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: 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.
Good-bye April, the shortest month this year. I have gone through a lot of sudden changes, but there are always more books to read. I even discovered two new favorites this month, which feels exciting.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Adult Science Fantasy
Year Release: 2019
Source: Library audiobook
Listened to the audiobook
Trigger warnings: suicide, death of family, blood
Twins Roger and Dodger are two sides of the same cosmic coin separated by the continental United States. Roger of New England masters language with relative ease, while his sister Dodger is a math prodigy.
The structure of this novel, though not linear, was frightening in how easy it was to follow. It bounces between past, future, alt!past, alt!future, and the interstitial space where Reed and Leigh plot their schemes for dominating time and reality. Never once did I find myself confused. McGuire has such a precision in her language that this book simultaneous felt like a fairy tale, something contemporary, and a thriller. Absolutely engaging and mind-blowing.
The characterization of the twins is absolutely fantastic. What I think shines brightest here is the depiction of Dodger’s math skills by showing the reader enough of that mastery without going into the specifics of the mathematics itself. It was surprisingly accessible, and even more mind-blowing when you see how it fits into the ending.
Part Frankenstein, some cosmic fuckery, definitely read this book if you’re wondering how any pair of the Wayward Children would turn out as young adults.
Happy 2020! Welcome to the first addition of what I learned by reading. This month felt like it was a million years long, which is fine in terms of reading because I read 12 books so far, well ahead of my 100 book goal for 2020.
Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: Wayward Children (1 through 5 published so far)
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Year Release: 2020
Source: Library Audiobook
Listened to the audiobook.
The Wayward Children series is always such a treat. Concise quests brought to life in these rich worlds wrapped in a rainbow-colored bow of casual queerness.
The Moors are my favorite location in this series, hands down. So eerie, but so structured. The portal fantasy presented here is one of vampires, lightning, and medical experiments. Jack and Jill have swapped bodies. There was something special with the author reading her own representation of OCD through Jack. It was so effectively done.
As always with these series, so much characterization takes place in such a small set of pages. McGuire pulls it off with deft use of omniscient third. Each character feels fleshed out, even though I desperately hope we get to see Christoper’s skeleton world or the ocean. But none of those things needed to happen in this book.
The Wayward Children series also proves to be another example of a queer norm world, where the fact that Jack and Alexis are girlfriends hold no weight either in-world or hangs as a plot point. Kade is trans because Kade is trans and there’s not much to it aside from an aside to remind the reader of these facts.
Another eerie, disturbing, but captivating entry into my favorite series of portal fantasies.
Just like last year, I attempted my annual reading challenge inspired by “The 12 Days of Christmas” in which I wanted to read 12 books between December 25th and January 5th. I got even closer than last year, reading 10. Here are my thoughts.