In October I read 15 books. Six of them were short stories I’ve already talked about here, so I won’t repeat what I thought about them in this wrap-up. The other books are:
- 7 new novels, of which 5 were ARCs; I DNFed one of them
- 2 novellas, of which one was an ARC.
As I anticipated, I don’t have much time for reading lately because of university, but I didn’t expect to read so many books I didn’t end up liking.
Toxic by Lydia Kang – ★★¼ DNF 30%
This was… fine. I didn’t feel strongly about anything in here, and I didn’t want to spend my time reading something I didn’t care about when I had read a lot of mediocre stuff already this month. The biological spaceship was cool, but the characters were so naive they felt even younger than their age, and they were supposed to be 16. I was really bored.
Could Have Been Better
The Ice Princess’ Fair Illusion by Lynn E. O’Connacht – ★★¾
I appreciated the goal of writing a feminist, ace- and aro-positive retelling of Trushbeard, but the writing and format (I think it was supposed to be poetry, but it wasn’t poetic in any way) almost made me DNF it, and it’s really short.
Empress of all Seasons by Emiko Jean – ★★¾
Loved the mythology (Japanese-inspired story, it’s about the yōkai), great premise (murder competition!), somewhat underwhelming execution, so heteronormative it was awkward to read. Also, bury your gays with a side character.
Odd One Out by Nic Stone – ★★★
A very messy contemporary novel about three teenagers of color, two of them queer. Good questioning representation, but it would have been a lot better if the biphobia had been challenged sometimes. Also, the writing was often awkward.
On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard – ★★★¼
The first novella in the Xuya series, and the one I liked the least. It was… upsetting? I really didn’t like how this book talked about suicide, it felt like the old “suicide is selfish” thing, and I like to believe that in the future basic mental health awareness exists. I still love this world and it was great to know more about it, but I am disappointed this time.
Provenance by Ann Leckie – ★★★¾
Small-scale political space opera set in the same world as the Imperial Radch trilogy. It was good, but I went into it with really high expectations and was a bit disappointed by the flat side characters and instalove (I didn’t love the f/f romance. I’m sad). Still a fun read.
Jade City by Fonda Lee – ★★★★¼
I struggled with this book. I started it at the beginning of this month, couldn’t get into it, put it down and considered DNFing it, dreamed about it and its characters, then decided to pick it up again and really liked it. (Follow your dreams, literally! But anyway, if I dream about a book, it’s because it’s doing something either very wrong or very right). I loved the character dynamics and the world, but some of the plot points were really predictable and the ending underwhelming.
The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke – ★★★★½
Genderbent Beowulf retelling: unexpectedly quiet, felt as ancient as I hoped it would be, and if you like girl gangs whose members are all either warriors or witches, read this book. It’s a beautiful, nostalgic story with a great atmosphere.
Final Draft by Riley Redgate – ★★★★¾
A story about a pansexual Ecuadorian girl with anxiety, with a beautiful f/f romance (Korean lesbian love interest). It’s a story about how the pursuit of art isn’t worth your sanity. It was very difficult to read at times – we see how anxiety ruins for the main character something she loved at the beginning of the book – but think its message is really important. There are far too many books and movies that say the opposite (and I think they’re wrong). Also, I loved the romance here.
Goals for November
I want to read what I want to read and not what I feel I should read (see: ARCs). If I read ARCs when I actually don’t want to, I end up reading a lot of books I don’t care about. I don’t have much time to read, so I want to read things I think I’m going like. (I also really should get better at requesting only things I’m actually interested into).
Anyway, if I didn’t read Netgalley ARCs for all of November, I would have only The Phoenix Empress and Creatures of Want and Ruin as overdue. My feedback ratio can handle that.
Have you read or want to read any of these books?