So today is a sick day, because at some point between leaving for work yesterday and getting home again I picked up a rather enthusiastic dose of flu. Yay!
But if I’m going to be stuck indoors all weekend, I might as well catch up on writing. First up, a recap of the last month’s reading/writing!
Stake Sauce (Arc 1, Acts 1 & 2) by RoAnna Sylver
Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London #2) – finished! Final review going up soon, I promise.
The Tropic of Serpents – We got underway with the second Lady Trent book by Marie Brennan. Reader, I fell in love.
What Else Is There?
Plenty! Short fiction first, because May was very much “quality over quantity” in that sense.
Reenu-You by Michele Tracy Berger: Another excellent release from Book Smugglers Publishing. I read this in its eARC form, and was very impressed by it! I will confess that I’d expected a little more SF-ness than I got, though I’m honestly not sure why. But that’s on me, and I’d still thoroughly recommend giving this novella a try.
Greedy Pigs by Matt Wallace: The fifth entry in the Sin du Jour series from Tor.com. The levels of gleefully barbed humour and batshit plot insanity, not to mention the utterly engaging character depth that somehow shoulders its way in past all that, which make these novellas such a pleasure are more than up to their own standard here. And they do set a standard. How on earth Matt Wallace makes all of this work is beyond me, but it really works. There is plenty of life (and a shocking twist or two) in this series yet. I cannot get enough. I AM A GREEDY PIG (see what I did there?).
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey: FINALLY. I had been waiting … I don’t even know how long anymore, to get my hands on this novella, and it absolutely did not disappoint. I know I sometimes try not to get too into the hype for a particular book or story, because a) sometimes it does disappoint, and b) too much hype has been known to tire me, especially if I have to wait a long time for the thing itself. There are a few exceptions to that general rule, but now Sarah’s work qualifies. OH MY FREAKING TEACUPS YOU GUYS THIS STORY. The clever twist on American history. The unnerving sense of tension. The drama. The queer representation. THE HIPPOS. I think I love the hippos most of all, to be honest – and I loved EVERYTHING about River of Teeth. Get it. Read it. Don’t argue, just do it.
A Tyranny of Queens by Foz Meadows: The conclusion to Foz’s Manifold Worlds duology was one of my Must Read books of 2017, and just like An Accident of Stars did, it will absolutely be standing proud on my ‘best of…’ list come the end of the year. That’s how thoroughly rewarding it was, and how much I loved reading it. If the first book built a breathtaking world to discover, then the second follows up by digging deeper and showing us that very little of what we readers, much like the characters in this story, thought we knew is really the truth…
One thing I found to be a surprising benefit of the duology format, in retrospect, was the avoidance of a certain pitfall of writing a trilogy – there’s no extra ballast here to weigh it down. This is all meat, and it’s well worth sinking your teeth into.
There is so very much more I could say here about the quality and the importance of the queer representation Meadows offers us, but I think in this case I’ll refer you to what D Franklin had to say – they say it better than I ever could.
An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles: This was my first taste of KJ’s writing, and I definitely think I made a good call with it. I fell quickly and easily for her protagonists, a gay couple feeling their way into and through a romantic relationship – and beyond that, for the Victorian London setting (always a comfortable favourite) and the intriguing plot that entangles these characters. This is the first in a series, and I’ll definitely be returning for more.
The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard: This is another book I’d been intending to buy and read for a while, after enjoying the first Dominion of the Fallen novel, The House of Shattered Wings. Its sequel picks up where that book left off, though the focus of it switches from House Silverspires to the intrigues in which Asmodeus, leader of House Hawthorn, has been caught up in thanks to his efforts to (apparently) form an alliance with the Dragon Kingdom, beneath the Seine. This book serves up dragon mythology; of course I was going to enjoy it!
I will admit I had some issues with the book’s pacing; though I read it eagerly enough, I did find myself fidgeting a little towards the end; this is very much a slow-burn story in terms of the plot and its final reveals, so I’d advise being in the mood for this before you pick it up. But nonetheless, I would thoroughly encourage the picking up!
So that’s what I read in May. June is looking pretty promising too – but I’ll leave it here for now and get back to reading. And getting rid of this damned inconvenient sickness. Until next time!