September Reading Wrap-Up

Introduction


September was sure an interesting ride. We had a few stand outs – namely, The Bone Ships by RJ Barker, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes…. all sandwiched in between a few books that didn’t quite hit that sweet spot for me. Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and The Miracles of Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino were near-misses and had some aspects I enjoyed greatly even if they didn’t pull together in the way I might have hoped. The Resurrectionist of Caligo, however, didn’t work for me at all on nearly any level – though I think the author duo behind it shows promise and may well improve in future works. 

Next month, I have several books I’m incredibly excited for! I’ve already finished reading Vita Nostra, which was excellent, as well as Uncrowned, which was one hell of a fun time as always. More information on these as well as others on my calendar below!

Thanks for reading, all, and please consider following me on Twitter or Goodreads! Twitter features my asshole adorable and sweet cats, Evil and Ninja-Devil. Trust me, you never realized how badly you needed a q-tip obsessed cat in your life prior to meeting Evil. 

Last Month’s Reads

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The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga – FULL REVIEW

Unfortunately, this book did not work well for me at all. While there are some intriguing ideas and gorgeous cover art, the overall plot relied on characters failing to speak with one another and making ridiculous choices at every turn. I appreciated the fantasy-Middle Eastern country being represented as the more progressive in comparison to fantasy-England, however, as most Western-based fantasy tends to generalize that portion of the world as savage and backward. If the magic system’s usage had been more plot relevant and the characters had been willing to work together, this could have been a fun book. 


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Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – FULL REVIEW

This book was a joy and a delight. Tamsyn Muir’s debut novel reaches out and grabs you in its skeletal fist from the very first page and doesn’t let go. Gideon The Ninth is witty, irreverent, and fresh as hell. It’s fucking delightful. It’s not all glitz, glam, and bones though – this is a book with a big ol’ heart hiding underneath the aviator glasses, laugh-aloud banter, and, of course, the mountain of corpses. This is a tight, polished narrative with twists and turns that were hinted at heavily in retrospect, yet take the reader completely by surprise as they unfold.


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The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes – FULL REVIEW

The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes is hands-down the most imaginative, fresh, and kind book I’ve read this year. It is absolutely unlike anything else I’ve read, combining the innocence and creativity of a middle grade novel with the darkness and trauma of adult fantasy. At a glance, that makes it tempting to label this book as YA or middle grade, but upon reading it, that’s clearly not the case. It deals with loss of innocence, growing up, trauma, PTSD, identity, and abuse in a way that is both genuinely kind and genuinely heartbreaking.


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The Bone Ships by RJ Barker – FULL REVIEW

RJ Barker’s world in The Bone Ships is a rich, vibrant tapestry. This book is easily in my top ten books of 2019, and likely top five. It’s simply excellent. The reader is immersed from the start, drowned in the sheer audacity of the writing. Each sentence had a lot of love poured into it, and it comes across clear as a clarion. The prose is dense with strong slice-of-life elements and creates a sense of “otherness” without crossing over into inaccessible. The use of vernacular is masterful, neither too extreme nor too campy, contributing to the je ne sais quoi that pervades the novel as a whole. The world is strange, disturbing, and filled with dangers the characters must navigate at every step… yet which is entirely normal to them in context.


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The Miracles of Namiya General Store by Keigo Higashino – FULL REVIEW

The Miracles of Namiya General Store is a book of interconnected short stories focusing on the lives of individuals who were helped or shaped by both the store and a nearby orphanage, called Marumitsuen. It follows a group of delinquents, an Olympic fencer, and a real estate tycoon amongst others. It’s a book about how everyone’s lives are connected to one another, how one small action can lead to much larger impacts spanning across generations. Although I enjoyed this book, I felt that the characters, prose, and atmosphere were not strong enough to justify the slice of life style narration. 


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Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – FULL REVIEW

Gods of Jade and Shadow is a light, fairytale-esque read focusing on Mayan and Mexican history and mythology. Set in the 1920s, the midst of the jazz era, the setting comes across as different and refreshing given how infrequently Mexico is featured in non-translated fantasy. I would recommend this to people who are looking for fantasy that straddles the line between adult and YA content. It’s quick-moving with characters who conform to existing archetypes. Although there is nothing particularly ground-breaking in this novel, it is overall competently written and something I’d consider to be a good vacation read.


 

Upcoming Reviews

October is looking absolutely fantastic. Some of the books you can expect to see on my blog this month include: 

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Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
Series: Stand-Alone
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release date: November 1st, 2018 (English Translation)

From Goodreads:

A complex blend of adventure, magic, science, and philosophy that probes the mysteries of existence, filtered through a distinct Russian sensibility, this astonishing work of speculative fiction—brilliantly translated by Julia Meitov Hersey—is reminiscent of modern classics such as Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Max Barry’s Lexicon, and Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale, but will transport them to a place far beyond those fantastical worlds. 


