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Retrospective: Dracula Daily

This both is and isn’t a review. Yes, I’m among those who read Dracula via the Dracula Daily newsletter and I had a great time. On the other hand, it’s really hard to review or critique something that’s not only a book but also a minor cultural phenomenon, with the latter part being rather essential. You cannot talk about recommending or not recommending an experience that is unlikely to repeat for others to take part in, or at least not at such scale. But I had to write something for goodreads to mark it as read, and, well, turns out I have a lot to say.

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Review: A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (The Last Binding #2)

goodreads

Thanks to the publisher (Tordotcom) for the ARC of this book.

I have been teased with how good this book is since long before I got a chance to read it. Too long. So when I started it and didn’t click with it immediately, I was a little worried it would be yet another highly anticipated disappointment. Or my unreliable reading mood. But it won me over eventually, and I ended up having as much of a blast as with A Marvellous Light.

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October 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

October was another pretty good month. Not one single DNF. As a reward for having finished Bingo in September, I got myself paperbacks (cheap, visibly used, mismatched, but they’ll do) of the first half of Dunnett’s Niccol series and reread the first book immediately to refresh my memory. I also briefly got lucky and got up to the coveted 80% on Netgalley, but then a few requests I’ve given up on got approved and, well. But that’s how blogging is! 馃槀 And the books are great so I can’t complain.

Read:

  • Niccol貌 Rising by Dorothy Dunnett (reread): Just as good as I remembered, and even more fun. The ostrich subplot is just the best.
  • The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (ARC): Expected a weird western, got something mostly about fae. Disappointing.
  • His Quiet Agent (reread) and Agents of Winter by Ada Maria Soto: One of my favourite fluffy hurt/comfort romance series. Even if it’s contemporary, it hits all the tropes I like and the characters are asexual.
  • The Two Doctors G贸rski by Isaac Fellman (ARC): A very heavy novella about PhD magic students, trauma, and academic abuse. Quiet and low-key in Fellman’s usual style. Good, but oof.
  • Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling: Creepy little gothic novella. Suits the season well.
  • The Keeper’s Six by Kate Elliott (ARC): Kind of underwhelming. I’d say there was too much infodumping but really, I just didn’t vibe with it.
  • Kundo Wakes Up by Saad Z. Hossain: Liked it! Delightfully batshit world again, but more introspective than The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday.
  • Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell (ARC): Nothing groundbreaking, but very light and fun and easy to read in large chunks. Loved the disaster protagonist.
  • Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher: Based on the cover and the first few chapters, I expected more horror vibes and less quirky adventure than the book ended up being. And a lot of it didn’t click with me.

Currently reading:

  • A Restless Truth by Freya Marske (ARC): Took a while to hook me but I’ve been enjoying it very very much.

Books read in 2022: 65 (+ 10 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 馃コ

Review: Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

goodreads

This seemed like the perfect seasonal read. Some horror elements, some coziness, some fairytale elements, some righteous feminist anger. But unfortunately, I didn’t end up enjoying it quite as much as I wished, demon chicken notwithstanding, mostly because the beginning didn’t set my expectations correctly – I was led to expect something much darker than what the story eventually turned into.

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Review: Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

goodreads

Thanks to the publisher (Tor) for the ARC of this book.

Well, this was fun! I confess: I still haven’t read Winter’s Orbit, but something about description of Ocean’s Echo intrigued me enough to request it. And I was right. Sometimes all you need is some light, queernorm sci-fi. Even though Ocean’s Echo has its flaws, it simply clicked for me.

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Mini Reviews: Agents of Winter, Yellow Jessamine, The Keeper’s Six, Kundo Wakes Up

Once again, it’s time for a quartet of mini reviews. This time, I liked three out of four books and felt meh on one of them, which is really not a bad ratio given how some of those roundup posts tend to go. Three novellas, one short novel, three SFF books, one not. I see a pattern here. I also admit I bought the last novella, Kundo Wakes Up, solely because I like to have four books before I post and I wasn’t willing to wait until I either DNF’d something or stumbled into a novella randomly again, but given that 1) I had planned to read it since release and 2) I liked it, this is not at all a bad thing.

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Review: The Two Doctors G贸rski by Isaac Fellman

goodreads

Thanks to the publisher (Tordotcom) for the ARC of this book.

Of course I would have read this novella one way or another. Fellman is perhaps one of my favourite authors. The Breath of the Sun and Dead Collections are both some of my all-time favourites. I’d read anything he writes. The Two Doctors G贸rski was not quite as enjoyable – it’s a high bar! – but it was still a great, if heavy read in Fellman’s usual understated style.

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Review: The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (Birdverse)

goodreads

Thanks to the publisher (Tachyon Publications) for the ARC of this book.

Sometimes, you have to stop for a while and think a book over before you can review it and this was exactly the case here. I liked it, I was pretty sure – I read it in one sitting (or lying, as it were) after all – but it’s one of those books that give you a lot to think about. In either case, it made a great conclusion to the 2022 r/Fantasy Bingo.

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Review: The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee

goodreads

Thanks to the publisher (Erewhon) for the ARC of this book.

I love the idea of weird westerns, but so far I haven’t managed to find a single one that’d satisfy the urge. I was especially excited at the prospect of one that deals with the racism and colonialism, but…I don’t know if it’s just because the cover and the blurb made me expect more weird western and less fae, but I wasn’t as much of a fan of The Nightland Express as I’d have hoped.

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September 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

Quality-wise, September has been a below average reading month, and quantity-wise, an unremarkable one. However! I finally managed to finish this year’s r/Fantasy Bingo, even earlier than last year (November, already very early by my standards!) 馃コ I hope I’ll manage to get the wrap-up post finished in a reasonable amount of time (knowing myself, I won’t). Formatting and statistics have, at least, been done, but writing short descriptions for 25 books is my version of hell.

Also, here is my Bingo journal spread! Had to find a way to use up all those stickers 馃槀

bingo journal spread

Read:

  • The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez (ARC): A reasonably decent book, but I absolutely hated reading it. Awful slog.
  • The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente: Didn’t like the whimsical style at first, but the second half was quite good.
  • Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence by R.F. Kuang: Brilliant. Language nerdery, anti-colonialism…in short, just up my alley and worth the preorder.
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (reread): The older I am when I reread, the more I realise that this…aged really badly in many aspects and the less I like it. Oh well.
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: Fun premise, didn’t vibe with the blandness of the narrator.
  • The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis (ARC): Apart from the setting, this is bog standard vampire UF. Not bad, but aggressively mediocre.
  • A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland (DNF 45%): Oil and water, me and this book. Should have been just up my alley, but I started nitpicking the dumb plot pretty much as soon as I started.
  • The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (ARC): Liked that one a whole lot. I found the writing clumsy in the first few pages (strange, the short stories and The Four Profound Weaves had no such issues that I’d remember) but it got smoother and some themes were very close to my heart. Need to ruminate on it a bit before I review.

Currently reading:

  • The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee (ARC): Queer weird western sounded pretty good to me, and that cover is spectacular. We’ll see!
  • Also aiming to finish the fourth part of Les Mis茅rables soonish…?

Books read in 2022: 57 (+ 8 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 馃コ