Review: The Stone Sky

Well, y’all, this is my final Summer Read – a few months late, but I didn’t start till the end of July.  So there.

It seems completely fitting that I started Summer Reading 2017 with book 1 of the Broken Earth trilogy and ended with book 3.  Oh my, has this series changed me.

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(As per most of my series reviews, I’ll keep this short and vague, so as to be as spoiler-free as possible.  If you’d all just got read The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate like you should, I wouldn’t have to do this..)

The Stone Sky doesn’t answer every question that The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate raised.  Oh, sure, it answers some of them.  But in N.K Jemisin’s mastery, she left us wondering about so many things (in the best way).

The Stone Sky doesn’t bring redemption to every travesty in the pages of the previous two books.  How could it?

The Stone Sky does give absolutely captivating background on certain characters and events – particularly one character with whom I’ve become a bit obsessed.  I love them even more now.  It deepens the world and the plot, complicating some things and making others so much clearer.

The Stone Sky made me ugly cry.  I know, I know – many books have done so.  But there were so many moments of absolute heartbreak.  Bof.

The Stone Sky continues pushing the envelope and asking hard questions just like its two predecessors.  Goodness.  I wasn’t sure how Jemisin could keep going and keep pushing and keep challenging.  But she did.

Friends, The Stone Sky by N.K Jemisin is phenomenal.  Seriously, I can’t find another word for it.  This is a beautiful conclusion to a mind-blowing and heart-wrenching series.  So good and so worth the hours you;ll spend not sleeping because you can’t put it down.  For real.

Go find a copy of The Fifth Season and get started.

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Review: Hunger

Hey again!

It’s been longer than I wanted since my last post, and today is the last day of Summer Reading 2017.  I know, I know: summer’s been over for a while now, but I got a late start so I’m getting my full 3 months worth.  I have this review and one more to share with you from my Summer reads, and of course, I’m planning a Summer Reading 2017 wrap-up.  Probably not till I get back from vacation in a week, though.

Anyway.

I was on the wait list for this book for a LONG time.  I was maybe number 600 in line?  Thankfully, my county library got a lot of copies, though, or else I’d still be waiting months from now.

41FYiL+A40L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Hunger by Roxane Gay is an incredibly powerful and insightful work.  This memoir of (her) body tells of the origins of her disordered eating and how that journey has looked throughout her life.  Gay shares many anecdotes of her experiences as a bigger woman.  She opens up about so many of her insecurities and beliefs about herself, coupled with things that others have said to her or done to her because of her size.  She’s honest about her struggles, her shame, and her victories.

The topic of body image is one that has become more prevalent the past few years, with many seeking better ways to have conversations about size, health, self-image, etc.  Gay affirms some of that but calls bullshit on so much of it that hasn’t been done well.  This is so necessary; this is so true.

As with her other works, Roxane Gay doesn’t pull any punches.  She is raw, truth-telling, and vulnerable.  I so appreciate her talent and her honesty.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who’s struggled with their weight/size/health/looks/self-esteem.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone who HASN’T because it so necessary to realize the struggle that this is for so many people – including me.

Review: The Dark Forest

Hi, blog friends.

Summer Reading 2017 has brought me to the sequel of The Three-Body Problem, which I liked just fine.  But friends: The Dark Forest was phenomenal.

(Per usual for reviews of sequels, I’ll try to keep the spoilers for book one to a minimum.)

dark forestThe Dark Forest starts out a bit slow, but that’s really the only negative thing I have to say about this book.  Once I got past the first 50 pages – which were beautifully written, mind you – I couldn’t put it down.

Most of the events in book two take place 200 years after the first book in the trilogy, and goodness, Cixin Liu has quite the imagination.  It was fun to read his thoughts on where humans and Earth might be some day given certain events and certain limitations due to those events – see, I’m trying really hard to not spoil Three-Body.  Just go read it.

In The Dark Forest, we get to see a few of the characters from Three-Body – some of my favorites in fact.  Liu uses these characters to explore so many different aspects of human nature.  He puts them into situations that push, pull, and strain them, and what he comes up with is amazing.

The whole idea of the Wallfacer Project is highly intriguing, and Liu uses it (plus the Wallbreakers, of course) to take the reader on a while ride through psychological manipulation and ethical dilemmas.

This book is sprawling and immense; it’s epic science fiction, with the scope of epic fantasy and the fascination of hard SF.

If you haven’t read The Three-Body Problem, go do that so you can read The Dark Forest.  And from what I’ve heard, Death’s End is quite the conclusion to this awesome series.

 

Summer Reading 2017 is coming to a close, but here are the reviews you can be looking forward to in the next two weeks:

  • The Stone Sky by N.K Jemisin
  • Hunger by Roxane Gay
  • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor
  • Death’s End by Cixin Liu

Review: Difficult Women

Hi there.  It’s me again, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since this is my blog…

Summer Reading 2017 is coming to a close soon – just a few more weeks.  If you remember, I got a late start this year, but that just means that Summer Reading lasts till the end of September.  I’m not mad.

