Thanks to the publisher (Del Rey) for the ARC of this book.
Finally, finally, after nearly two weeks of struggling, I am done with this book. I don’t think I’ve ever had such complicated feelings before, or struggled as much with a book I couldn’t help but see as excellent in many ways. I wonder if perhaps I might have loved it in another mood and another time, if it’s me or the book, but in the end, it’s no use.
As sweet and delicious and comforting as honey. It’s very rare I buy a book minutes after having heard of it (thanks Womble!), or that I start it immediately after buying. But how could I ever say no to another potential addition to the slice of life list? To folklore? Beekeeping? 18th century vibes? A queernorm world? The target audience here is me. Of course I enjoyed it.
It’s a shame that now that Gothic Fantasy is no longer a Bingo square I keep finding all the good books that’d fit it perfectly. I didn’t think the subgenre would ever appeal to me either, but the more I read, the more it does – after all, I’m a complete sucker for mysteries and what’s better than slowly finding out what’s wrong with that creepy old house?
The past couple weeks I have been a little preoccupied reading the Foreigner series (where I will do one review after I finish, there’s too many of them and I don’t have much to say about individual books) and playing lots and lots of Stardew Valley (my once-a-year gaming frenzy), so there hasn’t been much I could do full-length reviews of. But I finally have enough for another batch of mini reviews.
Once again, it’s a pretty mixed bunch. One novella I enjoyed, a novel I had mixed feelings on, a DNF, and an anticipated novella I ended up hating.
Thanks to the publisher (Tachyon Publications) for the ARC of this book.
It’s no secret that I am weak for beautiful covers. I was a little wary, wondering if I was ready to read something epidemic-themed (a fear that luckily proved to be unfounded), but it was so pretty and the concept seemed so interesting. Unfortunately, while a good effort, it’s another of those novellas that really should have been novels with how much they try to do to the point the pacing and plot suffer.
ARC received from the publisher (Stelliform Press) in exchange for an honest review.
I’ll admit: it was the cover that got my attention. The cover, and the promise of a story centering strange sea creatures with an ecological bent. And really, it largely delivered on that – the worldbuilding was incredibly imaginative. I love non-human POVs that feel non-human, taking biology into account. The expected environmental aspect was not “humanity is a plague and must die” and I loved that too. If you liked The Deep, you might like this as well.
Unfortunately, the ending was soured by a rape scene with incredibly brutal consequences, that both felt rather pointless and the content warning at the beginning didn’t come close to preparing me for. It also left me in quite a predicament regarding how to review. After all, most of the book was fantastic, with that one scene like a worm in the last bite of an apple. And, after all, I do not do spoilers as a rule and it’s an ARC besides. But how else to talk about it? What do I do?
So: this summarizes my thoughts for those who need a TL;DR, more details with the minimum necessary spoilers for those who need a more detailed content warning somewhere below the cut.
ARC received from the publisher (Gallery/Saga Press) in exchange for an honest review.
I have had this book on my TBR for a few years, but when I heard the rerelease is even weirder and queerer and more indigenous, it shot up my TBR. And I’m very grateful I got the opportunity to read it, because Biopunk/New Weird in the vein of Vandermeer with mushrooms and queer pirates and some noir vibes early on is exactly up my alley. And it was a shockingly fast and easy read, too – I finished it in two sittings.
I’m not sure how long have I had this on my TBR. But I have long enjoyed books that are off the beaten track, and this fit my type to a T. Strange, certainly, and melancholic, and unsettling and beautiful, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fresh and surreal read.
We lost ourselves. Lost our dream. In the pursuit of great, we failed to do good.
I don’t generally make a habit of reviewing tv shows – I watch few enough, only a handful of them SFF, and I finish even fewer. But Arcane…Arcane deserves an exception. That a videogame tie-in animated series, and one for a game I’ll never play or care about, would have turned out to be one of the best-written things of the year was not on anyone’s bingo card, but it sure is a welcome surprise regardless.
I knew I needed this pretty much as soon as I heard what was it about, doubly so when I saw the cover. And after a long string of sub-par reads, a book that actually lived up to its promise was more than welcome.