Review: Illusion by Paula Volsky

goodreads

Even though it’s a well-written book, I have found it very hard to enjoy. So I apologise if this comes across as less of a review and more of a vent – it’s been a long, long time since I read a book as frustrating and full of pet peeves as this. In general, I’d probably still recommend it, but not without a massive warning.

The blurb and recommendations seemed to promise many things I wanted. A revolution plot! Lower classes rising against their masters! Riches to rags! Character development! Some vague rumours about a guilliotine-like character! I was looking forward to it a lot. It seemed like I’d love it and fuck, I wanted so badto love it. Revolutionary fantasy is seriously lacking. But even a good concept can’t always save a book.

Continue reading “Review: Illusion by Paula Volsky”

Advertisements

Review: Heart of Stone by Ben Galley

Image result for heart of stone book

goodreads

He wondered whether this Lundish war was any different from the three dozen or so he’d seen before, whether these Truehard veins ran hotter and truer; whether he might finally find a cause he could rally behind, to blunt his chore of wreaking carnage. To do some good.

Technically speaking, this is an excellent book. The characters are likable and complex, the relationships between the main cast are great (and often adorable). The writing style is polished and quotable, with none of the clunkiness you sometimes see in indie books. The exploration of golem psychology, learning to care about centuries of not caring, also interesting.

Continue reading “Review: Heart of Stone by Ben Galley”

Review: The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan

the gray house.jpg

goodreads

As a rule, I prefer reviewing books that are brilliant but flawed, since usually they are the only ones that can’t be reduced to a couple of sentences. This is not one of those. Since I finished it, I’ve been gushing about it to everyone who’d listen. Seeking out fanart. Taking pauses and breaks, because just like its inhabitants I didn’t want to leave. It’s brilliant, it’s criminally underrated, and while I realise that it’s not for everyone, it’s probably the best book I’ve ever read.

The House demands a reverent attitude. A sense of mystery. Respect and awe. It can accept you or not, shower you with gifts or rob you of everything you have, immerse you in a fairy tale or a nightmare. Kill you, make you old, give you wings … It’s a powerful and fickle deity, and if there’s one thing it can’t stand, it’s being reduced to mere words.

Continue reading “Review: The Gray House by Mariam Petrosyan”

Review: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (Leningrad Diptych #1)

deathless.jpg

goodreads

I have always been a sucker for folklore-inspired books – such as Uprooted, such as The Bear and the NightingaleThe ScarThe Ill-Made MuteIn the Forests of Serre…and now Deathless.

No one is now what they were before the war. There’s no way getting any of it back.

But while the other books play the elements relatively straight, only expanding them at need, this is a dark, brutal deconstruction; like, yet unlike the other retellings. The worldbuilding is excellent. Instead of the middle ages it is set roughly during the both World Wars, so it’s hardly a surprise. Half historical fiction, half mythology, there are rifle imps and communist house spirits, soldier factories, battles from history that are really fought between Life and Death, and a protagonist that embraces the darkness rather than fighting it. The characters are not particularily deep, but I felt like they don’t really have to be in retellings, if the atmosphere and the language and the symbolism are strong enough to carry it.

Continue reading “Review: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente (Leningrad Diptych #1)”