I finished this book today and there are still so many thoughts about the story swimming in my brain.
There is no doubt that Rachael is an exceptional I finished this book today and there are still so many thoughts about the story swimming in my brain.
There is no doubt that Rachael is an exceptional writer, carefully guiding us through the lives of well crafted characters whose lives explode in brilliant colour. Even as I say this, I know that there is nothing that can properly prepare you for Adavera.
Ugandan literature has really come full circle, stretching away from the elders who led us here and breaking all kinds of moulds. Read this book. Buy it, savour it (I know you won't coz like me you'll be dying to know what happens next).
Four main characters inextricably bound by a future they cannot understand, and a past that shoves them forward. Preston, Anidanta, Nohana, and Lucy come alive in descriptions that endear them to you, and their interactions with the cloud of characters who surround them drags you into an investment that is difficult to break from.
Adavera's mysteries hover close enough to remind you that this is no ordinary tale, and no ordinary place. She pulses in the background with ancient secrets that are released to the unsuspecting quartet until the last vibrating scene.
It's a well crafted story, that initially doesn't read as fantasy. Hang in there....more
Pain. My soul was in literal pain as the characters experienced the years of violence visited upon black communities.
Lifted by the narration of the chPain. My soul was in literal pain as the characters experienced the years of violence visited upon black communities.
Lifted by the narration of the characters as they walked their journey through the past and into the indeterminable future (well, not for them), the idea that violence can be intricately woven into the life of a human being through no fault of their own was powerful.
I listened to the audiobook version borrowed from my local library.
Be prepared for this journey, because that is what this is. Don’t look away from the carnage of their lives, and be prepared to be changed by a devilishly written story in the voice of the kids who grew up just down the block. It is not for the lighthearted, but is essential reading for everyone who wants to see change.
READ THIS BOOK! (Or listen to it. That’s your business!)...more
As always, John Scalzi’s stories, accessible and well written.
I listened to the audio book version on audible and enjoyed Zachary Quinto’s narration. As always, John Scalzi’s stories, accessible and well written.
I listened to the audio book version on audible and enjoyed Zachary Quinto’s narration.
This story depicts a near future that may not be as far fetched as we think, bringing humanity’s greed, need for justice, and general recklessness to bear. Technology is abused, a dead body, the mob, the elites... rolled all together took me on an unforgettable journey. Then again, I’ve enjoyed all of the Scalzi books I’ve read so far... so.
Allow yourself to get swallowed up in this mystery, sci-fi, speculative work. ...more
I listened to the audiobook version of this book. The narrator does a great job bringing the characters to life, allowing you to sink into the story aI listened to the audiobook version of this book. The narrator does a great job bringing the characters to life, allowing you to sink into the story and live for a while with these erstwhile teenagers.
Teenage minds, struggling through the development of their frontal lobes, place themselves in ridiculous situations that would be easily cleared up by having an honest conversation about stuff.
BUT, these are teens, not rational adults.
The story works well as a YA thriller of the sci-fi genre, picking up on the kinds of things nerdy kids can be passionate about. The author created the fantastical in the middle of the real world, and I’m here for it!
The full cast of characters will make this textured read an interesting one. Get the book! ...more
This Space Opera is a fantastic tale of familial betrayal, unusual friendships, frail loyalties, and the monsters that lurk in the deep darkness of spThis Space Opera is a fantastic tale of familial betrayal, unusual friendships, frail loyalties, and the monsters that lurk in the deep darkness of space.
The loss of the star happened because of the POV from a character who didn’t seem to be the main character. It wasn’t immediately clear that I was supposed to root for her.
I borrowed the audiobook from my library, waiting for another book to be available and was pleasantly surprised. The writing makes it easy to listen to and the narrator lent her skills to make this a truly fascinating story.
I loved it. It’s heavy on the militarization of space exploration and adventure (which I don’t really like, but allow coz we have nothing else to lean on).
In the way of the Wardrobe to Narnia, or the Thousand Doors leading to realms unknown, In an Absent Dream tells one of those stories that pro3.5 Stars
In the way of the Wardrobe to Narnia, or the Thousand Doors leading to realms unknown, In an Absent Dream tells one of those stories that project you into a strange World where the rules are different, and the consequences dire.
Following a moderately paced story of the girl who travelled through her door (a feature of this world introduced in "Every Heart a Doorway"), to a fantastical location, learning the lessons of life, and the feeling of not belonging that odd children sometimes have, you'll be transported with her. It was easy to celebrate when she has her minor victories, and weep when she fails.
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Being a novella, and yet my own personal desire for more made this story seem rushed in certain places where the story was fast tracked. 1. Who died when she was 8? How could I feel anything devastating for the a death of a person I didn't know? 2. So no stories about being an eagle? What? I was so startled when it just.... ended. 3. The big reveal by the Archivist at the end. Why? There had to be a bigger reason for doling out punishment the way she did, and even for explaining what she was. I was sooooo disappointed.
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You'll enjoy this book if you hate the hard work of flexing your imagination for complicated fantasy worlds. You'll enjoy this book if adult tales of children is interesting to you. You'll enjoy this book if you have ever dreamt about going on your own adventure, through a door you didn't know was there.