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Uncrowned by Will Wight
Series: Cradle #7
Publisher: Self-Published

Release date: September 26th, 2019

Previous reviews in this series: Cradle 1 & 2, Cradle 3-6

From Goodreads:

The Monarchs, the most powerful sacred artists on Cradle, rule with unquestioned authority. They are mysterious and distant, and catching a glimpse of one is privilege enough for a lifetime.

Now, they have all gathered in one place, bringing their heirs and greatest students together for a competition to determine whose successor is the best in the world:

The Uncrowned King tournament.


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Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn
Series: These Treacherous Tides #1
Publisher: Self-Published

Release date: July 26th, 2018

From Goodreads:

The ocean is uncontrollable and dangerous. But to the sirens who swim the warm island waters, it’s a home more than worth protecting from the humans and their steam-propelled ships. Between their hypnotic voices and the strength of their powerful tails, sirens have little to fear.

That is, until the ruthless pirate captain, Kian, creates a device to cancel out their songs.

Perle was the first siren captured, and while all since have either been sold or killed, Kian still keeps them prisoner. Though their song is muted and their tail paralyzed, Perle’s hope for escape rekindles as another pirating vessel seizes Kian’s ship. This new captain seems different, with his brilliant smile and his promises that Kian will never again be Perle’s master. But he’s still a human, and a captor in his own way. The compassion he and his rag-tag human family show can’t be sincere… or can it?

Soon it becomes clear that Kian will hunt Perle relentlessly, taking down any siren in her path. As the tides turn, Perle must decide whether to run from Kian forever, or ride the forming wave into battle, hoping their newfound human companions will fight with them.


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Where Oblivion Lives by T. Frohock
Series: Los Nefilim
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release date: February 19th, 2019

Previous reviews in this series: Los Nefilim Novellas

Note: Although Where Oblivion Lives takes place following the novellas, it is written to stand alone as an introduction to the Los Nefilim universe. It is not necessary to read the novellas prior to Where Oblivion Lives. 

From Goodreads:

Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light.

As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness.

And for Diago, it will resurrect the anguish caused by a tragedy he experienced in a past life.


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A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release date: October 8th, 2019

From Goodreads:

A brilliant mix of the psychological and supernatural, blending the acute insight of Roberto Bolaño and the eerie imagination of H. P. Lovecraft, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky examines life in a South American dictatorship. Centered on the journal of a poet-in-exile and his failed attempts at translating a maddening text, it is told by a young woman trying to come to grips with a country that nearly devoured itself.

In My Heart Struck Sorrow, a librarian discovers a recording from the Deep South—which may be the musical stylings of the Devil himself.

Breathtaking and haunting, A Lush and Seething Hell is a terrifying and exhilarating journey into the darkness, an odyssey into the deepest reaches of ourselves that compels us to confront secrets best left hidden.


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Fortuna by Kristyn Merbeth
Series: Nova Vita Protocol #1
Publisher: Orbit

Release date: November 5th, 2019

From Goodreads:

Scorpia Kaiser has always stood in Corvus’s shadow until the day her older brother abandons their family to participate in a profitless war. However, becoming the heir to her mother’s smuggling operation is not an easy transition for the always rebellious, usually reckless, and occasionally drunk pilot of the Fortuna, an aging cargo ship and the only home Scorpia has ever known.

But when a deal turns deadly and Corvus returns from the war, Scorpia’s plans to take over the family business are interrupted, and the Kaiser siblings are forced to make a choice: take responsibility for their family’s involvement in a devastating massacre or lay low and hope it blows over.

Too bad Scorpia was never any good at staying out of a fight.


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Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release date: November 5th, 2019

From Goodreads:

Escaping Exodus is a story of a young woman named Seske Kaleigh, heir to the command of a biological, city-size starship carved up from the insides of a spacefaring beast. Her clan has just now culled their latest ship and the workers are busy stripping down the bonework for building materials, rerouting the circulatory system for mass transit, and preparing the cavernous creature for the onslaught of the general populous still in stasis. It’s all a part of the cycle her clan had instituted centuries ago—excavate the new beast, expand into its barely-living carcass, extinguish its resources over the course of a decade, then escape in a highly coordinated exodus back into stasis until they cull the next beast from the diminishing herd.

And of course there wouldn’t be much of a story if things didn’t go terribly, terribly wrong.


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The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Saga Press

Release date: November 5th, 2019

From Goodreads:

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.


 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Are you looking forward to any of the next month’s line-up in particular?

Let me know in the comments below!

 


2 thoughts on “September Reading Wrap-Up

  1. I’ve actually not read any of these yet but I’m excited by The Bone Ships and Gideon the Ninth; they’re getting rave reviews and fingers crossed I’m planning on getting to them in November.

    Liked by 1 person

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