Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker

Melancholy and compelling, Caroline Hardaker has captured the narrow wistfulness of self-inflicted isolation. As we draw ourselves away from the world, tuck ourselves into the warmth of our four encroaching walls, it becomes harder and harder to connect with anything and anyone that exists outside ourselves. We chain our doors, check the locks, and keep ourselves in as much as we keep others out. While this is not a book about pandemics, or plagues, or even about quarantines, it nevertheless manages to invoke a sense of catharsis in relation to current events. … More Composite Creatures by Caroline Hardaker

Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker – A Lush, Nautical Epic Fantasy

The stakes have been raised, and the winds are changing. Joron will find himself flensed to the bone, losing everything he holds dear. He will be hammered and tempered into steel before he can live out his destiny… or reject it entirely and shape a different future from what has been foretold. … More Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker – A Lush, Nautical Epic Fantasy

The Impact of R.B. Lemberg’s Birdverse: A Second Look at ‘The Four Profound Weaves’

While I’ve already waxed poetic previously on this novella’s merits in a full review back in March, a small reprise is called for as we near its release date. The prediction I made back then still holds true; I don’t think I’ve stopped recommending this book any time it’s even slightly relevant to someone’s interests. … More The Impact of R.B. Lemberg’s Birdverse: A Second Look at ‘The Four Profound Weaves’

Driftwood by Marie Brennan

In order to get the most out of Driftwood, a reader must arm themselves ahead of time.  Archeologists’ tools – brushes, trowels, and picks – are recommended. This, you see, is not merely a book… but an artefact of another world. Driftwood immerses the reader within its ever-shifting borders. It demands that the reader explore and discover, content in its own ergodicity without crossing the line into onanism. The constant press of the new and novel, the erasure of history and culture, and the preservation of individual identity within that atmosphere is explored with a subtle, deft hand. This is less a novel than it is a glimpse into a distant, alien future that might have been. … More Driftwood by Marie Brennan

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Once and Future Witches is possibly the angriest book I have ever read in my life, which is very much something I can relate to. I, too, am angry – I’m angry that womanhood is a threat dangling over my head, I’m angry that it’s the source of trauma for me. I’m angry that I’ve been denied power, agency, and even basic respect. Often, I’m diminished for even implying that I’ve been denied these things. I’m told I’m imagining things, that sexism doesn’t exist even though I see its effects in my day to day life. It’s a man opening a training session with “Good morning, gentlemen!” and the abuse I went through when I was a mere child. Although Harrow’s prose is poetic and gorgeous as always, sheer fury seethes from the pages. This is a book about righteous, feminine anger. It is a book about tearing down the establishment that controls you and burning the fences they’ve built to cage you in. I don’t know if I am a woman, really, but perhaps I have the anger of one. I don’t know if I want my gender to be wrapped up in anger, but I can’t deny that it’s at the core of what womanhood has meant for me. It’s been fear, trauma, and, yes, a great deal of anger. … More The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

The Unspoken Name was fundamentally an incredibly comforting book. Although it was consistently difficult to sit down and focus due to the current situation, when I was able to do so, I really, really enjoyed it. Larkwood hearkens back to the early eras of epic fantasy, bringing the best of what I loved as a child forward into a modern, fresh new book.  … More The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

It’s fairly rare that I read any middle grade books, but I saw Niki’s art for The Deep & Dark Blue and immediately fell in love. I knew at once that I had to check this book out. The bold colours and character designs work for me. When I heard it described as “Tamora Pierce, except if Alanna/Alan got to actually be trans,” that was all I needed to know. I headed off and snagged it from Bookshop. And honestly? It completely lived up to all my hopes and dreams. … More The Deep & Dark Blue by Niki Smith

Review of Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko, translated by Julia Hersey, and contemplations on connections to Vita Nostra

Similar to Vita Nostra, Daughter from the Dark defies simple attempts at explanation. While it is straightforward on the surface, it’s clear to a reader that there are many depths and dangers lying beneath that topmost narrative layer. It’s almost absurdist, in some respects. Humorous at times. It’s a power struggle between two opposite characters – one who is driven and focused in the extreme, and one who is cowardly, fearful, and selfish. Both are dysfunctional in their own unique ways, struggling to navigate a world filled with death, pain, and hunger. They hurt one another, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, joined by translator Julia Hersey, take us on a dark dive into the human psyche once again, forcing the brightness of the unknown to cast stark shadows that define the edges of our own reality. … More Review of Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko, translated by Julia Hersey, and contemplations on connections to Vita Nostra

The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

R. B. Lemberg’s first foray into long-form fiction has left me breathless. The Four Profound Weaves is a love ballad sung straight into the hearts of those who most need to hear it. I was instantly captivated by the poetic, lyrical prose and drawn in with dreams of sandbirds. It’s the queer, Middle-Eastern fairy tale we’ve been waiting for. … More The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole

In light of new information regarding Myke Cole, I can no longer endorse any of his work, including Sixteenth Watch. While at the time I enjoyed this book thoroughly, in retrospect, it has proven to be a shitty piece of false, performative “feminism.” Many women and nonbinary individuals within the writing community have come forward sharing their stories as to how Myke abused them. Some of their stories are below. I recommend clicking through for the full context.  … More Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole