Friday Book Club #24

Friday, January 29, 2021


Could I spend Friday Book Club talking about more than one book? Yes, absolutely. I may in fact immediately do a February post for a few of the other ones I've finished lately, but today all I really want to talk about is Mikoto and the Reaver Village.

(And I'm switching the stylistic font choices of this series temporarily, because I can't imagine anyone wants to read a billion paragraphs in italics.)

Mikoto and the Reaver Village by Forthright (Fantasy)

This summer is his last chance to win his first love.
Wardenclave has always been a place of secrets and sway. For most of the year, the remote mountain village is closed off from the rest of the world, but each spring, they issue invitations to the most promising young reavers all over the world. Summer skill camps provide opportunities for the elite to train with the best. And by longstanding tradition, for teens of the In-between to evaluate the compatibility of their peers. Glint Starmark’s reputation as a matchmaker has been holding true for millennia.

At seventeen, Mikoto Reaver is the youngest headman in Wardenclave’s history. He’s had very little time to adjust to his new role before their close-knit community opens its doors to children of pedigree, the specialists who will mentor them, an allotment of battlers, and a celebrity or two. Glint means well, but Mikoto won’t commit until he can speak to the only girl he’s ever loved. There’s just something about her. 

My Thoughts:
I discovered Forthright what feels like a billion years ago (but was actually July 2018) via a blog post by Ilona Andrews and I've pretty much been obsessed ever since.  It's just something about their books. Maybe it is as Andrews says, that they are low heat and high intimacy, but as the series goes on it is one I consider anchored by romance but romance adjacent. As the cast grows I think the plot moves by the strength of all the characters, not just the main couple and the combination forces me to pay attention, especially in a story like Mikoto's.

Each book builds on information from the previous one, but in particular this book is tied to Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal and heavily features the characters from it. And as many times as I've reread that since it's original publishing in 2018, there were moments where I had to wrack my brain to correctly remember the relationships and for me that meant, when combined with the plot, Mikoto was a slow read. That almost never happens. But I felt immersed and caught by these characters and the unexpected couple at the heart of the story.

The world of the Amaranthine is familiar but different, and the decisions the main types of people (Amaranthine, Humans, and Reavers) make are based on rules that feel foreign but are never arbitrary. Thus when individuals make decisions that my brain might initially take umbrage with, I usually need to step back, reread, and consider how one reacts in this world. From that viewpoint it almost always makes sense, even when it can read a little cold-blooded.

I feel like a lot of that might end up coming across as vague, but I really really enjoyed reading this book. It made me want to own a physical copy, so I can have the feel of it and become familiar with where on an actual page my favorite parts are. The only thing that prevented me from immediately rereading it was that I went back and read Kimiko instead. Forthright is right up there with my other favorite authors, whose books I pine for but then end up despondent because I finish them in a day. I definitely think you should read it, but it does not stand alone so read the other three first. But that's not a bad list to have in front of you lol. 

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