Audiobook mini review: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

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Summary: Introducing an instant classic—master storyteller Neil Gaiman presents a dazzling version of the great Norse myths.

Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of giants, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerges the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again.

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book review - pink

★★★★

This was my first audiobook EVER and I don’t think I could have chosen a better one to start with. I don’t know how to review myths and stuff but Gaiman’s retelling was so good and it gave life to these silly and scary and traitorous and petty and clever gods.

If you already know your Norse mythology you would probably still enjoy this a lot, but for a complete newbie like me this was amazing and the audiobook format only made everything more right. It reminded me of my mom telling me about the Greek myths when I was a kid, and that’s how myths were originally narrated before people started writing them down.

I’m so so happy to have read this and I cried at the very end because I wished to never finish listening to Neil Gaiman’s voice. I don’t know how you can feel nostalgic of something you’ve finished twenty minutes before, but this book has made me laugh and cry and it has opened a whole new world (or nine) to me and I will always love it and cherish the time I’ve spent with it.


Have you read this or anything by Neil Gaiman? What else should I read by him?

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Review: At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Summary:Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy–that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.

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book review - pink

★★★★

This was my first book by SDH and I’ve been so hyped about his work that this could have easily gone the “it didn’t live up to my expectations” way. But! It didn’t! I have no idea what I expected from this in terms of plot and characters but I can say that it was definitely worth the hype (I say hype but how come only around 1800 people have rated this on goodreads?? How???)

Anyway, I don’t have a copy of this anymore because I read it on Riveted, so this is a short review with no quotes or anything, but you should definitely go read this book.

So, Ozzie is the only one who remembers his boyfriend Tommy. Everyone’s history has been modified to reflect a world where Tommy was never born, But Ozzie knows he hasn’t just dreamed Tommy. Throughout the book we see some of the memories he shared with Tommy, but the main story takes place in the present, where Ozzie life moves on, more or less, without Tommy. His disappearance isn’t the only weird thing that’s happened. The universe is also shrinking, and again, only Ozzy seems to know.

I found the premise so intriguing that I was hooked on that alone from the start, but then as we learn more about Ozzie, his old friends Lua and Dustin and his new friend Calvin, I couldn’t stop reading.

The book touches on many difficult and dark themes that are a reality for so many young adults, so keep that in mind and look at the trigger warnings at the of my review to know some of the themes that are in this book (but keep in mind I might have missed some).

The cast is also very diverse with Ozzie being gay, Tommy being a black gay boy, Lua being genderfluid, Calving being questioning/bi, and Dustin being coded as ace (the author confirmed he is, but the word is not on page because Dustin doesn’t say it, so I guess he’s questioning at the time of the book).

I really don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that reading this was great and especially the countdown of the size of the universe made it impossible to stop reading, as well as the question of why everything was happening.

I can only recommend everyone to read it and find out everything by yourself.

TWs: self harm, depression, sexual assault, abuse.

🌟🌠🌟🌠🌟🌠🌟🌠

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Mini review: Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver

I was sent this book by the author but all opinions are my own.

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Summary: The night sky is very dark without a moon, and there hasn’t been one for decades. Without one to govern the oceans, it falls to Riven, reluctant sea-witch, to sail out alone every night across the midnight ocean to cast a spell to call in the tides.

She hates it. Hates the moonless dark, hates the endless deep, and hates the fact that without a witch to sing in the tides, sea and land alike would fall to ruin. Riven faces her worst fear every night for years – until she meets a mermaid. Her new friend is lost, starving, and just as lonely as she is. And now that they’ve found one another, neither of their nights on the midnight sea will be the same.

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★★★★

I was trying to find a reason to give this less than five stars but there simply isn’t one.

This short story is about a human witch and a mermaid who fall in love. They’re both alone for different reasons and they find company and eventually love in each other.

The witch, Riven, has the important and inescapable job of creating tides with her singing, since the moon has been missing for many years. This has affected the mer world and merfolk population, and Moonbright’s own life.

The story is very simple but I wouldn’t expect anything more complicated than this in such a short tale. What truly is remarkable and is immediately apparent are the author’s worldbuilding skills. For example, the mermaid’s name not being pronounceable by a human, the meaning of her name being something we don’t have a word for, and many other details… Those are small things but they tell me a lot about the author’s imaginative skills. It tells me that fantasy is absolutely their genre and it makes me want to read more by them, and honestly you should get intrigued about their work too.

 

Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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Summary: Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

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★★★★✩

I enjoyed reading this a lot! It’s been a while since I completely enjoyed a book while being aware of its (admittedly few) flaws (or at least of the things I don’t like about it).

