Review: Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi (Scarlet Odyssey #1)

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There’s one very simple and shallow reason I picked up this book: I wanted antelope familiars, pets, or mounts in my fantasy (mostly thanks to a certain livecam I’ve been enjoying this year). This sounded the best out of the few recs I got, it works for the Set in Africa Bingo square and as a bonus, the antelopes mentioned were kudu. Unfortunately, even though it really is a pretty good book and definitely one fans of epic fantasy would enjoy a lot, I didn’t count on my inability to handle big multi-POV epics.

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Review: Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

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I picked up this book completely on a whim. It was on sale, the preview pulled me in, and my friends were talking about it, so – why not? Why not try and see? And for once, I don’t regret experimenting.  While maybe not technically perfect, it’s one of those books I couldn’t stop reading and reading whenever I picked it up.

The NetherTale offered a scenario where a player would rescue people from Hell—yet not hurt anyone at all. Might one live that way? Until recently, Shizuka would have dismissed the suggestion as naïve, a fantasy of the weak and sheltered, those who had never fought or known loss. But nothing in Katrina’s background suggested she was weak or sheltered. As for loss? Her music did not lie. She was fighting with an abandon that only came from loss.

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Review: Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz

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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.

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Mini Reviews: Spear, Mooncakes, Shards of Earth, The Raven Tower

I am once again behind on reviews, which means it’s time for another mini reviews post. Usually, I order them from least to most recent – this time, however, with one novella I loved, a graphic novel I was rather indifferent on, and two DNFs, it seemed a shame to put the novella last, so I ordered them by rating instead.

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April & May 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

Posting two months at the same time again, but by the time I remembered I had half a wrap-up for April sitting in drafts (look: I’m not great at this whole blogging thing 😂), it was already mid-May. I was far too wrapped up in, first, frantic Bingo reading combined with a reviewing slump, then learning my way around watercolours, then a reading slump induced by two disappointing books in a row, then travel – in short, too much to keep the blog active.

But hey, I got to see a very Moria-like cave and really cool castle!

April:

  • Dead Collections by Isaac Fellman: Probably one of my favourite books of the year. Very low-key and messily queer, loved it.
  • Witches of Lychford by Paul Cornell: Enjoyable novella with Stardew Valley vibes.
  • Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances by Aliette de Bodard (ARC): Fun enough but argh, I hate miscommunication used to add drama.
  • Foreigner #3-5 by C.J. Cherryh: Still excellent. And poor Bren still can’t catch a break.
  • Two Dark Moons by Avi Silver: A fairly standard coming of age plot but very unique worldbuilding and the story flowed well.
  • Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky (DNF): Too much worldbuilding infodumps, not enough character work. I didn’t care about anything that went on.
  • The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (ARC): Loved it. Weird in the vein of Vandermeer, Māori-inspired, and a very quick read.
  • Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu: Cute, but similar pacing issues to most novellas.
  • Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi: Prequel to Pet focusing on the revolution. Enjoyable, with much to think about.
  • The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (DNF): Boring to the point it was pushing me into a slump. Absolutely nothing interesting – not the writing, not the characters, wordlbuilding, plot…meh.

May:

  • Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: Promising start, but the first book ended with a frankly outrageous cliffhanger and in the second the plot devolved into a mess.
  • The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler: Between the antisemitic tropes used, not being a fan of how the revolution was handled, miscommunication romance drama, and the general mediocrity of the rest of it all, I will not be continuing the series.
  • Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz (ARC): Really liked the worldbuilding (strange sentient sea creatures! Yes!), but not a fan of the rape scene with extremely brutal consequences near the end.
  • I also subscribed to Dracula Daily!

Books read in 2022: 30 (+ 2 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 11/25 (44%)

Review: The Dawnhounds by Sascha Stronach (Against the Quiet #1)

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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.

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Mini Reviews: The Will To Battle, The Thousand Names, Witches of Lychford, Of Charms Ghosts and Grievances

It’s again time for another round of mini reviews to catch up on my backlog – this time two novels I finished back in March but couldn’t give full reviews to, and two novellas. Once again without any DNFs or books I’d dislike 😊

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March 2022 Monthly Wrap-Up

I got so excited about Bingo I almost forgot to post the March wrap-up. But in March, the last month before the start of the new Bingo, my goal was to finish as many books I was in the middle off as possible (obviously, aside from Les Misérables, which is a yearly challenge). I got the amount down from 8 to 5 or 6, which is decent, especially since a lot of it was nonfic I still wasn’t quite in the mood for.

I also finally managed to post the 2021 Bingo wrap-up!

Read:

  • The second part of Les Misérables, or another 300ish pages. The infodumps were testing my patience. Not at half yet, but getting close!
  • Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee (ARC): Really really liked it, especially the reluctant and sometimes cowardly protagonist. Good worldbuilding too.
  • The Will to Battle by Ada Palmer: Enjoyable. Plot didn’t move as much as I hoped, but overall it did its job.
  • The Thousand Names by Django Wexler: Finally finished it after a two years break. I still don’t know why I paused, it’s good and a fast enough read. Now, only need to find the time to continue the series.
  • Half a Soul, The Lord Sorcier, and The Latch Key by Olivia Atwater: Tried it some time ago in too grumpy of a mood, retried it this month, and absolutely loved it. Since the series is getting republished and I can’t get the sequels until April 5th, I went straight for the novellas.
  • Foreigner #1-2 by C.J. Cherryh: Mostly started it because I had lots of time until Bingo with nothing to read and Dia suggested I might like it. The first book was too meandering, the second is a lot better so far. But I’m not reviewing until I’m done with book 3.

Books read in 2022: 16 (+ 2 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 25/25 (100%) 🥳🥳

2022 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Initial Plan and First Impressions

Official announcement thread HERE

So! The time for the new Bingo has finally arrived! The time when we excitedly, foolishly make plans, only for the card to look completely different when the turn-in time comes around. Having the moderator privilege of being able to peek at the card early means that I was able to plan in advance, so here’s my plan for this year. Like the last few years, I’m not trying for hard mode, or doing a themed card, or a double – just your ordinary Bingo, especially since I’m finding this year’s card a lot more difficult.

We’ll see what it looks like by the time I’m done!

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2021 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Conclusion and Thoughts

Official announcement thread with square definitions
Date finished: November 20

I really, really liked the 2021 card and I’m quite sure that this is the earliest I managed to finish a Bingo yet. For the last couple years, I know I always finished in March, and I’m not sure I managed much earlier before that either – especially the times when I did two cards. As much as I hoped it wouldn’t, writing this huge wrap-up still took nearly until the next Bingo.

Links, as always, lead to longer reviews.

Continue reading “2021 r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge: Conclusion and Thoughts”

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