We lost ourselves. Lost our dream. In the pursuit of great, we failed to do good.
I don’t generally make a habit of reviewing tv shows – I watch few enough, only a handful of them SFF, and I finish even fewer. But Arcane…Arcane deserves an exception. That a videogame tie-in animated series, and one for a game I’ll never play or care about, would have turned out to be one of the best-written things of the year was not on anyone’s bingo card, but it sure is a welcome surprise regardless.
ARC received from the publisher (Tor) in exchange for an honest review.
It’s always difficult when one of your most anticipated releases of the year turns out to be a complete disappointment. I had a little warning, fellow fans of The Goblin Emperor disappointed, my experience with The Angel of the Crows tempering my expectations, I knew it was not a true sequel and different…but I did expect a certain degree of craft that just wasn’t there in the end.
Time for another mini review post to clear out my backlog a bit!
While it’s true that in the past few months the most I managed to finish was the occasional novella or romance book, I found some really, really good ones. If anyone else is looking for shorter (all except Slippery Creatures are novellas) or lighter reads, here are some I’d suggest.
Reviewing sequels isn’t easy. Especially not when they have been as anticipated as this one. Will it live up to the hype? Will it suffer from middle book syndrome? In the end, The Hod King left me mostly satisfied, eager for the sequel, but not without complaints.
You act as if she’s a fancy, an errand. She is not! She is a woman whose life I ruined! Ruined with my pride, my inability, my selfishness. I will find her. I will offer my help if she needs it, my heart if she wants it, my head, even if she would see it on a stake!
I delight in books that piss on convention and pull it off. The plotless, the strange, the experimental. City of Saints and Madmen makes all that I read so far sound perfectly ordinary and reasonable. Of all the books I’ve ever read it is, by far, the oddest and the most experimental of them all. It very slightly resembles The Gray House in the sense of slowly discovering a world while reading (and that was the recommendation that made me pick it up), its use of unreliable narrator, and surrealism, but only a bit, in the most general of senses. The structure and the setting itself are entirely different.
Either way, I fucking loved it.
The window looked down on the city proper, which lay inside the cupped hands of a valley veined with tributaries of the Moth. It was there that ordinary people slept and dreamt not of jungles and humidity and the lust that fed and starved men’s hearts, but of quiet walks under the stars and milk-fat kittens and the gentle hum of wind on wooden porches.
The best words to describe it would be “delightfully insane.” Because it is. Utterly batshit and utterly fascinating.
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.
I grabbed a paperback of this book as soon as I heard that the series got picked up by a publisher, just for the sake of having a matching pair. Suffice to say, it’s been sitting on my shelf unread for a while, for no real reason. Well, two days ago I finally picked it up. And read it. Partially in a tree.
“Books are traps.“ But how are they so, and whom do they trap: the author or the reader? Perhaps they are just the boasts of vainglorious minds, and what we hold up as literature is in fact a cult of unlikable characters. I hate to think they are like a fishing weir to the swimming mind, a trap easily swum into but rarely escaped: a neurosis, a dogma, a dream.
No, no, I must no be so cynical! If books are traps, then let them be like terrariums: sealed up and still living miniatures of the world.