☠️ World: 
The world was really interesting and although I wasn’t (and still am not) as in love with the concept of necromancers as everyone seems to be, I found the idea of a necromancer main character extremely cool and unheard of.

On this note, I loved the magic system overall. To sum it up briefly, everyone is born with abilities that are determined by eye color. Blue eyes for necromancers, green eyes for beast mages, brown for inventors, grey for weather mages and I forgot some but you get the idea. One still needs to train in order to be able to use their powers appropriately, and some careers are more popular (one of the least popular profession is being a necromancer) while others are downright outlawed (inventors).

This was a really unique concept and I love how even though the main plot is pretty much wrapped up there’s still more to be explored about the world and the magic system itself.

Another aspect I loved of this world was the cultural conflict of change vs stasis (and the Living vs the Dead) and loved that the villain has a lot of valid points and you’re actually meant to sort of side with their opinion (not with their actions).

💀 Characters: 
I don’t have too much to say here, mainly I just loved the characters, I thought they were well written and their voices original – they all had things about themselves that made them *them*, even the secondary ones.

The main character, Odessa, went through a lot for one book and I like how her overall arc was handled. One thing I didn’t like was how (view spoiler)

☠️ Themes: 
This book has a lot of heavy themes, including death and addiction. I thought both of these were portrayed well.

One of the other themes is the found family, which is one of my favorite things in fiction, but I felt like this aspect could have been improved. Odessa talks a lot about how these people are her family but then I found that sometimes she didn’t really act like they were.

Another theme I absolutely adored was the one I briefly mentioned above, which is something that molded the entire plot: change vs stasis, new vs old. In a world where the Dead are not only among the Living but the King himself is Dead, it’s not a surprise that change would scare them. We see this in old people all the time, and it can only become extreme for Deads who are centuries old. This means that nothing new can ever be made, regardless of its importance and use. It’s a little bit extreme and I would have maybe liked it more if there was a bit more nuance to this, but I really liked how everything was presented.

💀 Representation and romance: 
There are no labels on page but Odessa is bisexual; Meredy is not specified queer; Simeon is gay; Danial is not specified queer.

The main romances are m/f and f/f, and there’s a side m/m couple.

⇒ Minor spoilers in this paragraph:
Odessa is in a m/f relationship at the beginning of the book and in a f/f one at the end. When it comes to the second relationship, I liked it but I felt like it needed more development. Also the premise of how it started made me uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything problematic about it or anything like that, and I’m not saying it was unrealistic either, but personally I found that things happened a little too soon and with no other ground other than “we share a lot of traumatic stuff”. I eventually grew to like it well enough and it was a well done slow burn.
End of spoilers.

☠️ Writing: 
I think the writing was good enough but – and this is a completely personal preference – I don’t think the first person present tense narrative works well with this type of fantasy, especially when it comes to describing dramatic/action scenes. This was advertized to be very dark and it definitely was, but I think the MC narrating everything herself made it actually more dull and detached. I don’t know, I just can’t fully feel the dramatic parts if she also constantly has to describe, somewhat objectively, what’s going on around her. I don’t really know how to explain it well but yeah, I just felt like first person past tense or third person work better *for me* for this type of story, but as you see I still liked it a lot.

💀☠️💀☠️💀☠️

Overall I think this was a really good start to a series that promises to become relevant in the genre YA fantasy. I trust it will only improve from here!

TWs: drug abuse and addiction, violence, gore (I think?), talk of suicide, death

ARC review: Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Release date: February 6th, 2018

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★★★★

Althea-310 is one of ten Altheas of her generation (and one of the hundred Alteas from ten different generations, all simultaneously living at the time the book takes place). Her species calls themselves Homo Factus as opposed to Homo Sapiens, which went extinct three hundred years ago. Homo Factus started as a last hope for humans to continue their species when it was clear that the Slow Plague would wipe out every single one of them. A group of scientists modified human genes to be immune to this disease and started making clones out of the “better” DNA. When all the humans died, these clones took over and kept improving their species and created a society in which everything is strictly regulated in order to maintain a peaceful status quo.

However, things are changing during Althea-310’s late teen years, and a sign of it is the presence of Jack, a human boy (as in, a cloned Homo Sapiens, with no DNA modification). He’s literally a walking fossil and the differences between him and the “better” clones are many. He’s been brought up as closely as possible to how a human boy from three hundred years before might have been brought up, save for the fact that he’s had a very closely guarded childhood. However, in his teens he’s introduced to Althea-310’s generation and all sorts of problems start, mainly due to how different he is from everyone else in this society of perfected clones.

How foolish we were, to act as gods.