My most recent summer read was Difficult Women by Roxane Gay.  I’ll keep my review for this one brief – not because it wasn’t good, mind you.

This collection of short stories moved me in so many ways.  They broke my heart, madeimages me angry, made me cry, and disturbed me.

The stories in this book reflected so many different types of women in so many different types of situations.  Women were empowered, and women were broken.  Women were weak, and women were strong.  Women got happy endings, and women didn’t.

Roxane Gay doesn’t skirt around difficult topics and experiences, but she dives right in.  She writes about sex and love, doubt and faith, abuse and intimacy.  She writes sisters, mothers, daughters, lovers, and friends.  Her writing is raw and lyrical, and she tells the truth.  She really tells the truth.

My favorites: “Water, All Its Weight”, “North Country”, and “I am a Knife”.

In Which I’m Excited for Lots of Upcoming Things

Hey y’all!

This blog has been heavy on the reviews and light on the other stuff as of late.  I’m not sorry at all, but I do want to take a moment to share some exciting things with you:

Lona Chang: A Superhero Detective Story

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Remember Silver Tongue?  And how I’m a huge AshleyRose Sullivan fan?  And how I’ve been waiting for the sequel to Awesome Jones?  WELL IT’S FINALLY (ALMOST) HERE!  Lona Chang comes out on September 8, and I’m not sure I could be more excited.

 

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Provenance by Ann Leckie

Okay, okay, okay, OKAY.  Ann Leckie is coming out with a new book!  You know how much I love the Ancillary trilogy, and this new book is set in the same universe but with different characters and outside the Radch empire.  I’M SO INTRIGUED.  It drops on September 26.. EEEE!

Speaking of Ann Leckie…

On October 2, I will get to meet her and ask her to sign my copy of Ancillary Justice.  No big deal.  EXCEPT IT’S A HUGE DEAL!  She’ll be at Uncle Hugo’s Science Fiction bookstore in Minneapolis.  I’m going with my husband and some friends, and we’re already nervous…  Wish me luck – mostly that I don’t make a fool of myself.

 

Alright.  Sorry for the excessive capitalization… now back to your regularly scheduled review programming.  Be looking for my thoughts on Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu soon!

Review: Prophetic Lament

Hey, friends.

I just finished my first non-fiction book for Summer Reading 2017, and it was a good one.  As you might have read in my previous posts, my reading list this summer is only comprised of authors of color.  One of my unwritten goals is to read new authors in the genres I normally read.  Not only those genres of course – but I want to discover new-to-me authors in the genres I love.  Obviously this means lots of science fiction and fantasy, but this also means a lot of non-fiction; I read a lot of Christian non-fiction for work, so I’ve been on the look out for new authors in that category.

Unfortunately, this is the first Christian non-fiction book that I’ve read this summer.  That bums me out a bit, but I’ve got some great ones lined up soon.  Anyway, without further ado.

Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah was challenging and heartbreaking.  Rah walks the reader through the book of Lamentations from the Old Testament, giving cultural context, unpacking difficult passages, and explaining the style of the genre of lament.  Throughout the book, though, he adds commentary on American Christianity and how it has fallen so incredibly short in the area of lament.

The truth that Rah brings about the history of the American church and racism is convicting and so timely.  He challenges white Christians to think long and hard about their own privilege – something that hasn’t been done enough in my opinion.  He challenges American Christians to get over their exceptionalism and actually lament injustices, rather than always being focused on celebration.  He offers actual, tangible ways of doing this; none of them are easy, but all of them are necessary.

I’m still chewing on much of what was written in Prophetic Lament, and I imagine that I will be for a long time.  If you’re interested in the book of Lamentations, the history of the American Christianity and racism, or what the Church is doing now for social justice, get your hands on this book.  It’s worth your time.

Review: Who Fears Death

Hi, blog friends.

I just wrapped up book five of Summer Reading 2017, and let me tell you: it was a doozy.  I’d heard absolutely great things about Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor, and it definitely lived up to the hype.  I’m always skeptical of hype, but GOODNESS, this didn’t disappoint.

Who Fears Death is a fantasy story of racism and sexism, war and abuse, love and magic,81h8QE+MbAL growing up too quickly and too slowly.  And much more.  All of this takes place in a dystopian future Africa, with vivid landscape descriptions that place you right in the middle of the pages.  It was captivating and beautiful.

The main character, Onye, is so deep and lively and complex.  She’s strong and fragile, independent and needy.  She is severely flawed, but only in ways that real humans are.  The same can be said of the rest of the amazing cast of characters: Binta, Luyu, Diti, Sola, Aro, the Ada, Onye’s parents, Mwita.  Oh, Mwita – how I love you.

I quickly became invested in each of these people’s lives, making the book so hard to put down.  Okorafor’s writing is AMAZING – so lyrical and raw, making the pages fly by.  There are some graphic scenes; the author doesn’t stray away from or gloss over hard topics.  But the violence is always for a purpose – it’s never gratuitous, which I appreciate.

If you’re looking for really good fantasy, books about race and ethnicity, books that will surprise you and break your heart over and over again – Who Fears Death should go on the top of your list.  It’s that good.