What I read in July 2023
This month I finally finished reading the Planetfall series by Emma Newman. The interesting thing about this series is that the 4 books can be read in any order because each book is set in different places and timelines. It's sci-fi with touches of thriller, mystery, psychological themes, very engaging.
If you are interested, I'd only recommend reading “After Atlas (Planetfall #2)” before “Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4)” as these two books are the only ones that are very close together in terms of timeline (Atlas Alone is a close continuation of After Atlas). My reading order was:
1. After Atlas (Planetfall #2) – Nov, 2022
2. Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4) – Apr, 2023
3. Planetfall (Planetfall #1) – Jun, 2023
4. Before Mars (Planetfall #3) – Jul, 2023
And here goes all the books I read this month:
Axiom's End (Noumena #1) by Lindsay Ellis, 336p: This one is an alt-history first contact story set in 2007. I kinda liked it, it's action packed, the writing is good. The focus was more on the relationship between the main alien and the protagonist, which was well done. There is lots of focus on the communication aspect: how to develop something that translates totally different language structures and alien sounds. That was cool. I thought that the CIA agency was too nice to be true in terms of letting outsiders in and treating people nicely (for the most part). It is a page turner with cinematic action scenes.
Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman, 338p: Planetfall is the first novel in the Planetfall series but I read it after “After Atlas” and “Atlas Alone”, since it is set some 20 years after “After Atlas” in the universe's timeline. It focuses on the colonists who left Earth on a mission to find God and landed on this new planet, where there is a bio-mechanical alien structure they named “God's City”. Things get complicated when one day the grandson of the missions' leader wanders into the colony from the wilderness, having survived all these years far from the colony. The main character is Renata Ghali, an engineer knowledgeable in 3D printing. The books features anxiety disorders and extreme hoarding themes in an intimate way, all through the lens of the main character. Big secrets are revealed, with a more mystical ending than the other books in the series. It's the slower paced book of the series.
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg, 171p: I heard about this book when I was researching about a technique called free writing. This author developed this method of “writing practice” where you set a timer and free write whatever is in your mind, nonstop, flow-of-consciousness style. The book is a compilation of fun small essays about writing. It's light and amusing!
Duchess by Night (Desperate Duchesses #3) by Eloisa James, 384p: This book had some interesting elements, like the main character cross-dressing pretending to be a man. That had some hilarious dialogues and situations. But romance wise, I didn't find the couple attraction convincing enough. It's a light and fun read, but I found it a bit tedious towards the end. Also, it has the very predictable trope of happily ever after with kids, which may just be in all this author's books. I picked it up because I wanted to get back into this series, but I feel like it's not my thing anymore.
Before Mars (Planetfall #3) by Emma Newman, 352p: A brilliant sci-fi book with emotional and psychological depth. Set on a base on Mars, it's a mysterious thriller with untrustworthy AI's, conspiracies, personal trauma and complex characters. We get a lot of the main character's thought process, it's very intimate. The main character is a geologist and a painter, and she struggles with her decision to leave behind her husband and her daughter on Earth to pursue a one-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. Weird things happen at the base and from the first chapter I was totally into the mystery, wanting to know what happened. It features excellent mental health representation, it's raw and real. I had tears in my eyes when I finished it.
By Noisy Deadlines Minimalist in progress, nerdy, introvert, skeptic. I don't leave without my e-reader.