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

Recursion by Blake Crouch

I have always wondered what memories are. They shape us, they are fundamental to our idea of who we are, and yet they don’t actually exist outside of our minds. They can shift with time, two people can remember the same moment completely differently, and particularly difficult or traumatic experiences can anchor us in the past. Memories can suck, and sometimes all you want to do is go back and change that one moment that threw your life on its head. Recursion is a book that takes this question of what a memory actually is and just runs with it. … More Recursion by Blake Crouch

To Balance the Weight of Khalem by R.B. Lemberg

Every culture has their folklore and in it their culture is reflected. It makes me so unhappy that so many people never get to see themselves in the fiction we read back when we were all in school – especially when I read a story that would have been just perfect. I think of those years of uncertainty and unhappiness. It could have been avoided. In isolation these past four weeks, these feelings are amplified. The missed opportunities for human connection and understanding feel all the more bittersweet. Why couldn’t we have had this story earlier? Why couldn’t we share it amongst ourselves and understand ourselves early? It seems a tragedy. … More To Balance the Weight of Khalem by R.B. Lemberg

The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

It’s fairly rare that I read any middle grade books, but I saw Niki’s art for The Deep & Dark Blue and immediately fell in love. I knew at once that I had to check this book out. The bold colours and character designs work for me. When I heard it described as “Tamora Pierce, except if Alanna/Alan got to actually be trans,” that was all I needed to know. I headed off and snagged it from Bookshop. And honestly? It completely lived up to all my hopes and dreams. … More The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

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