reviews
The Bone Shard Emperor (The Drowning Empire #2) by Andrea Stewart - Book Review
22, Nov

The Empire faces threats from all sides - an army of vengeful constructs, islands sinking into the sea, greedy politicians, the mysterious and all-powerful Alangra, and a brand new Emperor trying to hold it all together. What can Lin do in the face of all this, having denounced bone shard magic and with only an unreliable ex-smuggler and a mysterious magical creature by her side?

The Keeper of Night (The Keeper of Night #1) by Kylie Lee Baker - Book Review
02, Nov

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren has lived over a century in London collecting human souls. She’s despised by her fellow Reapers for her heritage and denounced by her father, with only her younger brother by her side. When her Shinigami powers grow difficult to control, she flees to Japan, hoping to find her mother and the acceptance she’s never had. But the Japanese underworld is dangerous and unfamiliar, and The Goddess of Death is not eager to accept her as one of her own.

A Neon Darkness (The Bright Sessions #2) by Lauren Shippen - Book Review
01, Nov

Robert always gets what he wants because he makes those around him want it too. It’s an ability that should make his life easy and blissful, should give him anything and everything. And yet, arriving in Las Angeles soon before his 19th birthday, he brings nothing but a haunted past. But he meets people, people he thinks could be his friends, who might actually understand him. If only he’s willing to give up control.

Flesh Eater (Houndstooth #1) by Travis Riddle - Book Review
19, Jan

After how much I enjoyed (SPFBO 6 semi-finalist) Spit and Song by Travis Riddle, I was excited for the chance to read his newest novel Flesh Eater, which is the beginning of the Houndstooth trilogy. This series takes place in a new world in which the characters are sentient animals (think Redwall) but retains the unique world-building and adventurous tone that I loved so much in Spit and Song and have come to expect from Riddle's writing.

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire #1) by Andrea Stewart - Book Review
13, Sep

For decades, the emperor has reigned with the help of his constructs, created with bone shard magic, tasked to keep the citizens in line and, should the need arise, to protect the islands from the return of the Alanga. More and more, however, people have been questioning whether this protection is worth the cost and what the emperor has been up to hiding away in his palace since the death of his wife. Lin, the emperor’s daughter, has many of the same questions, as she strives to prove to her father that she’s worthy to be his heir and learn his secrets. In further reaches of the empire, the smuggler Jovis is on the run and searching for his missing wife, while Ranami attempts to recruit her girlfriend, Phalue, to a rebellion against her own father, the governor of Nephilanu Island.

Dominion edited by Zelda Knight and Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald - Book Review
30, Aug

Dominion is an anthology of twelve speculative short stories (and a poem) from Africa and the African Diaspora. With that being the singular factor uniting these works, they represent a wide range of genres, subjects, and settings. Robots, magicians, angry goddesses, zombies, greedy corporations, and more make appearances across small towns, spaceships, crumbling worlds, and interdimensional spaces.

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson - Book Review
03, Aug

"Of the 380 Earths with which we can resonate, I’m dead in 372."

The CEO of Eldridge Institute, Adam Bosch, has invented a way to travel the multiverse, but one can only enter another world if their doppelgänger there is dead. Thus, Eldridge has been forced to hire travelers whose perilous lives have given them a very slim chance of surviving. Cara was born to an addict mother outside Wiley City where a tyrannical warlord and his Runner gang rule. Now, due to her skill at dying, she has the chance to work as a traveler, become a Wiley City citizen, and turn her life around. But when another one of her counterparts dies and she travels to Earth 175 for the first time, she is thrust back into the life she managed to escape and discovers a secret that endangers the entire multiverse.

Ashes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye #1) by Django Wexler - Book Review
21, Jul

Gyre and his younger sister Maya lead a peaceful life with their parents on a vulpi farm until one day when Maya is five years old, a Centarch from The Twilight Order, Va’aht Thousandcuts, comes to take her away. The Order says this is necessary to save her from her illness, but Gyre refuses to let her go and Thousandcuts punishes him by taking his eye and leaving a permanent scar. Ever since, Gyre has been dead set on dismantling the Order and the Republic that they use their magic to uphold. Chasing rumors of a powerful artifact to use against the Order, he is finally reunited with his long lost sister. But Maya has spent her whole life training to protect what Gyre wants to destroy.

Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders (Dominion of the Fallen #3.5) by Aliette de Bodard
16, Jul

Thuan brings his husband Asmodeus home for the Lunar New Year expecting some awkward family reunions and a great deal of feasting. Instead, to Asmodeus’ great interest and delight, they come across a murdered corpse. Thuan is significantly less enthusiastic about this development than his husband but agrees to be pulled into the murder investigation in order to protect his family against a coup.

A Face without a Heart by Rick Reed - Book Review
08, Jun

Gary, raised by an aloof grandfather in a rich family, has never wanted for money or beauty, only for love. Liam, a photographer who creates holograms, sees Gary on the train one day and, astonished by his beauty, requests to make a hologram of him. Gary agrees and Liam creates a masterpiece which highlights both his artistic skill and his awe for the other man. Liam's best friend, the cynical drag queen Lady Henrietta, believes this awe to be only a passing fancy but quickly becomes Gary's best friend as well, encouraging him in some of the more hedonistic parts of life. After tragedy strikes, it becomes apparent to Gary that his hologram ages while he does not. At first this is a blessing, allowing Gary to partake in any number of pleasures without worry for the consequences. But as his friends age without him and his life continues with little purpose, he realizes that maybe beauty and decadence aren't all they're made out to be.

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