Review: In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

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I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This was just plain lovely.

The Vanishers had broken the world. They had taken and enslaved as they’d wished, leaving constructs and plagues as their legacies. Their magic was all chains and knives and diseases, everything that bound and broke and devastated. Even their rare healings had been double-edged, leaving people riddled with tumors and shriveled elements.

In the Vanishers’ Palace is, at its core, a delightfully queer retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in alternate Vietnam. Yên is a failed scholar, assisting her healer mother, but thought to be fairly useless. When her friend and a daughter from an important family, Oanh, falls gravely ill, she is exchanged for a cure from the dragon, Vu Côn, expecting to be killed, but instead becoming a teacher to her children.

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Review: The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (The Masquerade #2)

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Thanks to Tor and Netgalley for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes provided may change in the final vesion.

For me, this has been one of the most anticipated releases of 2018. I couldn’t wait to return to the world and see where the story takes Baru next, I pre-ordered in case I wouldn’t get the ARC, and when I did, I was almost wary of reading it, anticipating the emotional punch. The enthusiasm from bloggers who got it earlier was contagious. Sadly, while it was good, it didn’t quite live up to its hype.

Who says you have a duty to a nation? Who says you cannot reject an unjust duty? Who says you can decide which evil is small enough to tolerate, and which is too great to allow? Who says you should allow anyone to hold such power over you, the power to use your work for purposes you do not understand?

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Review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #2)

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As soon as I finished The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I knew I am reading the sequel on release. Long story short, it ended up in an impromptu book club/buddy read with a few other blogger friends and me finishing it in a day. It’s just that good.

Everyone has heard stories of women like us—cautionary tales, morality plays, warnings of what will befall you if you are a girl too wild for the world, a girl who asks too many questions or wants too much. If you set off into the world alone. Everyone has heard stories of women like us, and now we will make more of them.

Felicity Montague wants to be a doctor more than anything else. But living in a time when women weren’t allowed to study medicine, when the closest they could come was a midwife or a herbalist or a nurse, when passion and assertiveness are seen as hysteria and interest in medicine a phase that will pass when they marry…well. It certainly doesn’t make things simple. After her every attempt to get into medical school ends in disaster, she discovers a doctor she idolises is marrying her estranged childhood friend, and things get interesting.

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Review: Everfair by Nisi Shawl

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Everfair is yet another book I could call brilliant but flawed.

The settlers of Everfair had come here naïvely at best, arrogantly at worst. Due to the orders of the king they had found the country seemingly empty. In the fight against Leopold, their assistance had been most valuable, and they had also brought to the cause the help of Europeans and Americans who would never otherwise have cared for any African’s plight. 

But by their very presence they poisoned what they sought to save. How could they not? Assuming they knew the best about so many things—not even realizing they had made such assumptions—they acted without considering other viewpoints and remained in ignorance in spite of the broadest hints.

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Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #1)

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This is so, so far outside of what I usually read. I’m not much for romance, I mostly avoid YA. I’m not averse to historical fiction, but I still don’t read it very often. Yet I’m glad I picked it up because I have enjoyed it immensely.

The great tragic love story of Percy and me is neither great nor truly a love story, and is tragic only for its single-sidedness. It is also not an epic monolith that has plagued me since boyhood, as might be expected. Rather, it is simply the tale of how two people can be important to each other their whole lives, and then, one morning, quite without meaning to, one of them wakes to find that importance has been magnified into a sudden and intense desire to put his tongue in the other’s mouth.

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Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Founders #1)

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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher (Crown) on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

(also, this is my first ARC)

A lovechild of Sanderson, Lynch, and Gladstone as I have heard it described would be an apt comparison indeed.

What a fucking book. This one will make it big, mark my words. It has something for everyone. Fans of high-paced, action fantasy? Check. Those looking for likable characters? Check. Magic system enthusiasts, those who want (mild) social critique, those looking for heist books, female characters with agency (who are not all fighters!)…there’s so much to love.

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2)

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A short review for a short book.

It can be easy, in the end, to forget that children are people, and that people will do what people will do, the consequences be damned.

Forced into roles since they were born by perfectionist parents, Jack and Jill were never allowed much choice in their lives…until a door opens and adventures begin. They were the two characters I was the most curious about in Every Heart a Doorway and was very excited to learn more about them. It did not disappoint.

It suffes a bit from its length – I wish we got to spend more time in the Moors and that most of their life there wasn’t as glossed over – and gets a little heavy on its message sometimes, but the prose is as amazing as in the first book and fairytale atmosphere, the worldbuilding, and the illustrations(!!!) are all great. I also liked the complexity of their relationship.

It’s a quick, delightful read and a perfect palate cleanser between longer books.

Enjoyment: 5/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: those who wanted to learn more about Jack and Jill, fairytale enthusiasts
Not recommended to: people who like less message-heavy books