Thumbs up for Heathen, Volume 1 by Natasha Alterici. Graphic novel.
Walking through Emerald City Comic Con, I spotted some art that made me stop on a dime and walk backward. The author/artist handed me the first volume saying something like, “it’s about lesbian Vikings who go on a quest to kill Odin.” I said, “Sold.” I read it that night and went back to Alterici’s booth the next day to get an art commission.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. Fantasy.
I went into this knowing three things. First, that it is a fantasy in which the main character is an accountant (this is, for me, a plus). Second, it got great reviews from people whose opinions I trust. Third, not just one but several of the blurbs on the dust jacket include the word “brutal.” When I was early in my first late-night marathon read—that is, before the really brutal stuff started happening—it occurred to me that it might easily lend itself to a humorous plot summary: “Young woman becomes an accountant for the Evil(ish) Empire in order to legalize gay marriage.” At the end, when I have been reduced to a gibbering and yet somehow gleeful wreck, all I can do is wave the hardback twitchingly in your general direction and tell you that if (a) you like zero-magic political fantasy but don’t need Martin’s bazillion characters and (b) you understand how inflation works and (c) you are capable of sufficient ethical complexity to see why someone might do terrible things for a good cause, you should stop reading this blog and get a copy of Traitor RIGHT NOW.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Passing Strange by Ellen Klages. Fantasy.
I’m not sure why the cover says “inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy,” because this novella bears no resemblance to any of those things, except that it is set in San Francisco and one of the main characters paints covers for the pulps. What it actually is is a sweet love story with just a teeny bit of fantasy.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Memoir, biography, graphic novel.
Any memoir that can keep me obsessively turning pages has got to be pretty amazing. The rumors are true: Alison Bechdel’s half-memoir, half-biography about how her father’s repressed homosexuality and her own more open lesbianism inform each other over the course of a lifetime is beautifully structured, wonderfully illustrated, and pleasingly literary.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for The Ghost Dragon’s Daughter by Beth Bernobich. Fantasy.
If you (like the heroine) are a young lady of the Seventy Kingdoms, you might use a dip pen and inkwell at school, or you might be so lucky as to have a portable calculor and stylus; but either way you had better be wary of staying out too late lest the queen’s watch demons get you.… >> Read more