{reading} outside my wheelhouse

While I try to read pretty diversely, there are books I too often ignore because I deem the genre “not for me,” such as science fiction and fantasy. Lately I’ve been trying to push myself to give books that I’d typically ignore a chance.

Two recent reads both fit this bill for me: Sleeping Giants, which would be classified as science fiction, and A Curse So Dark and Lonely, which falls into the fantasy camp.


Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. As a child, Rose discovers an artifact that shapes the rest of her life. While out riding her bike, she falls into a large hole, its walls aglow with intricate designs. From above, the firemen who rescue her can see that she has fallen into a giant metal hand. As an adult, Rose is a scientist, and throughout the rest of the story she is being interviewed about her research on the same metal hand she discovered as a girl, as well as other body parts found throughout the world.

Classified as science fiction, I would not have picked up Sleeping Giants had I not heard so many great reviews from other readers who don’t typically gravitate towards that genre. It was compelling, creative, and well-written, and I was enthralled from the start.



A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, prince Rhen is forced to repeat the same season--fall of his eighteenth year--again and again until true love can break the curse. Harper, who exists in the modern world, gets taken against her will to Emberfall, Rhen’s kingdom. Often underestimated due to her size and cerebral palsy diagnosis, Harper is different from other girls Rhen has met. Her fierce determination to return to her dying mother and brother who is desperately trying to provide for their family make Harper a lot more than just a potential savior to Rhen’s curse.

I don’t typically go for fantasy or fairy tale retellings, but I kept hearing about this one and decided to give it a try. It went quickly, and I found myself engrossed in the story and wanting to find out what happens next. I loved Harper and appreciated the way cerebral palsy was a part of her life, but didn't define her character. However, I just couldn’t get into the last part of the book. Some of the fantasy elements were too much for me, and I also didn’t like the obvious way she set up the book’s sequel. I knew this book had a follow-up, but I have no interest in reading it. I’m glad I read this one, and it was a fun departure from my usual choices, despite not loving its wrap-up.



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