On the Horizon – 4 eArcs (Elizabeth Bear, T. Kingfisher, Kerstin Hall, Naseem Jamnia)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Still recovering from the plague but here be reviews of four books I read to tide me over during recovery.  Thanks to the publishers for the review copies. All of these books are available now!  (click on titles to go to the publishers’ sites and add the books to yer Ports for Plunder List):

the origin of storms (Elizabeth Bear)

This was a decent conclusion to the Lotus Kingdoms trilogy.  The plus side has the reader getting some answers for why the worlds worked the way they do (interesting if not completely fleshed out).  I also continued to love the strong female characters.  The downsides were too many characters so that not all were given adequate page time or resolution. Plus there was a slow start to the novel in general.  I really wanted more time with the scientist magicians and the Gage.  I wasn’t completely satisfied by the ending and who the bad guys were.  I admit that I preferred the first trilogy set in the Eternal Sky world but am still glad to have read this one.  Arrr!

what moves the dead (T. Kingfisher)

Amazing and wonderful retelling of Poe’s “the fall of the house of usher.”  Creepy house, creepy hosts, and creepy hares.  I absolutely loved the narrator Easton who is a soldier with an unusual background.  This took a story that I really enjoyed as a child and twisted it in a way that made it even better.  I don’t want to give too much away because the reader should watch the story unfold.  The novella contains Kingfisher’s mix of humor and exquisite writing. The author’s notes at the end were a delight in terms of explaining her writing process and her commentary on the original.  After reading this, I immediately went back to reread Poe’s version.  The juxtaposition of the two was so delicious and enriched the horror of both.  It made me tingly with dread and I will reread this for sure.  Arrr!

“I am never sure what to think of Americans. Their brashness can be charming, but just when I decide that I rather like them, I meet one that I wish would go back to America, and then perhaps keep going off the far edge, into the sea.”

second spear (Kerstin Hall)

The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like I was missing something and had been tossed in over me ‘ead.  Apparently this was the second book in the Mkalis Cycle.  This takes place in the “nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war” according to the blurb of the first book, the border keeper.  I wish I would have read that book first because this novella had no real descriptions about how and why this world worked the way it did and other reviews say this is a direct follow up to the events in the first book.  I did really enjoy the main character Tyn, a warrior, who finds herself at the center of trying to keep her realm safe.  I enjoyed the plot while I read this book because I wanted to know what was going on.  Upon finishing it, I will still scratching me noggin.  I don’t plan on going to read book one.  Not sure if I would read more of the author’s work.

“Curling strips of copper wire and old painted bones hung from the branches. Femurs, vertebrae, ribs, some wrapped in strands of precious stones and pearls. They served as mementos to Spears who had fallen defending Tahmais and Res Lfae.”

the bruising of qilwa (Naseem Jamnia)

This book is described by the publisher with “Persian-American author Naseem Jamnia has crafted a moving, nuanced exploration of immigration, gender, healing, and family.”  The main character is a nonbinary refugee who has to hide their blood magic and works as a healer.  This was another book where I enjoyed a lot of the elements but overall was a left unsatisfied.  I did not feel that the book was nuanced, just messy.  The mystery was not really surprising and how it gets solved was rather boring.  In general I felt like this book would have been much improved with a larger page count.  I ended up not really understanding the politics or history of the region.  The main character was awkward and clueless and I couldn’t really grasp if they were actually supposed to be an adult or not.  The plot gets muddied with the plotline of a rescued street orphan.  The main character’s brother had a sympathetic plight but went about it the wrong way.  No one communicated properly.  I didn’t dislike this book but didn’t really love it either.  I would read something else by the author though to give their work another shot.  Arrr!

“Blood would always tell, and its capacity to heal the body and fight off disease would forever impress them. What else could it do that they’d yet to discover?”

2 thoughts on “On the Horizon – 4 eArcs (Elizabeth Bear, T. Kingfisher, Kerstin Hall, Naseem Jamnia)

  1. I hope your recovery is still going well! And thank you for the reminder that I want to read some of Poe’s work this autumn. It has been way too long since I’ve read any of his work, and I remember loving it when I was younger.

    Like

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