For the love of all that’s holy, PLEASE read Natalie C. Parker’s SEAFIRE

My first piece for Tor.com (!!!) is a review of what’s possibly my favorite release of the summer: Natalie C. Parker’s Seafire, which came out yesterday from Razorbill.

Caledonia Styx’s ship, the Mors Navis, is one of the only ships that still sails free from the rule of bloodthirsty warlord Aric Athair and his army of Bullets, who brutalize the coastal settlements and seabound communities alike. The Bullets are not to be trusted: after all, it was a Bullet boy claiming to seek a place on the Mors Navis who talked Caledonia into revealing the Mors Navis’s location, resulting in the death of every person in the crew save Caledonia and her best friend, Pisces, who were ashore on a supply run.

Four years later, Caledonia and Pisces have rebuilt the Mors Navis and recruited a new crew entirely made up of women and girls who have lost their own families and homes to Athair’s raids. The women of the Mors Navis are determined to chip away at Athair’s empire, even if that means taking his navy down ship by ship. But when Pisces brings aboard a runaway Bullet who says he wants to defect, the secret Caledonia’s been keeping for four years threatens to come to light, reopening old wounds and endangering the new family she and Pisces have built.

Seafire is a book I’ve been describing to my friend as “If a magical girl anime was actually about pirates,” which translates to “Possibly a book written with my express loves in mind.”

You can read the full and less fangirly review at Tor.com.

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Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith Switch Press US cover

Micro-Review: CHILDREN OF ICARUS by Caighlan Smith

I probably shouldn’t have expected much from a book that drew cover comparisons to The Hunger Games (which I hated) and The Maze Runner (which looks boring to me).

The narrator of the book somehow managed to weave a web of lies and deceit, despite making no active decisions until the second half of the book. Much of the plot required more suspension of belief than should be expected, and despite the title, there are few aspects of the original tale of Icarus beyond shallow, almost cosmetic references.

If you absolutely want to read more of the exhausted YA dystopian genre, this is probably a good book to check out, but otherwise, Children of Icarus offers nothing new or interesting for the subgenre.

Link

New Review at Girls in Capes

I’m stoked about my newest review on Girls in Capes!

Lois Lane: Fallout is a contemporary YA with a touch of sci-fi focusing on Superman’s love interest, Lois, as a high school student before she ever meets Clark Kent. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year.

I fangirled so hard that Switch Press even posted about it on Twitter:

[tweet https://twitter.com/SwitchPressPub/status/589109009283551232]

Definitely check out this review — and I would highly recommend the book itself to all my friends.

New review at Girls in Capes: THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin

18196040I’ve got something new up at Girls in Capes!

Today’s review is for the YA novel THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin, which follows three teens — Dai, Jin, and Mei Yee — who live in the eponymous walled city of Hak Nam.

While I absolutely loved this book, it took me three months (!) to actually finish reading it — which, for me, is an amazingly long time.  It’s a beautiful book, and heart-breakingly difficult.

But you can read all about that over at GiC.  An excerpt:

When I originally picked up The Walled City and read the back, I assumed it was a typical (and for me, boring) YA dystopian novel set in a Chinese or Chinese-inspired futuristic setting.

Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Read the full review right now over at Girls in Capes.

Flash Review, Issue #005

Here are a few short reviews of books I’ve read in the past month.

The Screaming Divas by Suzanne Kamata

Provided by the publisher for review. Find Suzanne’s interview at Girls in Capes.

When I started this book, I was expecting something more along the lines of a book about a band, with a lot of practicing and concerts, but the book ended up reading more like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants except with a punk band instead of magic jeans.

Originally, I’d set this book aside because the first chapter didn’t hook me, but I’m glad I ended up following through, because as it turns out, the character (Trudy) whose point of view is shown in the first chapter is the least interesting and relatable.  I enjoyed each of the other three girls’ plotlines, especially Esther’s, and I found some of my own life experiences reflected in Harumi.  Cassie was my favorite of the girls, though I didn’t quite like the progression of her plot.

The Screaming Divas was a fascinating read after that initial bump, but the strange change of pace towards the end and the overall plot wasn’t really for me.  However, the book has fascinating diversity and represents each character in what I find to be a very fair way.

3 out of 5 stars

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Purchased for the Girls in Capes book club.

Octavia Butler’s been on my list a long time, and KINDRED was an incredible introduction to this prolific science fiction author.  Following a woman as she gets yanked back and forth in time between the present day (1976) and the antebellum South, the novel is harsh and emotionally difficult in the best kind of way.

Its emotional difficulty will turn many readers off, but this book is an important one to read, especially for those interested in history.  Despite its genre, KINDRED is an obviously well-researched and deeply thoughtful read.

5 out of 5 stars

Flash Review, Issue #004

Here are a few short reviews of the books I’ve been reading recently.

 The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

This book was practically impossible to tear myself away from to do otherwise unimportant things like eating, sleeping, or going to my job.  Blending elements of thriller, historical fiction, and the supernatural, THE STRING DIARIES is first and foremost the story of a line of women with the desire to survive in the face of unimaginable danger and, secondarily, about the lovers and family members willing to do anything to ensure they can do just that.

There’s little I can say without giving away key elements of the story, but this is one novel that doesn’t hesitate to make its characters pay heavy prices, and even its relatively “happy” ending has enough foundation built so much earlier in the story that it doesn’t feel oddly deus ex machina.  Definitely a recommended read.

Black and White (Noughts & Crosses) by Malorie Blackman

My official Goodreads review for this book is very simple:

The only thing I can really say about this book without giving up a lot of spoilers is that it makes me want to lay on the floor in a ball and cry in the best way possible.

The only thing I’d want to add is that I feel this book is very important for people with racial privilege to understand the base level of racism in the US.  I feel Blackman’s attention to detail really digs in to make the reader understand, on both a conscious and unconscious level, what discrimination feels like.