A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin | Book Review

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #4)
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 753
First Published: October 17, 2005

★★★★☆

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*For the other books in the series, you can find my review of A Game of Thrones here, A Clash of Kings here, and A Storm of Swords here.

When it comes to A Feast for Crows, most people consider it to be their least favorite book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I can certainly see why, and I can't say I loved it as much as A Game of Thrones or A Storm of Swords. However, I still had a lot of fun reading it, so I don't agree with people who say this book was boring and that nothing happened—I just don't think that's true. The main issue here is that some favorite PoV characters are missing from this book: Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon. We also don't hear from Bran, Theon, or Davos this time around—instead, we are introduced quite a few new PoVs which can be hit or miss.

In general, the way the story works in A Feast for Crows is comparable to A Clash of Kings: in the aftermath of all the craziness that went on in A Storm of Swords, there is a lot of scheming and setup for future events, with some major things happening later in the book. To me, the long-winded setup George R.R. Martin does has always been worth the payoff, so I don't mind watching the characters make their small moves in anticipation of big ones. I also love Martin's writing (as I've mentioned on several occasions before), so where some people get annoyed with descriptions of food and dreams, I pour myself another glass of Dreamwine, slice more cheese, and enjoy the ride. This may not be for everybody, so if you are easily bored by lengthy descriptions—I understand your frustrations, just push through and remember that things will get intense eventually.

Let's talk about the PoVs and storylines. The only Starks we hear from are Sansa and Arya, though they only have 3 chapters each. I enjoyed both of their characters, with Arya having a very intriguing cliffhanger at the end, and Sansa being a bit more of a slow-burning character in a new setting. We also have Sam's PoV back, which is the only way we briefly see Jon. To me, Sam is not the most exciting character, but he's still someone I'm interested in, particularly because of all the mystical elements and lore that always seem to surround him (I suspect this trend will continue because of where he ended up by the end of A Feast for Crows). The last returning character is Jaime, whom I was kind of disappointed with—I still enjoyed seeing his character growth and how differently he responds to things now, but in the grand scheme of things, not much happened with his character.

As for the new PoVs, Brienne of Tarth and Cersei Lannister are actually the top two characters when in comes to the chapter count in this book. Despite the fact that Cersei is pretty much an self-centered bitch, her PoV ended up being one of my favorites in A Feast for Crows. Not only is her character interesting to observe, but there is a very intriguing power shift happening at King's Landing, and I can't wait to see what it leads to. There is also a lot of backstory that has to do with Targaryens and Cersei herself that gets revealed through her, which is something I loved. As for Brienne—her early chapters were hit or miss for me, but the last few had me at the edge of my seat, and the way things ended... wow, I really can't wait to find out what's next. Lastly, there is a mix of PoVs that have to do with House Greyjoy and House Martell. Greyjoys were the bane of my existence because their chapters were the ones I actually found boring, even though it seems like they may have an important role to play later on. On the other hand, I absolutely loved everything that had to do with Martells, and I can't believe how badly their storyline was butchered in season 5 of Game of Thrones. WTF HBO?!

Overall, I still really liked A Feast for Crows, despite its slower parts. While I can agree that it's not the best out of the A Song of Ice and Fire books, it's nowhere near as bad as some people make it sound. As long as you don't go in expecting it to top A Storm of Swords, you will find plenty of things to enjoy. For me, this was a solid 4 out of 5 kind of book, and I cannot wait to get started on A Dance with Dragons.

P.S. If you're a fan of the show and you want to know what I think about the latest season, check out my Best + Worst of Game of Thrones Season 5 video below, and take a look at my Game of Thrones + ASoIaF playlist.


9 Books and Series I'm Reading This Summer

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It's time for another seasonal TBR, which is actually working out much better for me compared to the monthly TBRs I used to do. I managed to read the majority of the books from my Spring TBR, the only exceptions being Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (wasn't really feeling mystery novels this spring) and Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (I have no excuse, reading this ASAP). My main goal for this summer is to finish up and catch up on most of the book series I have started, so that's what I'll be reading first. Other than that, I'm still very much in the science fiction and fantasy mood, so everything on this list is in that realm of things.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin is actually something I made a lot of progress on in the spring! I only have one book left, and then I'll be all caught up and anxiously awaiting the release of The Winds of Winter. I am, of course, loving the series, so A Dance with Dragons is on top of my TBR right now. Side note: if you're wondering why A Feast for Crows is in this photo, it's because I took the photo last week when I didn't realize I was going to marathon that book and finish it before I post this. 

