Review: Knox by K. Arsenault Rivera, Brooke Bolander, Gabino Iglesias, and Sunny Moraine (Knox: Season #1)

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

I accepted this review request for several different reasons. First, the line-up sounded fantastic. Second, the setting – 1930s Manhattan. Awesome. Third, while I have read a few Lovecraft-inspired books, I have never read a noir before and I wanted to see if I can like one. I knew there was a high likelihood that it would be free of unexamined racism and sexism, which seems to be the issue with most noirs I heard of, and I was absolutely correct. It was great – a little too horror for my taste (which is more me being a wimp than any fault of the writing, really), but great.

(I should probably mention I went for the text version, not audio, so I can’t say anything about the narration.)

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Review: Breath of the Sun by Isaac R. Fellman

The Breath of the Sun eBook: Rachel Fellman: Amazon.com.au: Kindle ...

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It is thrilling, to be so far up. The very quality of the air is different; it conducts less of the sound of your voice, and its shallowness, its thinness, infects you. It is a small spike in your cold throat. In that narrow air, looking down over the misty land in the last few minutes of sunlight, you hear your own heart like a slow bass drum, and feel the anticipation of a good song beginning, somewhere in your bones, the percussion of the joints and the slur of the blood.

The Breath of the Sun is another confirmation that an instinct that a book will be great is never to be ignored. I have waited over a year to be able to get my hands on the paperback and in the end, it was absolutely worth it.

With its gorgeous prose, unique concept, experimental structure, queerness, and complex relationships, it shot straight to my favourites and I’d even put it on the same level as The Gray House or The Winged Histories. I can’t praise it enough. If you’re looking for literary fantasy that’s unlike any other you’ve read before: that’s the book for you.

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Review: The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker (The Tide Child #1)

The Bone Ships (The Tide Child Trilogy Book 1) eBook: Barker, RJ ...

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“We fight in the hope that others will not have to, and we fight to keep those we have come to care about safe. We fight even for those who do not deserve it. There is no honour or greatness in what we do, except among fools. I fight, in the end, because I have no other choice” – she held his gaze with hers – “and neither do you. So remember this, if you hear tales of bravery and greatness, they are nearly always told by people who have only watched battle from afar.”

The Bone Ships used to be one of those books for me, you know the kind – you were super excited at release, perhaps you even preordered them, but then you forgot about them for months and months. If it wasn’t for a bookclub, it would probably still be lying there. I wasn’t even in the mood for naval fantasy when I started it.

But even though the odds were stacked against it in every possible way, I liked it quite a lot and blazed through it surprisingly fast.

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Mini Reviews: Shatterpoint, Proper English, Hither Page, Mirror: The Mountain, On a Sunbeam

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Time for another backlog cleaning!

While my goal is to review everything I read, I don’t always quite succeed. I finished Shatterpoint in early April, and thought it deserved to be talked about, but a full review just wouldn’t come. I also don’t write full reviews of graphic novels or non-SFF, but I encountered two historical romance books so good I thouth they were at least worth a mention, SFF-themed blor or no.

So there it is, an odd mix of a Star Wars tie-in, two romance books, and two graphic novels.

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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: Central Station by Lavie Tidhar

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I probably never would have read Central Station at all if not for the fact that this year’s r/Fantasy Bingo had a cyberpunk square. I hate the very thought of cyberpunk. Oppressive high tech societies? No thanks. So in the oldest tradition of Bingo, I went out in search of edge cases. Oddities. This was one of the candidates I couldn’t quite choose between – then I saw it in a bookstore and it was decided. And I couldn’t be more glad I did.

A group of disgruntled house appliances watched the sermon in the virtuality – coffee makers, cooling units, a couple of toilets – appliances, more than anyone else, needed the robots’ guidance, yet they were often wilful, bitter, prone to petty arguments, both with their owners and themselves.

The easiest way to describe it would be “gorgeous sci-fi fever dream.” I have a long-standing love for weird, trippy books and for slice of life, so I could hardly have stumbled upon a more perfect match for my tastes. And before I scare anyone off: it’s strange, yes, but never confusing.

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Review: From a Certain Point of View (edited by Elizabeth Schaefer)

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“Terrible things will always happen. They happened on Kiffex and they happen on Naboo and they happen on Tatooine. There will always be a war, and there will always be someone who wants us locked up. But the only thing we can do is survive, Sen. Survive until they won’t let us.”

When I heard the words “Jawa POV,” I instantly knew that From a Certain Point of View is something I simply must read. It’s no secret by now that I’m madly in love with Star Wars. And my obsession with slice of life and perspectives of more ordinary people is well established. A crossover of the two? A match made in heaven, despite my dislike of short stories and anthologies.

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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: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (The Band #1)

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“They used to call us the Kings of the Wyld, remember?” “Yeah, they did. When we were twenty years younger. When our backs didn’t ache every morning and we didn’t wake up five times a night to piss. But time did what it does best, didn’t it?”

I know – I’m late to this particular bandwagon (heh). Kings of the Wyld is a book I’ve been eyeing for ages, unsure if I’d like it or not despite all the praise. I finally decided to take the plunge because of two things: 1) the ebook went on sale in my region after years of waiting and 2) I need lighter reads and this seemed perfect. And I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

Did it live up to the hype? Well…yes, but also no.

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Review: The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence #1)

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Once again, Sharade got me to read a book. And once again, it was fantastic. I took it with me on a train ride and finished it literally in one single sitting. It read that fast. If you’re looking for something ridiculously fun, with great characters, tarot-based magic, loads of action, LGBTQ+ rep, and plenty of banter, this is the book for you.

My name is Rune Saint John.

I am, before anything else, a survivor: of a fallen House, of a brutal assault, of violent allies and complacent enemies, of life among a people who turned their back on me decades ago.

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