Welcome to the seventh Try A Chapter post! As usual, this is a mix of new releases and backlist.
What I Tried
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown: I’ve mostly been avoiding YA fantasy this year because of my experiences with it last year, but the combination of the cover (seriously how is it so pretty) + hype-induced curiosity made it end up on this post. Anyway, this is West-African inspired YA fantasy!
The first chapter: this sets the atmosphere really well, and I already like the writing. I’m not completely sure this is my kind of fantasy (…when was the last time m/f enemies-to-lovers did anything for me? Or enemies-to-lovers in general to be honest), but a lot depends on execution. I also tried the audiobook and I can say that the narration is really good, so I think that’s how I’m going to read this; appreciated the inclusion of content warnings at the beginning too.
[bought, continuing as an audiobook in July]
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons: I didn’t even consider this one for a while because of a series of bad early reviews I saw, but it got translated in my country, so here I am! Always on board with dragons. Now I want to know if this is enough my style to actually buy it.
The first chapter: …oh well, looks like I agree with the early reviews? This is very infodump-y and it starts with a slave auction, and I find neither particularly interesting. At this point, I’m very picky about the adult fantasy I choose (I rarely reach for them to begin with, it has to be worth it), so this isn’t happening.
[removed from TBR]
Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord: Unraveling ended up on my radar back when it was published, but I’ve since heard that one should read this one first, so that’s what I’m doing! I haven’t tried anything by Karen Lord yet, but heard good things; also, this is a retelling of a Senegalese folktale.
The first chapter: I’m on the fence about this one, mostly because I didn’t feel in any particular way about anything. It probably needs more reading time for that, so I’ll try more in the future. For now:
[keeping it on the maybe shelf]
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney: my interest in adult contemporary novels is generally low, but I saw this one in my city’s bookstore’s Pride display (very subtle, but they had one. Progress!), and you know how I feel about queer books that get translated in my language.
The first chapter: this was so boring I really couldn’t even get through three pages without skimming. It’s written – deliberately – in a style I can’t stand, that basically goes I did this, and then we did that, and then we did this and I thought that. I don’t get the appeal.
[removed from TBR]
The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth: on one hand, contemporary F/F romance with the loveliest cover on earth! On the other hand, me and this genre are growing apart and I almost exclusively reach for it on audiobook, so let’s see what I think.
The first chapter: in a disappointing and surprising turn of events, I hate both the main character’s voice and the writing – it comes across as corny instead of quirky, as it’s clearly attempting to be. I’m sad because I always want to be there for anything F/F but this one just isn’t going to work
[removed from TBR]
Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee: a fantasy novel with an Asian main character, creepy woods, and a magic system inspired by Hmong shamanism? Sounds really interesting, even though I’ve already seen several not-so-positive reviews.
The first chapter: and it even has wyverns! More fantasy needs to have magical creatures in it, that’s just the truth. I liked this enough that I felt the need to continue past the first chapter, so I’m definitely coming back to this (and apparently it has no romance, at least for the first book, which is unusual for YA fantasy. I’m curious).
[will continue in the future]
Have you read or want to read any of these?