I haven’t been around much, as the first half of the year I was working on a bigger, more important project, and so far I haven’t had much energy in the second. So: onto a frenetic burst of blogging to cover what I’ve read in the field! Taking a page from the ladies at Bookpunks and their one-sentence reviews (genius), I’m going to endeavor to be responsible and finally blog — with extreme brevity — about some of the books I’ve read over the last… unpardonable amount of time, really.
Zahrah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor. Prototypical quest-and-coming-of-age story that I’m not really the audience for, but delightful worldbuilding in which technology and flora are linked — plants carry electrical currents, computers must be grown and nurtured, and the Forbidden Greeny Jungle omg it’s adorable.
The Last Witness by KJ Parker. Solid Inception-esque dark fantasy with an intriguing premise — what happens when a second person in the world is gifted with the ability to selectively alter other people’s memories — but may not be worth the loathsome d-bag of a protagonist.
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. Tries to capture the whimsy of an Alice Hoffman novel and doesn’t succeed.
The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time by John Kelly. The introduction delineates the spread of the bubonic plague from Mongolia westward, eastward, and southward, while the rest of the text all but ignores everywhere that isn’t Europe; made it about halfway through before I tossed the book at the wall, incensed at the bait-and-switch.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin. The fact that I found this book very entertaining (if not very memorable) says a lot, considering that it’s very much a gods-n-magic book and it’s difficult for me to can with those, much less care for them.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. I thought the conflict resolved itself too easily and that the ending was a better story setup than the beginning (luckily, there’s a sequel), though it’s enjoyable; Okorafor is, as usual, skilled at writing friendship, and I can see this having a lot of YA crossover appeal.
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu. Totally derailed my ability to keep up with short fiction this year, as so many of the stories had me in my feels for days or even weeks; an utter gem.