Welcome to the fifth monthly Try A Chapter! As usual, this will be a mix of backlist with some April releases thrown in.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: she was my favorite author when I first started blogging, and… I haven’t read any of her books that came out in 2019? I’m not ever completely sure I’ll like this one, because while I love Leigh Bardugo’s writing, I’ve discovered that there’s no genre I’m as incompatible with as dark academia, aka “misleading name of the genre in which pretentious students murder people and them being insufferable is absolutely the point but I don’t know why I should care”. If there’s someone who could make it work for me, it may be her, and unlike the other Dark Academia books I tried this one has fantasy aspects, but it’s not like she managed to make me like superheroes with that Wonder Woman book. Let’s see.
The first chapter: *names, names, names, dates, names, vaguely interesting hook, names, dates, names, drugs, creepy latin, names, creepier latin, that looks like a cult, names, names*
I don’t think that’s going to work and the more I try dark academia and keep bouncing off the more I realize that it doesn’t work for me also because of how much of an American genre it is (elite college culture and all that), more than any other I’ve tried, which makes it very uninteresting to me.
[removed from TBR]
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco: I feel like me and YA fantasy don’t easily get along anymore, and even though this is F/F, I want to try a chapter before saying for sure that I’m going to read it. I love the cover, and I usually love stories that have to do with godhood, but I’m not sure about the climate change-related themes. I already have to deal enough with that outside of books. So far, all I’ve read by Rin Chupeco was in the three star range, so I’m curious.
The first chapter: so, the worldbuilding feels kind of like a mess (so many names, so much about trying to set up the magic) but I already love how gay it is. Upon reread, I’ll try to piece together better what is being said, because yes, I do want to reread this part now! More gay goddesses!
[currently reading as audiobook]
Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke: back in 2018, The Boneless Mercies was the weird quiet fantasy I needed and ended up on my list of favorite books of the year. This is a companion sequel, one with a cover I love, and I usually like Tucholke’s writing, but I’m… still not sure I want to read this? I was fine with the first book as a standalone.
The first chapter: it starts out with a plague and that makes it for sure a book I don’t want to be reading now. I also have other doubts: while the writing is gorgeous and like The Boneless Mercies it feels like the kind of story one could imagine having been told around a fire for centuries and centuries, it’s the same old girl-goes-on-a-quest-to-rescue-sister kind of story, which I’m not into, and the reviews aren’t encouraging either. I think I’ll pass.
[removed from TBR]
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison: this had been recommended by so many people I’ve followed since I started blogging, enough that I lost count, and yet I never glanced at it twice because I deeply hate the cover (I know, I know) and because it has been described in ways that don’t really spark my interest. But since so many people I’ve trusted through the years love this, and since I haven’t seen a single bad review, I should at least consider it.
The first chapter: I really don’t like the writing, or to be more specific, the dialogues. “Written specifically to sound distant” isn’t something I usually go for and the last time I found myself reading a book like that (The Priory of the Orange Tree) I couldn’t make it through without reading a translation, which mostly erased the distance because certain things don’t translate. I don’t have a translation of this.
[removed from TBR]
Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang: relevant not-so-far-future sci-fi, with humanity split into two societies, one on Mars and one on Earth, written in Chinese and translated into English by Ken Liu. I don’t know a lot about this but a) I’m curious because I’m tired of only reading books written in English and b) this is something I could see ending up as some SFF award finalist next year.
The first chapter: the writing. AAAA the writing!! Do you know what it takes to make a translation flow this well? Both the author and the translator need to be amazing and this is… really impressive. Also it looks like it will be s l o w (and it’s 600+ pages… good luck Acqua!), so I’m unsure, but now I’m really curious.
[still on TBR but I might be lying to myself about this]
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi: you know what’s the worst thing about book discourse? It covers up the book. This came out last year, and I know that at some point I read the premise, but now that it’s been a year, all I remember about this book is the way people talk about it: half the book community saying that it’s exactly like Six of Crows and the other half saying that they’re nothing alike and Six of Crows didn’t invent group casts. For now, let’s see if this is my kind of thing; I really liked the Star-Touched Queen duology, so I’m hopeful.
The first chapter: houses in Paris? Murder? This reminds me so much of The House of Shattered Wings already in the best way (after all, both deal with French colonialism) but the tone is completely different, of course, being YA. I’m not a fan of prologues in the perspective of a character who dies, but I’m really curious now.
[keeping it on TBR]
The Bone Ships by R.J. Barker: I have no idea what this is, but there are dragons, and I’ve seen it in a few “best fantasy” lists lately. (Let’s say that it being 1,99€ on google play books helps with the “being interested” part.) Also, I should really be reading more adult fantasy.
The first chapter: I first thought this was going to be yet another book in which there’s a prologue from the point of view of an useless character who dies, and I was wrong! And pleasantly surprised by that. I’m not sure I understand anything about the world yet but the aesthetic of it is unbelievably cool. (Yes, there are literal ships made out of giant dragon skeletons, if I understood anything.) However, I’m not completely sold on the characters; so we’ll see.
[keeping it on the “maybe” shelf]
Have you read or want to read any of these?