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…

Review of Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst

Fire and Heist by Sarah Beth Durst. ★★★1/2 Ever since I heard Sarah Beth Durst was writing a heist novel starring were-dragons, I’ve been dying to read it. Unfortunately, my expectations may have been a tad too high. Sky Hawkins is going through a rough patch. Months ago, her mother disappeared in the midst of pulling…

Review of European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss. ★★★ European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is the sequel to The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, which I suggest you read first — both for the plot to make sense and because the original is the better book. The Athena Club has received a desperate telegram from…

Review of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri. ★★★1/2 TW: forced marriage, threat of sexual assault I have a complicated relationship with Empire of Sand. On one hand, it’s a very good book, maybe not quite on the level with N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, but it gives me similar vibes. On the other hand, Empire of Sand uses tropes that just…

Review of City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender. ★★★ This debut fantasy novel showed a lot of promise, but by the end, I was just skimming, trying to finish the book for a review. Laura is an apprentice Sweeper, a professional trained to deal with the magical infestations that threaten her world. Created as a weapon that then…

Review of Toxic by Lydia Kang

Toxic by Lydia Kang. ★★★ The ending of Toxic was more gripping than the beginning, but the story didn’t manage to really suck me in. Toxic is a YA science fiction novel following two teens aboard the dying biological space-habitat Cyclo. Hana was created in secret by her mother in violation of the community population laws and has never been…

Review of Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. ★★★1/2 I have such mixed feelings about this book. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first 75%, which felt super full of tropes and not particularly original, but then the very end flipped the entire book on its head! Empress of All Seasons is centered around a competition, a familiar…

Review of Mutiny at Vesta by R.E. Stearns

Mutiny at Vesta by R.E. Stearns. ★★★1/2 Mutiny at Vesta is the sequel to Barbary Station, a sci-fi novel where badass lesbian space pirates fight a rogue AI. While you could theoretically read Mutiny at Vesta without having read Barbary Station first, I still suggest picking up Barbary Station. Also, there’s legit no way I can avoid spoilers for Barbary Station in this review. You have…

Review of Shades Within Us: Tales of Migration and Fractured Borders

Shades Within Us: Tales of Migration and Fractured Borders edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law. ★★★1/2 As you can tell from the subtitle, Shades Within Us is a speculative fiction short story anthology about migration, immigration, and refugees. The collection mixes authors I’m already familiar with (Karin Lowachee, Seanan McGuire, S.L. Huang, Rich Larson) with plenty of…

Review of Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya Duad. ★★★1/2 I had a mixed experience with Mirage; I enjoyed some elements, and I found others frustrating. Amani’s home planet is dominated by the interstellar Vathek empire, and she can’t remember life before the occupation. She is nothing special, one peasant girl of many, but she has family, friends, and the cultural traditions the Vathek are…