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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.

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Review: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Teixcalaan #1)

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This is one of the many books that have been on my TBR far longer than they should have. I’m pretty sure I wanted to read it since before release, had it on my kindle since the first time it went on sale…but you know how it is ūüėā In the end, I enjoyed myself and I think the author has great promise, but there were some rather rough patches, too.

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Review: The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Look: I’m weak for a good cover. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to have it. In hardcopy. Oh, my weakness got me burned plenty of times in the past, but this time it paid off. Despite some initial misgivings because the protagonist is so rich and influential, it turned out to be a fun, fast-paced, twisty mystery set in a queernorm world. Oh, and each chapter begins with a cocktail recipe (alcoholic and not!).

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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)

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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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Review: Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

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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

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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√≥rski by Isaac Fellman

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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√≥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)

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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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