First Book

Discussion post

What is the first book you remember reading all by yourself? Leave a comment and a link to the book. For me it was Corduroy by Don Freeman. I used to pretend to read it before I knew what words were because I knew when to turn the page, based on how my dad used to read it to me and memorizing the words. My aunt thought I was a genius 3 year old. It is still one of my favorite books!

Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings

High Fantasy is what first captured my love of reading. Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings is a classic story that perfectly edifies one of my favorite genres. My book club is currently reading books that were published before 1990. I initially chose this tome because it tells the story of a young man coming of age. It also had three other things that make for intriguing reading: magic, gods and espionage.

World building is one of the reasons I love High Fantasy and Pawn of Prophecy (PoP) does this very well. The story starts by explaining the ancient legend and how it colors cultures of the land. This story has all the mixing to make an epic story. Future kings who are unaware of their destiny, sorcerers, angry gods, and a quest for a lost relic that needs to be found before the bad guys get it.

The characters are mostly well rounded, with a strong female character Aunt Pol who stole the show. While this book is a set up for the rest of the Belgariad Series, in this first book we get enough background of the characters to connect. Think Harry Potter year 1-5, as our young man Garion learns the truth about his background and slowly (painfully slowly in some sections) comes to grips with destiny.

Overall I give this book a 4/5. It hits all the fine points of the genre, however it has the often found problem of a rushed ending. As I stated this is a setup for the rest of the series and it has that first book syndrome: a light resolution but a cliffhanger for the major open questions. Still the characters, world and quest are interesting enough that you are compelled to go on the next book. Have you read this series? What did you think?

The Rook by Danielle O’Malley

First installment in a thrilling supernatural Procedural series

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a Auror after graduating from Hogwarts? Or what exactly one does after  leaving Charles Xaiver’s School for Gifted children? The book, “The Rook” by Australian author Daniel O’Malley gives you a purview of what life is like for a person with special powers who decides to work for the government. Now while at first glance this might not sound that exciting to anyone who’s not Hermonie Granger, add to it a bought of amnesia, some espionage and an organization ranked like a chess board, all set in  backdrop of England and you have a spy mystery that’s a must read.

This book starts with one of the best opening lines I have read in awhile “Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine”. We meet Myfanwy (with a silent w) Thomas, but is it the real Myfanwy? We spend the rest of the book trying to figure it out the mystery of what happened to her along with the threat to the organization she works for, the Chequy. This is a secret group that works to fight the supernatural and unnatural forces that cause threats to the United Kingdom.

The organization is ranked by the pieces of a chess board with the higher ranking members represented by pieces such as the King, Queen, Bishops, and Chevaliers.  Myfanwy due to her super powers is a Rook and is a field agent. Through her “new” body she has gained a new sense of self and this allows her a new confidence. This helps her discover that the Grafters group are hatching a secret plot against her organization and the book takes us on an interesting ride to help solve the mystery.

Along the way O’Malley does an excellent job of world building. The author shares so much information, from the history for the countries the governments and the organizations, to the background of the main characters. Still, the author makes it information and out protagonist and witty and very engaging. This book is not for the faint of heart or stomach. It’s got a bit of gore, creepy crawlers and monsters, it is a super natural book after all. However, at its heart is a book about a young woman who is dealing with her past, as she tries to remember it, as well as a good old fashion mystery novel.

The character development is some of the best for a first time writer. Kudos to O’Mally for writing a full story for the first part of a trilogy and not just part of the story. The characters that fill the Chequy are vibrant and interesting. With just enough mystery to make you wish you could hear the story from their perspectives too! The book is well paced, the story is fully engaging and the story is not overly predictable.

The series is currently being translated to a supernatural spy thriller for Starz, starring Jon Fletcher, Joshua Squire, Emma Greenwell and Olivia Munn. The series will debut this summer on Starz , the premiere date has yet to be announced.

This book is available on Kindle and Audible as well as paperback and hardcover. The audible was performed by Susan Duerden, her accents were perfect and spot on. This was helpful with some of the spellings and pronunciations. Over all we give this book 5/5, it hit all the notes. Have you read The Rook? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

Chimera Review of A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott

We rate books based on if we would recommend them, as related to the theme, and how much we enjoyed them based on the following criteria:
Ease of read, plot, writing, and resolution.

We found this book a little lacking. One of the primary things we were looking for with this book was an explanation of  the time travel that the characters use. There seemed to be no rhyme of reasons for why the characters were transported back. Also it took almost half the book to even know that it was about time travel. The characterization of the main character uses every trope and cliche about young teens of color that is hard not to groan. It seems this book is currently used as student guide to talk about and build on discussions around slavery. This is the poor man’s Kindred, set in New York. Though the writing and characters are decent, we can not really recommend this book, especially given that the time travel is never explained.

Leave a comment about how you enjoyed the book, and why you rated the book the way you did. How did this book make you feel?

Chimera Review of The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein

We rate books based on if we would recommend them, as related to the theme, and how much we enjoyed them based on the following criteria:
Easy of read, plot, writing, and resolution.

While we enjoyed this book for its comedy and unique take on time travel, (freezing yourself for the future) there were part that were a bit unsettling. The grooming, manipulation of tropes and overall characterization of women was pretty jarring. However it was well written and fun.

Leave a comment about how you enjoyed the book, and why you rated the book the way you did. How did this book make you feel?

Chimera Review of The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

We rate books based on if we would recommend them, as related to the theme, and how much we enjoyed them based on the following criteria:
Easy of read, plot, writing, and resolution.

The consensus for this book was weird. We had a some abandon it. We had others who loved it. However some of the things we cold agree with were that the authors may have perhaps used more words than needed. This didn’t have to be 700 pages. The characters were interesting and the plot was inventing, still having the authors beat plot points into your head multiple times can be a bit aggravating for some readers. This was the best of the Time Travel books this flight and we might have to step away from this genre for a while to recoup.

Leave a comment about how you enjoyed the book, and why you rated the book the way you did. How did this book make you feel?

Chimera review of Kindred by Octavia Butler

We rate books based on if we would recommend them, as related to the theme, and how much we enjoyed them based on the following criteria:
Ease of read, plot, writing, and resolution.

Rate the book based on the Chimera Readers Rating Scale:
5 = Excellent (Far Exceeded expectations)
4 = Great (Exceeded expectations)
3 = Liked (Acceptable, Met Expectations)
2 = Meh (Failed to meet minimum expectations)
1 = Terrible (Would not recommend)

Leave a comment about how you enjoyed the book, and why you rated the book the way you did. How did this book make you feel?

Full Book List

Looking for something to read?

Check out the list of books we’ve read! In 2016 we started posting reviews to the community as well as polls.
Join us in reading and reviewing!

(This list will be updated as we read more books)

2018 Books (34)
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault by James Alan Gardner
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings
On Stranger Tides, by Tim Powers
Jhereg by Steven Brust
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw
A Most Magical Girl by Karen Foxlee
Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Everfair by Nisi Shawl
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab
Punishment by Scott J. Holliday
Double Down by Susan Hayes
Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Geekomancy by Michael Underwood
Hell’s Super by Mark Cain
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley
The Changling by Victor la Salle
A Quiet Life in the Country by T E Kinsey
When Gravity Fails, by George Alec Effinger
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Wild Robot, by Peter Brown

2017 Books (42)

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Firebird by Mercedes Lackey
Geekerella: A Fangirl Fairy Tail
Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Strictly Analog by Richard Levesque
Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
The Phantom of the Opera: By Gaston Leroux
Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older
Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson
Welcome to The Night Vale
The Palace Affair by Patrick Weekes
The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper Fforde
Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt
Poison Study by Maria Snyder
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Matilda by Roald Dahl
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
The Knight of Swords by Michael Moorcock
The Invincible by Stanislaw Lem
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle
Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Blood Rain by Nancy Gray
Off to Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer
The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Three Part’s Dead by Max Gladstone
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar
A Midsummer Tempest” by Poul Anderson
Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw
Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

2016 Books (35 books)
Fate of Perfection by K.F. Breene
All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin
Servant of the Underworld by Aliette deBodard
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord
The Rules of Supervillainy by C.T. Phipps
Distopia by Robert Kroese
Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore
Odd John: A Story Between Jest and Earnest by Olaf Stapledon
Suldrun’s Garden by Jack Vance
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expery
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams
1632: Ring of Fire by Eric Flint
Black Blade Blues by J.A.Pitts
Dark Lord: The Early Years by Jamie Thomson 
Champion for Hire by John Van Stry  
Agent to the Stars  by John Scalzi 
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
Soulless by Gail Carriger

2015 Books (28 books)
Aetherium: Assassins of the Steam Age by Robert Lewis
The Briar King  by Greg Keyes
The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
Brilliance by Marcus Sakey
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant 
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Martian  by Andy Weir
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
The Vines by Chistopher Rice
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
Insanity by Cameron Jace
The Shadow of what was Lost – James Islington
The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo
Red Queen by Visctoria Aveyard
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Nexus series by Ramez Naam
Nexus, Crux, Apex
Midnight Run by Ben Aaronovitch
Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Portable Door by Tom Holt
The Lady Astronomer by Katy O’Dowd
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Miss Mabel’s School for Girls by Katie Cross
The cabinet of Earthes by Anne Nasbet
Lisel and Po by Lauren Oliver

2014 Books – 30 books 
Marking Time by April White
Lock In by John Scalzi
Horns by Joe Hill
Shadow Over Avalon by C.N Lesley
Alif the Unseen  by Willow Wilson
Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 
Golden Compass by Philip Pullman  
Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu 
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi
Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
Artful by Peter David
Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
Inquisitor by RJ Blain
This Changes Everything by Sally Ember-
Timebound by Rysa Walker
Wool (Omnibus) by Hugh Howey
The Dark Lord’s Handbook by Paul Dale.
Intangible by C.A. Gray
Libriomancer: (Magic Ex Libris Book 1) by Jim C. Hines 
The Book of Lost Things by  John Connolly
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adam
Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut
The Stepsister Scheme  by Jim C. Hines
Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
The Golem and the Jinni by  Helene Wecker
Among Others by Jo Walton
The Bone Season: A Novel by Samantha Shannon 
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer  by Lish McBride
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

2013 Books – 18 books
December – Little, Big by  John Crowley                       
November – The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (reread), The Whatnot by Stefan Bachmann, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
October – Neuromancer by William Gibson
September – Crux by Ramez Naam
August –  Taliesin (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 1) & Merlin (The Pendragon Cycle, Book 2) by Stephen R. Lawhead
July – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman & The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by
Catherynne M. Valente
June – The Magicians: A Novel  & The Magician King y Les Grossman
May – Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
April – The Light Of Eidon (Legends of the Guardian-King Book #1)
March – Grimme (The Europas Cycle) by Peter A. Smalley
February – Nexus by Ramez Naam
January – Shadow of Black Wings/ Dragonbone Chest – James Calbraith

2012 Books – 10 books

December – The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann
November – Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version by Phillip Pullman
October – Pym by Mat Johnson
September – The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer
August – Magic Street by Orson Scott Card
July – Dragon Path by Daniel Abraham
May+June – Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
April – The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
March – Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Feb – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Jan – Wicked by Gregory Maguire