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is the series I started most recently, and I definitely want to continue reading it. The whole science fiction spin on classic fairy tales is really working for me, so Scarlet and Cress are up next on my list. I know there is one more book—Fairest, which takes place between books 3 and 4 (released later this year), but I haven't purchased that one just yet. We'll see how those two go first.

3. Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman is a series I should have finished a while ago. I'm not sure what has taken me so long, since I love the premise of the series, and the first book is my favorite YA dystopian novel I have read so far. So, I'm definitely planning on reading  UnSouled and UnDivided this summer.

4. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson is my first book by this author. If you remember my reading goals post from the beginning of this year, Brandon Sanderson was on it as one of the authors I definitely wanted to get to because most of the fantasy readers out there love this guy's writing. This is actually one of this month's picks for the book club that Lindsay and I run, so I really should get started.

5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is another one of our book club picks. I've heard a lot of amazing things about Kazuo Ishiguro's books. I've also seen the movie based on this particular one, and it left a lasting impression on me. 

6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is one of those science fiction novels that I really should have read by now. To be honest, I don't know much about it because when people talk about this book they assume you already know what it's about. I'm actually totally fine with that, since I really like going into books knowing as little as possible. This should be fun!

7. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a book I have been really wanting to read for the past few years, but I've also been really intimidated by it. I know it features a lot of story lines that take place at different points in time, and some of them can be pretty confusing. This book has some polarized reviews, so I'm curious to find out how I'll feel about it. 

8. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell is his most recent novel, and supposedly a bit easier to comprehend than Cloud Atlas. As you can see, I'm on a David Mitchell mission here. From what I understand, it also features multiple story lines that are somehow connected.

9. Armada by Ernest Cline is the only book on this list that I don't own yet because it's not released until July. However, I know I will be reading it as soon as I get my hands on it because I absolutely loved Ready Player One (it was on my list of favorite books I read in 2014). Armada has a lot to live up to!

That's it for my summer TBR, and considering that we are halfway through June, I better get started on this list. What are you reading this summer?


Five Things Friday: Book Series I Won’t Finish

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I recently posted about all of the book series I need to catch up on, so today I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the ones I don't intend to continue reading. Now, I will probably upset some people here because all of these book series have very strong fan bases, but I have to be honest and just didn't enjoy these books. Let me know if you felt the same way or if you think these series get better in later books.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

When I first heard about this book series, I thought it was going to be right up my alley. It's a young adult dystopian series about the final wave of an alien attack on Earth. The first book was getting amazing reviews on Goodreads, so I picked it up as soon as I could. The last thing I expected from The 5th Wave was being bored reading it, and yet that's exactly what happened. I remember being baffled by all the 5 star reviews, because the way I saw it... it was a paint-by-numbers alien invasion story. I thought it was incredibly predictable, and on top of that teen romance was the last thing I wanted in a science fiction disaster novel like this. Don't get me wrong, this book had some redeeming qualities such as good pacing, and some suspense because the characters didn't know what the aliens looked like. However, what I wanted was an exciting original survival story I was promised, and I ended up very disappointed. After that, of course, I didn't have any motivation to pick up the sequel (especially since I've been hearing some mixed things about it).

The Ender Quintet by Orson Scott Card

After watching the movie adaptation of the first book, I really wanted to read the series. Ender's Game is set in the future when the smartest kids are being trained in a military academy to defend the Earth against a possible future alien attack. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin ends up in the training program, and quickly becomes the best at anything he tries to do. No, really, ANYTHING. Though the world in this book was very imaginative and easy to visualize because of the vivid descriptions, I found the characters very difficult to relate to (especially Ender). On top of that, the book was filled with sexism, stereotyping, and derogatory terms that were brushed off as jokes. While I understand this was written back in the '80s, it doesn't make discrimination OK. I also kept finding out more and more about the author's personal views, which led me to the decision to never buy any of his books ever again. I wasn't going to continue with the series based on my experience with Ender's Game alone, and even though I have been told the series gets more interesting later on, I don't think I could get over the personal issues to give the next book a shot.

Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia

Now, this series is one where I actually attempted the second book out of curiosity, but realized I just couldn't do it. I have a full review of Beautiful Creatures (the first book in the series) on this blog, and you can read all about the issues that I had with it. I ended up thinking the story was OK for paranormal romance, but way too slow. This book involves a regular 16-year-old guy named Ethan and a powerful caster named Lena. As you can imagine, there are all kinds of obstacles and impending doom involved. The problem that I had with Beautiful Creatures was that it felt like 590 pages of setup for the next book, which took me a while to get through. When I started the second book in the series, I hoped that I would finally see some livelier pacing and a more compelling story line, but it was just as slow and whiny as the first one. At that point I knew I wouldn't be able to get through another book of that (or the rest of the series, for that matter), so I actually left the book unfinished. 

Splintered by A.G. Howard

Splintered was a book I really wanted to love. I thought a modernized, darker retelling of Alice in Wonderland sounded like a great idea for a book series, but it just ended up being not my cup of tea. To the author's credit, I actually really enjoyed the writing and the spin that she put on the story. However, I just couldn't get excited about what was going on, and didn't really care about the characters. I kept pushing myself to continue reading, but around the halfway mark I finally gave up because it started to feel like homework. I'm actually pretty sad about this because I still really like the idea of this book series (come on, it's about a dark, dangerous, and messed up Wonderland!), and I know a lot of people really love these books, but there are so many other things I would rather be reading that I don't really see myself ever going back to even finish the first one. I did see that the reviews seem to favor the sequels, so maybe the series gets better later on. Have any of you read this?

Starbound by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Out of all of these, this is a book series I attempted most recently. I have a full book review of These Broken Stars (which is the first book in the series), and I actually thought this was an alright book, for what it was trying to achieve. This is a young adult science fiction romance novel, with a heavy emphasis on the romance. My biggest issue were the characters: I couldn't relate to them, didn't really care what happens to them, and I thought their decision-making was pretty terrible. The good news is, this book was a really quick read and the pacing made it reasonably entertaining. However, this series is just not something I want to continue reading—I'm not the biggest fan of romance novels, especially not young adult romance. There is too much eye-rolling involved for me, and that may result in an injury. I honestly think I would have enjoyed this way more about 10 years ago, but at this point I don't care to continue reading the series. 

 

How about you? Are there any popular book series that just didn't work for you?


A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin | Book Review

Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Book #3)
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 973
First Published: August 8, 2000

★★★★★

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*For the first two books in the series, you can find my review of A Game of Thrones here and A Clash of Kings here.

Where do I even begin talking about A Storm of Swords? In short, I loved it. In my experience, sequels are almost never as good as the originals, but this book was definitely an exception—it's just as amazing as A Game of Thrones. I already knew that I loved George R.R. Martin's writing and his characters after reading the first two books, but the plot and all of the action in A Storm of Swords exceeded my expectations. I went through a wide range of emotions reading this book: excitement, happiness, heartbreak, despair, hope, fear, wonder, surprise... What are you doing to me, George R.R. Martin?!

Since it's book three in the series, the story is in full swing for everyone involved. It got my attention right from the Prologue, and as the things progressed there was a perfect balance of political scheming and personal story lines. The last third of the book had me up way too late at night, and every time I thought I read the last major event, I got hit with another one a chapter or two later. I'm not joking, even the final page of the Epilogue will leave you thinking "What in seven hells?!..."

