Drama, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery/Thriller, Romance

Mythothon Readathon Reviews – Part 1

I have no idea why I decided to take on so many books whilst juggling my university work and my part-time job… but here I am! I’m actually quite proud of myself for sticking with the Mythothon challenge – so here are my thoughts on my reads!

Piercing by Ryu Murakami: Weird but Wanted More

Piercing book cover

Piercing

by Ryū Murakami

Published January 1994 by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 0747593132

Data from Goodreads

Every night, Kawashima Masayuki creeps from his bed and watches over his baby girl’s crib while his wife sleeps. But this is no ordinary domestic scene. He has an ice pick in his hand, and a barely controllable desire to use it. Deciding to confront his demons, Kawashima sets into motion a chain of events seeming to lead inexorably to murder

Rep: Japanese rep

TW: violence

I was drawn to this book because of its interesting cover and creepy synopsis. It certainly began with a very tense atmosphere and I was excited to see where the author would take the story. It took me a while to get used to the writing style, but I still wasn’t able to get into the story. Every time I would think the climax would happen… it didn’t. I wasn’t a fan of the ending and the lack of direction in the story is why I’m giving this 2/5 stars.

Audition by Ryu Murakami: All the Creepy Vibes!!

Audition book cover

Audition

by Ryu Murakami

Published January 5th 2009by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 0747589488

Data from Goodreads

Documentary-maker Aoyama hasn’t dated anyone in the seven years since the death of his beloved wife, Ryoko. Now even his teenage son Shige has suggested he think about remarrying. So when his best friend Yoshikawa comes up with a plan to hold fake film auditions so that Aoyama can choose a new bride, he decides to go along with the idea

Rep: Japanese rep

TW: mention of child abuse, violence

This was my second novel by Ryu Murakami, and I enjoyed it a lot! The premise was eerie, the story had tension throughout, and I was hooked from the start! There is just enough opportunity given to understand the MC whilst also keeping the reader at the edge of their seat. My one critique? I wish there had been more chilling instances in the book; the ending had an explosion of violence but I wanted to see the warning signs more clearly throughout the story. Either way, I really enjoyed this book so I’m giving it 4/5 stars.

In The Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami: More Than A Slasher Story

In The Miso Soup book cover

In The Miso Soup

by Ryu Murakami

Published February 20th 2006by Bloomsbury
ISBN: 0747578885

Data from Goodreads

It’s just before New Year, and Frank, an overweight American tourist, has hired Kenji to take him on a guided tour of Tokyo’s nightlife. But, Frank’s behaviour is so odd that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion: his client may in fact have murderous desires. Although Kenji is far from innocent himself, he unwillingly descends with Frank into an inferno of evil, from which only his sixteen-year-old girlfriend, Jun, can possibly save him.

Rep: Japanese rep

TW: violence, sexual imagery

Okay, this is my last Murakami review (on this post, at least)! I was drawn to the slasher angle of the story and was looking forward to how the author would use his calm narrative to make this novel unique. In that sense, Murakami did not disappoint. If anything, the slight unease that the reader feels throughout the story leaves them unprepared for the shocking gore and violence. There are so many themes involved in this novel (e.g. loneliness, mental illness, etc.), which is why it’s more than just the typical gory thriller. However, I wasn’t a fan of the ending because it just felt too abrupt. I’m giving this 3/5 stars!

Velvet Was The Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Noir, noir, noir

Velvet Was The Night book cover

Velvet Was The Night

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published August 17th 2021by Del Rey Books
ISBN: 0593356829

Data from Goodreads

1970s, Mexico City. Maite is a secretary who lives for one thing: the latest issue of Secret Romance. While student protests and political unrest consume the city, Maite escapes into stories of passion and danger.

Her next-door neighbor, Leonora, a beautiful art student, seems to live a life of intrigue and romance that Maite envies. When Leonora disappears under suspicious circumstances, Maite finds herself searching for the missing woman—and journeying deeper into Leonora’s secret life of student radicals and dissidents.

Meanwhile, someone else is also looking for Leonora at the behest of his boss, a shadowy figure who commands goon squads dedicated to squashing political activists. Elvis is an eccentric criminal who longs to escape his own life: He loathes violence and loves old movies and rock ’n’ roll. But as Elvis searches for the missing woman, he comes to observe Maite from a distance—and grows more and more obsessed with this woman who shares his love of music and the unspoken loneliness of his heart.

Now as Maite and Elvis come closer to discovering the truth behind Leonora’s disappearance, they can no longer escape the danger that threatens to consume their lives, with hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies all aiming to protect Leonora’s secrets—at gunpoint.

