A post recommending short stories is the closest I will ever come to celebrating Halloween. The holiday just seems so incongruous with the Australian summer, and I did not even know of its existence while growing up in Vietnam.
On the other hand, I am someone who’s always been morbidly fascinated by ghost stories and grisly horror. I am particularly invested if there’s a cultural or human element to the story, my faint heart vastly prefers a solid story of human tragedy to an all-out gore fest. This short recommendation list will include a couple of short stories I read throughout the week leading up to Halloween, they all feature diverse author and/or characters.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden is not released until January 2017, but I already know that it will be amongst my top ten list of next year. I adore immersive, dark, and atmospheric folklore retelling. This book dishes all of these elements up and more, here’s a sneak peek as to why you should pre-order this beautiful book.
Summary: In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift – a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed only with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Note: This review will contain spoilers for the prequel The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet. Common Orbit can be read as a standalone, although you will be spoiled for part of Small Angry Planet’s ending.
I read Small Angry Planet earlier on this year and it catapulted into my all time favourite list, it’s a scifi bursting with heart and soul. Needless to say, I have been anticipating the release of Common Orbit ever since.
Companion novels are a mixed beast for me, although I love revisiting the world, I am always afraid I won’t love it as much as the original if the characters I grew to love are no longer around. My fears were quickly dispelled as Common Orbit prove to retain all the heart that made me love Small Angry Planet. It also stood on its own two feet as an excellent, thought provoking novel that examines the meaning of family and identity.
Note: This post will contain spoilers for the prequel, Six of Crows. It will be completely spoiler-free for Crooked Kingdom.
Six of Crows was one of my favourite releases of last year, making Crooked Kingdom my #1 anticipated book of 2016. The conclusion to this epic duology delivered in every way possible. Crooked Kingdom enthralled and delighted, even while some of the content reduced me to tears. Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Wylan will forever be marked as one of my most beloved fictional crew.
No Mourners, No Funerals
First, let’s talk characters! The friendship forged between our beloved six outcasts remain my favourite thing (in a very long list) about this series. Not only do the characters have meaningful, heartbreaking relationships with their respective romantic partners – they also share beautiful moments with platonic members of the crew. Crooked Kingdom is filled with character bonding, as well as interaction and development within the numerous friendships within the main group. Continue reading “Book Review: Crooked Kingdom”→
I was really hesitant about purchasing a physical book, I don’t like the cover and I’m shallow like that. However, the Kindle e-copy costed $20AUD, so I conceded and purchased the hard copy instead. Fortunately, it turned out to be one of my best purchasing decision of this year, because the content of this book is extraordinary in its ability to weave Japanese history with magic. I have never read a book quite like it, at least not in English – and I am eager to go back and explore more of Kij Johnson’s other novels.
The book is heavily inspired by Japan’s Heian era, specifically by the classic Tales of Genji, and the Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon. Similar to the authors of these archaic text, our narrator is a noblewoman, sequestered behind the gilded screens of her palace for all her life. Continue reading “Book Review: Fudoki by Kij Johnson”→
If you’ve been on Twitter this past week, you’ll notice that the community is abuzz with discussions on representation in fantasy. I can barely believe that it’s still up for debate. I am continually disappointed that while white and heteronormative narrative continues to dominate the genre, we still get people leaping to its defense when someone questions about the absence of diversity.
Somehow, there’s an idea that diverse fiction is a genre unto itself, that we should not demand to see ourselves reflected in popular fiction. In my mind, good fiction should be relatable and to some extent, it should accurately reflect the real world – even if it’s a fantasy.
To soothe my anger at the twitter debate, I went on Tor’s website to read through several of the SFF short stories they publish. I love the fiction published on this site because i) it’s free! and ii) it’s always quality and pushes to be inclusive. At the end of the day, the best way to support inclusive stories is to read them and shout your love to the world about them. So here’s a list of great SFF stories you can enjoy by just clicking on the link!
We made a terrible mistake in thinking that replicating memories was sufficient to replicate a person.
Cixin Liu took the world by storm with The Three-Body Problem, one of the first Chinese science fiction to be translated into English. I love how he uses daring ideas on science, and reapplies it to answer questions about humanity. This short story about engineered and inherited memories between a mother and her unborn child captures his style perfectly. Ken Liu delivers a smooth and technically impressive translation, as always. Continue reading “Recs: Diverse SFF Short Stories”→
I read Caraval for the ReadThemAllThon as my Marsh Badge (Paranormal/Supernatural Book). This is my version of a review for the book, as I don’t intend to write a full review until it’s closer to the release date.
Disclaimer: I was provided with an ARC of this book by Hodderscape.
Previously, on pre-release thoughts, we talked about Nevernight. Today, we’ll be talking about all things Caraval, even though it isn’t technically out until January 2017. Guys, you have a lot to be excited for when 2017 comes around!
Caraval by Stephanie Garber will released January 31st (US) and January 26th (UK).
I want to start a new blog series focusing on pre-release hype and what I think of the book in question. This is because I sometimes get the opportunity to read ARCs months before publication date and I have to wait entirely too long to talk about them, and forget stuff along the way. I will always post full reviews closer to the date, just think of these posts as a taster.
The first in this series will look at Nevernight!
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff will be released August 9th (US) and August 11th (UK/Aus)
Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this book from Harper Voyager Australia in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way contributed the intensity of my fangirling.
Hype Met? EFF YES!
I finished this book earlier on in the month and enjoyed it so much, I thought I’d write a short post urging you all to i) read it immediately if you have access to the ARC and ii) go and preorder it, because you’re worth it. I buddy-read this book with the wonderful Aila, which made the experience all the more enjoyable. I’ll write a full review closer to the date of release. Continue reading “Pre-Release Thoughts: 5 Reasons You Should Preorder Nevernight”→
A Tale For The Time Being is an audiobook I picked up on a complete whim. I have been hearing about the novel over the past year, and was intrigued by its premise: alternating between the life of a teenage Japanese girl and an American woman, separated by both space and time. Utterly unique, intelligent, and moving – this book has climbed onto my Top of 2015 list, possibly Top of All Time – for it’s a tale I’ll remember for not just the time being, but for years beyond this.
You need to be a little bit crazy. Crazy is the price you pay for having an imagination. It’s your superpower. Tapping into the dream. It’s a good thing not a bad thing.
Some of you might have seen me raving about this book on twitter and Goodreads over the past month. I know it’s still January, but I am fairly confident this book will enter my Top 10 list at the end of the year. It was at once an epic tale traversing through numerous timelines, and a quiet study on what make us human. Continue reading “Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August”→