.

I understand that there are people who identify with those characters. Who have gone through things that I, as a while, straight, first-world inhabitant, I’ve not experienced. But my question is why should they have to identify with mediocre, cardboard characters instead of good, well developed ones? Like I said before, it’s us as readers that shape the book industry. So let’s promote a culture of diversity, but not one of mediocrity.


The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Spoiler Free Book Review

cruel princeRating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First released: 2018

Author: Holly Black

Synopsis: Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 


This is the first Holly Black book I’ve read and I inhaled it. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this and I’ve heard some valid criticisms, but I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the world, I loved the characters, I loved the relationships, I loved the story.

I love faeries. I love Celtic folklore and anything that’s got faeries in it appeals to me. I feel like a lot of the fae fantasy that I’ve read moves away from the dark, mischevious cruelty of the fae and also from the rules that govern them, such as their inability to lie. And I get why and I enjoy that as well, but it was wonderful and refreshing to get some loyally depicted fae, with their cruelty and dishonest truth-telling. And I loved seeing the faerie realm with revels and strange, magical, surreal things. It was beautiful and it spoke to me.

I’m a fan of court politics/intrigue/espionage type stories. And this was a combination of those things. I constantly wanted to know what would happen next. It’s quite a short book, so it was very fast paced, maybe even a little too fast paced. I would have liked another 50-100 pages and spend more time on some things that went on. By far, I would say the weakest element of this book is the plot and I think a lot of that comes back to its length. But I still really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters. I’ve heard people say Jude was annoying or unrelatable, but I really liked her. She’s flawed and has some deeply seated issues, but then she did witness her parents being murdered by a faerie and was subsequently kidnapped by said faerie so…

I also really liked her sisters and they dynamic between them. I loved Cardan. Cardan is just my type of morally ambiguous character. I loved how he’s not really redeemed… but he’s not really un-redeemed either, if that makes any sense. Their dynamic was very entertaining in all its stages and I am okay with them ending up together in subsequent books, but I’m also okay with them not ending up together and continuing to hate each other. And I enjoyed the rest of the characters as well, they’re unique, they each have their own desires and their own angles and I loved exploring that. It was probably my favourite thing.

Overall, I frickin’ loved this. Can’t wait for the next one.

Everless by Sara Holland – Spoiler Free Book Review

35883046Rating: 3/5 stars

Genre: YA, fantasy

First published: 2018

Author: Sara Holland

Synopsis: In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything – even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever … and possibly the future of time itself.

Book Depository | Goodreads

I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed this book. It was predictable, it wasn’t really original, the characters were pretty 2 dimensional and tropey. But I really enjoyed it. It was easy and quick to read, and the world was just interesting enough that I didn’t mind the predictability. I still wanted to read even though I knew what would happen. I think I was just in the right mood to read this book.

My favourite thing about this was by far the world and time magic. It was a cool concept and I thought it was implemented well. I just found the description of how the time currency worked to be very visual and I really liked it. It was cool and different.

Unfortunately, that’s about as much as was cool and different. The characters were 98% trope, not very well developed at all. I knew how they would act, what they would do and say because they were just stereotypes. Having said that, I didn’t hate them. Jules didn’t annoy me, I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either. I liked the love interest despite him being a total stereotype. But I guess he’s just a stereotype that I don’t find annoying and while I didn’t love him, I don’t mind him. And I liked that while it’s heavily implied that they will end up together, they don’t actually in this one. So that’s a plus.

The story was, again, predictable but enjoyable. There was no subtlety in setting it up, there was not any surprising plot twist, but it wasn’t boring. There were some cool elements that I really enjoyed reading and the rest of it was just fast paced and fun to read.

All in all, I enjoyed this book and I might continue with the series. If you go into this expecting something unique and well written and amazing, you will be disappointed. But if you go into it looking for some fun YA trash, I think you’ll enjoy it.

The Unhaul Challenge

I’ve been wanting to get rid of some of my books for ages now because I have too many, I’m running out of space and I just don’t need that kind of clutter stress in my life. I’ve seen this challenge going around on booktube, and decided it’s time. It’s just time to get rid of them. This challenge was created by Lala @ BooksandLala. There are 10 categories of books and the aim of the challenge is to get rid of at least one from each. Now I know that that’s not going to happen for me, because I don’t have books that fit all the categories, but I do have multiple books for some categories. So I’m fairly confident that I will get rid of at least 10 books. Let’s do this.

A book you’ve rated low

This is probably the category I will have the most books for. Cause I just want to have books I like, not ones I hate.

There are a few more that I could include here, but they either fit in another category where I have no others, or for one reason or another I don’t want to get rid of them just yet.

