I was tagged by Elise @thebookishactress. (Thank you!)
This is a tag mostly about coffee/tea opinions. As I drink neither (anything that feels like water but doesn’t taste like water is, according to my brain, Dirty Water) I don’t really have any opinions, but I have a lot of them about books. So.
a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans
I was really surprised to discover that a very small but very dedicated Terra Ignota fandom exists. And this series is the definition of “tough to get into”, it’s “why am I even doing this to myself” levels of hard to get into. It took me ten tries to get through the first chapter because I kept not getting it. I don’t know if it was me being ESL, but it was like reading another language entirely.
And I do recommend it! Not because I think anyone would particularly enjoy it, not really, I just want to see other people’s reactions to this disturbing, verbose monster.
a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year
…at least, I hope so. Spinning Silver came out this summer, so it’s not like I can say “this gets more popular during winter”, but it really should. I read it in July and loved it, I can’t imagine how much I would have loved the wintry atmosphere if I had actually read it when I wasn’t feeling like I was going to melt alive.
If you have this book on your TBR, pick it up this winter! It’s the perfect winter book.
A favorite children’s book
The Fairy Oak series (Il segreto delle gemelle, L’incanto del buio, Il potere della luce) was my favorite series when I was in middle school. It’s a story about a faery, twin witches and a magical, atmospheric village. I loved the focus on family and friendships. I miss reading books written by Italian authors, even though I probably wouldn’t like to do that now because of the overwhelming heterosexuality (and all-around lack of diversity).
Double Shot of Espresso
a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish
I actually don’t… love when it happens? It means the book is good, yes, but being kept “on the edge of my seat” isn’t great for my anxiety and has repercussions on my (non-bookish) life. So I end up putting the book down. It’s what happened with Into the Drowning Deep – which, I think, is the last book I finished that did that – and it’s what is currently happening with Jade City. I keep trying to read it and I have to put it down all the time.
A book you see everywhere
The honest answer would be a certain SJM book, but as I like to pretend it doesn’t exist, I’ll say Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. I’m so glad this book is getting a decent amount of hype, I had kind of lost hope on that ever happening to an f/f YA fantasy book, especially one written by an author of color. Also, it will be out soon!
That Hipster Coffee Shop
a book by an indie author
Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault is a fantasy story following an aromantic bigender baker who is also a thief by night. It’s on the lighter side of fantasy, which isn’t exactly the kind of thing I usually like, but it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story. The aromantic rep was really good but I didn’t love it, because while having an aro character who is Morally Good and Not Lonely is necessary and dismantles stereotypes, it’s also deeply unrelatable. Which is, by the way, the reason we need more stories with aromantic characters by authors who are either aromantic themselves (this book is ownvoices) or are willing to actually do some research.
Oops I Accidentally Got Decaf
a book you were expecting more from
The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner. I don’t get it. It was often compared to Spinning Silver and The Bear and the Nightingale, two books I absolutely love, and I thought I would love this too. And then I just couldn’t finish it. There wasn’t even anything wrong with the story, I just hated the writing so much I didn’t want to continue.
The Perfect Blend
a book or series that was both bitter and sweet, but ultimately satisfying
This series can be very sad and grim at times, but not all the time. And that’s exactly what makes Dominion of the Fallen a great series for me: it portrays both the highs and the lows without breaking the tone. I think most writers would be able to write never-ending misery and then call it deep, important and realistic, but “Bitter and sweet but ultimately satisfying?” Not so much. Anyway, post-apocalyptic political fantasy with fallen angels and shapeshifting dragons that gets gayer with every book!
a book or series that is quietly beautiful
I really did not expect this to be quiet. The Boneless Mercies is a genderbent Beowulf retelling about a group of mercy killers seeking glory, and it was… sad more than anything else, but in a good, nostalgic way. It felt distant and ancient and yet so there, the way an epic retelling should.
a book or series that makes you dream of far off places
The Machineries of Empire by Yoon Ha Lee; answering anything else would be a lie. Do I think about some of these descriptions almost daily? Yes, (but not nearly as much as I think about the characters!)
But those places. The Citadel of Eyes. The Black Cradle. The Voidmoths. So much death, and it must be terrifying, but they must also be so beautiful.
That’s assuming I’ve ever read one I cared about! (I have not.)
To all of those who do not have the DirtWater reaction: which of these do you think are actually good?