A Very Late #RamadanReadathon 2020 Wrap Up

I cannot believe how quickly Ramadan had started and ended this year! Part of me believed that the month was going to drag because I had all my university assignment due during this month. I’m so close to finishing university, but it doesn’t feel real yet because of quarantine. Luckily, past Zaheerah was smart and thought ahead when it came to planning my TBR for this readathon and my five choices fit perfectly within my schedule for this month. (To be fair, reading TWO S.A Chakraborty books in a month felt like reading four and I certainly was not expecting to be blindsided by those books) I plan on writing full reviews for all these books (except for The Light at the Bottom of the World and Once Upon an Eid) so this wrap up will be pretty short. Overall, I really enjoyed my selection for this readathon, they were all quite different which made this a fun reading experience. Some were more enjoyable than others but I consider this readathon a success! 

EDIT: Also, sorry for the late as heck wrap up post. Finishing university in the middle of a global pandemic does not do well for the mind.

1. The Kingdom of Copper
Usually, the middle book of a trilogy is often the one that lacks the most in my experience. I find myself struggling to keep myself interesting during a second book because it of its unfortunate positioning as the buffer book. But, not with TKOC, I stand by this statement now: it is the best book of the trilogy. Set five years after the events of COB, and I’m glad to say the time jump is done remarkably well. Our cast have aged and it shows. Nahri, our humble thief, more guarded than ever before is still a thorn in the King’s side and she doesn’t intend to let go. Ali, my favourite, has grown from his black/white view of the world and has truly aged to understand the impact of his actions. He’s still causing trouble, and we love that for him. His casting in the Netflix series is probably the one I’m anticipating the most. I need my fool to be perfectly cast. Also, I’m so glad that my everyday life (ahem, uni) made me read this so late because if I had read this and witnessed THAT ending, and not have the finale in my hands straight away (thanks Netgalley!), I don’t think I would have survived. Expect a full review soon!

2. The Empire of Gold
Reading Empire of Gold straight after The Kingdom of Copper is the reading version of being sucker-punched. And before the readathon, I was already re-reading City of Brass in anticipation of this readathon so I was basically punched three times. The series is that good. I was not expecting anything that happened in this book. Writing this post, it has been a couple of days since the news that Netflix is adapting this trilogy dropped, and when I heard the news, I just prayed that they’ll reach the events of Empir in the series. I know Netflix has a 3 season track record unless the series is mega-popular (see stranger things). I really hope they are as faithful as they can be to the source material. Nahri’s story ends perfectly, not exactly complete, but just enough to be satisfied with the ending and know there is more for her in the future. Don’t ruin this one for us, Netflix. The Daevabad trilogy is a series worthy of its hype. 

3. The Henna Wars
This will sound weird, but is it possible to say you loved a book but still felt like it wasn’t for you? I adored The Henna Wars, it’s super adorable and sincere with a cast of characters that I adored. Nishat is one of a kind, an unapologetic lead whose headstrong attitude was a complete joy to read, a definite protagonist who can get on your nerves but still understand her actions. I feel like the writing style was not to my liking. I wasn’t quite into it and it definitely affected my enjoyment of the book in certain moments. But I do believe in this story and it’s just another one of those cases where I know it’s to do with my own preference as a reader and not a fault of the author or the book itself. That being said, this book is so adorable and I’ll give Adiba credit for writing a story that I haven’t read anywhere else. Expected a full review soon but I swear it’s more positive than this tidbit here!

4. Once Upon an Eid
It felt bittersweet reading this collection of short stories that showcase different Eid experiences that revolve around being with your loved one. In a better time, we would have been celebrating this release quite differently. This anthology is so wholesome. I truly can’t recommend this enough to younger readers. This collection is what we mean when we say diversity! I loved the different representation and experiences to how one can celebrate Eid, especially for someone who has celebrated it pretty much the same way every year ever since I could remember. I love hearing how different Eid celebrations can vary. A highlight of this collection, for me, is the pages of illustrations for each chapter. I misread and thought it was the one chapter that was illustrated but alas, each story got their own art by some amazing artists! I mentioned I wasn’t going to write a review for this one, mainly because I was unsure of how to write it without it becoming longwinded but I think I will sit on the idea for the now and come back to it a couple of weeks time. 

5. The Light at the Bottom of the World
I said I wasn’t going to write a review for this book but part of me is still considering it. Set in a world submerged in water, Shah’s debut follows teen Leyla who, after winning the coveted London Marathon, goes in search of her missing father who was wrongfully arrested. I found myself frustrated reading this because the concept and premise is SO good, but the entire book is let down by the writing. I truly believe I would have loved this book if it wasn’t written this way. The way these characters speak to each other just sound so fake and unrealistic. Even Leyla’s internal voice found so forced and weak. I just found myself so irritated through my entire reading experience. Even just thinking about it now while I type this makes me not want to write the full review because I don’t think it’s worth my time.

Final Thoughts
So, I would say this readathon was a success! The Daevabad books were definitely the highlight of the month! I’m very excited to be wrapped up with university and having more freedom to write again! I feel like living through a pandemic has mushed my mind a bit and my thoughts aren’t coming across as coherent as I’d like them too. So I’ll wrap up here and say thanks for reading this far. Hopefully, my next post won’t be so

Resources on the Black Lives Matter movement, and what you can do to support basic human rights:

Resources for UK citizens:
https://blm.crd.co/ (Specifically aimed towards UK & Ireland citizens)
– Black Lives Matter UK (https://blacklivesmatter.com/)
– Show Racism The Red Card (https://www.theredcard.org/)
– Runnymede (https://www.runnymedetrust.org/)
– Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/ab…)

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