Review of The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo. ★★★1/2 The Night Tiger is a wonderful blend of literary fiction and genre fiction — involving everything from historical fiction to magical realism. The Night Tiger centers around the intertwined lives of Ren and Ji Lin, who both live in 1931 Malay. Ren is a houseboy who served a Western doctor… before…

Breaking the Bubble: Non-SFF Reading in January

Hello everyone! I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here, but I’m currently interning for a literary agent who represents mostly mysteries, thrillers, romance, and women’s fiction. Since I’m reading tons of query letters manuscript samples, I figured I should also read some more books outside sci-fi and fantasy to get a feel for different…

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…

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 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 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 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 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 Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. ★★★★ TW: sexual assault, violence Young adult fantasy meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this explosive new novel. Not only that, but did I mention that it’s queer? Lei is a human girl, the lowest caste in a kingdom ruled by demons. Years ago, her mother was stolen by the royal guards,…