Dearest Gentle Reader,
So recently it was Dewey’s Readaton, I’ve done it before. I always try for the April one (as opposed to October) because I tend to be home and it’s around my birthday. No I won’t tell you my birthday. Yes the wikipedia entry is wrong. I intentionally disseminated misinformation early on in my career. *insert evil laugh here*
Anywhoozle, here’s what I read this year…
The Girl of Fire & Thorns by Rae Carson (2011)
Book 1 of 3, YA-esk epic fantasy with an Abbasid Caliphate feel to the setting
I nearly put this book down several times during the first few chapters. Here’s why. It’s told in first-person present tense and it’s REAL slow to start. However, about the time when people started to die and court intrigue showed up, I got invested.
This book is a poster child for new style epic fantasy that we see a lot of in YA these days. The close deep POV and sense of immediacy given by a first-person present protag (which I blame on 2000’s YA like The Hunger Games) is matched with epic fantasy baggage in terms of words wasted on setting and set-up. It’s not a melding I generally enjoy. Don’t get mad at me, I once read a lot of epics, I dig some political intrigue in particular. After all, the Daughter of the Empire series is one of my favorites of all time. It’s just not what I gravitate towards these days. And I find the execution pretty choppy in general.
I think if your palate isn’t formed by Hunger Games and it’s brethren, you get spiky about this style. It’s probably an age thing. Perhaps some of you are with me in this?
But I got over my baggage with The Girl of Fire & Thorns, and ended up enjoying it for what it was (rather than what I wanted it to be). I even managed to let go of the first-person present. It’s a slow burn on self actualization and the bildungsroman thread, but it does happen. She comes into her own, even if that’s towards the back 2/3 of the book. It reminded me in good ways of Grace Draven’s Radiance (arranged marriage trope) mixed with Robin McKinley’s Damar books (kidnapping and dashing across deserts) with a dash of Dune chucked in for good measure (she is the Kwisatz Haderach). The quazi Abbasid Caliphate setting held my attention and I very much enjoyed it by the end.
This first book has a satisfying enough ending TO stand alone (if you’re scared of investing in the whole series). All in all I would say:
- Not recommended if your preference is for urban fantasy pacing, strong romance elements, or lighthearted humor.
- Recommended if you enjoy YA epic fantasy and coming of age narratives with an (eventual) strong female lead.
Silk Dragon Salsa by Rhys Ford (2020)
Book 4 of 4, urban fantasy alt-California setting
This is the forth Kai Gracen book and just as good as all the others, better in that he and his lordling finally get together. Of course, it’s a lot of blood and death and suffering to get them into bed (these books go DARK), but I’ve been invested in this couple from the get go. I’m so glad they finally made it. Very grown up and civilized they were about it, too. Communication and everything. It ended with more hints about Kai’s heritage, so it looks like there will be more in the series, but honestly this is a very satisfying final book. So if you’ve been waiting to pick it up, for fear of cliff hangers, you can rest assured that this works as a quartet and be very satisfied with the four books as they currently stand.
- Recommended book and series if you like hard urban fantasy with lots of gore, a snarky tortured murder peanut main character, a pining elf, and broken angst all over your knives.
In addition to these two I read a manga and a sci-fi romance, neither of which were particularly to my taste. I’m not going to waste my fingers typing about them. I had also intended to do a beta read on a friend’s non-fiction but didn’t get the right format. So that’s that.
Basically four books total.
Frankly, that seems about normal for me: 4 books in 12 hours is what I’ve managed for this readathon in the past. I did think breaking digital up with the print manga in the middle helped, and I went for a walk, but nothing seems to improve my numbers more that 4 in 12.
Pip pip gentle reader. Big announcement coming in the Chirrup this week.
- Vixen Ecology ~ Interstitial short story featuring Mana and Lovejoy, follow up to The Enforcer Enigma, was released as a Chirrup digital exclusive. That’s Gail’s newsletter. If you sign up you will get a link to buy and download after you’re through the confirmation process.
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My first non-fiction book! How to use ancient story structure to understand and crack bestselling genre fiction. It is available in print, digital, or audio.
- Gail is currently writing the next Delightfully Deadly book which will release later this year.
- She also has a fun technofantasy in production, about a world where magic only works when you’re dating someone, and the boy who falls in love with the wrong person.
- Need to know what else Gail is working on right now? That’s in the Chirrup.
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