March 2021 Reading Recap

March was my first full month of dayjob. I also took a small break from writing after a major breakthrough in the revision. Unfortunately, that means rewriting the entire thing. In spite of that, I did get a lot of reading done. I even read my first physical copy of the year.

To be fair, I am finding a lot of solace in manga right now, and I can’t quite articulate why. When I figured it out, I will definitely let you know. I have also gotten majorly into buying earrings from indigenous creators. More details about this can be found on my Instagram.

The interview I did this month with C.L. Clark to celebrate their debut, The Unbroken, is one of my favorite interviews yet. I also posted a personal-feeling advice piece on beta reading and giving feedback in general (Writing is Hard Part 8).

ARCs

  • A Desolation Called Peace (A Memory Called Empire #2) by Arkady Martine (2021, Adult space opera, queer)
    • It’s got elements of Arrival in that there is an attempt to make contact with aliens the empire is at war with
    • The girls do kiss and have a happy-for-now in this one
  • First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara (2021, Adult contemporary fantasy, queer)
    • The FBI breaks up a cult that believes it can use magic and one of the former members teams up with cosplayers to complete his pre-destined quest
    • Be aware of the trigger warnings
    • Really did not work for me
  • The Unbroken (Magic of the Lost #1) by C.L. Clark (2021, Adult fantasy, queer)
    • A conscript returns to the country where she was born, where rebellion is brewing and a princess tries to do “her best” to do “what’s right”
    • Earnest and unflinching in its exploration of colonialism in the framework of fantasy narratives
    • The interview with the author is so good

Audiobooks

  • A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman (2016, Adult horror)
    • A pair of teens find the titular house on their first date
    • Sweet and short
    • Not the most Horror of horrors, but creepy enough
  • Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger (2020, Adult thriller)
    • A woman’s husband is cheating on her with the babysitter, but then the baby sitter goes missing
    • There’s a side plot about a con artist
    • Could have come together far sooner to really land that banger of an ending
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (1959, Adult historical nonfiction)
    • Shackleton and his crew of 29 go to Antarctica in search of the South Pole
    • Everyone survives in this one
  • The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1) by Evan Winter (2019)
    • Local man joins army to get revenge on the dudes who got his dad killed, but things are more complicated and more nuanced than initially anticipated
    • There is a demon alternate dimension and a coup
    • Holy shit this book is awesome please read it now

Physical Copy

  • The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore (2021, YA magical realism contemporary, queer)
    • Two teens are sexually assaulted at the same party. One of them transfers to the other’s high school. Magic starts going awry
    • Beautiful imagery and metaphors that work together to show the non-linear and messy path of survival and healing
    • I love Lock and Ciela both individually and together

Manga

  1. Jujutsu Kaisen Vol. 0-2 by Gege Akutami (2019-2021, shonen horror)
    • Sorcerers manipulate cursed energy to exorcise curses
    • Great character designs and body horror
    • There is a protag who has white hair (Gojo Satoru) and I am very much making the eyes emoji
  2. Made in Abyss Vol. 1-3 by Akhito Tsukushi (2018, seinen dark fantasy)
    • A 12-year-old and her best friend descend the Abyss in search of her mom
    • Adorable art style that does not whatsoever distract from the body horror and tragedy throughout
  3. The Promised Neverland Vol. 1-3 by Kaiu Shirai and Posoka Demizu (2018-2019, shonen dark fantasy)
    • The children have escaped the orphanage, find a bunker, go out to seek their escape, become trapped in a hidden garden with demons who hunt other children
    • One of the best action arcs I’ve ever read
    • One more time: why did the anime skip all this????

Until next month,
Jo

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