Book Thoughts

The Stars Are Legion Book Cover The Stars Are Legion
Kameron Hurley
Science Fiction
Simon and Schuster
February 7, 2017
400

 

Here begin a bunch of disjointed thoughts, because my brain is still spinning from this book. Just, WTF, what was that?

If you’ve never read Hurley’s writing before, then brace yourself for some squicky, weird, stuff. We’ve got fleshy world ships, mutants, plenty of goo, giant spiders, tentacles, plenty of bodily/worldly fluids. The world building is crazy. World ships birth everything that they require to repair themselves – including non-sentient cogs and parts. You’ve got tissue work and repair, instead of welding and metal. Bodies are recycled, fed back into the ship. Oh, and every single person in the legion (a collection of world ships) is a woman.*

It’s written in first person present, which I know a lot of you are not fans of, but Hurley pulls it off well enough that I stopped noticing after a while. Whether or not you prefer it, I think first person present is useful for both immediacy, and stories where you don’t want to give away whether or not the hero lives or dies. A lot of people die in this book. This is not a spoiler, just an observation.

And then there’s the action. It starts off running, with the main character being launched off to war without memories of who she is. It’s a war story that turns into a quest of sorts, before returning to the war thread.

Aside: I’m glad this was a book, because I don’t think I could stomach watching it as a movie. I’d probably want to scrub my brain clean if I ever saw half the things described in the novel, and for once, I’m glad my imagination isn’t that visual.

Overall, it was a fast paced read, unexpectedly fun, and one of the weirdest things I’ve read in a long time.

*There's a variant cover titled "Lesbians in Space"

2 Comments

Book Thoughts

The Hate U Give Book Cover The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Young Adult Fiction
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017
464

 

I want to start off by saying, don't read my review, go READ THIS BOOK. It's important and timely, and also very well written. Have you heard of it? If not, it's the story of Starr, a black teen, whose childhood friend is murdered by the police one day after they're heading home from a party. She is the only witness, and the story follows the complications that follow.

Man this book hit me in the feels in all kinds of good ways. I adore Starr's parents. Their family life feels real, messy and complicated, but love is always an undercurrent. You don't see that a lot in YA books, where parents are usually out of the picture instead of part of the picture, or terrible instead of awesome. Starr's parents are embarrassing sometimes, but pretty damn awesome.

And Starr oh, you get to see the challenges of navigating two worlds (her poor neighborhood vs. her rich white friends at school), and figuring who she is. She's funny, smart and brave, even when she's scared.

It's a #BlackLivesMatter story that is not patronizing and doesn't opt for magical outcomes. It left me so full of heart and hope, and I am so glad I read it. I'll leave it at that, and wait for you to go read it for yourselves.

2 Comments

Book Thoughts

The Bone Witch Book Cover The Bone Witch
Rin Chupeco
Young Adult Fiction
Sourcebooks, Inc.
March 7, 2017
432

 

This YA fantasy reads like a dark fairy tale. There are two alternating viewpoints / timelines. In one, a nameless bard records the story the Bone Witch (Tea) tells him, and starts to comprehend her terrible future plans for the world. In the other, we get Tea's story, and how she comes into power is whisked away from her old life and trains so that she can control it. All the while, I was never quite sure if Tea was the hero or the villain.

Some writers have obvious strengths and Chupeco's is worldbuilding. If you enjoy richly wrought worlds, and luscious descriptions of magic woven into clothing, or complicated social customs, this book is for you. There are pages and pages on dancing and jewelry and food. Tea stumbles as she tries to make sense of this foreign world she is navigating, how she should behave, dress, and speak. The cultures depicted are distinctly non-Western, but neither does she draw from only one cultural reference. The world she paints is big and diverse, which I appreciate.

But you're a fan of deep character interactions, most of the friendship / love story lines happen off the page. I really wanted a bit more on this side of things, but that's my personal preference.

This is not a fast paced book, because it takes it's time as it goes through months and years of Tea's life. The best comparison that came to mind was its "Memoirs of a Geisha" only were a girl learns to control dark magic, monsters, and plans revenge on the world.

0 Comments