Monday
Jun112018

Binti: The Night Masquerade

This is the final installment of the Binti trilogy and I'm definitely sad that it's over. I just love the characters so much! I've seen the author sum up this trilogy as book 1: girl leaves home; book 2: girl returns home; book 3: girl becomes home. It's over-simplified and utterly perfect.

Throughout the series, Binti has been struggling to be more but to still fit in, to still be one of the Himba people even though she's broken basically all of her conventions. I love that as Binti grows, she forces those around her to grow with her.

This is a fantastic close to the series, though I do hope there will be more of Binti later, with her band of new friends/family out in the wider galaxy being a bunch of math genius badasses. Binti's existential crisis is, if not wrapped up, at least at a point where Binti can move forward. But I hope the author finds new ways for the character to grow so readers can continue to share in her adventures.

Anyway, all of the really good praise I've had for the other two books applies to this one as well. And it's so hard to talk about the book without spoilers that I'm just going to insist you go find it and give it a try.

Monday
Jun112018

Raven Stratagem

This is the second book in what I believe is a trilogy (or maybe series) and it was definitely much better than the first.

In this book Jedao/Cheris have taken over a swarm (like a regiment) under the pretext that only they can stop the Hafn invaders behind the invasion of the fortress in the first book. No one really trusts them, though the swarm's general and all her people don't have much of a choice.

And that's about as much as I can say without utterly spoiling the book. The characterization is better in this one, and the whole ploy by Jedao/Cheris is fantastic. While I was pretty sure of what was actually going on, the author did a fantastic job of making me doubt myself.

There are a lot of great themes going on in here too, about free will and redemption and what it means to be human. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. So if you got through the first book and are unsure about this one, I definitely think it's worth a try.

Monday
Jun112018

Wintersmith

This was a Tiffany Aching book in the Discworld series and it was pretty good. Granny Weatherwax's scheming remains my favourite part of the book, but that should be obvious by now. I didn't really feel like this was as strong as some of the others, though. It's got a lot of the same old.

Anyway, Tiffany has gotten herself tangled up in the story of the seasons, the dance between winter and summer, and ends up with the Wintersmith out to get win her affection the only way he knows how... by burying everything in snow and ice.

All while Tiffany is still navigating the duties of witching and trying to learn from Granny's unorthodox lessons.

This one was shorter on humour than some of the others and I also didn't find it as deep emotionally. Still a good read for Discworld fans.

Tuesday
May292018

Ninefox Gambit

This book has some really outstanding world-building, but the first half of the book was just so confusing. And none of the characters really grabbed me until toward the end. To be honest, if the second book in this series wasn't on the current Hugo ballot, I probably would have stopped reading.

The book had an ending interesting enough to have me looking forward to the next book. And now that the world-building isn't as confusing, I hope it will be easier to get through.

I'm not even sure if I can adequately describe the plot without giving things away... But basically, the main character, Cheris, is a soldier and brilliant mathematician who has run afoul of her government. Her punishment is an impossible assault on an impenetrable fortress, with the ghost of their government's best-ever general, Jedao, lodged in her mind.

Cheris never really knows who to trust, especially not Jedao who is an infamous traitor. Even with the book over, I have no idea whose intentions to trust and whether Cheris and Jedao will end up doing the right thing in the next book.

This book is worth a try, at least, but if you're finding the world-building to be a slog AND you don't like the characters, you probably won't miss out if you set the book aside.

Tuesday
May292018

Beneath the Sugar Sky

This is the third book in the Wayward Children series, though chronologically, it comes after Every Heart a Doorway. While this book didn't capture the same book hangover as the first book did, it's still fantastic and I enjoyed every bit of it.

So in the first book Sumi is murdered, but her adult daughter, Rini suddenly drops in (literally) to the pond behind the school, desperately in need of help to resurrect her mother. The Nonsense world Sumi and Rini are from is beginning to suffer from Sumi's death.

Rini comes from what is technically Sumi's future, and the timeline is a little wibbly-wobbly, but if you don't think about it too hard and just roll with it, it's fine. Rini has been granted the ability to open any door to any world, so the kids helping her set off through doorways.

There are some return favourites in this book, including Chris, Kade and Nancy, and a new addition I really loved, the former (and hopefully once-again) mermaid, Cora.

I think I love Cora so much because I see so much of myself in her, which isn't something I usually get. Cora is fat. But like me, dieting does little to change that, and she's still athletic as fuck. While I don't have Cora's occasional self-esteem issues (I am made of spite), I still really get her frustration at moving through a world that infuriatingly sees us as lesser-than simply because of our size.

Anyway, this book is full of whimsy and adventure and emotional gut-punches. The ending was a little predictable but still satisfying. I highly recommend checking out this series.