On the Horizon – two novellas (Aliette de Bodard & Kelly Robson) – unpopular opinion time!

Ahoy there me mateys!  Here be reviews of two books I received in exchange for an honest review.  These have great reviews from others in the crew but neither ended up being to me taste.  Both of them are available to buy now.  (click on titles to add to yer Goodreads Ports for Plunder List):

of charms, ghosts, and grievances (Aliette de Bodard)

I love this author’s work.  This is a standalone novella set in the Dominion of the Fallen world which takes place in Gothic devastated Paris. I have not read the trilogy and wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it as it deals with the fall-out of a war in Heaven.  I was happy to get this eArc to see if the setting would work for me.  This story follows married couple Thuan (dragon prince) and Asmodeus (ruthless killer) who go on vacation to see Thuan’s family.  What they find instead is a ghost from a forgotten shine who is the only witness to a murder.

I really loved the ghost story and murder aspects.  I also found much of the writing style to be lovely.  I even enjoyed the setting and some of the politics.  I was not a huge fan of Thuan and Asmodeus as a couple even though I liked them individually well enough.  They seem to have gotten together in an enemy to lovers trope.  Their relationship in this novella still felt very fraught and how they dealt with each other just made me uncomfortable.  They don’t communicate well enough and I just didn’t like them together.  I am not a fan of roller coaster relationships.  Shame because I liked the elements of this one. . . Oh and the bad guy was one-dimensional and the reason for the murder was silly.

In reading reviews of both the series and the other novella, it is clear that this world is one I will skip.  I will continue reading the delightful Xuya stories and I still want to read the Obsidian and Blood trilogy (which I own).  Arrrr!

‘Thuan,’ Asmodeus said. His voice was quiet, matter of fact. It was that, more than anything else, which made Thuan look up with his heart in his throat–the very idea that something was serious enough that his husband wouldn’t have any sarcasm for it.


‘You have one extra child among your charges.’

high times in the low parliment (Kelly Robson)

This was me first book by the author.  It is short and yet I was left shaking me noggin in complete confusion when done.  I had no idea what the point of the book was and the world building was nonsense.  The story follows scribe Lana whose life revolves around drinking and flirting and doing the least amount of work possible.  She inadvertently (and for no real reason) gets sent to Angland’s session of Parliament to take minutes of the proceedings.  If Parliament does not come to an agreement then the fairies will make the world flood and start over.  Aye, fairies.  I am not sure what Parliament is discussing because Lana doesn’t care and only wants to be high and flirt.  The only reason Lana ends up getting involved is because she lusts after a politician.  And how the day is saved makes NO sense.  Seriously.  The only good part of this book was that men don’t exist.  However, the women seem to make a botch of everything anyway.  In trying to figure out what I missed in this novella, I was told the author described this book as a “lesbian stoner buddy comedy” and is supposed to be a comment on Brexit.  Like Brexit this book makes no sense and maybe ye have to be high to enjoy it.  Arrrr!

“Lana has a talent for happiness. It’s a great gift.”

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the review copies.

I am still slowly recovering from the plague so I will not be answering any comments at this time.  Stay healthy and party hearty for me.  Arrrr!

5 thoughts on “On the Horizon – two novellas (Aliette de Bodard & Kelly Robson) – unpopular opinion time!

  1. I am not one for lust-driven narratives and I am SUPER cautious of any story that outright positions itself as a comment on Brexit (esp by someone who doesn’t actually live in the UK or Europe). So kinda glad that your review validates all my assumptions about High Times and I can not feel bad about refusing to engage with it 😂

    Sorry to hear you don’t love my favourite murder couple, but can totally see how their relationship as shown here would put you off. Ironically, I loved that the murderer had such a small-minded motivation – it felt very real to me; no grand villainy, just a toxic shitheel (but again, I know that mostly works for me in contrast to the world-shattering villainy of the core trilogy I guess, where it’s all various flavours of I shall destroy the world as vengeance for its past sins). I guess I have major doubts about this novella being positioned as stand-alone, huh…


  2. Feel better soon!

    I’ve heard from other friends that this de Bodard novella is best when read after reading the Dominion of the Fallen series, so I’ve been putting it off until I read that main series. I did read the other novella featuring Thuan and Asmodeus, though, and since I really liked that one I have hopes that I’ll like this book too.


    1. I’d say if you enjoyed the first Dragons & Blades novella you can skip the series (not that I’m advocating not-reading the series – I love it – but Charms is a clear sequel to the novella rather than the series, and less dependent on the series itself so you could read that later)


  3. I’m with you: I love Aliette de Bodard, but that particular series has never been to my taste. I keep reading all her other work, although I admit I keep the idea in my head that someday I will go back to the Asmodeus series and find that I love it after all.

    Liked by 1 person

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