Mini Reviews: Seven Surrenders, The Queer Principles of Kit Webb, Mindline, Dangerous Liaisons, Sisters of the Vast Black

Once again, it’s time for a batch of mini reviews. I might not be in a reading slump anymore, not quite, but I am in a bit of a reviewing slump and I finally have enough of these hoarded up for a post.

So, let’s get started!

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer (Terra Ignota #2)

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goodreads

Seven Surrenders is sort of the other half to Too Like the Lightning, finishing the set-up for the second half of the series and tying up some loose ends from the first book while opening up much larger possibilities. If I had to choose one phrase to describe this series, it would be “over the top.” The narrative style, the number of plot twists, not shying away from being provocative when it comes to gender or religion, nothing is done by halves and everything is dialled up to 11.

Since a lot of Seven Surrenders feels like the calm before the storm before the bad thing you know is going to happen finally happens and since there is much more of jumping around the Hives than there is of Mycroft, I didn’t like it quite as much as Too Like the Lightning, but it was still one hell of a wild ride. Once again, the goodreads progress updates involved a lot of incoherent swearing, and once again, I needed a while to process the ending.

Enjoyment: 4.5/5
Execution: 4.5/5

Content warnings: rape, death of a child

Tags that apply: sci-fi, fantasy, utopia-ish, concept-focused, female author, politics, religion, lgbtq+ representation, the fuck did I read, (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

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goodreads

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

Cat Sebastian never disappoints. I wanted to read this as soon as I heard it’s set in the 18th century – my favourite time period – and was very happy to end up with an ARC. The story follows Percy, a nobleman who’s being blackmailed and enlists a former highwayman, the titular Kit Webb, to help. The romance is very sweet and as always very focused on communication (which I love), and the social commentary on how much nobility sucks is enjoyable, but the plot got a little too intense at a couple points (purely personal preference) and I felt that one or two of the plot twists were a little predictable. But it came together nicely and the ending was solid.

If there is ever a sequel, I will gladly read it.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 3.5/5

Tags that apply: ARC, romance, historical, non-sff, female author, lgbtq+ representation

Mindline by M.C.A. Hogarth (The Dreamhealers #2)

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goodreads

Well, I accidentally the whole thing in a day. I didn’t even plan to continue the series, it just happened – I guess I needed my dose of slice of life this desperately. As with the first book, I enjoyed it very much as a whole, which is…not really a surprise given how fast I devoured it. I liked how quiet and personal it is, I liked that therapy exists in this universe, I liked the hurt/comfort with Jahir struggling to adapt to the environment.

But. Again, there is a but. Two buts, even. First, and the more obvious one, I did not like how an instance of a female supervisor making unwanted advances and essentially assaulting a character was handwaved. Second, it’s weirdly structured – after the main plotline finishes, it just…continues for a while in a completely different vein, as if it’s two novels, or a novel and a novella stitched into one.

Enjoyment: 4.5/5
Execution: 3/5

Content warnings: sexual harassment

Tags that apply: sci-fi, fantasy, female author, hurt/comfort, uplifting, slice of life, mental health, selfpub

Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

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goodreads

After two people recommended it to me on separate occasions based on my love of 18th century and drama I had to. And after switching languages from English to Slovenian (the translation suited me better), I finished it in a day. So good. It’s an epistolary novel centering on a pair of libertine, manipulative assholes and the lives they ruin…and it’s so so much fun, the kind of book you want to read popcorn-in-hand. I haven’t enjoyed myself this much reading a classic since I read Candide.

Enjoyment: 5/5
Execution: 5/5

Content warnings: rape/sexual assault

Tags that apply: non-sff, male author, literary, concept-focused, standalone

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather (Sisters of St. Rita #1)

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goodreads

Space nuns! Squishy biological spaceships! Lesbians! I enjoyed this quite a bit. The worldbuilding has a few interesting touches and the writing was very engaging (though, I have to warn, the plot includes an epidemic). It felt a little thin in the places novellas often are, but I read it in one sitting, and during a time where I struggle to finish books, that means something too.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Content warnings: epidemic

Tags that apply: sci-fi, lgbtq+ representation, novella, female author, dystopia, found families

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