February 2020 Reading Recap

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I am so ahead on reads and somehow feel behind. These last few months have been rough for me, but I am so glad that 2020 continues to deliver incredible reads which provide some kind of escape.

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ARC Review: INK IN THE BLOOD by Kim Smejkal (2020)

Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Year Release: February 2020
Source: Edelweiss eARC

Read an ARC acquired via Edelweiss

Not to sound like SNL’s Stefon, but this book had everything: queernorm, a four-faced god with six eyes, blood magic, art as propoganda, a traveling theater troupe, Italian-esque city- and country-design, disaster bisexuals, killing gods.

Celia and Anya are best friends who are inklings, devotees of the religion of Profeta, which worships a Divine who can only communicate via tattoos. Fed up with their church’s abuses, the two see a chance to escape when they audition for the Rabble Mob of Minos. But their performance proves more subversive than Profeta would like and it turns out that the Divine isn’t just a religious figment of mythology.

There was so much to like here. The highlight for me was the friendship between Celia and Anya. They are very close, both queer, and love each other, but that does not mean they are together. Overall, the queerness in this novel is so casual. Celia has two moms, multiple characters use “they” pronouns, the tenors which indicate a person’s gender identity aren’t binary. I crave this kind of queernorm world-building. It made me squee with each new detail.

In addition, I really enjoyed that Profeta itself proved a character in the novel. The religion takes on a life of its own throughout the novel. Smejkal deftly drops details both about Celia’s past and the machinations of the religion throughout the narrative in ways that feel like they add context instead of an information dump. Keeping the novel structured in three acts with interludes really fits the theater aesthetic as well.

After all, this dark fantasy is about the performance and interpretation of art, just with some disaster queers, and I want to throw it at everyone I know.

 

February 2020 TBR

Here are my intended reads for February.

Hard Copies

  • Conspiracy of Ravens (The Shadow #2) by Lila Bowen (Library Borrow)
  • The Fortress by S.A. Jones (ARC)
  • Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey (ARC)

Kindle

  • Finna by Nino Cipri (ARC)
  • Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst (ARC)
  • Flotsam (Peridot Shift #1) by R.J. Theodore
  • Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal (ARC)
  • Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold (ARC)

Audiobooks

  • Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
  • The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Plus two books I offered to beta read. Wow, this month is busy.