Review: The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

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

Well. I certainly had high expectations for this book. I loved The Goblin Emperor and the concept seemed amazing – a retelling of Sherlock Holmes with magic and “This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.” as the tagline, so presumably a fresh approach and some giant twist? Gimme. Now.

Unfortunately, it didn’t come close to living up to its promise. No matter how much I try to avoid it, the main word that comes to my mind when trying to describe it is mediocre. Deeply, painfully mediocre.

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Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

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

Life before had been mundane and ordinary. He knew his place in the world, though every now and then, the dark clouds parted with a ray of sunshine in the form of a question he barely allowed himself to ponder.

Don’t you wish you were here?

The House in the Cerulean Sea first popped up on my radar because it seemed like a lighter, queerer version of The Gray House. Even though I have long since given up on finding anything even remotely similar to my all-time favourite book, it seemed worth a try.

And I definitely didn’t expect I’d love it quite as much. It’s so sweet, kind, and compassionate I couldn’t help but adore it. I didn’t know how much I needed something so fluffy, it was just…pure joy to read. From the characters, to the atmosphere, to the message, it felt like a warm blanket, not to mention it felt so wonderfully fresh.

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Review: The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg (Birdverse)

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ARC received from the published (Tachyon) in exchange for an honest review.

They were birds of bright fire that fell from the sky and cocooned me, until I could see and hear nothing except the warmth and the feathers enveloping me and the threads of the wind singing each to each until my whole skin was ignited by the sun, my body changing and changed by the malleable flame.

I have been familiar with R.B. Lemberg’s works for a while – Geometries of Belonging and Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds (which should preferably be read before reading this book) are two of those short stories that stuck with me long after I read them. So when Erio brought The Four Profound Weaves to my attention, highly recommending it, I knew that sooner or later, I will end up reading it. Queer books with lovely prose are precisely my kind of thing.

As suspected, I adored it.
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Review: Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie (The Bloodright Trilogy #1)

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ARC received from the publisher (Del Rey) in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes, you just have a powerful feeling that you’re going to love a book and in my experience, that instinct is never to be ignored. Bonds of Brass first came to my attention randomly, on twitter. Still in the depths of my Star Wars obsession and salty over Rise of Skywalker (oh so salty), I had to request it. It seemed tailor-made for what I wanted and needed.

And it was fantastic. What it promised, it delivered in spades. Fast-paced, yup. Heavily Star Wars inspired, yup. Fun, fanfic-style romantic tropes, yup. More twists than a ship executing a complex maneuver, yup. And that ending. Holy fuck. It’s the kind of book you read popcorn in hand, and then recommend to friends to watch their reactions popcorn in hand too. I’d say it even overdelivered – in places, I could barely manage a few pages at a time because the tension was too high and I was too afraid for the characters.

If a highly entertaining but not necessarily relaxing story is what you’re looking for, this is the perfect book for you.

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Review: Penric’s Progress by Lois McMaster Bujold (Penric and Desdemona #1-3)

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

I had a fairly strong suspicion I would like the Penric novellas. The Curse of Chalion is one of my favourite books of all times, a comfort read I reread at least once a year. The new omnibus seemed like the perfect opportunity to try them out and my suspicion has proved correct – I do love them and I very much want more.

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Review: The Hanged Man by K.D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence #2)

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ARC received in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, this review includes no spoilers for The Last Sun.

After finishing, I had precisely one word: Wow. That’s it. That’s the review. Pack up, go home, we’re done.

More seriously, if the first book was pretty good, this one makes me want to read everything the author puts out. The pacing is good, but the characters are perfect and it gave me all of the feels. It’s a perfect blend of action-y and character-focused and offers something for just about everyone. Me, for one, included!

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Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith (Vine Witch #1)

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ARC received from the publisher (47North) in exchange for an honest review.

In some ways, this is the perfect book to read in autumn. There are witches, there is wine, there are sinister curses, romance…in short, it sounds fantastic. But even though I was suitably enchanted by the atmosphere and the concept in the beginning, the plot did not live up to its promise.

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Review: The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

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ARC received from the publisher (Saga Press) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have first heard of the book on twitter and got curious when I learned it was inspired by a song. At the time, I haven’t read any of Solomon’s books (though my friends have recommended me An Unkindness of Ghosts plenty) nor have I heard of Clipping. But I went and listened to The Deep – it was not my usual type and yet I liked it. I liked it a whole lot.

And the ever-important question: Was the book any good? Hell yes. Though I was a bit unsure at the start, it did pretty much exactly what I expected from the song, and more.

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Review: The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith (A Novel from Hell’s Library #1)

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ARC received from the publisher (Ace Books) in exchange for an honest review.

I had such high expectations. A book about books with queer characters and a library of unwritten books sounded wonderful, and there certainly seems to be a trend of meta-books this year (The Ten Thousand Doors of January, anyone?). Unfortunately, while it was not remotely badly written, I just couldn’t connect with it.

Claire lived by the firm moral philosophy that one could never have too many pockets, too many books, or too much tea.

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Review: The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga

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ARC received from the publisher (Angry Robot) in exchange for an honest review.

I had fairly high expectations going in. Dark Victorian fantasy with a murder mystery plot and at least of a bit of a focus on medicine? Plus that gorgeous cover? Unfortunately, The Resurrectionist of Caligo was a letdown. Initially, I was hopeful it would be one of those books that manage to pull it off despite its many flaws, but the nearer to the end I was, the more clear it became that this is sadly not the case. The characters were either bland or assholes and what’s worse, the worldbuilding and plot had more holes than swiss cheese and the ending…did not do it any favours.

Note: the word “resurrectionist” is simply an euphemism for a person who digs up corpses and sells them to doctors to learn from, it’s not related to necromancy (alas).

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