Quick book reviews

These are a few thoughts on the books I’ve recently finished. I read much, and think much, but individual posts for reviews are quite a bother.

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2): Awesome action-packed follow up to the most visually stunning novel I’ve ever read (Illuminae). Mildly eh on the end, but overall couldn’t put it down. Read over 24 hours.

Merrow: I had difficulties with setting in the beginning, and with plot for the first…60ish? pages. Once the protagonists met Ulf, I was more hooked. (Mind, I read this thinking I’d get a Cthulhu reference or two, but this is a separate, older version of historical fiction.) Setting: Carrick Scotland, Manx language (from Isle of Man), possibly 900s A.D.

Girl Mans Up: Loved this. Very real. Feels so truthful. I immediately made this a new ‘book club’ read. Rarely does a contemporary wind up in my favorites list, but this did.

Flame in the Mist: This is a good story, but there were some character issues and annoying tropes. Within the first 45 pages, four separate POV characters were introduced. Near the end, I got exceptionally annoyed with a “big reveal.” That being said, Renée Ahdieh seriously impressed me with her exquisite attention to detail in creating the feudal-Japan inspired kingdom of Wa. Bring on the sequel, please.

The Seafarer’s Kiss: I liked the twists and turns, especially since this is a Little Mermaid retelling starring the rise of Ursula (Ersel), the sea witch. I especially loved the F/F romance at the front and center, and the genderfluid Loki, whose pronouns were consistently they/them. BUT, I had a few issues with the one instance of violence that showed up in the main relationship (they punched each other?), and then was glossed over. Skeeved me.

The Blind Contessa’s New Machine: Beautifully written. A bit of a  friends-turned-lovers romance that had a serious age difference, but it didn’t feel like a “grooming” situation. Mildly dissatisfying ending.

Empress of a Thousand Skies: Reads a little heavy, but very pretty. I wasn’t astonished, but I will be reading the sequel(s).

The Dust of 100 Dogs: Weird, but reads well. The piracy is pretty well done (note: I don’t condone violence, peeps). It jarred me a little to go from 1st person POV (Saffron) to 3rd person (Emer, etc). Made me happy that my siblings are hella fab.

Twisted: Recommended to me by my sister-in-almost. It strikes me as a standard YA contemporary thriller, and I’m glad the protagonist gets some closure. Not impressed by the adults, but as I grow older, I realize that humans tend to plateau in competence/empathy. It is our way.

Guards! Guards!: Picked up after the second half-ish, when the dragon actually becomes king (like the back cover says). It isn’t cool that it took 200pages for crowning the dragon to happen, when the blurb says “in rather short order,” but if you like Terry Pratchett’s weirdness, dive in. It’s a little jumpy, but has many funny moments.

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