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Retrospective: Dracula Daily

This both is and isn’t a review. Yes, I’m among those who read Dracula via the Dracula Daily newsletter and I had a great time. On the other hand, it’s really hard to review or critique something that’s not only a book but also a minor cultural phenomenon, with the latter part being rather essential. You cannot talk about recommending or not recommending an experience that is unlikely to repeat for others to take part in, or at least not at such scale. But I had to write something for goodreads to mark it as read, and, well, turns out I have a lot to say.

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Review: Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell

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Thanks to the publisher (Tor) for the ARC of this book.

Well, this was fun! I confess: I still haven’t read Winter’s Orbit, but something about description of Ocean’s Echo intrigued me enough to request it. And I was right. Sometimes all you need is some light, queernorm sci-fi. Even though Ocean’s Echo has its flaws, it simply clicked for me.

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Mini Reviews: Agents of Winter, Yellow Jessamine, The Keeper’s Six, Kundo Wakes Up

Once again, it’s time for a quartet of mini reviews. This time, I liked three out of four books and felt meh on one of them, which is really not a bad ratio given how some of those roundup posts tend to go. Three novellas, one short novel, three SFF books, one not. I see a pattern here. I also admit I bought the last novella, Kundo Wakes Up, solely because I like to have four books before I post and I wasn’t willing to wait until I either DNF’d something or stumbled into a novella randomly again, but given that 1) I had planned to read it since release and 2) I liked it, this is not at all a bad thing.

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Review: The Two Doctors Górski by Isaac Fellman

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Thanks to the publisher (Tordotcom) for the ARC of this book.

Of course I would have read this novella one way or another. Fellman is perhaps one of my favourite authors. The Breath of the Sun and Dead Collections are both some of my all-time favourites. I’d read anything he writes. The Two Doctors Górski was not quite as enjoyable – it’s a high bar! – but it was still a great, if heavy read in Fellman’s usual understated style.

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Review: The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg (Birdverse)

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Thanks to the publisher (Tachyon Publications) for the ARC of this book.

Sometimes, you have to stop for a while and think a book over before you can review it and this was exactly the case here. I liked it, I was pretty sure – I read it in one sitting (or lying, as it were) after all – but it’s one of those books that give you a lot to think about. In either case, it made a great conclusion to the 2022 r/Fantasy Bingo.

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Review: The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee

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Thanks to the publisher (Erewhon) for the ARC of this book.

I love the idea of weird westerns, but so far I haven’t managed to find a single one that’d satisfy the urge. I was especially excited at the prospect of one that deals with the racism and colonialism, but…I don’t know if it’s just because the cover and the blurb made me expect more weird western and less fae, but I wasn’t as much of a fan of The Nightland Express as I’d have hoped.

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Mini Reviews: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, The Past is Red, The Lights of Prague, A Taste of Gold and Iron

This month’s batch of mini reviews, finally big enough to post, came out very varied. A book I liked but couldn’t give a full review to because I was on a vacation book binge, a pretty good novella that’d get a mini review anyway, a novel so mediocre that I didn’t have much to say, and a grumpy unexpected DNF. For once, more novels than novellas.

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Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

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Everyone is probably familiar with the good old ebook backlog. I tend to start planning my Bingo with those to try to knock at least a couple off the list, but between being a mood reader, ARCs and more kindle sales…well. At least I managed it with this one. Even though I wasn’t really in the mood and probably wouldn’t ever be, it was perfect for the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey square. In the end, I am left with mixed feelings. While the premise was interesting enough to keep me from DNFing, the characters and parts of the plot were underwhelming to say the least.

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Review: Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

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I’ve been disappointed by so many highly anticipated books with amazing premises this year that it made me a little wary of starting another. Even if it seemed almost tailor-made for me. But this was luckily the real deal. I loved it. From the first chapter on, I absolutely loved it. From the language geekery, to the brutal takedown of British colonialism and the fact that I kept being pulled back to it whenever I put it down, it completely lived up to the hype for me.

He hated this place. He loved it. He resented how it treated him. He still wanted to be a part of it – because it felt so good to be a part of it, to speak to its professors as an intellectual equal, to be in on the great game.

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Review: The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez

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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.

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