Read an ARC from NetGalley Content warning: emotional abuse, attempted domestic violence, arson
In a palace, Thanh returns from years abroad to a mother that doesn’t value her presence, a fire elemental which has taken to her, and a lover who won’t quite quit. The personal conflict mirrors the political conflict, a perfect blend of interior and exterior stakes.
The structure of this novel is so effective. It’s brief, with so many layers of world-building that would tickle fans of door-stopper fantasies. But it is the relationships that leap off the page. In particular, the waxing of Giang and Thanh’s connection, and the waning of Eldris and Thanh’s relationship really worked well, especially when taken in parallel with Thanh gaining her own footing politically. The precise characterizations and deliberate scenes infuse deep personal stakes that amplify and influence the political machinations. Thanh’s character journey really works. The mutual respect between Thanh and Giang is swoony and casts a warmth like firelight.
Three tight plots weave into one neat, fairy-tale-esque package in Karin Tidbeck’s latest, The Memory Theater. From tea parties that never end, to the danger of names, to a theater troupe performing memories, this novel has all the trappings of something gothic and atmospheric. Author Karin Tidbeck stops by the blog to talk about the drafting process, the evolution of the story, and putting together the short play at the very end.
The Witch’s Heart is a heartfelt, gut-wrenching, and romantic retelling of the story of Angrboda and Ragnarok. It features new views on favorites from Norse mythology (my person faves being Hel, Fenrir, and Jormungadr) from the point of view of a figure usually cast as a villain. In this interview to celebrate her release day, author Genevieve Gornichec talks about the way she explored the trials and tribulations of Norse gods and gave them a modern sensibility all her own.
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy Year Release: 2021 Source: Libro.fm
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Listened to the audiobook Content warnings: bullying, light fantasy violence
Middle grade fiction is full of wonder and magic, and this book is the cream of the crop. It is a little bit Men in Black, a little bit Artemis Fowl, with plenty of Black girl magic and heart.
Amari joins the summer tryouts for the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs to get answers behind her brother, Quinton’s, disappearance. It has all the enchantment of being part of a secret magic society with references to classic monsters and common mythologies. This book tailored to some very specific interests, and I loved it.
We made it through January 2021, the longest month in a while. I managed to read 18 different things, and thus, I am switching up the format of these recaps. I’m going to show a grid of each work by category with links to the reviews to read at your own leisure. Feedback appreciated.
This month’s author interview was with S.T. Gibson, to celebrate the release of her Dracula’s brides retelling, A Dowry of Blood.
Read an ARC from NetGalley Content warning: childbirth, burning alive, sutures
I was a Norse mythology kid growing up. And the books that I had read painted Angrboda as the de facto villain with Loki being kind of a quaint deuteragonist. This book tells the story from Angrboda’s point of view, starting with her third burning through her courtship with Loki, to the birth of her monstrous children, and finally, Ragnarok itself. Beautiful imagery, full of romance, and heart-breaking in its pivotal moments, this book has captured my heart, and I’m not sure I’m getting it back any time soon.
Author Genevieve Gornichec will be featured in a blog interview on release day, February 9th, 2021.
Read an ARC from NetGalley Content warning: violence against children
Intricately weaving together three parallel plot threads in one neat package, The Memory Theater is an inventive little package about a sister protecting her brother, that brother trying to get his name back, and a frightening noblewoman who discovered time.
Creepy and gorgeously atmospheric, this is a must-read for fans of Scandinavian fairy tales and folklore with darker tones.
Author Karin Tidbeck will be featured in a blog interview on release day, February 16th, 2021.
Read an ARC from NetGalley Content warning: misgendering, intersex-phobia, kidnapping
We’ve had installments in the Wayward Children series for fans of Candyland, Frankenstein, and riddles. Finally, there is an entry for Horse Girls.
Regan struggles to understand friendship at that pivotal intersection of puberty and childhood. After she reveals to her “best friend” that she is intersex, Regan runs away and joins a commune of literal centaurs. There is a queen in the Hooflands, and she wants the human. But Regan will stop at nothing to maintain her agency and autonomy, despite whatever destiny wants her to believe.
I read 153 books this year in a 50/50 split between audiobooks and other formats. Being unemployed helped that along, didn’t do much for me in terms of my mental health. But there were so many good reads consumed and published this year, I had to make two lists. Enjoy!