ARC Review: THE ORDER OF THE PURE MOON REFLECTED IN WATER by Zen Cho (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: June 2020
Source: NetGalley eARC
Buy links: Bookshop |Unabridged Bookstore| Barnes and Noble

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A bandit walks into a coffee shop and it goes about as well as you expect. This novella is a fun ride with a large cast that shares equal page space. Stakes are high as they are trying to deliver relics on contract in a shifting world.

This novel is much quieter than its boisterous beginning implies. There is a lot of fun banter between the nun from the titular order and the unsavory characters that are the bandits. Cho deftly weaves together worldbuilding in a dense package. Each character has their own stakes and tensions, plus moments of evolution and self-discovery. A feat, given that this novella is under 200 pages.

The world and its relationship to and understanding of magic weaves expertly from page to page. What I also admired is the normality of queerness. Though there is an organized religion, we do get moments when the gendered aspects of it are deconstructed and rebuilt into something into something refreshingly inclusive.

A wuxia fantasy novella which blends together tight world-building, fun dialogue, and found family.

 

ARC Review: PROSPER’S DEMON by K.J. Parker (2020)

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2020
Source: NetGalley

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Content warning: possession, gore, violence

I love me a good sarcastic narrator. Our nameless narrator in this very short demon possession story clearly knows better, but choose the more uncouth option every option. I really enjoyed the use of pronouns here, especially because Parker establishes early on that you can see the effects of demons, but never the demons themselves. The two primary demons, He and She, have such different energies, especially Her. She is the titular Prosper’s demon and, wow, is there a symbiotic relationship. It looks rad on page and I can’t say anymore, given the brevity of the read.

A quick read for those who enjoy demons and asshats.