October turned out to be a both a pretty good month for completing books, but also a bit of a bummer for various reasons. I didn't make my goal of completing 4 books but I came pretty close. On top of that I definitely enjoyed the books I did finish so that was nice.
Another relatively light but enjoyable read by John Scalzi. This one was a bit predictable in terms of where it would generally go, but had some good revelations in the middle that made it worth reading to the end. I've been enjoying a fair number of Scalzi books lately and while I don't think this is his best work (it's not quite as inventive or original as some of his other books) it's definitely worth reading, especially since you can finish it in just a few hours. This one would be great to take on a trip.
The Girl With All the Gifts
This was a pretty interesting post apocalypse/zombie style book that went off of the normal path which I appreciated. I've grown pretty tired of zombie books so as certain things were revealed in this one I wasn't sure whether I was going to finish it or not. I ended up finishing it and think it was worth my time. The premise is pretty original and the ending is a refreshing take on your typical zombie survival story.
The first failure for this month. Part of it came from it being a survival novel, and the rest was mostly the scenario and the characters. Due to the narrative structure of the book (it's generation based) you have to be okay with constantly switching perspectives. While I can get behind this I don't feel like the world building was satisfying enough. It felt both rushed and really slow paced at the same time, there was a lot of nothing happening and while I can appreciate that world building it just didn't feel like it was actually building a world in this book. Every chapter I read was a slog to get through and I found myself becoming easily distracted and not drawn in at all by what was happening in the story. It was pretty boring and I was pretty bummed out by this because the world could have been interesting, but it was like we were exploring the most dull and uninteresting parts of it.
I listened to the audio book version of this one and it's the first book I haven't finished due to technical issues. The audio quality of this book was so bad I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I'm using Libby to listen to the audio books I check out, and while quality could generally be higher (it's a bit compressed which is annoying but understandable) this one was just awful. It was like they recorded it for a cassette tape, then someone took that tape, converted it to CD, and then they took that audio and compressed it for the digital version. It was so bad I was sometimes having a hard time understanding the narrator. The story was okay, but I was so distracted by having to constantly focus on the audio to an extreme extent that I just gave up on it.
Another failure for this month, I made it about 40% of the way through Senlin Ascends before I gave up. I wanted to branch out a bit this month and read books that typically wouldn't be in my wheelhouse, but this one plus Semiosis is making me reconsider that decision. The story in Senlin Ascends wasn't bad but it also wasn't gripping. It's basically the story of a naive introvert breaking out of his shell, but once again we get into too many details. This book is nearly 450 pages long, and in the ~200 pages I read very little occurs and what does occur is just odd. I understand the need to build the story and to try and create excitement through events, but the events just make you go "huh, I wish I could learn more about this thing than continuing the story of this boring little man and his uninteresting mission". The main issue is that the tower itself is more interesting than the character, which I'm sure was the intent, but the main character is such a boring dullard that you can't empathize with him at all so you just feel like an outsider in both the setting and the character. I was pretty bummed by this one and it took me a while to even make it through what I did.
The Well of Ascension
This month's big book is the second in the Mistborn trilogy and continued an excellent story though it's not as strong as the first. I listened to the audio book version just like in the first book, and the narration was once again excellent. The story in this one digs into the relationship between characters more and some political aspects that brought it down a bit, but I still enjoyed it overall and am looking forward to the third book. I understand the reasoning behind many of the choices in the book and why it needed to be set in the scenario that it was, but I still found some of the plot points to be a bit dull, and there wasn't as much general excitement and interested as in the first. Hopefully the third book will be a great finale to the trilogy.