At the beginning of May, I told you about my participation in the #asianreadathon. As a reminder, if you haven’t read that article, you can find it here: Reading challenge #asianreadathon : explanation and TBR list. One month later, I come back to you with my opinion on the books I presented last month and that I read! Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to discover these Asian authors!
The books I read during the #asianreadathon 2021
First of all, I have to say that I was pretty well organized since I had time to read my 4 planned books, without stressing myself. I started with Warcross to get into the swing of things since the story had been tempting me for a long time! I then went on with Chop Suey Nation which I devoured in a few days (which is a good thing considering the subject of the book hehe) to continue with Kim Jiyoung, in a style I rarely read, a feminist contemporary fiction book. Finally, I saved The Gilded Wolves for last since fantasy reading is by far my favourite genre. And strangely enough, the books I expected to love disappointed me a bit! In the end, I’m really happy to have changed my horizons for a month and it allowed me to learn a lot of new things. So there you have it, a very positive experience that I would definitely do again!
Warcross by Marie Lu
My note (4/5) : Sorry, did you say Tokyo and science fiction? That’s okay, I’m in. I really loved this book! I found the writing of the book to be super visual, especially during the Warcross matches, which are reminiscent of the Hunger Games in digital form. In short, I felt like I had sent my imagination right into the middle of a TV series! The book is quite readable, it doesn’t drag on, sometimes I would have even appreciated a little more detail. For once, the main heroine, Emika, didn’t annoy me with her actions, I loved Hideo’s character and I liked the ending of the book, although I wasn’t really surprised. Obviously, a big thumbs up for the diversity of the characters: Emika is Chinese/American, Hideo is Japanese and Emika’s team includes a wheelchair user and a gay person. Not to mention all the nationalities in the competition. It’s refreshing to read so much diversity in one book! Would I read the second book, Wildcard? Absolutely. In short, a book I would highly recommend!
Chop Suey Nation by Ann Hui
My note (4/5) : So, I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t sure what the concept of chop suey was. The term “chop suey” refers to the western version of traditional Chinese cuisine, created to appeal to local palates and deal with the lack of authentic ingredients. This is most of the dishes you find in classic Chinese restaurants, but what I didn’t know is that apparently in Canada, this type of restaurant also offers some weird combinations to attract more customers: for example a Chinese restaurant that also sells steaks. During a road trip with her husband, Ann Hui visited many restaurants, met restaurateurs who each have their own story and raised many issues: racism, immigration, prejudice and history. In parallel, Ann Hui tells the story of her father, also a restaurant owner, and this part of the story was obviously more personal. I really enjoyed this read and if I had one thing to improve, it would be to have perhaps a little more detail about the restaurant owners she meets as in the end she only told part of the story. A very interesting read if the subject piques your curiosity but beware, don’t read it while hungry!
Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
My note (3.5/5) : It’s really sad to admit this but if you’re a woman, there is very little in this book that will shock you. Throughout the pages, I had a sense of familiarity and weariness. Cho Nam-Joo follows the life of Kim Jiyoung, a woman like any other, who lives her life, just like everyone else, and as the pages go by, we discover the little acts and words of sexism and misogyny in everyday life. Obviously, this book is focused on Korean culture and society so there are many things that change from our European view but, in general, it is a book that intrigued me without surprising me. I don’t really see this book as a story in itself but rather a rather neutral story with statistics since it is told by a third person (I won’t spoil it for you). The strength of this book lies in the space it offers for reflection: despite the progress of the modern world, we are still so far from gender equality. An interesting, rather quick read, which I would recommend if you are interested in the subject but which will surprise you very little.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
My note (2.5/5) : Big disappointment for me. I had purposely saved this book for last knowing that I love fantasy reading and I had a hard time finishing my reading, skipping entire paragraphs because I was only waiting for one thing, to finish my book and know what was going to happen. It took me a good week to finish this book… I’ve never had this happen to me and I’m a bit sad I must say since I had read so many positive comments. My biggest problem is that there is way too much going on during the book. I felt like I was reading another version of Six of Crows with the “team pulls off a heist” angle and after I read it, I went to read other reviews and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. You fly over the story, you don’t really have time to get into the details, the characters seemed a bit bland and I was just confused while reading. To conclude, I was happy to have finished my reading and I wouldn’t read the following installations to leave room for other books! A bit of a shame to end on a low note but hey, that’s the game!
And that’s the end of my article! I hope this article has inspired you to discover one of these titles! See you soon 🙂