There is a lot of character development for almost everyone in A Storm of Swords, but something that you may not expect is changing your mind about a few people. First of all, we have two new PoV characters: Jaime Lannister and Samwell Tarly. Sam's PoV is more or less what you would expect, but his perspective is actually quite interesting and has some very intense moments. Jaime's perspective on the other hand is a bit of a game-changer, not just because of what happens to his character from this point on, but also because of who he is as a person. As his past is slowly revealed and his story takes unexpected twists and turns, you can't help falling in love with him. A Storm of Swords made Jaime Lannister one of my favorite characters, which is a concept I would have laughed at during the first two books. On the other hand, Tyrion is someone who reminds us that there is darkness is every person. I'm also continuously more interested in Jon and Sansa—both of these characters are very introverted, so the only way to truly know what's going on with them is through their inner monologues. The PoVs I was underwhelmed by were Daenerys (again) and Bran: Mother of Dragons and little warg are clearly being set up for later action, so right  now they're not the most interesting characters.

As for your emotional health during the course of this book... We may have some issues. No spoilers (of course), but GODS! I very rarely cry when I'm reading, but that ONE scene (you know which one it is, if you've read the book) got me good, and had me taking a break to compose myself. The funny thing is, I knew what was going to happen because I watch the TV show, so I thought I was going to keep it together... Not a chance! And if you're a sweet summer child like me, don't delude yourself thinking this is the last time during this book you will simultaneously want to break something and drown your sorrows in Dreamwine.

I could talk about A Storm of Swords for a very long time (especially if I start bringing spoilers into this), but this review is getting long. The last thing I want to say is that I love the slowly building aura of magic in this series. This book touched on some very interesting mystical things that really stir my imagination. It's not really clear what's going on with that just yet, but there is a lot more to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire than you may have thought from the previous books. 

In the end, A Storm of Swords deserves all the stars. George R.R. Martin's writing is great, the characters are fascinating, and the story is captivating. My interest in the series is definitely at its highest point at the moment, and this is easily one of the best books I have ever read. Valar morghulis!


May Book Haul | 2015

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It's time for another monthly book haul, and you guys should be proud of me—I only bought seven books in May. This is a rare occurrence, and is probably not the way things are going to go in June, but let's not worry about that. Instead, check out  that red and black cover theme I have going on here—this is entirely unintentional, but it's clearly something I gravitate towards (remember my November haul?)

First of all, after I had really good time reading Cinder by Marissa Meyer (review here) I decided I needed to immediately pick up Scarlet and Cress. In retrospect, I probably didn't need to pick them up in THAT much of a hurry, but I do intend to get to reading them within the next couple of months. I'm really looking forward to getting back to this science fiction fairy tale setting!

Next, after reading Stardust and completely falling in love with Neil Gaiman's writing (you can hear all about it here), I couldn't wait to get my hands on another one of his books. I decided to go with Neverwhere, since a lot of people recommend this book, and I actually really enjoy urban fantasy. I also picked up another book from The Witcher series by Andrzej  Sapkowski—Time of Contempt. If you remember from my last haul, I'm trying to collect this series, and I'm really excited to start reading it again.

Lastly, I have some impulse buys here as well. Wool by Hugh Howey is a dystopian novel I've been hearing a lot of good things about for a while now, so when I saw this pretty much new-looking copy at a used books store I decided I should pick it up. Fahrenheit 451 is a famous dystopian science fiction novel that I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read, so when I saw it on sale on Amazon, I thought the time has come to officially add it to my to-read-soon list. Finally, I also picked up Midwinterblood (which was 90% a cover buy). I'm still not entirely sure what this one is about, but I don't mind going into a book blind when it's described as "creepy", "mysterious", and "exciting".

That's it for my May book haul! Did you pick up any exciting books recently?

P.S. This is what happens pretty much every time I try to take photos at the window... Arya doesn't care about things I need to do—she wants me to stop getting in the way of her bird watching. 


The Secret Speech and Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith | Book Reviews

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After being blown away by Child 44 (check out my review here), I pretty much had to restrain myself from starting the next book immediately. Though Child 44 didn't end on a cliffhanger, I could not wait to read more about Leo and whatever new challenges Tom Rob Smith had in store for him, so I knew I was going to finish the trilogy. As you can see, this didn't take long, so I thought I would combine the reviews for The Secret Speech and Agent 6 in one post. Overall, the trilogy is definitely worth checking out not only for the thrills, but also for a well-researched historical perspective, though I would definitely recommend the first two books over the third one.  

Series: Leo Demidov (Book #2)
Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction
Page Count: 496
First Published: 2009

★★★★☆

The title of The Secret Speech refers to a real-life event: the new Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev giving a shocking speech in which he acknowledged Stalin's crimes. This new political climate in the country sets an interesting backdrop for the story, puts certain things in motion, and leaves some characters in a questionable position based on their previous actions. The story opens with an important event in Leo's past—his first assignment, and later in the book we start understanding why this is so important. The Secret Speech lacks the murder mystery aspect Child 44 had, but it still keeps you on the edge of your seat once the story gets going. It's also worth noting that just like Child 44, this book is a complete story on its own and could definitely be treated as a standalone novel. 

The Secret Speech has a lot to do with Leo adjusting to his new life and trying to do what's right for his family. I loved his character and the way he kept growing as a person. However, someone I didn't like as much was Zoya—one of his adopted daughters. While she has been through a lot as a child, her actions were obnoxious, and her hostile attitude was often uncalled for. She created so many problems, and often I felt that if only she wasn't being ridiculous—half of the issues would have been solved. This doesn't necessarily make her a badly written character—just one that I was very annoyed with.

Just like in Child 44, there are a lot of interesting themes in The Secret Speech. Some are lightly touched on, some are more developed, but the novel definitely gives you a lot to think about and research. Aside from the political situation, it also touches on attitudes towards religion, the workings of an underground movement, and how a person's social status can drastically change in a very short amount of time. However, the main theme of this book and the question that keeps coming up is this: is it possible for someone who has done terrible things to achieve redemption? This isn't something that only has to do with Leo—if you consider the characters and circumstances of The Secret Speech, you will find this theme echoing through the entire novel. As for the answer—it's not an easy one, and it's something Tom Rob Smith leaves for his readers to decide.

Overall, I felt conflicted about rating this book. On one hand, I really enjoyed it, and there were some very nerve-racking parts. On the other, I did miss the mystery aspect I loved in Child 44, and personally I don't particularly enjoy the subject of thieves and gangs (something that was a big part of The Secret Speech). In the end, I'm still really happy I read it, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the first novel in this series.

Onto the last Leo Demidov book...

Agent 6 by Tom Rob Smith

Series: Leo Demidov (Book #3)
Genre: Thriller, Historical Fiction
Page Count: 545
First Published: 2011

★★½☆☆

As you can tell by my rating, I did not get along very well with Agent 6. It's hard to even explain the premise of the book without ruining a big portion of it, but I will do my best. The book spans over a long period of time, starting with the pre-evolved Leo in 1950 and going all the way to 1980s. It also takes place in three different countries: USSR, USA, and Afghanistan. Leo in Agent 6 is a man struggling to adjust to family life by letting go of his old habits, and yet it may be the case when his old habits are what's actually needed. 

Just like the other two books, this one starts with a look at Leo's past. This is actually a part that I enjoyed quite a bit because it took me back to when Leo and Raisa first met—him as a promising government agent, and her as a smart beautiful school teacher. Going forward to 1965, it seems like the tables have turned—Raisa's career is in its peak, while Leo seems to have trouble turning a new leaf in his life. For a large portion of this book he is a secondary character, which actually didn't work very well for me, since he is a character I was most interested in throughout this book series. Of course, the politics are very important in Agent 6 as well, and here we get to explore a bit of the Cold War along with the darker side of American politics. Compared to the first two books, this novel has about as much political setup, but isn't balanced as well by the thrills and tension. I can't say that the whole USA vs. USSR theme worked very well. For me, the most interesting part of this book (aside from the flashback into Leo's past) was the Afghanistan section, which doesn't happen until later in the book.

Throughout the entire Leo Demidov trilogy, Tom Rob Smith does a great job approaching the themes of his books from different angles, and making the readers consider different sides of the argument. The main theme of Agent 6 is (unexpectedly) love, though thankfully, it's far from a romance novel. While love may have to do with another person, a family, a country, a set of beliefs—what the author explores is how love begins, and also how it ends. It may be a slightly depressing subject to consider, but it's still a fascinating one.

