ARC received from the publisher (Stelliform Press) in exchange for an honest review.
Now this was a breath of fresh air. Barely over novella length and set in near future Beijing plagued by pollution where water is strictly rationed, it’s at the same time deeply melancholic, sweet, and kind. I loved it. I requested this more or less on a whim after Christine @ Black Forest Basilisks recommended it to me and I have no regrets.
(Also, if you need any more convincing, there are dragons and it’s gay.)
ARC received from the publisher (Tor) in exchange for an honest review.
It’s always difficult when one of your most anticipated releases of the year turns out to be a complete disappointment. I had a little warning, fellow fans of The Goblin Emperor disappointed, my experience with The Angel of the Crows tempering my expectations, I knew it was not a true sequel and different…but I did expect a certain degree of craft that just wasn’t there in the end.
ARC received from the publisher (Orbit) in exchange for an honest review.
I know there is no higher power that sanctions a king or an emperor. There is only the moment when power is placed in your hands, and there is one truth: either you take the power and wield it, or someone else will. And perhaps they will not be as kind to you and yours.
I should not have put this off as long as I did – my fears about this book being a slow read because it was epic fantasy were baseless. Not only does it largely live up to the hype, it reads really really fast as well. And the romance subplot is exquisite – sapphic, morally gray, with with a strong hurt/comfort element.
I am now fully vaccinated! The second shot did a number on me (which is why this post is so late), but it’s done with, and I can rest a little easier now. I also spent a lot of time this month reflecting on what the hell do I want to do with my life after deciding to quit studying computer science for good a few months ago and finally arrived to a conclusion: I do want to go back to uni and I will go study history and French. How will I get tuition money, I’m not yet sure. But I will get there.
Anyway, enough with the personal stuff, onto the books!
The Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer: Still good. Still so full of plot twists and great characters and moral ambiguity and so up many of my specific alleys. Though a review is still eluding me.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi: Read it on a whim because it was the book of the month for one of the r/fantasy bookclubs and someone uttered the magical words “it’s short.” No regrets.
The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian (ARC): Not my favourite of her books (that honour will forever go to Two Rogues Make a Right), but enjoyable enough. She never disappoints.
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri (ARC): I was a little afraid of it because of its length, but it’s a much faster read than expected and the romance is exquisite. f/f + hurt/comfort = yesplease???
This was pretty much an impulse read. I saw a lot of talk about it in the last couple weeks, I was curious but not enough to disrupt my already messy TBR, then the magical words “it’s short” got mentioned. And sure enough, at only a little over novella length, it’s an astonishingly quick read, but that doesn’t mean it packs any less of a punch.
I’m not sure where to even start with this book – I’m not sure a review can do it justice. I picked it up because I heard about the 18th century references and it turned out to be one of the craziest, best, wildest, most cursed rides involving a lot of quite uncharacteristic incoherent screaming. It has to be experienced to be believed. As hard as it was to tell from my commentary while I was reading it, I think I might have a new favourite series. Definitely not for everyone, but very up multiple of my niche alleys.
I struggle to open history’s inner doors to you, to teach you how those who made this new era think and feel. In my age we have come anew to see history as driven not by DNA and economics, but by man. And woman. And so must you.
Looking back at it, May has been a surprisingly miserable month for reading. I’d worry that I am perhaps entering another slump, and I might be, but I also did plenty of other things. Like started working on a miniature DIY teahouse kit. Or started my first translation from French to English (after only five months of learning) because I simply couldn’t wait any longer. I realised way too late that the material I chose for practice, a collection of letters I’ve been interested in since November, includes fucking poetry in the middle of some of the letters, but I remain undeterred. It’s rather fun, actually.
And of course, after last year’s cancellation, I finally got to watch my beloved eurovision. In the end, I’m surprisingly unsalty about it all – only two acts I liked didn’t make it into the finals, plus I’m more than happy with Italy winning (even if Ukraine was my favourite). And I’m very much still in the mood 😁
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer: Brilliant. Amazing. I don’t think a book has reduced me to quite this degree of incoherence and ALL CAPS before. I’ll try to get the review ready as soon as I can.
Nothing yet. Though I should probably start The Lights of Prague.
Émilie du Châtelet is one of the many historical figures who deserve to be brought back from the obscurity they faded into. Her name mostly being mentioned as a lover of a more famous man is an injustice – admittedly, that’s how I first learned of her myself but…18th century woman scientist and philosopher? With such an interesting life? I had to know more, and this is probably not the last book about her I read.
April again proves my reading habits are pretty much back to normal. Aside from a little slump at the end of the month after a book majorly disappointed me, I’d even consider it above average. I hope I can finish Bingo in the next two or three months.
Kalpa Imperial by Angelica Gorodischer: Short stories telling the history of an imaginary empire. Beautifully written, but I hoped they’d be more connected than they were.
Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray: A very, very sweet m/m retelling of Beauty and the Beast set during WWII. Wasn’t too into it at first, but it gradually won me over.
Emilie du Châtelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment by Judith P. Zinsser: After the disappointment that was the previous book, I needed something to cheer myself up, and there’s nothing better to cheer me up than history. A great biography of a woman who is often overlooked and remembered only as only a more famous man’s mistress, but actually had plenty of achievements of her own and a short but very eventful life. Might post my review in the next few days.