So March has been sadly lacking in the reviews department – but this doesn’t mean I didn’t get through some great books! Just that my writing brain keeps letting me down. Thanks, writing brain.
But I shall get past this, and until then we have recaps! Let’s take a look at what got done.
So we are one book away from finishing the readalong for this series, and in an effort to have done (not a terribly good sign…) Team Muskedragon has decided to read straight through the final book instead of spreading it out across a month as we’ve done until now. So there will be one final review when I finish League of Dragons, instead of one per week. We want to see it through to the end, but by this point I think we want just as badly to move on to the next series (announcement about that coming soon!). So we’ll be reading together next weekend, with a review to follow as soon as possible.
Shades of Magic
Much better news on this front – our love for this trilogy gets stronger every time we read! I have a bit of reviewing catchup to do, but we are on a marvellous tear through A Conjuring of Light and there is SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT. Stay tuned for that.
(We have also settled on a follow-up to this trilogy for group reading, when it’s *sob* finally over as well. More news on that also coming soon!)
What Else Have I Read?
Pride’s Spell & Idle Ingredients – the third and fourth installments of Matt Wallace’s urban fantasy novella series continued to keep me highly entertained – and given that Pride’s Spell features an attempted assassination involving a spider-bomb, that is really saying something. I will never, ever look at Easter eggs the same way again. Thanks, Matt.
Bookburners, Season One – Likewise, the very first offering from Serial Box Publishing finally made its way (back) onto my reading plate this month. I’d begun reading this serial in its original e-format before life and so many other books called me away, but the release of Saga Press’s immensely (literally) impressive hardcover edition lured me back. It was wonderfully satisfying to finally read this to completion, and the story itself didn’t let me down. I will definitely be back for more, and happily I’ve got all (I think?) of Season Two to enjoy now!
Think of England by KJ Charles – Set in England (obviously) in 1904, this book is a gay erotic murder mystery featuring a disabled former soldier, a delightfully openly queer poet, and the emotions-wringing circumstances that bring them together. (Ahem.) Word of fair warning: given the period setting, this also features some pretty despicable attitudes toward queer sex and the people who enjoy it. That said, it made me root even harder for our heroes – and swoon harder too. Definitely worth your time if this sounds like your cup of tea!
Hunger Makes The Wolf by Alex Wells (aka Alex Acks) – This is one of the latest SF offerings from Angry Robot, and it is an absolute joy. Best described in a nutshell as ‘Dune with bikers’, this is a wonderful if somewhat terrifying look at a future where big corporations literally rule the world(s), and what I loved as much as the story and the characters we follow through it was the mash-up of genres. I’m inclined to say this is more science-fantasy than straight science fiction (hence the Dune comparison), but that just makes it more interesting, in my opinion. I don’t yet know if this is just the first in a series, but there’s definitely room for more, and room on my shelf for it if we get it. (Disclosure: though it wasn’t requested for review, I did receive a free copy of this book from the publisher.)
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – this came recommended by a friend, and was thoroughly worth the time! I’ve gotten a bit cautious about reading YA novels, as I generally prefer more straight-up adult stuff, but sometimes I’ll hit on a winner, and this is definitely one. Time-travelling fantasy that uses maps as magical keys, with dysfunctional families, mythical critters, romance, and the exploration of the history of unfamiliar (to me) places? Of course I signed up, and I’m not the tiniest bit sorry. I adored this book, even if my grasp of the technical aspects – the necessary explanation of how Heilig’s time travel works – got a bit slippery here and there. The story moves along at enough of an entertaining clip that I didn’t mind too much, and the pace took nothing away from my engagement with the characters or my appreciation of their relationships with each other. I’ll be getting my hands on the sequel as soon as possible!
So I didn’t get nearly as much done for this feature as I’d hoped, but! I did get to read The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle, and was seriously impressed by it. This novella is based on H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Horror at Red Hook’, which is pretty widely regarded as one of the most problematic stories in a long list of problematic stories. LaValle puts a fresh and fascinating spin on it by setting it in Harlem in the 1920s, and making one of its two narrators, Charles Thomas (‘Tommy’) Tester, a man of colour – and a con-man, to boot. The other is a crooked cop who sets out to bring him down, and his perspective is less interesting (perhaps inevitably), but the sense of horror and dread hits the mark for me in the end, and the story itself hits impressively hard when read from Tommy Tester’s point of view (“I’ll take Cthulhu over you devils any day.”). There are issues of racism and use of racist language that might be troubling to readers, but I’d still recommend this if you’re looking for Lovecraftian horror with fresh (evergreen?) social relevance.
So that’s what got done in March! And given that I’ve got a week off right around the corner, I am definitely planning on getting some binge-reading done in April! See you next time.