This is the origin story of a super hero of African American folklore.
Of the stories coming out of North America, none fascinate me more than tales ofThis is the origin story of a super hero of African American folklore.
Of the stories coming out of North America, none fascinate me more than tales of magical realism that get attached to historical characters doing extraordinary things.
Hiram’s story cannot be unique in this way, attaching mystical powers to explain how and why he did the things he did, how he chose his path, the origin story of a super hero. Now that would be something to watch.
Setting up the whys and the whos and the inciting incident that sets the protagonist off on a journey that will change them forever, there is the trick. Hiram was a slave, and knowing who the author is, the very real nature of slavery comes through the narration, without providing torture porn to sully it. I cannot stress how important this was for me.
THIS IS WHY STORIES SHOULD BE HANDLED BY PEOPLE BELONGING TO THE CULTURES FROM WHICH THEY ARISE.
The hero is also the narrator, probably an old man, condensing the very full lives of the characters that surrounded him so the reader understands why. Why he was happy to be assigned to the house. Why he tried to run away. Why he endured the frightening ordeal that primed him for the next leg of his journey. Why after experiencing freedom, he chose to go back into captivity.
Trepidation concerning his safety and the safety of the people under his care stayed with me the whole way through the book.
If you’re looking for the sort of story where all the bad guys meet a terrible end and all the good guys live happily ever after once the explosive final battle is concluded, you won’t find it here.
It is contemplative, fixed firmly in history, and respectful of the history of a people whose lives are still impacted by the scourge of slavery.
N.K. Jemisin is an insta-buy for me, and i refuse to be ashamed! The pull of her storytelling is reminiscent of the pull Octavia Butler’s work had on N.K. Jemisin is an insta-buy for me, and i refuse to be ashamed! The pull of her storytelling is reminiscent of the pull Octavia Butler’s work had on me. It’s the idea that storytelling can be more and do more than what we’ve allowed ourselves to become accustomed to.
Disclaimers, Warnings, and Sundry ===========================
I listened to the Audiobook version of this book. It's entertaining and the reader did a gDisclaimers, Warnings, and Sundry ===========================
I listened to the Audiobook version of this book. It's entertaining and the reader did a great job characterising the different personalities in the story. If you enjoy audiobooks, this is a good one. GET IT.
What's it about? ------------- Emperor dies. New reluctant Emperor. Scheming nobles wanting to be Emperor. Will they succeed, or will their plans blow up in their faces? Hmmm? But also, there is a civilisation ending event on the horizon.
Writerly comments --------------- It is a great comfort to the mind, as one reads a story, to understand which characters play which role in a story. The author accomplishes at the outset. You know who the bad guy is, posses a partial understanding of their reasoning, can see how things will be made difficult for the good guys in the story - but not so that you're constantly wondering HOW they keep falling into all the gaping holes filled with hissing snakes. It is also of great comfort when an author makes it easy to roll with the valley of no return, the battle-climax-thing, and the cliffhanger that makes you want to read the next installment IMMEDIATELY. In an ask-me-anything with the author on Reddit, it was noted that he doesn't describe the physical attributes of characters, and he doesn't. On the one hand, YAY for imagination. On the other hand, we're raised in a society that doesn't tend to put POCs in these exciting stories... so... in my head they were all that certain kind of person who gets included in this kind of story. (pouty face) The characters edged as close to caricatures as they could without falling into the vortex, with arrogant nobles, conniving bad guys with British accents (just the audio), an OMG-I-wish-I-didn't-have-to-do-this leader, and a scientist without enough muscle to fight off his own kidnappers. AND a religion based on a lie. As with all science fiction, somewhere in the text someone has to explain how things work and it can seem tedious. But how else will you know to get panicked when something terrible is happening in the futuristic thing you didn't know about? Grit your teeth, it's short enough and thankfully easy enough to understand. You can't escape it and it will make the enjoyment of the story much better.
Why no 5th Star? -------------- Hold your rotting veggies for a minute, this is only the second Scalzi book I've read. BUT, but, I follow his blog. That's a great, safe space to be. My expectations for his writing are high, and his skills meet them. No problem there. No technical issues, no plot faux pas, nothing about the actual structure of the story. As an enlightened member, supporter of marginalised/racialised people, describing people is kind of really important when you've been raised in this society. People aren't just people. Rue from Hunger Games; case, and point. I hope he'll do better.
Who will enjoy it? -------------- You will. It's written well, the adventure is interesting, and the whole time you'll be wondering if the good guys will win.
Some books leave their scent lingering on your soul, leaching into every-day conversations, winking behind the borders of the next book you're trying Some books leave their scent lingering on your soul, leaching into every-day conversations, winking behind the borders of the next book you're trying to read. I'll be thinking about this book for a while.
Alix E. Harrow wove a tale of pain and sorrow, allowing us to ride with the protagonist all the way to a heartbreaking climax, and falling into a pit of not-knowingness. With themes of slow dripping loss, love that endures repeated disappointment and strife, and a journey to adulthood, this tale will find that broken thing inside you and start to heal it.
