Book Review: The Winner’s Curse

coffee is
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“I must get my soul back from you; I am killing my flesh without it.” – Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals

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Gritty, Real, Satisfying Dark Fantasy: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (*Spoilers*)

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 *This review contains spoilers for a major plot point.

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Women and Vocation: A Mini Review of Eolyn by Karin Rita Gastreich

US Publisher: Orb Weaver Press, 2011

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Wander, my daughter. A woman’s path is made by wandering.”

I found Eolyn on the Kindle store for $1.99, and it was so nice to start a book knowing absolutely nothing about it beyond its short Amazon blurb. There was no hype for it to live up to, and now that it’s over that makes me sad because it’s a really good book.

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Book Review: Empire of Storms (or, more accurately, my immediate, barely articulate emotional rant)

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Series Saturday: Eternal Sky, by Elizabeth Bear

My #SeriesSaturday (hosted by P.S. I Love that Book) submission is Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy, comprising of Range of Ghosts, Shattered Pillars, and Steles of the Sky.

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Book Review: Graceling (or, Not Your Run-of-the-Mill “Strong Female Character”)

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“Usually when you see females in movies, they feel like they have these metallic structures around them, they are caged by male energy.” -Bjork

The quote above applies to books, too. I just listened to author Kameron Hurley (in this interview) discuss that, unfortunately, “strong female character” has become a trope of its own; it’s so over-used and bloated that it’s morphed into giving a woman a gun/sword/super powers, having her perpetrate some traditionally masculine violence, and generally just take ye-olde-fantasy-male-hero character and give him lady parts. I’d add to this that those lady parts usually come with extraordinary beauty (she can be strong but she has to also be sexy) and vulnerability to soften her just enough. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a lot of books that do this. But I really, really, really appreciate that Graceling does not.

Graceling has been out for a while, and it’s not necessarily obscure, so I’ll say briefly that I thought the writing was excellent, the story fascinating, the world immersive, and the characters compelling. But below I’m going to outline what made this book one of my favorites of all time, and the things it does that make it truly unique to so much of what I read. Minor spoilers proceeding.

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Book Review: Angelfall

Angelfall

Title_ Into the Dark LandsAuthor_ -2

“I wonder which will get you killed faster–your loyalty or your stubbornness?”

Synopsis

Penryn is 17, her mother is schizophrenic, her father is gone, and her 7 year old sister, Paige, is paralyzed from the waist down. If her responsibilities weren’t great enough, the world has ended and angels have decided it’s capital-A apocalypse time.

The book begins with Penryn moving her family to a safer part of town; her mother has been off her meds for days, and her sweet-hearted sister is slow-going in her manual wheelchair. Feeding her family and dodging angels and human gangs is all she has time for, so she surprises even herself when she comes to the aid of an angel who’s being attacked by his own kind, his wings severed.

That angel is Raffe, and with Penryn’s help he survives. But one of the attacking angels steals Paige, and Penryn realizes that Raffe is very probably her only chance of ever seeing her sister again. The two of them strike up an uneasy alliance; he needs his wings restored, she wants her family reunited. They set out together, and the rest is not history, but a really fun, original urban fantasy.

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Book Review: Cruel Beauty

Title_ Cruel BeautyAuthor_ Rosamund HodgeSeries_ Cruel Beauty Universe, #1US Publisher_ Blazer + BrayRelease_ 2014357 pagesMy Rating_ 4_5 stars-3

 

Title_ Cruel BeautyAuthor_ Rosamund HodgeSeries_ Cruel Beauty Universe, #1US Publisher_ Blazer + BrayRelease_ 2014357 pagesMy Rating_ 4_5 stars

“I love you more than any other creature, because you are cruel, and kind, and alive.”

God, I love hateful, willful, unruly women. Is it because I am one? Ha, I don’t know. My husband could probably shed some light on this, but I’m afraid to know just how often those words might come to mind. If it turns out it’s fairly frequent, hopefully he’ll follow that revelation like Ignifex and say that’s part of my appeal. Or maybe it’ll be one of those times I’ll be proud to be called willful and unruly, and like Nyx, I won’t care. I’ll know it’s true and glory in it.

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Book Review: Into the Dark Lands (or, The Longest Metaphor for an Abusive Relationship Ever?)

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**Major spoilers after the synopsis!**

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Synopsis:

If you’re familiar with the creation story for Middle Earth,  you remember that the Valar, the demigods who helped sing the world into existence, have their own servants called Maiar. Gandalf was a Maia of the Vala Manwe. Sort of like his emissary, right hand, executor of his will, etc. Well, this story is about a war between two beings that remind me of Valar, being waged on the ground by a couple of Maiar, with an unknowing female pawn suspended in the middle. Heh, I guess that doesn’t necessarily make it less complicated.

Basically, Erin is a healer who insists on learning to fight, becoming the champion of her people. Her grandmother, the Lady, is a Servant of the Bright Heart who has seen the coming end of the eons-long war they’ve waged against the Servant of the Dark Heart, who is the evil lord Stephanos. Erin takes the fight to Stephanos himself, ushering in the end her grandmother foresaw and wept over, but the battle she wages is not the one she’s trained for and it involves something else entirely.

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