Bookends | Karina Reads

Happy Friday guys! Hope the week has been kind to you.

Welcome to my new series: Bookends. In an effort to post more regularly I have decided to start posting weekly about what I’m reading. Hopefully by writing little snippets about the books, I will be inspired to write more full reviews. For more instantaneous updates about all the amazing books, be sure to add me as a friend on Goodreads. Anyway, here’s to the first of many (hopefully)!

I’ve had a good reading week so far which I’m hoping bodes well for the rest of the year. I have discovered the wonderful Dorina Basarab series by Karen Chance. I’ve devoured Midnight’s Daughter, Death’s Mistress and In Vino Veritas (a novella) in a matter of days and I am just over half way through the third instalment, Fury’s Kiss. It feels like forever since I found a series I’ve wanted to read non-stop and I’ve fallen back in love with reading! Dorina is a dhampir, half vamp – half human, which is intriguing enough, add in that Dracula is her evil uncle, a troublesome 500 year father-daughter relationship and a best friend who is half dark fae herself and you get a wonderfully complex yet amusing story. The thing I like most about Dory is her badassary. I’m always down for kickass females who can hold their own against the big guns (full vampires) and this is possibly my favourite Urban Fantasy series since Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. It’s fast paced, full of great dialogue and interesting, complex characters. It doesn’t seem to be full of tropes, although I am far from an Urban Fantasy guru so I could be wrong, which makes it unpredictable. I really love the little historical hints Chance has included, obviously Dracula and the family’s Romanian origins aren’t subtle, because hello, but I really enjoyed the casual inclusion of Kit Marlowe as a vampire (yes, that Elizabethan playwright…) as well as other literary and historical gems.

Things may get gritty and serious but they’re punctuated with wonderful interludes such as misunderstandings over buying condoms for a garden full of randy fae or getting hideously drunk on fae wine to avoid a duelling a master vampire . It’s the way Chance weaves together Dorina’s rebelliousness and intimacy issues with great characters who you really get attached to that kept me reading. Radu, for instance, Dorina’s other vampire uncle who has a penchant for dressing like a musketeer because he likes to show off his legs and Ray, the clumsiest 5th level vamp master you could imagine who is always ready with a funny retort are firm favourites. Sometimes Dorina’s internal dialogues can be a bit long but the plots of the first two books are so engaging I just could not stop reading. I needed to know what was going to happen next, which is a sign of good things. I’m hopeful that the third book (Fury’s Kiss) will be the same. The wait for the fourth will be tough!

I am also making my way through Stephen Fry’s Mythos on Audible. Narrated by the man himself, I am surprised how much I am loving it. I was worried it could be the same-old-same-old regurgitation of the old Greek Myths but luckily this is not the case. So far Fry has written a refreshing tale of the Gods. My problem with understanding the Greek myths in the past has always been that I couldn’t see the bigger picture. Sure I knew the general ideas, Hera the jealous wife of Zeus, the infamous King of the Gods who could never keep it in his pants and loved his lightening and power a little too much. I could tell you vaguely the plot of Hades and Persphone, Icarus and the sun, Prometheus and fire; but I didn’t know how they all linked together. Nor how much the names and the actions of these Gods have impacted our society.  This provides well needed context by starting with the beginning of the world (hi, Chaos) and weaving together the myths to show how each new God was born/created and how they came to represent what they do today. It’s pretty well known that a lot of our names and descriptions come from Greek mythology but now I understand why. It’s been really eye-opening in the most fun way. I get it. It’s all weaved together so well and Fry narrates it excellently. I love how effortlessly I’m learning the family tree of the Gods and how the myriad of mythological creatures and tales all fit together. I have read other works that attempt to explain the Greek myths and they fall flat in comparison. By linking all the myths you get the context and the reasoning for the beliefs as well as actually hearing the myths themselves, not just a quick summary followed by an explanation. I also adore the little asides and quips Fry  throws in that reflect his personal reactions to the stories. So far, a great read! I still have 9 odd hours to go too, which makes me very happy!

What have you been reading this week? Let me know, let’s chat