Strong characterisation with compelling and decided personalities draw you in to the story, and strong scenes make the World fade away. Even when there is no description of scent, you smell the abandoned field and decaying wood, in the absence of touch descriptors the sea spits salt on your face and wind whistles past your ears.
It is beautifully written prose to be sure. As a lover of speculative fiction, the idea of doors opening into different universes is not unfamiliar (Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis) but didn't feel familiarly handled.
-------------------You've been warned -------
-------------- Yeah, actually, spoilers so jump to the SPOILER ENDED -------
0.5 star held back because of poor Jane. A black woman whose emotional and physical labour was received (with gratitude), then when she required assistance, the same excuses we've heard from non-black women smacked her in the face. Maybe it hit harder coz it's been my own personal experience. Maybe it's to fit in with the times, maybe it was to remain true to the character. Maybe it's coz I wish these kinds of themes were fixed in speculative fiction where we can dream up different ways that "othered" people are treated. SIGH. ...more
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The test for little kids' books is whether my own kids will love this story. Since I I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The test for little kids' books is whether my own kids will love this story. Since I don't have children, they're still somewhere inside my brain, they give this story several thumbs up.
I enjoyed this book very much, and as a way to capture and engage readers right away, this is a stellar opportunity to study how to write a story....more
I finished this book last night and it’s haunting my waking thoughts in the best way that a well crafted story can.
Rena Barron is a skilled writer, usI finished this book last night and it’s haunting my waking thoughts in the best way that a well crafted story can.
Rena Barron is a skilled writer, using words that drop you in the centre of a vibrant World filled with creatures that spark the yummy parts of your story-loving brain. I drank deep from that fountain until I turned the very last page.
Orisha’s are endlessly fascinating, mostly because I know NOTHING about them and I yearn to know everything about how they work, what their strengths are - the same way I know about Greek gods. Encased in the richness of their African roots, watching them engage with African people doing African things. MORE AFRICAN GODS PLEASE!!!
I'm sorry they came on the scene too late, but they were intriguing and I wish, I hope, I want (can I say that?) to read a whole book about them and no one else. The actual story of the split between the worlds and the war...
Pacing was handled very well, allowing me to fall in step with the main character, inhabit her world, feel her fear, and understand that one thing she wanted the most. The climax was a shameful display of Ms. Barron’s story telling prowess, and it was explosive with a twist I didn’t see coming. Very satisfying indeed.
In general, I find that teenagers may rebel against adults, but they rely on them for survival and trust that the information they receive from them is correct. It made the motivation of the protagonist against her mother seem a little contrived, even when I understood why the author made that choice. Relationships between mothers and daughters are fraught, but nuanced as well. I wanted to feel like I was peeking behind the curtain of a seemingly strong relationship, and instead finding a bunch of squirming maggots and cockroaches. You know?
In general, I avoid teenagers like the plague. They’re mean.
The story is driven by unrequited love, set aflame by a long-forgotten war between the gods, and brought to a conclusion that will make you beg for more. If you love unusual stories of fantasy, unexplored strange worlds, steeped in folklore and religion, this book is for you.
You’re gonna love it.
(The book missed the fifth star because in real life children tend to forgive their parents to a fault; parents who’ve used and abused them, parents who’ve abandoned/neglected them. When it came to her mother, the protagonist seemed unusually hostile towards a disappointed mother whose motives she didn’t understand.
Also, Kofi came out of the blue and disappeared so fast I got whiplash. The relationship between him and the protagonist didn’t seem strong enough for her to have such an explosive reaction.)...more
The author is a talented writer, with an interesting imagination that brings the galaxy to life in a veA very different take on the subject of aliens.
The author is a talented writer, with an interesting imagination that brings the galaxy to life in a very different way than we're typically used to.
The story doesn't take itself too seriously, using characterisations we're familiar with to paint a galactic story we're not familiar with. The unlikely and unlikeable characters picked to save our planet from annihilation were slightly less interesting than the aliens, and I kept feeling a sense of despair, not unlike the present moment (COVID-19 season) when we're faced with leaders unlikely to save us from probable death.
I have complicated feelings about this story. It kept me engaged because I had to know if the heroes were capable of saving the globe or even able to redeem themselves in their own eyes.
If you're interested in unusual stories filled with terrifying creatures, that is filled with hilarious moments and some really questionable decisions from characters trying to live up to lofty dreams, then this story is for you....more
In this is-it-fantasy is-it-fiction story, where magic and technology exist as one. A princess must save the kingdom from an evil guy bent on nabbing In this is-it-fantasy is-it-fiction story, where magic and technology exist as one. A princess must save the kingdom from an evil guy bent on nabbing it from her betrothed.
Rory is the kind of daughter you hope you’ll have, and it’s easy to root for her and her friends (a droll professor and a cyborg maid/guard).
Well crafted plot, hilarious descriptions, intense conclusion. I’ll be reading the second instalment.
Wish I understood the evil guy better, rather than him being a Voldemort-light. ...more