What might seem at first like a very good premise for a typical romance-heavy YA novel turns out to be a character and worldbuilding driven story. The romance is definitely atypical for your usual YA and it’s definitely not the main point of the story, and that only further improves my overall opinion of the book.

The story is, as I was saying, definitely character driven. The two point of views (Althea’s and Jack’s) work extremely well here since they’re technically two separate species (I’m not 100% sure of the scientific accuracy of my statement, but the clones do call themselves a different species than Homo Sapiens) with very different mindsets. That allows for an interesting study of what makes humans human, but it’s also not done in a cheesy way. It’s not a pretext for the idealization and idolization of humans and human society. The goods and bads of both sides are acknowledged and the ending brings enough answers for this to still be a standalone (which I believe it is, at least at the time I’m reviewing this) but with enough of a sort-of-open ending to allow for the reader’s curiosity to wander to these characters and world long after the book is over (and I have to say that if this ever turns out to have a sequel I will be happy).

This book is now one of my favorite dystopians ever and I’m so excited for more people to start reading it.

Comic review: Fence #3

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★★★★

In many ways this was my favorite out of the three issues already out (but I feel like that’s gonna be the case for every new issue).

I can’t really make a coherent review this time but one thing I will say is that, if it wasn’t already clear from issue #2, this is really fucking queer and what else do you need to know really?

Things I loved (SPOILERS!!!):

🤺 We finally learn a bit more about school life! The different uniforms and dresscode for different events, the lack of privacy, the care packages, the awful food, who rooms with whom.
⚔️ Bobby and Nicholas being friends!!!
🤺 Coach telling Nicholas he’s the worst but also telling him he has potential
⚔️ Harvard “actually to blame for this” Lee
🤺 “You want me to tell coach we kissed and made up” NICHOLAS DO YOU EVEN HEAR YOURSELF
⚔️ I feel like we’re starting to learn a bit more about fencing which is great
🤺 NICHOLAS WAKING UP AT 4:30AM TO TRAIN AND FINDING SEIJI THERE
⚔️ “Do we need a line on the floor here too” Seiji pls
🤺 DANTE IS ALIVE AND WELL I’M SO RELIEVED
⚔️ Kally and Tanner are the real power couple
🤺 Also??? Kally is The Purest??? I love him so much
⚔️ BOBBY WITH BRAIDS I’M MELTING
🤺 Nicholas and Seiji doing the thing where they look at each other when the other one is not looking 👌🏻 good shit 👌🏻 right 👌🏻 there 👌🏻 good shit
⚔️ JAY YOU POOR SOUL HOW COME YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF AIDEN’S REPUTATION
🤺 Okay but that kiss was so pretty??? Imagine when it’s going to be Harvard in Jay’s spot wow that’s only gonna take 3837598 issues but I’m fine
⚔️ Aiden pls you could at least try to remember your hookup’s name
🤺 Is Harvard only being fake nice to Jay or????
⚔️ “I’ve known him since we were five” wow I already knew this but it made me emotional
🤺 Aiden casually hugging Harvard
⚔️ “He’s so good it hurts” oh Nicholas baby
🤺 “You can’t look at anyone else” OH NICHOLAS BABY
⚔️ The Bons gossiping are honestly so relatable and they speak to my soul
🤺 “So why is Seiji watching his match?” mmmmmmmh yeah Bons why tell me
⚔️ FINALLY SOME SEIJI INTERNAL MONOLOGUE and of course that’s where the issue ends cool cool cool cool cool cool cool cool
🤺 “It doesn’t meant he’s…” HE’S WHAT SEIJI WHAT, good??
⚔️ I can’t believe Seiji, a Useless Gay, hasn’t stopped thinking about Nicholas for six months

Are you reading Fence? What did you think of this issue?

ARC review: The witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

Release date: March 6th

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★★★★

This was amazingly powerful and empowering. It was emotionally hard to read at times, like all good thought-prokoving literature is.

Full disclosure, I still haven’t read Lovelace’s first poem collection fully, but I have read many of her poems (I follow her on twitter and she often RTs people sharing their favorite poems of her, so that way I got to read a few) and I feel like I have at least some understanding of what The Princess Saves Herself in This One is about.

From what I understand, this second collection is much less personal than the first one and it focuses more on women experiences as a whole. I think it does a great job at embracing women of all kinds and from all times, however I found that a few poems that tried to be “true” in a timeless way instead focused more on things that are historically only true in modern times and in western society. This is just a minor detail and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.

The poems were powerful and evoked vivid images of the witches, the match-boys and of fire. I think everyone should read it, and especially the people who complain about modern poetry, because it will prove to them that this is Poetry under every definition.