Will Do Magic for Small Change by Andrea Hairston. ★★★1/2
Will Do Magic for Small Change feels like Octavia Butler crossed with Charles de Lint. It genres, with aliens and magic, and explores themes such as race, gender, sexuality, and family history. It’s one of the most original SFF novels I’ve read in years.
Will Do Magic for Small Change opens with Cinnamon Jones, a black girl in 1980’s Philadelphia, attending her half-brother’s funeral. Her brother left her a book written by an alien wanderer from another dimension who appeared in West Africa during the 1890’s. The wanderer’s story is not complete and more sections continue to appear as the course of Cinnamon’s teen years. Eventually, Cinnamon realizes that the wanderer’s story has some mysterious connections to her own family history.
The Uncrowned King is the second book in a six book epic fantasy series that starts with The Broken Crown. You need to read this series in order, and there may be some spoilers for the first book in this review. While this series is a hefty time investment (six books, each around seven hundred pages), so far I am finding it worth the time I put in, particularly because of the variety of important female characters.
The Neon Court is the third book in Kate Griffin’s Matthew Swift series, which starts with A Madness of Angels. In my review of the second book, The Midnight Mayor, I mentioned that I was particularly interested in seeing where Oda’s character would go. Which, apparently, is into the grave in the first chapter of The Neon Court in order to create a plot. I am so frustrated by this. Then again, this series has a history of fridging female characters, so maybe I should have known what I was getting myself in for.
On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard. ★★★★
On a Red Station, Drifting is an excellent little science fiction novella.
In the far future, a galactic empire is crumbling and Linh is a refugee, fleeing to Prosper Station, run by Mistress Quyen. The two women are very different, and it was interesting to read their opinions of each other. Both accuse each other of arrogance, but I think Linh probably most deserves that criticism. She had a high ranking before the war came to her planet, and she seems to expect Quyen (whom she scorns for her lesser education) to immediately give her a position of power.
Burning Bright was fun and a good enough way to pass the time.
When Lioe arrives on the world of Burning Bright, she’s not thinking about anything other than the Game: the continous video game RPG which is popular with humans across the known universe. However, when Lioe uses character templates of a Burning Bright native, she becomes inadvertently drawn into complex local politics.
The Broken Kingdoms is the second in Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy. Despite that, I believe that you could read The Broken Kingdoms independently of its predecessor, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. However, I did like The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms better, so I would suggest starting with that book.
The plot springs from Oree Shoth, a blind artist, taking in a homeless man. If you’ve read the first book, you can probably guess who he is. From there, Oree becomes caught up in a conspiracy involving murdered godlings.
Firefight is the second book in Sanderson’s Reckoners series. It is absolutely crucial that you read the first book, Steelheart, before you read Firefight or this review. By the very nature of things, this review will contain spoilers (and fairly big ones) for Steelheart. If you haven’t read Steelheart, I’d go look into it, especially if you like superheroes.
I really enjoyed Firefight. This series is proving to be a lot of fun with plenty of action and a really cool set up. It’s certainly a cut above most of the other light YA reads I pick up. Also, no love triangle, thank goodness.