On the technical side of things, I thought this book had quite a few problems. First of all, it felt like two different stories merged into one. When the first part of the book finally comes into play again at the very end, it's too late. Second, the climax and ending were lackluster for me, and I was underwhelmed by the neat little bow everything ended up being tied up in. Overall, I struggled to get through this book, and I don't know how long would it have taken me to finish it if I weren't listening to the audiobook.

Sadly, I found Agent 6 to be disappointing. There were certain aspects of it I liked, but as a whole I can't say I enjoyed it very much. I can't really recommend this book, unless you're really committed to finishing the series. Personally, I would suggest stopping after The Secret Speech.

Have any of you finished the Leo Demidov trilogy? What did you think?


Book Series I Need to Catch up On

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I have this problem... I LOVE book series. I know a lot of people will prefer standalone books to series just because these days stories are getting unnecessarily stretched out into trilogies for financial reasons, but I will admit: I am part of why this problem exists. The thing is, when I really love a book I want to spend more time with the characters and in the world the author created. That's not to say I don't end up disappointed by book series—I would say that most of the time nothing lives up to the thrill of the first book for me, but I can't help wanting more. That results in me wanting to start NEW book series... pretty much all the time. Which also means I'm constantly in the middle of multiple series, and that just irks me on a personal level—I really don't like leaving things unfinished. So, I have decided to dedicate the rest of this year to tying up loose ends and getting caught up on everything I'm in the middle of. You will see some of those in my upcoming Summer TBR post, but here are ALL of the books...

1. Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman (books left to read: 2)

I don't know why I haven't finished this series yet. I loved Unwind, and really liked UnWholly, but somehow I never ended up starting the third one. I finished the second book back in 2012, so it's about time I got back into this, before I forget what the cliffhanger was.

2. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare (books left to read: 4)

OK, I actually know what happened here—a bad audiobook narrator. I had a great time reading City of Bones (review here) and City of Ashes (review here), but for some reason decided to listen to City of Glass. Bad move, I couldn't stand the narrator—everything sounded so cheesy, and her version of male voices was ridiculous. I couldn't even finish the book! So, I will be re-reading that one before I continue further.

3. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (books left to read: 3)

This is my most recent book series endeavor—I just reviewed the first book, Cinder, in my previous post. Though I had some problems with it, I still am very interested to continue reading. I don't want to lose momentum with this book series, and I want to make sure I catch up before the next book comes out this fall, so I will be reading the rest very soon. 

4. Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce (books left to read: 2)

Remember how I said I was going to get back to reading this series a year ago? Yea, that's yet to happen. I read Alanna: The First Adventure and In the Hand of the Goddess back in 2013, and really enjoyed them, so I have no idea what's taking me so long. I think part of it is that there is always something higher on my priority list, but I'm making a point of finishing this series this year.

5. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin (books left to read: 2)

This is a series I'm currently making a lot of progress on. After I'm done with A Storm of Swords (which may take some time, since it's a quite lengthy novel), I will only have 2 books left until I am all caught up. Needless to say, I'm absolutely loving the series. You can see my reviews of the first two books here and here.

6. Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata (books left to read: 6)

This actually sounds scarier than it is, because Death Note is a manga series. I read half of it a while ago, and though I was really enjoying it, it took an unexpected turn I wasn't on board with, so I decided to take a break. I do want to find out how everything ends, and since it's not going to take me a long time, I suspect I will marathon the rest of the series very soon. 

7. Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind (books left to read: 10?!)

OK, now this one IS a little scary... However, if this series starts going downhill, I won't worry about finishing it. I read Wizard's First Rule a few years ago, and I felt a little conflicted about it. On one hand, I enjoyed the world building and the variety of characters, as well as how dark of a story this actually turned out to be. On the other hand, I had a little trouble getting into the writing itself, so it took me longer than necessary to finish the first book. Basically, we'll see how this goes, but I would like to at least try to finish this beast of a series.

That's quite a long list of books, so I better get back to reading.
Is there a book series or two you want to finish soon?