Review of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao. ★★★1/2 Unfortunately, I just didn’t like this as much as the first book, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. What I really loved about Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was the anti-heroic female lead, Xifeng. I love me a good anti-heroine, and Xifeng more than scratched that itch. But Kingdom of the…

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. ★★★1/2 TW: forced marriage, threat of sexual violence, parental abuse I know everyone loves this novel, just like everyone loves Uprooted. Meanwhile, I had a very conflicted relationship with Uprooted. While I liked most things about it, I cannot emphasize enough how much I abhorred the borderline-abusive romance subplot. And when others told…

Review of How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin. ★★★★ Like almost everyone else, I was blown away by N.K. Jemisin’s award-winning novel, The Fifth Season. When I heard she had this collection of twenty-two short stories coming out, I knew I needed to read it. As with every short story collection, I enjoyed some stories more…

Review of Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space)

Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) edited by Catherine Lundoff. ★★★ Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space) is a speculative fiction anthology about pirates. Many of the stories veer towards fantasy, but others are solidly science fiction, involving aliens or piracy between dimensions. While the anthology isn’t explicitly LGBTQ, many of the stories…

Review of In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire

In an Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire. ★★★1/2 In an Absent Dream is the fourth novella in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, portal fantasies about children who find doorways to other worlds. While it is the fourth in the series, In an Absent Dream works as a stand-alone and has a mostly-new cast. If you want, you can…

Review of The Girl King by Mimi Yu

The Girl King by Mimi Yu. ★★★ 1/2 TW: Sexual assault The Girl King is the start of a new YA epic fantasy series where two sisters are rivals for the throne of an empire. Lu has spent her entire life preparing to become the first female emperor, the Girl King. Her sister Min lives a quieter…

Review of The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards. ★★★★ TW: Sexual Assualt, Anorexia I’m so so glad I listened to everyone telling me to read The Last Sun. It’s a stunningly imaginative urban fantasy novel with characters I came to care deeply about. The best comparison I can think of is Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence crossed with Ilona Andrews’…

Review of Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

Swordheart by T. Kingfisher. ★★★★ I can’t remember the last time I laughed this much while reading a book. Swordheart is a romantic fantasy novel that’s brimming with humor. Everything Ursula Vernon writes is delightful, and I will continue to eagerly rush to read anything by her. However, my enjoyment of Swordheart is tampered by displeasure at some issues with…

Review of Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria. ★★★★ I knew anything by Destiny Soria would be amazing, and Beneath the Citadel did not disappoint. It’s kind of like a queer, young adult version of Lies of Locke Lamora. The city of Eldra is ruled by prophecies, and the high council’s control over the prophecies is what lets them maintain power….

Review of Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant. ★★★ This horror novella doesn’t rely on zombies, killer mermaids, or final girls. Instead, Mira Grant looks at the rise of the anti-vaxxer movement and what happens when herd immunity is compromised. The story starts with patient zero: Lisa Morris, an eight-year-old girl who begins to feel sick…