Thumbs up for The Navigating Fox by Christopher Rowe. Fantasy.
A delightfully, matter-of-factly weird novella narrated by a Navigating Fox—a sentient fox who can travel mystical “Silver Roads” through space, and lead others along them. Sentient animals are common in his world, but he is the only sentient fox and he wishes to know why he was made. Unfortunately, he is occupied with defending himself against the accusation of having led a party of explorers to their deaths.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Forged by Blood by Ehigbor Okosun. Young adult fantasy.
A better-than-average YA fantasy with a powerful heroine and a wonderful, detailed West Africa-inspired setting. Unfortunately, it was sold as an adult book. This matters, because it sets reader expectations. Forged by Blood, while very well-written, is a fast-paced, first-person present-tense adventure coming-of-age story complete with love triangle: in other words, it hits all the YA notes.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Sun of Blood and Ruin by Mariely Lares. Fantasy.
I need to stop reading debut authors. This book was billed as a gender-swapped Zorro combined with Mesoamerican mythology and alternate-history Spanish-Colonized Mexico. And it was indeed that, with a nice mix of adventure, political intrigue, magic, and some hints of romance-to-come. I was enjoying it a lot.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Shanghai Immortal by A. Y. Chao. Historical fantasy.
A juvenile half-vampire, half-fox-spirit with lots of feelings and low impulse control is sent from Immortal Shanghai to 1930’s Mortal Shanghai on a mission, the reasons for which already escape me. I’m not sure I ever understood them, to be honest: this book is not strong on plot, but it does succeed as a fun character-driven coming-of-age story.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for The Curse of Saints by Kate Dramis. Romantic fantasy.
Well, I’ll start with the good part: Dramis can put words together pretty well. Unfortunately, there are too many of them and they aren’t doing the right things. The main character is one-dimensional (being angry and grief-ridden does not a character make), and her love interest is supposed to be dark and brooding, I guess?… >> Read more
Thumbs up for In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune. Fantasy.
This is a very competent dystopian coming-of-age adventure, plus a touch of queer (in this case, asexual) romance. I don’t like coming-of-age stories, but the banter between the sociopathic nurse robot and the anxious robot vacuum made me laugh out loud several times; they kept me going when I probably would not have continued.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater. Fantasy historical romance.
In Regency England, a young lady with only half a soul is drawn into faerie magic as well a romance with the ill-tempered Lord Sorcier. Witty, surprisingly thoughtful, a little bit dark (as books with proper fairies in them have to be), and delightfully clever. I read it in one delicious sitting.… >> Read more
Neutral rating for The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten. Fantasy.
Woman who wields death magic is thrown into court intrigue, has lukewarm love triangle. There was nothing truly bad about this book. But when you start out thinking “oh, I like this” and then by page 250 you’re looking to see how many pages are left (answer: way too many), you know the pacing is wrong.… >> Read more