Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

As an introduction to Sarah Beth Durst’s works, you can’t go wrong with Race the Sands. This stand-alone epic fantasy adventure features hair-raising monster racing, an older woman as a protagonist, and found family elements all set against a backdrop filled with intense political machinations. … More Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst

The Impact of R.B. Lemberg’s Birdverse: A Second Look at ‘The Four Profound Weaves’

While I’ve already waxed poetic previously on this novella’s merits in a full review back in March, a small reprise is called for as we near its release date. The prediction I made back then still holds true; I don’t think I’ve stopped recommending this book any time it’s even slightly relevant to someone’s interests. … More The Impact of R.B. Lemberg’s Birdverse: A Second Look at ‘The Four Profound Weaves’

The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

I had a few frustrations with The Ranger of Marzanna. There were many things I ought to have enjoyed more than I did – I love the idea of magic coming at a price of your own humanity, for example. Unfortunately, I struggled to connect with the characters and found the prose to be mediocre at best. The dialogue in particular tended to take me out of the narrative.  … More The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron

Driftwood by Marie Brennan

In order to get the most out of Driftwood, a reader must arm themselves ahead of time.  Archeologists’ tools – brushes, trowels, and picks – are recommended. This, you see, is not merely a book… but an artefact of another world. Driftwood immerses the reader within its ever-shifting borders. It demands that the reader explore and discover, content in its own ergodicity without crossing the line into onanism. The constant press of the new and novel, the erasure of history and culture, and the preservation of individual identity within that atmosphere is explored with a subtle, deft hand. This is less a novel than it is a glimpse into a distant, alien future that might have been. … More Driftwood by Marie Brennan

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

After having read and loved The Goblin Emperor, I was incredibly excited to see that Katherine Addison had a new book out! I cannot express how quickly I smashed “request” on NetGalley. Unfortunately, I regret to say that this book was a bit of a hot mess. Admittedly, I came into it with slightly incorrect expectations: when I heard that this novel had begun as a Sherlock Holmes wingfic, I instantly made the assumption that I would see some of my favorite tropes from that particular subgenre of fanfic. However, even outside of this mismatch of expectations, I felt that the book had major issues with pacing, character development, worldbuilding, and queer representation. It did not grab my attention at any juncture. Every time I thought it was going to do something interesting, it went nowhere. I felt set adrift and overall dissatisfied.  … More The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett, Fake Out & Trick Play by Eden Finley, Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie, and The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

In the spirit of being kind to myself…. I’ve accepted that trying to do my full, lengthy reviews of every books I’ve read but not reviewed so far is just too much to ask right now. Maybe one of these days I’ll revisit these books and do them justice, but right now I need to get them done and stop worrying about them.  … More Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett, Fake Out & Trick Play by Eden Finley, Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie, and The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches is possibly the angriest book I have ever read in my life, which is very much something I can relate to. I, too, am angry – I’m angry that womanhood is a threat dangling over my head, I’m angry that it’s the source of trauma for me. I’m angry that I’ve been denied power, agency, and even basic respect. Often, I’m diminished for even implying that I’ve been denied these things. I’m told I’m imagining things, that sexism doesn’t exist even though I see its effects in my day to day life. It’s a man opening a training session with “Good morning, gentlemen!” and the abuse I went through when I was a mere child. Although Harrow’s prose is poetic and gorgeous as always, sheer fury seethes from the pages. This is a book about righteous, feminine anger. It is a book about tearing down the establishment that controls you and burning the fences they’ve built to cage you in. I don’t know if I am a woman, really, but perhaps I have the anger of one. I don’t know if I want my gender to be wrapped up in anger, but I can’t deny that it’s at the core of what womanhood has meant for me. It’s been fear, trauma, and, yes, a great deal of anger. … More The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

The Unspoken Name was fundamentally an incredibly comforting book. Although it was consistently difficult to sit down and focus due to the current situation, when I was able to do so, I really, really enjoyed it. Larkwood hearkens back to the early eras of epic fantasy, bringing the best of what I loved as a child forward into a modern, fresh new book.  … More The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

Review of Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko, translated by Julia Hersey, and contemplations on connections to Vita Nostra

Similar to Vita Nostra, Daughter from the Dark defies simple attempts at explanation. While it is straightforward on the surface, it’s clear to a reader that there are many depths and dangers lying beneath that topmost narrative layer. It’s almost absurdist, in some respects. Humorous at times. It’s a power struggle between two opposite characters – one who is driven and focused in the extreme, and one who is cowardly, fearful, and selfish. Both are dysfunctional in their own unique ways, struggling to navigate a world filled with death, pain, and hunger. They hurt one another, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, joined by translator Julia Hersey, take us on a dark dive into the human psyche once again, forcing the brightness of the unknown to cast stark shadows that define the edges of our own reality. … More Review of Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko, translated by Julia Hersey, and contemplations on connections to Vita Nostra

The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

R. B. Lemberg’s first foray into long-form fiction has left me breathless. The Four Profound Weaves is a love ballad sung straight into the hearts of those who most need to hear it. I was instantly captivated by the poetic, lyrical prose and drawn in with dreams of sandbirds. It’s the queer, Middle-Eastern fairy tale we’ve been waiting for. … More The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg