Review: By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar)

goodreads

And the Valdemar binge continues. After the disaster that was The Oathbound, I was a little bit wary of continuing that timeline. But I have been assured this book is a lot better and I wanted a standalone, so I decided to give it a try.

As far as reading order goes, it should preferably read at least after Arrows (it takes place shortly after), but it should work without reading anything else first, too.

Continue reading “Review: By the Sword by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar)”

June 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

2020 june.jpg
After months and months of barely reading, June has been a great month for reading. I joined a Valdemar (re)readalong, which has been great for getting me out of the slump. They’re short, fun, and nostalgic, and apparently exactly what I needed. I still have trouble motivating myself to review (my drafts have grown by…quite a lot), but I guess I’ll get there eventually.

I also finally reviewed The Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman, easily one of my favourite books of 2020.

Read:

  • Arrows trilogy by Mercedes Lackey (reread): The first Valdemar series I read. It still largely holds up, apart from the first half of the third book, Arrow’s Fall, which is filled with the most infuriating and pointless kind of miscommunication-filled relationship drama I’ve seen.
  • Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey: Very fun. Most of it is just Skif being a thief in the slums, and I really appreciated having a story that did not center on nobility for once. And thieves that actually steal.
  • The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey (reread, DNF): This one aged terribly. A lot of infodumping, a needless amount of sexual violence (and it’s not treated well), bad treatment of asexuality, aims for being feminist but really isn’t. Would not recommend.
  • The Infinite Noise (DNF): I thought the cool premise and themes would overpower my deep aversion to high school stories, but it was not to be. Sorry book, it’s not you, it’s me.
  • The Last Herald Mage trilogy by Mercedes Lackey (reread): Aspects of it have not aged too well (it’s basically bury your gays: the series), but it’s still one of my favourites, still hitting all the right emotional notes.
  • Knox by K. Arsenault Rivera, Brooke Bolander, Gabino Iglesias, and Sunny Moraine (ARC): This was a pleasant surprise. It’s essentially a lovecraftian noir taking place in 1930s Manhattan. Recommended, if you like horror.
  • It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian: A super sweet romance featuring a grumpy dyslexic captain and a total cinnamon roll of a vicar. Like always, too many sex scenes for my liking, but otherwise great.

Currently reading:

  • Redemption’s Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky: Probably finishing this one today, or tomorrow at the lastest. I’ve always looked for stories that take place after the big bad has been defeated and this is a perfect fit. Enjoying it quite a bit so far.
  • Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern: This month’s r/Fantasy Book of the Month. Decided to join in since it’s a nice opportunity to read something I already own. Plus, it counts for Bingo. I was a bit dubious since I DNF’d The Night Circus very early on, but so far it’s very intriguing!

Books read this year: 27 (+ 8 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 8/25 (32%)

Review: Knox by K. Arsenault Rivera, Brooke Bolander, Gabino Iglesias, and Sunny Moraine (Knox: Season #1)

goodreads

ARC received from the publisher (Serial Box) in exchange for an honest review.

I accepted this review request for several different reasons. First, the line-up sounded fantastic. Second, the setting – 1930s Manhattan. Awesome. Third, while I have read a few Lovecraft-inspired books, I have never read a noir before and I wanted to see if I can like one. I knew there was a high likelihood that it would be free of unexamined racism and sexism, which seems to be the issue with most noirs I heard of, and I was absolutely correct. It was great – a little too horror for my taste (which is more me being a wimp than any fault of the writing, really), but great.

(I should probably mention I went for the text version, not audio, so I can’t say anything about the narration.)

Continue reading “Review: Knox by K. Arsenault Rivera, Brooke Bolander, Gabino Iglesias, and Sunny Moraine (Knox: Season #1)”

Review: Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman

The Breath of the Sun eBook: Rachel Fellman: Amazon.com.au: Kindle ...

goodreads

It is thrilling, to be so far up. The very quality of the air is different; it conducts less of the sound of your voice, and its shallowness, its thinness, infects you. It is a small spike in your cold throat. In that narrow air, looking down over the misty land in the last few minutes of sunlight, you hear your own heart like a slow bass drum, and feel the anticipation of a good song beginning, somewhere in your bones, the percussion of the joints and the slur of the blood.

The Breath of the Sun is another confirmation that an instinct that a book will be great is never to be ignored. I have waited over a year to be able to get my hands on the paperback and in the end, it was absolutely worth it.

With its gorgeous prose, unique concept, experimental structure, queerness, and complex relationships, it shot straight to my favourites and I’d even put it on the same level as The Gray House or The Winged Histories. I can’t praise it enough. If you’re looking for literary fantasy that’s unlike any other you’ve read before: that’s the book for you.

