starlady: (abhorsen)
What I've Just Read
I finally finished Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves, a YA novel set in the same world--the same town, really--as Bleeding Violet. It feels weird to say this, but although Slice of Cherry was much darker (content notes: serial killers, child sexual abuse, I'm probably forgetting something), I still liked it a lot. Whereas Bleeding Violet was as much about introducing Portero as anything else, here the general Night Vale-style weirdness of the town takes a back seat to the psychodrama of Fancy and Kit Cordelle, the daughters of the so-called Bonesaw Killer, who take advantage of their unique heritage to follow in their father's footsteps in their own way, even as they learn, albeit painfully, that there are more ways to connect with people than just by killing them. If Bleeding Violet reminded me strongly of Welcome to Night Vale, this book reminded me a lot of Hannibal, if Hannibal and Will were two teenage girls who kind of wanted to get out of the murder game. I continue to really like Reeves' writing, and at points I was rather forcibly reminded that she is definitely not writing from a mainstream, middle-class white perspective. The characters are all quite frank about sex, in particular, but there are many other little things that make Reeves' voice original and valuable. I'm very glad to see from her Twitter that she's working on two more Portero books.

I also finished Silver Spoon vol. 2 by Arakawa-sensei. It's so great. I like Hachiken-kun a lot more now that he's got a bit more backstory to him, but it's also nice to just read a book which is about the small--but by no means inconsequential--dramas of daily life, in which everyone is just trying to do their best in that muddled human way. I'm also learning a lot of agricultural vocabulary, still.

I devoured Ancillary Sword on my way back from Australia; I think I liked it even better than Ancillary Justice, which is saying something. It really reminded me, in a weird way, of Jane Austen in space--Jane Austen in space with guns, of course, but etiquette is absolutely crucial in most of the book's central conflicts, as are the proper dishes. I loved how Breq is angry all the time too--she has a lot to be angry about, too--and I liked how this book made the whole situation more complex, even as it made the answers less simple. Breq does her best to right the injustices that she finds, but there's only so much that she can do, to her dismay. My favorite character of all was probably the Presger translator; I hope we'll see more of the Presger in future, although I'm sure Breq wouldn't. I also, frankly, would read about a million books set in this universe. In the meantime, AS is on my 2014 Hugo ballot for sure.

What I'm Reading
I'm trying to finish Clariel tonight. I really like it, and I basically read the high points of it in that skipping around way that I do when I bought it, but I'm enjoying my thorough reading very much. In addition to what I said before, I also really like that Clariel is so angry. In fact, she's a berserk (like Touchstone in the first books), and though it is something that she needs and wants to control, she isn't punished for it by the narrative. Mogget is about to show up, and I <3 Mogget.

What I'll Read Next
Silver Spoon, assuredly. I'm also looking forward to finally reading Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith!
starlady: The Welcome to Night Vale Logo, with clouds over the moon (welcome to night vale)
No lie, I tried to picture where Triskelion was when I went over the bridge on the Metro today. And I walked past Steve's apartment building again. ♥


What Have I Read
Dia Reeves, Bleeding Violet (2009) - So, while I know that this book was written several years before the debut of Welcome to Night Vale, believe me when I tell you that this book could be a novel set within its universe, or an AU of its universe. The story concerns a half-Finnish, half-African American girl, Hanna, who moves to her mother's town in East Texas even though she's never met her mother before and her mother doesn't want her there. Hanna has mental health problems, but it turns out that her experience with her own crazy may actually stand her in good stead in a town where things really do go bump in the night, and even in broad daylight. There's even a scary female Mayor, and doors around the town play a huge role in the story--yes, it's basically Night Vale. I loved Hanna, and her pragmatic approach to her own mental health problems, and in many ways I don't think I've seen a more unsentimental portrayal of mental illness in YA. Her being mixed race, and also her sexual appetites, are similarly portrayed. I loved Hanna, and the book is dark and gripping. If you like Night Vale, I suspect you'll like this book, and vice versa. Highly recommended.

Sarah Rees Brennan, Untold (2013) - Sequel to Unspoken, which I liked a lot, and I liked this one a lot too, although it does (albeit believably, since the characters are emphatically not rational adults) rely on the Misunderstanding trope for much of its emotional tugging at the old heartstrings. I still like all the characters; they are still, especially the protagonist Kami, quite funny, and the story is still interesting, although this is definitely something of a middle book and I'm very much looking forward to Unmade. (Yes, I did wait to read this one until I could read the final one, which just came out.) I do think SRB keeps getting better as a writer; I'm looking forward to what she does next.

Alaya Dawn Johnson, Moonshine (2010) - After loving The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I wanted some more vampires done right, and this book fit the bill. I absolutely love Johnson's books, all of them, that I've read, and this was no exception, although it's written for adults (and, unlike Johnson's first books, the tone never wavers from that). The story concerns one Zephyr Hollis, the so called "vampire suffragette," a social reformer in a 1920s New York City populated by vampires and djinn as well as bootleggers and immigrants. I really love the 1920s setting for multiple reasons, not least being that we're in a Second Gilded Age, a Jazz Age without the Jazz (more's the pity), and I liked the book a lot. Zephyr is very much a modern woman, and for a while her almost maniacal zeal for social reform seems almost a caricature, until eventually things click into place like bullets in the chamber of a revolver and you realize that she's a killer who is fundamentally lying to herself about her own nature, even to the point of adopting vegetarianism. Her capacity for violence, unfortunately, is part of her and part of what allows her to do what she does; one wonders whether she'll ever be forced to reckon with it. I desperately want to read the sequel Wicked City, partly because the romance is left at a juncture not unlike some of the happenings in Untold (Zephyr, like Kami, is a pistol), but unfortunately it's not available in ebook and my copy is in storage. I shall just have to read Johnson's new YA novel Love Is the Drug in the meantime.

What Am I Reading
Buoyed upon the 1920s vim of Moonshine, I started Libba Bray's The Diviners on the plane immediately after finishing the first book. I love it terribly so far--Evie is a pistol too, and Memphis is swell--although I'm reading it with the trepidatious knowledge that the second book has been delayed for years (understandably) and Bray is currently dealing with depression, which of course is both wholly individual and also really difficult. Be that as it may, I really want these books to be the (a) great American historical fantasy epic that I've been waiting for my whole life, it feels like (and yes, these thoughts are emphatically partly due to getting back to my own New World pirate fantasy novel after eons)--it's the 1920s, it's New York, it's urban, it's got magic, it's American in all its painful complexity and darkness--and yes, Bray has gotten much better on the representation front, to my mind, after her first books in which people in Raj India are said to eat snakes (hint: no.) in the first scene and things go downhill from there. But so far The Diviners is the berries.

What Have I Acquired
My problem with the New York Review of Books Classics is that I want to read all of them. I went down to my alma mater on Monday to meet some of my old professors, and for reasons that shall remain unenumerated in public, I was in a weird and dark mood when I got back, the kind of mood to read something terrible and true, so I picked up a copy of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne. Apparently it was a secret bestseller amongst the U.S. army officer corps eight years ago, and may well be again, given that another September has brought yet more American violence to the Middle East. I have my doubts about this kind of history, but we'll see.

What's Next
Who knows?

Profile

starlady: Raven on a MacBook (Default)
Electra

August 2017

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728 293031  

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios