I think I had something else in mind when I read the premise. I think I expected children. Narnia age children. Harry Potter age children. Pippi LongsI think I had something else in mind when I read the premise. I think I expected children. Narnia age children. Harry Potter age children. Pippi Longstocking and Baudelaire age children. Not sad, heart-wrenched teenagers, bereft and suffering.
But that's Seanan McGuire for you. She lures you in with something that sounds familiar and interesting, then gives it a gut wrenching twist while spinning a yarn so fascinating that you don't want to look away even while the dissonance makes your head spin.
At its core, the story is... Multiple things. Which of them resonates strongest will depend on the reader.
I will say this, though: I love that the author builds real characters of diverse origin into her population. They're not tokens. They're not throwaways. They're not check boxes. They're full members of the cast....more
This was a short story that was too short in my opinion.
I habitually shy away from the steampunk genre because of the trappings of the environment. HThis was a short story that was too short in my opinion.
I habitually shy away from the steampunk genre because of the trappings of the environment. Historical fiction is not kind to black readers. Nor women readers. This story maintained these uncomfortable truths from that period.
Women were mistreated and devalued by smug, sneering, scoffing men; white supremacy was all dolled up prettily with the selective delusion that England and her sons are the wisest and best.
Those elements were in this story. The narrator, Claude, espoused every odious and infuriating belief. But Cat Rambo beautifully snipped the stitches of his hide bound worldview as he tried to convince himself that courting a woman of racially mixed heritage was an inconvenience he would need to endure in order to secure his fortune with her dowry. She also setup a marvelous skewering for allowing himself to consider Desiree his property.
I should have liked to have seen more about brilliant Desiree rather than hearing Claude completely miss all the things besides her beauty, wit and intelligence. But the ending was satisfying enough that my imagination will let me get on with the notion that while Claude's hubris and sexism left him in ruins, Desiree would go in to see and produce wonders in an environment where she might well live to a time in which her knowledge is appreciated and not scoffed at....more
It is no secret that I have been aboard the Daniel José Older Express since he rolled his wheels of steel intoNot for the faint of heart or stomach.
It is no secret that I have been aboard the Daniel José Older Express since he rolled his wheels of steel into Urban Fantasy central with Half Resurrection Blues.
I was impressed then, but saddened that the author seemed most intent on getting the story out of his head and onto the page without giving the reader much description into which we could sink our imagination's teeth.
The author has reminded me to be careful what I wish for.
Pros: he is masterfully skilled at juggling a not insignificant number of voices. They are male and female, young and old, accented from different parts of Brooklyn and the world, peppered with native words from varying tongues, slinging slang particular to themselves and codeswitching as need or situations dictate. As before, he dances around characters of different ethnicities, lifestyles and preferences, treating each and all with honesty and respect.
He has leveled up nicely in showing you his magical, mystical Brooklyn, threading recap through Carlos' memories and the regrets unspoken except in his heart, without them ever weighing down the story with what came before or turning it into a dull, dry as week old pastry info dump. He even manages to toss in the occasional smirky pop culture reference, which slyly implies things that his central character may not have realized yet.
Cons: if you've read the short stories posted on Tor.com, you've already had a peek into this book. Don't let that deter you. You got a glimpse of the creative process in action.
Finally, that leveling up in description I mentioned? Do not read on a full stomach. Do not read alone in the dark. Do not read if you have prankster friends who have read it already. If you suffer from Entomophobia, you will need to take breaks, and the book will still draw you back in even as your mind begs you to skip the worst and most horrifying parts. For yes, this book has a lot more horror than mere urban fantasy in it.
Also, if you've read SHADOWSHAPER, the author's YA title from last summer, old familiar faces from there will turn up as well. I wanted each of them to get their own chapter.
Last but not least, the pacing is, in my opinion, just right. Older has a cinematic touch with the way he plays out his scenes. Just as you're left breathless, gasping, stunned or in shock, he shifts those gears so smoothly and you will find yourself laughing even as you know the stakes are still high for team Carlos.
Can't wait for the next one.
My phobia is the only reason it didn't get five stars....more
Just as cute, adorable, colorful and sweet as the animated series itself.
Although Rebecca Sugar gets author credit on the cover, once you open the boJust as cute, adorable, colorful and sweet as the animated series itself.
Although Rebecca Sugar gets author credit on the cover, once you open the book, she writes a brief introduction and let's her main character, Steven Universe take it from there.
The guide is told in Steven’s voice, just as his animated adventures are. There are profile pages for each Gem he has encountered, and what he knows about them. He even defers the section on Fusion to Garnet, whom he considers the expert.
The Guide is a Penguin young readers title, so it isn't an in depth read at 90 pages (perhaps Rebecca Sugar will give us a Ronaldo written guide with more info for older readers).
The art is largely recycled from Season 1 Steven Universe episodes, so there are no shocks or surprises unless the reader is a brand new viewer. It made for a nice, and surprisingly touching trip down memory lane for this adult viewer and fan.
The book will go in a place of honor on my shelf; I believe I will need an ebook version of it for my tablet so I can pull it up to give parents a break when their small children become a handful....more
Carlos Delacruz is a halfie, an inbetweener. That means he was dead. And brought back to life. But not all the way.
He doesn't know much of anything aCarlos Delacruz is a halfie, an inbetweener. That means he was dead. And brought back to life. But not all the way.
He doesn't know much of anything about his life before that. Who or what he was. He works for the Council of the Dead now, the ghosts of Old White Guys who decide the comings and goings of the restless dead in New York City.
This, the first book in the Bone Street Rumba series, introduces us to Carlos (though you'd know him from Salsa Nocturna if you read Daniel Jose Older's anthology), his partner and best friend Riley, and their jobs as Soulcatcher Primes -- those who hunt down the ghosts who aren't content with simply being dead, but prefer to try messing with the living or upsetting the balance between living and dead.
The story spans months between New Year's Eve and the summer of the following year. taking Carlos on an intense journey full of pain, love, horror, shock, sorrow, discovery, and humor. The Brooklyn through which he travels is populated with colorful characters, both living and dead.
In an immensely refreshing change of pace, readers who are nonwhite will be gratified to see that the cast contains Black, Asian, Dominican, Cuban, Brazilian, Puerto Rican and Native American characters; drawing a much more colorful and accurate picture of Brooklyn and New York than most Urban Fantasy even makes an attempt to portray.
Carlos is a wonderful melange of emotion: frustration, desperation and curiosity over his amnesiac past. Love, lust, and sorrow over his chilly half-alive condition and what that means for women he finds himself attracted to. Rage, protectiveness, and fear, over his friends, and the dangers his world holds even for those who are already dead.
The world through which Carlos moves is full of characters who are each fully realized people in their own right, not "diversity tokens" colored in but not detailed enough for a reader to really care about them. Teenage Kia is full of attitude but covering a compassionate heart. Philosophical Russell, whose mind is devious enough for his law practice, but whose heart is spiritual enough to embrace some meaningful truths in his life. Jovial Baba Eddie, the santero, who sees more than he lets on he does. Victor -- the apparent sole regular human in Carlos' circle, who is amazed, wigged out, and fascinated by the things he is learning and seeing.
Carlos brushes through their lives as he tries to unravel the mystery of a spiritual infestation of nasty little creatures called "ngk" (pronounce it like you're about to choke on a mouthful of liquid but are caught trying to swallow and spit it out at the same time) and what it means for the living and the dead of New York.
I read through it so fast, and was left wanting more. The only thing I can say I'd like to see a bit more of in Carlos' world are women. They tend to show up and waltz back out of the story until needed again, or drop out of the story altogether. I'd like to see more of them involved directly and to have their loose ends wrapped up too by the time the story ended. ...more
Written as easy to read so little readers won't have much trouble. Dense enough storytelling that a parent reaJust as cute as an episode of the show.
Written as easy to read so little readers won't have much trouble. Dense enough storytelling that a parent reading it a little bit before bed would not have hours of reading ahead of them.
The newly coronated Princess Twilight is still a little uncertain and uncomfortable about her new role and what she is supposed to do. So she seeks out Cadence for advice. We get a little of Cadance's back story before Twilight gets advice. There's a Crystal Heart spell that magically helps guide a princess into discovering her true self. Twilight eagerly asks for the spell, but it requires a quest of sorts.
All the Mane Six make appearances. There are mentions of new ponies, and old Ponyville citizens make appearances. Even a couple of troublesome faces pop up.
It's a super quick read for anyone past sixth grade, I'd say....more