If you know me at all, then you know I won’t pass up the chance to read something by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Every one of her books is captivating and unique! This is a crime noir in its entirety, and if you are a fan of that genre, you will love this novel with its quirky moments. Unfortunately, this novel just wasn’t a good fit for me. I felt very confused whilst reading this book because of the numerous characters and my inability to grasp the political climate and conflict well. I also wanted the 2 MCs to connect a lot sooner in the story – but that’s just my own wish. The ending was good but the way everything was solved left me wanting more. Still, this was an impressive story and I’m happy to give it 3 stars!

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Instant Favourite

The Beautiful Ones book cover

The Beautiful Ones

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Published April 27th 2021by Tor Books
ISBN: 1250785561

Data from Goodreads

They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites, and this spring is Nina’s chance to join their ranks, courtesy of her well-connected cousin and his calculating wife. But the Grand Season has just begun, and already Nina’s debut has gone disastrously awry. She has always struggled to control her telekinesis—neighbors call her the Witch of Oldhouse—and the haphazard manifestations of her powers make her the subject of malicious gossip.

When entertainer Hector Auvray arrives to town, Nina is dazzled. A telekinetic like her, he has traveled the world performing his talents for admiring audiences. He sees Nina not as a witch, but ripe with potential to master her power under his tutelage. With Hector’s help, Nina’s talent blossoms, as does her love for him.

But great romances are for fairytales, and Hector is hiding a truth from Nina — and himself — that threatens to end their courtship before it truly begins. The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.

This novel had everything I have come to love about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s work! I loved the lyrical writing and the storytelling. Alternating chapters were used in this story and it really allowed the reader to connect and understand the different character motivations. Every single character was wonderfully crafted and it made the story all the more special! I have to say, the story gave me Jane Austen vibes – but in a more accessible way. My one pet peeve? There is mention of magic in the story but it really wasn’t explained too well; either the author should have excluded it or provided more of a background for its emergence. Either way, this novel grabbed my interest and kept me happy so I’m giving it 4/5 stars!

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho: Such A Fun Read!

Black Water Sister book cover

Black Water Sister

by Zen Cho

Published June 10th 2021by Macmillan
ISBN: 9781447299998

Data from Goodreads

HER GRANDMOTHER MAY BE DEAD
BUT SHE’S NOT DONE WITH LIFE . . . YET

As Jessamyn packs for Malaysia, it’s not a good time to start hearing a bossy voice in her head. Broke, jobless and just graduated, she’s abandoning America to return ‘home’. But she last saw Malaysia as a toddler – and is completely unprepared for its ghosts, gods and her eccentric family’s shenanigans.

Jess soon learns her ‘voice’ belongs to Ah Ma, her late grandmother. She worshipped the Black Water Sister, a local deity. And when a business magnate dared to offend her goddess, Ah Ma swore revenge. Now she’s decided Jess will help, whether she wants to or not.

As Ah Ma blackmails Jess into compliance, Jess fights to retain control. But her irrepressible relative isn’t going to let a little thing like death stop her, when she can simply borrow Jess’s body to make mischief. As Jess is drawn ever deeper into a world of peril and family secrets, getting a job becomes the least of her worries.

Rep: LGBTQIA+ rep, Asian rep

TW: physical abuse, mention of rape (and almost-rape), domestic abuse, homophobia, death

This was my first time reading anything by Zen Cho and I enjoyed this novel thoroughly. I loved learning about a different culture than my own, and the sprinkling of Hokkien throughout the story was fun to see! The story is very quirky, and gave me a greater understanding of how ghosts, gods, and possession is perceived in a non-Western culture. I also really liked the MC, especially with her struggles to (Click to reveal spoiler) come out to her family as a lesbian . There are feminist undertones throughout the story, which I really appreciated seeing. However, I did think some character motivations were problematic and some elements of the story were too convenient; (Click to reveal spoiler) I mean, Jess’s parents are pretty much unaware of anything that is happening and their lack of awareness was baffling to me, especially considering that she is new to the country and is going off on her own all the time . Overall, I enjoyed the quirkiness of the story and the writing style, so I’m giving this 4/5 stars!


I’ve only reviewed 6 books here but fear not! I will be having a Part 2 to cover all of the other books I’ve read in this readathon (yes, I managed to get through all of them!) so keep your eyes peeled for my next post!

In the meantime, did you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Have you participated in this readathon this month? Let me know in the comments!

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