Mini Reviews: Shatterpoint, Proper English, Hither Page, Mirror: The Mountain, On a Sunbeam

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Time for another backlog cleaning!

While my goal is to review everything I read, I don’t always quite succeed. I finished Shatterpoint in early April, and thought it deserved to be talked about, but a full review just wouldn’t come. I also don’t write full reviews of graphic novels or non-SFF, but I encountered two historical romance books so good I thouth they were at least worth a mention, SFF-themed blor or no.

So there it is, an odd mix of a Star Wars tie-in, two romance books, and two graphic novels.

Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover (Star Wars)

Amazon.com: Shatterpoint (Star Wars: Clone Wars) (9780345455741 ...

goodreads

This was not the type of book I usually read. It’s fast-paced and full of ridiculously, over-the top badassery (as befitting the character), which is not something I usually care for. However, it’s also very character-focused, really giving you insight in who Mace Windu is as a person and the internal struggle that happens when his Jedi beliefs and way of living are put to the test. I liked that a lot. Another very pleasant surprise was Stover’s prose – he has a very striking style that really shines in the first-person sections and his action scenes are some of the most vivid and easy to imagine I’ve ever read (and I’m not someone who cares about action scenes, or notices them). The blend of somewhat more literary style than you’d expect and a very pulpy plot is strange, but works super well.

Unfortunately, I also stalled hard a little over than halfway in. I didn’t really care about the plot or the jungle setting, and no matter how well written the badass action scenes are, there’s only so much I can take before I get bored. It dragged a bit. But that’s a personal thing, and I suspect people who prefer fast-paced, action-y books would enjoy it very much indeed.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4.5/5

Recommended to: those who’d like to have it all: an action story with ridiculous badassery and a character study and decent writing – because yes, you can (mostly) have your cake and eat it too!

Content warnings: rape (not on screen)

Tags that apply: fantasy, sci-fi, science fantasy, Star Wars, just plain fun, male author, religion, space opera, standalone, fast pacing

Proper English by K.J. Charles

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goodreads

Well, this was amazing and now I need more f/f historical romance. I binged it in a day. I loved the two main characters and the dynamics between them – the serious, sensible Pat who thinks herself awfully plain, and the bubbly, beautiful Fen who only wants to be taken seriously. Their relationship was super sweet and the initial scenes of them complaining about the patriarchy together were great. The plot is nice as well – part a complex web of intrigue, part murder mystery – though that doesn’t appear until the second half. And as the cherry on top, the bastard truly had it coming.

All in all, a perfect palate cleanser.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4.5/5

Tags that apply: romance, historical female author, standalone, LGBTQ+ representation, historical romance, non-SFF

Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian (Page & Sommers #1)

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goodreads

This was perfect. It’s exactly it says on the tin – a blend of romance and murder mystery, set in a quiet English village where everyone, including the protagonists, has way too many secrets. I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I can’t say what the best part was. The mystery was great and kept me turning pages – and I enjoyed the resolution as well. The characters, amazing. I’ve always had a thing for stories with broken protagonists and here both Leo and James have been hurt by the war. So it ticks off that box for sure. Besides, I really liked everyone else as well – especially the two old ladies living together and their adopted daughter. The romance is adorable, but also a slow burn and fairly low-key – so if you’re like me, not generally fond of sex scenes (there is only one), it might be just the thing, too.

I certainly want more!

Enjoyment: 5/5
Execution: 5/5

Recommended to: romance readers who prefer a lower heat level, fans of found families and broken protagonists, those who like village murder mysteries, anyone looking for a quick read

Tags that apply: romance, historical, WWII, female author, standalone, LGBTQ+ representation, favourites, healing, mental health, historical romance, non-SFF

Mirror: The Mountain by Emma Ríos and Hwei Lim (Mirror #1-5)

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goodreads

I was checking out what comics I have left to read, and oops, I read it. Unfortunately, what it has in the art department, it lacks when it comes to story. There are mages and…magical animal people? That were created by humans? And they rebelled at some point and it failed and now…what? It was pretty disjointed and rushed with flashbacks and present time mixing incoherently, and I never got a good sense of what is supposed to be going on or who the characters are. It was like an odd, pretty fever dream. Nice to look at, but I’d prefer a little more substance.

Enjoyment: 2/5
Execution: art 4/5, storytelling 2/5

Tags that apply: graphic novel, sci-fi, fantasy, science fantasy, not a fan, female author

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

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goodreads

On a Sunbeam (read it here!) is a queer, sci-fi comic following Mia, a young woman who joins a crew working on restoring old buildings in space, interspersed with flashbacks to her life at the boarding school. One interesting thing is that there are no men in the story – only women and one non-binary person.

The pacing is relaxed, the art is stunning, and the characters distinct enough. Initially, I wasn’t too into it, as way too many of them seemed like complete assholes, but it grew on me a lot, especially about halfway in when the plot emerged. And the ending made me quite emotional. But I do wish there was a bit more of restoring buildings going on, as their work and the places they visited seemed very cool.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Content warnings: abuse/bullying, misgendering

Tags that apply: graphic novel, sci-fi, female author, LGBTQ+ representation

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