I’m a little late to the game but finally got around to reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first installment of J.K. Rowling’s detective mystery series published under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. The novel follows detective Cormoran Strike and his temp secretary Robin Ellacott as they investigate the suspicious suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. One of the major themes of the book is exploring different experiences of being black in England, engaging in race relations with a nuance often lacking in the Harry Potter universe. Rowling also steps up her disability representation by featuring a protagonist with a prosthetic leg but at the same time seems to make backward progress in her portrayal of women.
If you’re looking for a good YA series with bisexual, Hispanic, or autistic representation, it might be time to hop on the Dark Artifices train, as the second book was just released last Tuesday, May 23. From the author who brought us our first Jewish vampire and an immensely powerful gay warlock comes a new spin-off series from her original The Mortal Instruments world. Today I will review Lady Midnight (Book 1 of The Dark Artifices) by Cassandra Clare, particularly focusing on the minority characters Mark, Christina, and Ty. Continue reading Diversity Among Shadowhunters: Cassandra Clare’s Lady Midnight
Recently, I’ve been reading Literary Wonderlands: A Journey through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created by Laura Miller. It outlines literary works with the best world-building across history, from early myths to modern sci-fi/fantasy franchises. Inspired by this, I’d like to share with you some of the books with the most immersive settings I’ve ever read, books that had me walking their worlds long after I closed the pages. (I skipped the obvious ones like Harry Potter, which were of course featured in Literary Wonderlands.) Continue reading Best Worlds and Settings in Modern Sci-fi/Fantasy
Continuing with the theme of Sci-fi Summer, I thought I would tell you all a bit about the second book I completed for my reading challenge. Empire in Black and Gold, the first installment of the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaikovsky, is really more of a high-fantasy work with sci-fi elements, including steampunk and military sci-fi. Instead of elves and orcs, you have various Peoples with insect-inspired traits, powers, and strengths. The Wasps, for example, can fly and produce stinging fire from their hands, and are an aggressive and military people. They are poised to take over the Lowlands, and only the old Beetle Stenwald Maker and his young protégés see the threat. Can they open the eyes of the Lowland leaders and stop the invasion before it’s too late? You’ll have to read the series and see. Continue reading Book Review: Empire in Black and Gold (Shadows of the Apt #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky
You’ve heard the phrase “well-behaved women seldom make history.” Well sometimes, even ill-behaved ones who did make history don’t get their due. Have you ever heard of Mary Surratt? She is considered to be the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, for the crime of abetting John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Lincoln. Despite her claim to fame, her name has faded into obscurity. That is, until Susan Higginbotham decided to write a novel about her role in that infamous affair. Continue reading Book Review: Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham
So the big day is looming and you still don’t have a special someone to share it with. You’ve exhausted the dating possibilities in the mundane human world and have consigned yourself to being forever alone with only your cat and your never-ending TBR pile for company. Why not take a leaf out of our favorite paranormal romance books and try to catch the attention of a vampire, werewolf, faerie, or other magical hottie this year? Looking through the stories of some of our favorite fantasy YA heart-throbs I’ve compiled a list of the most likely places and techniques for landing yourself a sultry supernatural S.O. Continue reading How to Snag a Supernatural Date this Valentine’s Day
The Queen of the Night is full of historically-based characters, intrigue, mystery, romance and a continent-spanning story, years in the telling. It’s about a young woman with the voice of an angel who loses her family and home, only to persevere through war, myriad and various hardships and calamity to eventually become a star of the French opera. Personally, that’s a pretty compelling basis for a story, or at least that’s what I thought at the outset of Alexander Chee‘s drama.
Regrettably, TQotN is beset by numerous issues that Chee’s beautifully-descriptive prose simply isn’t able to assuage as the story progresses– well, ambles along would, frankly, be a more accurate description.
When I read the Goodreads description for The Warrior’s Path, book one in Catherine M. Wilson’s When Women were Warriors series, I knew I had to review it for our site. Set in a fantasy world very much like Beowulf’s England but minus the patriarchy (and Grendel monsters), this book is essentially an exploration of women’s experiences and relationships. Continue reading When Women were Warriors Book Review
Back in 1914, Constance Kopp– along with her younger sisters Norma and Fleurette– experienced an unfortunate altercation with a man by the name of Henry Kaufman. After having run his automobile into the three sisters’ horse and buggy on a road near Paterson, New Jersey, a battle of wills, and eventually of bullets, ensued as Constance sought reparation from the factory man for damages regarding the sisters’ only means of wheeled conveyance. As a result, Constance Kopp became one of the first women to be deputized in the United States.
Inspired by this historical skirmish, the bestselling author of The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart, offers us a fictionalized account of the story in the charming novel Girl Waits With Gun.
Holly Black’s most recent work, The Darkest Part of the Forest, came out this past January. Little did I realize an ARC of this gem had been hiding on my bookshelf since last BEA, almost a full year ago. The cover is a little unassuming, mostly black and white with some dull green plants and one bright spot of color of a blue butterfly, which may be why I didn’t pick it up until now; but once I did pick it up, I couldn’t put it down. Continue reading Holly Black Returns to Faerie: The Darkest Part of the Forest Review