Continue reading “Review: Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman”

DNF: The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar: Vows and Honor #1)

goodreads

This was technically a reread, but I remembered so little of what happened it might as well been a first time read. And unfortunately, it was not to be. It aged so, so badly and I couldn’t bring myself to reread the whole thing. And it almost soured me on Valdemar in general.

Continue reading “DNF: The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar: Vows and Honor #1)”

Review: Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar)

goodreads

Unfortunately, I found myself in a reading slump again and not up to reading anything difficult or heavy. Then Valdemar got mentioned and it seemed perfect. I have read about seven or eight books as a teenager (the Arrows trilogy, The Last Herald Mage, some of Vows and Honor) and am slowly rereading them. This, however, was a first time read. I wasn’t very worried whether it would hold up – most of what I reread did just fine, I knew what to expect, and Take a Thief has a pretty decent reputation.

And sometimes, you just need fluff featuring magical horses and found families.

Continue reading “Review: Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey (Valdemar)”

May 2020 Monthly Wrap-Up

2020 mayMay has been another mediocre reading month. I’m never going to say I’ve broken out of a slump again, because sure enough, here it goes again. Hopefully June will be better!

Read:

  • The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison (ARC): Not a fan. Basically Sherlock Holmes with magic. Not nearly as groundbreaking as it promised and a slog besides. Also, if you expect it to be queer? Yeah, you’ll be disappointed too.
  • The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker: Read shockingly fast, even though I wasn’t in the mood for it. Highly recommended if you’re looking for naval fantasy and characters slowly becoming competent.
  • The Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman: This instantly shot up to my all-time favourite books, right on the level of The Gray House and The Winged Histories. A very unique, very queer, quiet fantasy book about mountain climbing, faith, and complex relationships. I hope I can have a review ready soon!
  • Of Dragons, Feasts, and Murder by Aliette de Bodard (ARC): I admit I haven’t read the Dominion of the Fallen series yet, but this novella was a delight. Thuan and Asmodeus have a fantastic dynamic.
  • The Sunken Mall by K.D. Edwards: A must read for anyone who enjoyed The Last Sun. Had pretty much everything I loved about the main series, from snark to heartwarming moments. And it’s free!
  • Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse (DNF 52%): Really wanted to like it and there’s nothing really wrong with it, but in the end, I just couldn’t bring myself to care. Not about the plot, not about the characters.

Currently reading:

  • Knox by K. Arsenault Rivera, Brooke Bolander, Gabino Iglesias, and Sunny Moraine (ARC): Accepted the request because I have never read a noir before and this one seemed like it’d lack the casual sexism. So far, it’s pretty good!
  • Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather: The only novella in this month’s Tor free bundle I haven’t read yet. Nuns and biological spaceships!

Books read this year: 24 (+ 1 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 8/25 (32%)

Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

goodreads

ARC received from the publisher (Tor) in exchange for an honest review.

Well. I certainly had high expectations for this book. I loved The Goblin Emperor and the concept seemed amazing – a retelling of Sherlock Holmes with magic and “This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.” as the tagline, so presumably a fresh approach and some giant twist? Gimme. Now.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come close to living up to its promise. No matter how much I try to avoid it, the main word that comes to my mind when trying to describe it is mediocre. Deeply, painfully mediocre.

Continue reading “Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison”

Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I’ve always been a huge advocate of DNFing books. Reading shouldn’t feel like homework – if a book is dragging to the point where every page feels like a huge amount of effort and it doesn’t look like things are likely to improve, why bother and torture myself further out of some bizarre sense of obligation? I know there will be no feeling of accomplishment on the other side, just anger at the time I wasted slogging through bullshit that could have been spent reading a book I’d actually enjoy.

Still, making this list made me realise I don’t DNF as much as I thought – there were a few spells where I quit essentially everything I started, but they (thanks fuck) don’t happen terribly often. Now, onto the list itself!

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned”

Review: The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker (The Tide Child #1)

The Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy Book 1) eBook: Barker, RJ ...

goodreads

“We fight in the hope that others will not have to, and we fight to keep those we have come to care about safe. We fight even for those who do not deserve it. There is no honour or greatness in what we do, except among fools. I fight, in the end, because I have no other choice” – she held his gaze with hers – “and neither do you. So remember this, if you hear tales of bravery and greatness, they are nearly always told by people who have only watched battle from afar.”

The Bone Ships used to be one of those books for me, you know the kind – you were super excited at release, perhaps you even preordered them, but then you forgot about them for months and months. If it wasn’t for a bookclub, it would probably still be lying there. I wasn’t even in the mood for naval fantasy when I started it.

But even though the odds were stacked against it in every possible way, I liked it quite a lot and blazed through it surprisingly fast.

Continue reading “Review: The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker (The Tide Child #1)”