I was planning to read at least two horror stories this month… one will have to do.
1. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1)
Alternative title: –
Rating: 5 stars
Favourite quote: “I never thought of fear as something that can go away. It just is. It reminds me that I want to stay alive. That doesn’t strike me as a bad thing.” (This quote GROUNDS me.)
Read this if you like: Sci-fi, space, slice of life, big cast of characters, character-focused stories
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (help, I keep getting the adjectives mixed up) is set in a future with many different sentient species — from humans to aliens and everything in between — who all live among the stars. The first in the four-part Wayfarers series, the book introduces a very diverse but tight-knit cast of characters, all of whom are working to “tunnel wormholes” with the patched-up Wayfarer ship.
I loved To Be Taught, If Fortunate by the same author, I’ve been craving more sci-fi books, and I want to finish a book series before the year ends. So it made perfect sense for me to finally start this book, and I’m so glad I did. Now I’m just afraid my review won’t give this book justice.
I’d say the book was about 35% world-building (and species-building), 50% characterisation and character dynamics, and 15% plot. But I didn’t mind at all. I would’ve adored the characters and their wholesome side quests in any other situation (though a virus that constantly stares out of the window probably wouldn’t make sense in any other context), and the backdrop of space was just a bonus.
I’ll definitely be reading the second book next month!
2. Better Sleep, Better You
Alternative title: –
Rating: 2.5 stars
Read this if you like: Sleeping?
Written by “sleep expert” Frank Lipman and Casper co-founder Neil Parikh, Better Sleep, Better You helps individuals identify their causes of poor sleep, and offers actually useful and digestible suggestions for getting better sleep.
My litmus test for a good self-help book is one that teaches me something I can’t outright Google. And while some insights in the book were refreshing, there was nothing particularly new or interesting to me. Perhaps this book could’ve done better as a podcast.
Ironically, I would listen to this audiobook while staying up late playing Sims 4. I guess the message, clear as it was, didn’t really get through to me.
3. The Changeling
Alternative title: Decorum Be Damned
Rating: 3.5 stars
Favourite quote: “Decorum be damned, he was in love.” (I just really love this sentence.)
Read this if you like: Horror stories, commentary on social issues
Apollo, a book dealer (what a cool job) gets married to a librarian (another cool job). She gives birth to Brian (named after his father who disappeared), and Apollo is smitten with adoration in a way that only new fathers trying their best can. But is Brian really the adorable baby he’s made out to be?
This book got the “audiobook treatment” from me, which means I found the plot promising but got too bored by the writing about a quarter in. I’m very glad I did that, because even in 1.5x speed, the book’s general pacing was far too slow.
I won’t deny the plot was interesting, and the social issues weaved in gracefully. But the book also felt like three different genres, and there was no real horror action until exactly 49% in (I know this thanks to Libby’s amazing percentage counter). One of the characters is also, literally, an Internet troll called Kinder Garten — which just made me wonder what the heck was going on.
For my first proper horror book, I was pretty disappointed.
BANNER CREDIT: UNSPLASH/@BLAZPHOTO