Design a site like this with
Get started

Mini Reviews: Even Though I Knew the End, Geometries of Belonging, Into the Riverlands, No Man’s Land

I’m very glad when I have a batch of mini reviews ready and it’s just enjoyable novellas or other kinds of books I simply don’t do full reviews for. No DNFs, no disappointments, just some good short reads.

Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk



I was a little hesitant going in because I’m currently in a bit of a reading slump (plus, highly anticipated books have been very hit or miss this year) but all in all, I rather liked it. The setting – 1930s Chicago – feels vibrant, it’s very queer, the magic intrigued me. Loved the scenes set in the lesbian bar. I also appreciated that the MC was in an established relationship, for a change. I’m not sure how to feel about the ending, and it’s more religious than I expected, but if you want something queer and short, I’d recommend.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Content warnings: homophobia, psychiatric abuse

Tags that apply: fantasy, mystery, LGBTQ+, historical, angels and demons, religion, non-binary author, novella, standalone

Geometries of Belonging: Stories and Poems from the Birdverse by R.B. Lemberg



Apparently, the only way I like short stories are single-author, single-world collections. And this one was brilliant. From more thoughtful, beautiful short stories about belonging and love like The Book of How to Live to the wonderfully whimsical and humorous The Splendid Goat Adventure (also one of the two epistolary stories!), to The Book of Seed and the Abyss which is structured like academic discourse that becomes something more, to poetry, to stories that tie into other Birdverse works, the collection is varied, experimental in structure, and thoroughly queer and neurodivergent. Most highly recommended.

Enjoyment: 5/5
Execution: 5/5

Tags that apply: fantasy, non-binary author, LGBTQ+, mental health, poetry, short fiction, good prose, healing, religion, non-western

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo (The Singing Hills Cycle #3)



Liked this more than the second one and less than the first. Here, Chih is once again accompanied by their faithful neixin, Almost Brilliant, and they set off into the riverlands (just as the title says) to collect some local martial arts legends, meeting some interesting people along the way. At its core, it’s about how there is always more to a person than what you learn from stories, how stories can never tell you the whole truth, and I had to go and reread some bits after everything connected in the end. It can also be read perfectly fine without reading the previous two.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Tags that apply: fantasy, LGBTQ+, novella, female author, non-western, religion, standalone

No Man’s Land by A.J. Fitzwater

53952420. sy475


After her twin brother goes to war, Tea joins the Land Service. Working on a farm somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, she finds new friends, starts to break free of her internalised homophobia and mother’s notions of ladylike behaviour, and discovers strange magic she has to master. This was, in short, a very interesting novella. Some pacing problems in the second half, but nothing unusual for a novella, and I loved the WWII New Zealand setting, the low key descriptions of everyday farm life, and of course, the magic. Recommended!

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Content warnings: internalised homophobia, period-typical racism

Tags that apply: fantasy, novella, standalone, non-binary author, historical, coming of age, LGBTQ+


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: