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el dang Locked account

Joined 1 year, 1 month ago


I'm currently the coordinator of the #SFFBookClub so a lot of what I'm reading is suggestions from there.

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el dang's books

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Power to Yield and Other Stories (2023, Broken Eye Books) 5 stars

Power to Yield is a collection of speculative tales exploring gender identity, neurodivergence, and religion …

Outstanding collection, full of imagination and perspectives I'm not used to

5 stars

Wow. For one thing, it's very rare that I am consistently impressed with every story in a collection, even single-author ones. And it's a wonderfully varied collection too, in subject matter, mood, and form: everything from a two-page story that's actually satisfying to the title one which could have been published as a novella on its own. There are common themes about outsider perspectives and unexpected viewpoints, but a huge range of what those things actually mean. Many of the stories are clearly informed by the author being an intersex Jewish immigrant, but again that shows up in very different ways from one story to the next - this is not an author who just has one thing to say.

Content note: some of the stories have disturbing imagery and themes around abuse, body horror, and/or being trapped. There's a list of specific content notes at the back of the …

reviewed David Mogo by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

David Mogo (Paperback, 2019, Abaddon) 4 stars

Nigerian God-Punk - a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.

Since the Orisha …

Strong start, couldn't quite stay the course but still a good read

4 stars

This book is in three parts, the first of which would have made a satisfying short story on its own, the second feels like a solid continuation, but the third started to feel a bit formulaic even as it escalated things.

The parts I enjoyed the most were Lagos-as-character, the idea that there are multiple pantheons which know each other but have limited power over each other, and the way David's character evolved. Though he does get distinctly less likable over the course of the story, which feels right in terms of the world building but made me feel less engaged.

[#SFFBookClub June 2024]

Iron Widow (Hardcover, 2021, Penguin Teen) 4 stars

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming …

Vicarious revenge fun; sometimes a bit too video game for my taste

4 stars

This is a very cathartic book in which the heroine goes magnificently all-in on a revenge that grows from the initial single person target to patriarchy itself. It does suffer a bit from the YA tensions getting resolved too quickly/tidily syndrome, and I found its setup a little too video gameish, but I'll probably still read the sequel.

At first I was very annoyed with the simplification of qi into categories and a precisely measurable "spirit pressure", but I can see how doing that sidestepped having to do a hundred pages of worldbuilding before anything much happens.

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Hardcover, 2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 5 stars

After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) …

The best hopepunk I have read to date

5 stars

Definitely the light comfort read I was looking for, and like the first in its series it has just enough moments of emotional tension and and philosophical debate to never get twee or boring. But more than its predecessor, the world this is set in is the most convincing, appealing hopepunk I have yet to read. It's clear that it had gone through some very hard times in the past, but the equilibrium that the books are set in feels plausible and inviting. I can think of many other books whose worlds I'd like to visit, but these are among the few I wish I could move to.

stopped reading The Iliad by Homer

The Iliad (2023, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.) No rating

When Emily Wilson’s translation of The Odyssey appeared in 2017―revealing the ancient poem in a …

Bouncing off this for now. "The war almost ended but some man-children were too proud so more blood must be spilled" is a bit too close to home right now.

Siren Queen (Hardcover, 2022, Tordotcom) 3 stars

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

Didn't quite work for me

3 stars

There's an interesting world here, enough so that I did enjoy reading this book, but I never ended up caring much what happened to the characters. So it was pleasant enough but never really reeled me in.

I think this is just how I feel about Vo's writing in general, because I remember having a pretty similar reaction to The Empress Of Salt And Fortune. I can see what people who love her writing see in it, but it just isn't for me.


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.


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