Book review · novel

Books review: The Fated Sky / The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo / Sword of Destiny

The Fated Sky (Lady Astronaut #2), by Mary Robinette Kowal

18 the fated skySynopsis:
Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

I loved The Calculating Stars A LOT. I saw in the acknowledgments that these two were supposed to be one book but got split after some discussions but I really think I would have prefered it as a whole. Because what I loved in the first didn’t felt the same in this one, as a continuation of the same book it might have worked but as a different volume of a series, I find this second one lacking.

It felt like Elma had taken a step back and the improvement she had made as an ally against racism were somehow forgotten. She’s still trying her best and is full of good intentions but some of the mistakes she made were things I thought she had finally learned better in book 1. It still makes for a good allyship 101 for white people I guess.

One character I hated in the first book is central to the story here and we learn a lot more about him, making him seem more human and fleshed out, but I’m still feeling a bit weird about how he was SO present when other marginalised characters not so much. Plus, there is a hint at a m/m relationship and later on one of them dies, which had me really disappointed on the author, bury your gays much? There is a lot of death all around, sure, but still.

I still liked the book because it has a lot of the strenghts the first had, but too many things made me raise my eyebrows for it to be just as much of a favourite.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

16 evelyn hugoSynopsis:
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

You aren’t dreaming, I read an adult contemporary novel this month! It came recommended by a lot of people on twitter so I decided to give it a go. A lot of ownvoices reviewers said the latinx and bisexual representation was amazing and it was indeed a big part of the novel, alongside Evelyn’s story in Hollywood. The synopsis is pretty long and describe it well so I won’t repeat it.
I liked to wonder what the mystery behind this encounter was, even though I think the story would have been just as strong if it just had been focusing on Evelyn’s life. She’s a really complex, flawed, impressive woman and I loved how this story made me take a bit of a different look at how Hollywood works (I was a bit clueless in some area of this business.)

content warning: domestic violence, aids crisis, car crash, racism and homophobia on the industry, death

Sword of Destiny (The Witcher #2), by Andrzej Sapkowski

Translated by David A French

17 sword of destinySynopsis:
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent.

This is a collection of short stories, following the adventures of the hit collection THE LAST WISH. Join Geralt as he battles monsters, demons and prejudices alike…

The stories in this one were longer than in the first collection, without interludes. While I think it took me a bit longer to read and I was sad there wasn’t as many twist on fairy tales as it did in the first, I still liked it. Mostly, meeting the little girl Ciri was the highlight of this book for me.
Regarding nudity, violence towards women, boobs appearences and Geralt’s love life, I’ve started laughing when confronted with it because it sounds more like wish fulfillment on the part of the author than anything else, or fan service even.
I started liking Dandelion (Jaskier) more in this one. I used to find him really annoying but in one of these he gained a bit more humanity in my eyes and seeing him treating a woman as a human being finally was just the little thing I needed to warm up to him I guess.
I sound salty but really, thanks to the stories with Ciri I found it a great read. The end had me really emotional and I’m looking forward to start the novels at last.

4 thoughts on “Books review: The Fated Sky / The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo / Sword of Destiny

  1. Hearing you and Crini talk about Mary Robinette Kowal’s books makes me want to try them! And quite a few people seem to be reading / have read the Evelyn Hugo book recently – very curious… Most reviews I’ve seen have been very promising. 🙂


    1. Yeah she’s really awesome!
      Indeed! I was going to pass on that one because that’s not my usual kind of book but since a friend kept telling me to read it x) It is a great one!


    1. I really loved the first book to pieces, maybe that’s why I had such high hopes for this “sequel” which didn’t hold up really well (even if it’s a pretty good one anyway)
      I’m still a bit confused about my feelings, but I’m pretty sure I’ll want to read the third one anyways 🙂


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