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reviewed Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

Siren Queen (Hardcover, 2022, Tordotcom) 3 stars

It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic. "No maids, no …

Razor Sharp Magic Realism

4 stars

I generally enjoyed this, but not as much as I hoped I would gives how much I love Nghi Vo. That’s not to say this was bad compared to their other works, just that the characters didn’t grab me nearly as much. I felt the true strengths here were the setting, an early 20th century Hollywood where the magical realism is so honed in, most of the time it almost feels like poetic analogies of reality. I think this time period is under represented in fiction, at least in my sampling, and I found it refreshing; especially with queer representation, we were always here, just beyond the sight of society.

The main character was well developed, I could sympathize with their motives, and their decisions followed their persona. I just don’t relate to people that are reckless while having it all, which of course is an oversimplification because at what …

Siren Queen (Hardcover, 2022, Tordotcom) 3 stars

It was magic. In every world, it was a kind of magic. "No maids, no …

I'm more than halfway through this book and still not sure what I make of it. It's a pleasant read, but I'm not finding myself particularly engaged with any of the characters, so I'm also not really invested in whether things go well or poorly for them.

#SFFBookClub

Crossing the Line (2004, EOS) 4 stars

Shan Frankland forever abandoned the world she knew to come to the rescue of a …

Crossing the Line

4 stars

It kept very much to the themes of the original: genocide, greed, betrayal, and the sheer amount of damage a few bad-faith actors can do in a system not designed to account for them

Finished just in time for #SFFBookClub sequels month 😅

He Who Drowned the World (Hardcover, 2023, Tor Books) 3 stars

Zhu Yuanzhang, the Radiant King, is riding high on her recent victory that tore southern …

Couldn't hold my interest like its predecessor did

3 stars

Content warning Spoilers for all over both books

Babel (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 5 stars

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History …

spoiler-free vague review + CWs for this book

5 stars

A long, heavy, beautifully written and very biting book about the ways in which colonialism coopts people and institutions, and the simultaneous difficulty and necessity of resisting that. Deeply and cleverly tied in with real 19th Century history of Britain and its empire, while also being a fantasy story with a very specific magic system that I enjoyed in itself.

I highly recommend this book, but it should also come with some content warnings: * Colonialism * Lots of depictions of racism * Abusive parenting * Abusive academia * Violence * Not afraid to kill important characters

#SFFBookClub

Babel (2022, Harper Voyager) 4 stars

Traduttore, traditore: An act of translation is always an act of betrayal. 1828. Robin Swift, …

Babel

5 stars

Content warning I don't think I can review this without some vague spoilers

Babel (EBook, 2022, Harper Voyager) 4 stars

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History …

Content warning First Interlude of Book 5

Babel (EBook, 2022, Harper Voyager) 4 stars

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History …

Edit: This quote was actually from another book I’m reading. See the quote from In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado for proper context. Sorry!

There was an idea somewhere in this book (early on perhaps?) that talked about the etymology of archive or archivist, how it’s an act of policy, governance, power. Even though I can’t recall the quote since I didn’t get a chance to write it down, it’s been a recurring haunting; sometimes insidious, other times ethereal and fascinating. The idea isn’t new, but peering under the hood into the history of the word and then filtering that through real historical context gives it more verisimilitude (more than this even, but words fail me) in my mind. #SFFBookClub

Babel (2022, HarperCollins Publishers) 5 stars

From award-winning author R. F. Kuang comes Babel, a thematic response to The Secret History …

Historical note: Jardine & Matheson were real people and played very much the same role in real history that they are playing when they show up in this book. Their company, now just "Jardine Matheson", still exists, still has a large footprint in Hong Kong, and did very well out of Britain's abuse of China. If you don't know the history and don't want spoilers then I'd wait until a couple of chapters after they're introduced to look them up. Though I'm also assuming that somewhere after where I've reached, the book must diverge from the real history.

Karl Gützlaff was also a real person whose attitudes seem to be faithfully represented in the book, though I don't know enough about him to know how historically accurate his actions in the book are. #SFFBookClub