Work-life-writing balance was thrown a giant wrench this month, but that didn’t stop me from diving into some excellent reads.
To Kill a Kingdom
What I Learned: Making Edgy Retellings Work
Read as an eARC from NetGalley. Came out March 2018. This book is definitely a retelling of The Little Mermaid except Ariel is a siren and Prince Eric is a pirate. Christo doesn’t shy away from the gory details here and it’s not done to be excessive, but to add realistic details and make the protagonist the monster she is.
Sightwitch (The Witchlands 0.5)
What I Learned: Character Development
I love how Ryber stays the same from the first page to the last in this brief novel full of illustrations. Dennard did a great job establishing her at the very beginning, so when her perspectives evolve, she remains at the book’s core. Thoughtful and stubborn, the biggest change is that she grows in self-confidence, but not as a result of one major moment, but the smaller sequences in between.
What I Learned: Info-dumping Instead of Character Development
Read as an eARC from NetGalley. Came out in March 2018. This book could have benefited from either flashbacks or a longer word count or some combination. The characterization was so good at the outset, but then devolved into info-dumps that really undermine the tension of the situation at hand.
An Unkindness of Magicians
What I Learned: Contemporary World Magic
Howard does such a phenomenal job balancing the hidden world with the modern one. There were cell phones and taxis and modern design, but none of it felt out of place. It all fit together into a cohesive structure, with the magic serving as another layer to the world at hand.
Song of Blood & Stone
What I Learned: Magical Politics in a Modernish Setting
Read as an eARC from NetGalley. Comes out May 2018. Like I said in my review, if you enjoy Final Fantasy and want to believe magic can co-exist with cars and guns, this book is a strong start to the series. What I also admired was that the politics had magic as a point of contention and not in a typical fantasy framework of disagreement over a macguffin, which was a nice twist.
What I Learned: Unsettling Visuals
Read as an eARC from Tor.com. Comes out April 2018. The body horror is so good in this one. The unsettling visuals do not undermine the overall sense of calm. There are no jump scares, only creepy things everywhere and it works so well atmospherically.
The Hate U Give
What I Learned: Compelling Parents
Where to even begin with the Carters? Lisa and Maverick are so loving and supportive, but not blindly agreeing with their children’s decisions. They’re still parents and their own characters. They didn’t simply serve to impart lessons. Thomas brings so many layers to their individual relationships with Starr and it was probably my favorite aspect of this book.
In April, my boyfriend is visiting me and I’m in the throes of Camp NaNoWriMo, so maybe I won’t read 7 books in one month again. But also NetGalley.