Impromptu blog break! I’ve had a terribly busy few months (though it has not all been terrible), and found myself with zero time for writing anything. However! I did find time to read, so here’s a quick round-up
The audiobooks I listened to (and enjoyed) will be in another post 🤗
Black Water Sister — Zen Cho
Even though it feels like I read this so long ago now (all the way at the beginning of summer!), I still remember the events of this book. Every part of it was enjoyable, from the exploration into Malaysian-Chinese myth & culture, to Jess’s 21st century anxieties about being a sort-of-second-gen immigrant, to the poignant and hilarious family problems she has. This is really the kind of book you can’t put down, the otherworldliness of it is unsettlingly enthralling and I felt close to the characters all the way through. Plus, it’s very funny!
You and Me on Vacation — Emily Henry
Even though I enjoyed it, it took me a bit of time to finish this book. Like many romances, it’s split between a past and present narrative, and I found that towards the end, this became a little tedious, dragged on through too many flashbacks when I just wanted the story to wrap-up.
However, I did enjoy the romance. The will they-won’t they is a very tense and fun relationship, and I like the whole premise itself, too. The two characters felt realistic and fun, perhaps especially when they made stupid decisions for no reason.
Redemptor — Jordan Ifueko
Finally read this book, and really enjoyed it! I have to admit that the reviews saying it doesn’t live up to the hype of the first are quite accurate. It felt like the cast list of characters grew far, far too big, so I had trouble connecting to any but a handful. Also, I felt that the actual portion of the story where the main character enacts her role as the Redemptor was very short, and didn’t really balance out a whole book’s worth of build-up.
I look forward to the author’s next book though, I think it will be a lot better, considering how fun the ideas were in this series.
An Unkindness of Ghosts – Rivers Solomon
What a book! I didn’t exactly know what to expect, but this science-fiction epic delivers on that phenomenally. Every plot point is shocking and new, and all the elements – characters, pacing, setting, work together fluidly. The story follows Aster, not your typical heroine, but she’s a delight to read. It’s quite heavily implied that she’s autistic, and she’s told quite frequently that she is odd, she isn’t like anyone else, and as strangers to the world in this book, we’re on her side.
The setting is very dark: a spaceship hurtling to some space haven, within which brutal segregation and slavery exist. The novel explores structural racism in a sci-fi setting with a very deft hand. This is a place where slavery has been built back into human society, where who you are is determined by who your ancestors were. It’s often hard to read, but very poignant writing, and I highly recommend even for non sci-fi fans.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror – Mizuki Tsujimura
This book is translated from the original Japanese, about a girl, thirteen, who stops going to school after a series of events that can’t entirely be condensed into ‘bullying.’ Unexplainably, she is summoned to a castle that only exists in her mirror, where she finds a group of six other kids who may have been through similar experiences. It’s written carefully and kindly and the ending really had me choking up.
The Rabbit Hutch – Tess Gunty
This is a very literary book, and so a little difficult to explain. I enjoyed it, though. The story touches on a few different characters, revolving around the apartment complex charmingly named the Rabbit Hutch. It also always returns to the young girl named Benedictine.
The allegory of the rabbit hutch may be on the nose, but how apt does it feel? Our lives spent crammed in tiny apartments, living on top of each other, everyone incredibly concerned with their own realities. And trying to remake them. The writing takes your breath away on occasion, it is beautiful.
There are also quite a few books I did not end up finishing, but we’ll get around to that eventually.
I hope everyone had great reading summers! I’m excited to blog more frequently again.