This was SO INTENSE. I'm really interested to see what the second one does with Lizzie, as I saw it takes her to the South, and I was rather hoping toThis was SO INTENSE. I'm really interested to see what the second one does with Lizzie, as I saw it takes her to the South, and I was rather hoping to see her end up in Providence with Emma and some more explicit connection to Lovecraft... but I digress. This book was notable not only for the varied points of view but for its fascinating portrayal of a disabled woman, a gay woman, and someone slowly losing his sanity. I loved that Lizzie never talked about her sexuality - her relationship with Nance simply was, and wasn't up for discussion. Also, my god, the horror was so good, it was so creepy-- the creatures, the time lapsing, the descriptions of the professor's murders, the fucking lye cooker... so creepy! I love Cherie Priest so much, this was exactly what I was hoping it would be and then some....more
I give this one 3.5 stars, actually - it was scary and funny and I enjoyed it (also finished it in under 2 hours). Nothing super thrilling or new abouI give this one 3.5 stars, actually - it was scary and funny and I enjoyed it (also finished it in under 2 hours). Nothing super thrilling or new about it, though the retail conceit was extra funny to me as an ex retail stooge myself. Enjoyable, worth the read, just not one I see myself rereading....more
Solid ending to a solid series. Cinder is still far and away my favorite character in the bunch, with Scarlet and Iko a close second. More thoughts laSolid ending to a solid series. Cinder is still far and away my favorite character in the bunch, with Scarlet and Iko a close second. More thoughts later....more
I absolutely loved this book, and I think one of my favorite things about it was being able to trace Bennett's growth as a writer. Both The Company MaI absolutely loved this book, and I think one of my favorite things about it was being able to trace Bennett's growth as a writer. Both The Company Man and The Troupe had their weak points, their messy spots, but City of Stairs was neat and tight and just wonderfully satisfying. I adore Shara and Sigrud, I love all the minor characters, the city of Bulikov itself is endlessly fascinating, and the whole end of the book pretty much from the appearance of Urav the Punisher onward had me on the edge of my seat. So pleased this is the first in a series!...more
These books get a solid 3.5 stars every time, but I have to round up bc of how much fun they are. Phryne is a sparkling personality, the mysteries areThese books get a solid 3.5 stars every time, but I have to round up bc of how much fun they are. Phryne is a sparkling personality, the mysteries are interesting, and while I'm reading, I can't seem to tear myself away....more
Wasn't as crazy about this one-- have to hate on the evil gay trope whenever it shows up, though I did like the bit about Phryne not liking gay men beWasn't as crazy about this one-- have to hate on the evil gay trope whenever it shows up, though I did like the bit about Phryne not liking gay men because they're men that she could theoretically be having sex with otherwise, a nice reversal of a typical misogynist attitude toward lesbians. But speaking of lesbians, yay married lady badasses in the Australian frontier! The show made Charlie much more sympathetic at the expense of making Vic into a much more minor character, which I had mixed feelings about. And they cut the heroic wombat entirely, which is unforgivable. ;) Still, I can't bring myself to put these down, they're like popcorn, such a great distraction during a super busy time at work. ...more
Man, I am ripping through this series, I cannot put them down. They're so much fun! And while Phryne's 21st century sensibilities (both in the books aMan, I am ripping through this series, I cannot put them down. They're so much fun! And while Phryne's 21st century sensibilities (both in the books and on the show) feel a little heavy handed-- the episode where her friend turns out to be gay and they talk about interracial marriage, for example-- I still can't help giving a little cheer for a character who lives such a zero-fucks-given life of independence and acceptance. Also, I LOVE the feminism of the series!! Phryne is all about women helping other women, and it's SO AWESOME. I'll be starting book 4 tonight, for sure....more
**spoiler alert** I'm hiding this entire thing because of spoilers, because I honestly don't know whether to give this book one star or five. Okay-- t**spoiler alert** I'm hiding this entire thing because of spoilers, because I honestly don't know whether to give this book one star or five. Okay-- that's not really true-- it deserves four at least, for the worldbuilding and the absolute raw and painful delight that is Baru as a narrator. I fucking loved it, I couldn't put it down, but it was brutal, and the end really hurt me in a way a book hasn't in a long time.
It's led me to think about Bury Your Gays and the recent uproar over the TV show 'The 100' being the latest entry on a long list of media that kills off its queer women. Autostraddle posted a list of all 27 queer women in TV who get happy endings-- that's right-- 27, total. And I'm left wondering if what happens at the end of this book is a tragedy-- if Tain Hu is just one more queer woman killed off to further plot, if I should be tired and disgusted by the knife-twisting surprise end of a relationship I'd spent an entire book rooting for.
I'm not tired and disgusted, is the thing. I'm sad, but not angry. I don't feel like Tain Hu's death was cheap, or treated as anything other than a deep and personal sacrifice both for Baru and for me as a reader. Baru has been playing a long game, and even her heart is (to borrow Duke Lyxaxu's words) coin to spend in service of her end goal. And as the reader coming to the end of the book, I've known her long enough to feel, in retrospect, that I should have seen it coming. That I thought she'd chosen differently (to give up her long game, to stay with Tain Hu, to rule Aurdwynn) is a testament to Seth Dickinson's skill at writing an unreliable narrator-- because I didn't see it coming, not at all.
So. This isn't a review so much as emotional vomit. I can't decide if I want there to be a sequel or not-- as much as I want to see Baru's gambit for the soul of Taranoke play out, there's a part of me that would be content simply to imagine her long slow road to success. Because the thing is, as she points out herself, she has committed a terrible crime, and it has ruined her-- not in others' view, but in her own. So even if (when) she does win, she won't be happy. She can't be-- because she betrayed the rebellion, killed Tain Hu, brought Aurdwynn to ruin, all in service of her secret loyalty.
I don't need all my books to end happily-- I don't need all my queer women to have happy endings-- but somehow it hurts even more to watch a queer woman character whose fate I'm deeply invested in, turn away from a happy ending when it's on offer.
But the book was intense and difficult and chock full of queers and awesome women and people of color, and is exactly the kind of fantasy I want to see more (more, more, more) of. It deserves every piece of praise it's been given, because it's really quite an incredible piece of writing. Even if I want to mail Seth Dickinson a flask full of my tears......more
I really missed Bobbie and Avasarala in this installment - the new voices were strong and I liked them, but not as much. The plot, however, just keepsI really missed Bobbie and Avasarala in this installment - the new voices were strong and I liked them, but not as much. The plot, however, just keeps ramping up. I loved the ship politics and the mutiny, it was exactly the kind of frustrating/gripping that had me turning pages. Couple of unexpected deaths that served as a reminder that the stakes are getting higher and higher - as they should, frankly, in a series of this scope. I'm really quite hooked on knowing where it's going next. Wish I'd remembered to do updates as I was reading, since I feel like I had thoughts along the way that are now lost, but I'll add them if they come back to me.
ETA: OH RIGHT (view spoiler)[I had to say I loved Bull so much, and I liked the treatment of his paralysis, it felt thoughtful and honest and the image of him in the mech was too badass to actually handle. Mixed thoughts on him dying, though-- could be read as a statement about handicapped people's worth with regard to their usefulness/ability level, though I'm sure that's not what was intended, nor how it felt; I really only got on that train of thought while thinking through the whole book after I was done, but it's worth mentioning. Maybe it's just that I liked him so much I wanted him to stick around. :) Also, I read in a friend's review that there are actually going to be THREE trilogies in this series, which gives me lots of !!! thoughts and makes me think about the Mass Effect trilogy, there's a lot of comparison to be made there, I think. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>...more
I wasn't quite sure how to shelve this. Is a superpower a superpower if it only lasts a week? Does it count as paranormal if a person gains an abilityI wasn't quite sure how to shelve this. Is a superpower a superpower if it only lasts a week? Does it count as paranormal if a person gains an ability by mixing the remains of a desiccated bat with a can of cheap beer and drinking it? This is what happens to Glory O'Brien and her sort-of best friend, Ellie. Glory's a few days from graduating high school; Ellie lives on a commune and isn't quite sure when she'll be officially done being home schooled, but her mom says not yet. Both out of sorts and at loose ends, the girls drink the bat on a whim, totally unprepared for the consequences. Waking up the next morning, both have gained the ability to see things when they look at a person-- in Glory's case, she sees truths about the person's ancestors as well as their descendants. This is a neat reflection of her state of mind; her mother committed suicide when she was four, and since no one's really ever talked to her about it, she has a lot of questions-- about her history, her future, and how to be certain she has either one. Ellie's visions reflect her state of mind too-- romance, relationships, family. The girls couldn't be more different, but as their visions start to paint a frightening picture of the future, they have to come to terms with what they each plan to do with their present. I really enjoyed this book-- Glory's wry, dry narration, her fraught relationships, and her confusion about herself and her place in the world really grabbed me. I loved the way the visions slowly came together to form a picture, and I loved the reveal at the end. Even if I had seen it coming, Glory hadn't, and her reaction was a really wonderful moment. This was my first AS King, but it definitely won't be my last.
Girl quotient: 5/5 (Main character and lots of major supporting characters are female, lots of different kinds of girls' storylines and frank discussions of feminism. Didn't love the "what real women look like" conversation with the dad but thought it was mitigated by the rest of the content.) Geek quotient: 3.5/5 (sort of sci-fi, sort of fantasy, definitely a genre-bender) Gay quotient: 0/5 (but the story felt complete even without)...more