Saturday, January 27, 2024

Power to Yield and Other Stories by Bogi Takács

I first became aware of Bogi Takács when e was nominated for the Hugo award for best fan writer. I knew that e also wrote short stories, but I don’t read a lot of short stories in magazines or on websites, so I hadn’t encountered eir fiction before. But I LOVE a solo author short fiction collection so I jumped at a chance to request Power to Yield and Other Stories when I saw it on NetGalley. 

There is a mix of sci fi, fantasy, and some science fantasy in this collection and I enjoyed most all of them! Some made me think and some made my heart sing. My favorite story involved a mother who was stuck in the form of a houseplant while her child was preparing to be bar mitzvahed. It really captured the humanity in a profound yet quiet way that I really enjoyed. The title story in the collection, Power to Yield, was a little too violent and uncomfortable for my tastes, but I understand that that may have been part of the reason for the story. It still left me feeling icky. 

All in all, I am very glad I read this collection and I look forward to reading more stories by Bogi Takács. 

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this eARC in exchange for a fair review. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Jade Shards by Fonda Lee


Every time I read something by Fonda Lee, I regret not having read more of her work. I previously loved The Jade Setter of Janloon but the Green Bone Saga is still on my TBR pile - I think the length is intimidating (as is the concerns of schlepping a giant tome on mass transit).  So when I saw a collection of short stories by her set in that universe from Subterranean Press on NetGalley, I thought I should request it to dip my toes back in those waters. This book was so good! Full of tidbits and snapshots, these stories might resonate more if I had already read the original trilogy but I found them satisfying and delightful. This a testament to Fonda Lee that these stories are so enjoyable even without the context of the larger narrative. 

I loved this book and I vow to prioritize reading the rest of Green Bone Saga this year. Thanks for the eARC in exchange for this honest review.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Mislaid In Parts Half Known by Seanan McGuire Audiobook

This is a fantastic Wayward Children audiobook!!

I love Seanan McGuire’s writing. (Note: I review a bunch of her books so I am copying part of some of my other reviews here to save time.). She has quickly become my favorite living writer and I feel very lucky that she is so prolific. I was first introduced to her work when her book Parasite, written as Mira Grant, was nominated for a Hugo Award. I loved it and quickly devoured the Newsflesh series before I realized that Mira Grant and Seanan McGuire were the same person. 

I started reading her works under her own name, starting with Sparrow Hill Road, which is amazing, but I picked it because I was intimidated by her long running October Daye series. I had read some Urban Fantasy before, and I fondly remember Mercedes Lackey’s Diana Tregarde books, but my tastes run more to science fiction and then secondary world fantasy, so I was hesitant to dive into such a long series. I picked up the first book, Rosemary and Rue, when it was on sale as a kindle daily deal, and I found it somewhat disappointing compared to her other work. I reminded myself that it was her first published novel, so I cut it some slack. Then Incryptid was nominated for the Best Series Hugo in 2018 and I dove into that instead. I loved it! So I vowed to give Toby another chance. And I was so glad that I did! It is no one of my favorite series. 

I was already a big fan of Ms. McGuire’s when the first wayward children book, Every Heart a Doorway, came out, and I loved it! As a kid who grew up loving the Oz series and resenting the Christian imagery in Narnia, it was right up my alley. It is a wonderful book and this is an excellent series, definitely deserving of its Best Series Hugo win.  In this series, the odd numbered books are the main timeline, and the even numbered books tell stories outside the main timeline - sometimes introducing us to new characters when they travel through their Doors, and other times showing up backstory of preexisting characters. 

I was overjoyed when the publisher and NetGalley awarded me an eARC of the audiobook of Mislaid In Parts Half Known. I have been hoping for eARCs of the wayward children books every year and this year I was finally lucky enough to get one!

This story starts with Antsy, who was introduced in the last volume, and follows her story at the school. The adventure (that’s not a spoiler, is it? Surely not) ropes in perennial favorites Sumi, Kade, Christopher, and Cora. There is a decent amount of world hopping in this book, and my only complaint is that it was too short! I know this is a series of novellas, but this volume, like several of the previous ones, feels so restricted by its length. I feel like this story could have easily been told in a 300-500 page novel and then we would’ve gotten more insights into the characters’ feelings and motivations. 

But that is a minor, minor quibble. This was another amazing entry in this series and I cannot wait to devour the next one!

I read this book originally back in July when I got an eARC, and I just listened to the audio book version and it was excellent. The narrator did an excellent job with all of the characters’ voices and I really enjoyed it.