My review of Katherine Addison’s 2020 novel The Angel of the Crows went up on Strange Horizons last month. I really wanted to like this book, but there’s too much questionable stuff in the subtext for me to fully endorse it, even as a committed and lifelong fan of Sherlock Holmes.
My review of Tim Maughan’s Infinite Detail (2019) is up at Strange Horizons. I’m very pleased with this review, and I think this is the rare case where a long delay (I pitched it in the fall of last year, things happened, I got the assignment just before the March lockdown, and then quarantine brain happened) has actually helped make the book’s strengths more appreciable. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend it highly.
Hello from the new world of quarantine. My review of Laurie J. Marks’ final Elemental Logic novel, Air Logic, is up at Strange Horizons. I can’t recommend these books enough, and I think their prickly, cozy, queer message about perseverance and making a better world out of the ruins of the old is pretty on point for these times. Wash your hands and stay safe.
My review of Gods of Jade and Shadow went up at Strange Horizons in September. In retrospect I wouldn’t have minded a little more Jazz in this Jazz Age novel, but it was very enjoyable all the same.
Somehow I forgot to link my portion of the Strange Horizons 2018 in Review on this blog. If you’re looking for things to read and watch at the solstice, you could do a lot worse than check out all three parts.
I got to review Ann Leckie’s fifth novel for Strange Horizons recently and I was extremely happy about it. I love Leckie, and this book was an interesting twist on her established themes. It’s also Hamlet as retold by a rock, but the rock is the actual protagonist of the story, and it was great. I’ve seen some people perhaps not quite grasp that; I’ve also seen people say they couldn’t get into the book. I can see how that could be the case, but I was immediately gripped by the question of how the two halves of the story fit together. It’s great, and if you were put off the Radch books for whatever reason, this is a great, very different book to read.
My review of A Conspiracy of Truths went up at Strange Horizons a few months back. I’m a fan of the author’s podcast (although, as with most things in life, I’m woefully behind on it), and I picked up this novel out of a desire to support her. I wound up really enjoying this “fantasy of fake news” quite a lot, even if its take on a “fantasy of fake news” isn’t quite what I expected from the elevator pitch.
You will note that the review doesn’t engage at all with the hopepunk discourse, which blew up while I was writing it. This was a deliberate choice on the part of me and my editor at Strange Horizons. Since nobody is paying me to write here, and since my morning coffee hasn’t fully metabolized yet, I will just say that I find the concept of hopepunk desperately undertheorized, which is a fancy way of saying “not framed with anywhere near enough conceptual rigor.” I will also say that I’m with AOC (always)–I think hope is something you have to do and be rather than waiting for it to come to you externally.
My review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang went up at Strange Horizons a few weeks ago.
I have at least three hands of feelings about this book, and not all of them made it into the review, which I wrote several months ago. In the interim, I’ve continued talking with people about it, and I’ve been able to articulate some of the things which were still inchoate for me while I was writing the review.
My latest review, of the indie comics anthology Wayward Sisters, is up at Strange Horizons. If you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you’ll like.
My review of Karen Healey and Robyn Fleming’s charming new novel is up at Strange Horizons. I liked this book very much–it reminded me of Sherwood Smith in a very good way. And yesterday I learned that there is a sequel short story available, even better! May it be the first of many.