A book you’ve changed your mind about

I would say for this one, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I enjoyed it when I first read it, but after reading Glass Sword, I just don’t want anything to do with this series.

red queen

A series you won’t be completing

Obviously, Red Queen fits in this category. Also, Tunnels by Roderik Gordon & Bryan Williams. However, I really enjoyed that series and while I doubt that I will ever re-read them and continue on with them… I have good memories attached to those books and I don’t want to get rid of them. So, for this, I pick The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini.

I read the first two, first one was ok, hated the second one. For some reason, I only own books 2 and 4 in this series. I have no intention of reading them ever. I don’t want them, they’re taking up space. Someone else can have them.

A book you DNFed

I don’t think I have any of those. I have books that I’ve yet to finish, but I plan to. The only books I’ve DNFed and don’t plan to ever finish aren’t really mine, they’re more like family books and while I’m the main book carer in my family so in that sense they’re mine, I can’t just throw them away because I didn’t finish them.

A book you have multiple copies of

This is actually one that I don’t yet have multiple copies of, but I do plan to buy a box-set of the series very soon, so I don’t need the copy I already have.

A book you’ll never actually get to

A book you bought because of the hype

Don’t think I have anything for this. Well, I do. Caraval. This would also fin in at least 2 other categories. But honestly, that book has such a gorgeous cover and looks so nice on my shelf that I don’t think I want to get rid of it.

A book you bought because of the cover


It’s not even the first book in the series. Bye.

A book you don’t know anything about

There are a couple of those on my shelves, but I kinda want to read them, so they’re staying.

A book you didn’t buy

Cradle and All by James Patterson. I got this in a giveaway and I just don’t really care to be honest.

That’s it for now. Got rid of 15 books, which is not too bad.

April 2018 Wrap Up

Please explain to me when exactly did April happen and where was I? I feel like I say this every month, but honestly I feel like time is just getting away from me. I managed to read 5 books this month, I don’t even know how cause I’ve been insanely busy. Though to be fair, some of these I had started before April and audiobooks were involved.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo


First read of the month was awesome. I expected it to be because Leigh Bardugo, but I was still pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. Now I’m actually a bit wary of reading the other DC Icons books because I loved this one so much, I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed by the others. 5/5 stars

Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey


Finally finished this one, 100 years after starting it. I actually really loved this book, don’t know why it took me so long to read. It’s full of compassion and encouragement. I found it very empowering. 5/5 stars

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence


I discovered a new (to me) fantasy author. I’ve read two of his books this month and I enjoyed both of them. I did like this one more, but I like his other series as well. I’ve been in the mood for dark stories and he delivers. This series in particular appeals to me cause assassins, and not only that, but magic assassin school. Yeah. Really. I audiobooked this one and I really loved the narration. 5/5 stars

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence


This is his other series which I did not enjoy as much, but there’s a very particular reason for that which I’ll talk about more in my review, which if it doesn’t bother you, then you’ll most likely love this. If you’re into very dark post apocalyptic fantasy sci-fi… ish that is. I will say that this series is a lot darker than Red Sister and the main character has no redeemable qualities whatsoever. He is vile like most characters in this book and they all rape and murder willy nilly. So trigger warning for any kind of abuse, really. 3/5 stars

A Clash of Kings by Ceorge R. R. Martin


Continuing with my re-read of this series. This being my second time through the books, I’m getting so many details and hints that I didn’t the first time around. It’s great, really enjoying re-reading these. 5/5 stars

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Spoiler Free Review

13206760Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

First published: 2013

Author: Marissa Meyer


Synopsis: Cinder is trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Book Depository | Goodreads

I enjoyed this one even more than I enjoyed Cinder. I liked Scarlet more than I liked Cinder, I definitely liked Wolf more than I liked Kai and I ship Scarlet and Wolf more than I will ever ship Cinder and Kai, mainly because I find Kai to be annoying. Also, Caswell Thorne is everything.

I’m always a bit wary when reading a series where each book has a new POV. It can be good if done well, but it can also be confusing and I end up not caring about any of the characters. Thankfully, this was not the case with Scarlet. Partly because we still got the POV of old characters and partly because I just liked the new ones so much.

I found the story to be quite harrowing, which was surprising. This book gives a better insight into just how horrible Queen Levana is. It’s not often that I find villains in YA that are genuinely scary at least to me, but she’s messed up. So I really enjoy her as a villain.

I loved seeing other parts of the world and the global repercussions the events of the first book had. It made the world feel authentic, with the media coverage and how information traveled. I could definitely see that sort of thing happening in reality. I’m curious to see more in following books.

This book answered some questions, raised a lot more and left some unanswered and I am excited to read the rest of the series. Hopefully, I won’t wait another two years before picking up the third one.

Book Haul

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi | A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin | Wonderwoman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo | Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wyne Jones | The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Looking for Alaska by John Green | The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot  | The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie | Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake | Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks | Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman | Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart | The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson | A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas