‘Babel’ a Fascinating Course in Linguistics and Labor

Although Babel takes place in the first half of the nineteenth century, the message about colonialism and a supposed superiority of one country or race is one for today. So is the eventual turn toward solidarity among the outcasts and the working class.

‘Wildblood’ Picks Inconvenient Times for Romance

The concept of Wildblood takes the stories of ye olde expeditions of the Victorian era and flips them right on their pith-helmeted heads, but its intricate scaffolding is hidden behind a romance as subtle as one of those giant stuffed bears holding a glittering heart between its paws.

A Different Kind of Chosen One in ‘Grace’

The Chosen One is a staple of the fantasy genre, especially in YA, but it’s the attempts to contort or subvert it that I tend to find the most compelling. Emily Thiede stretches the trope like silly putty in her debut, This Vicious Grace. Alessa was chosen by Dea to be this generation’s bearer ofContinue reading “A Different Kind of Chosen One in ‘Grace’”

‘Marvellous Light’ A Magical Mystery

Regency era gets so much love, pun intended, when it comes to romance and reimagined history. The Victorians get all the credit for every beautiful—and weirdly oppressive—thing from the turn of the century. But in A Marvellous Light, author Freya Marske pours glamor, manners, magic, and more than a little longing into the Edwardian era.Continue reading “‘Marvellous Light’ A Magical Mystery”

‘Tiger’ Brings High Stakes to Growing Up

The “coming of age” story usually refers to a teen growing up, but real life doesn’t have just one of those moments. And in my experience in young adulthood, finding out who I was happened much farther into my twenties than I’d like to admit—if it truly happened at all. In that way, the mainContinue reading “‘Tiger’ Brings High Stakes to Growing Up”

‘Spindle’ Lovingly Splinters Fairy-Tale Tropes

There’s been no shortage of fairy tale retellings or mythology reinterpreted lately. Alix E. Harrow‘s A Spindle Splintered is proof positive that another addition to a well-populated genre can still be done uniquely and oh-so-effectively. Zinnia Gray is doomed to die. She’s one of the last surviving members of an unfortunate club of kids whoContinue reading “‘Spindle’ Lovingly Splinters Fairy-Tale Tropes”

‘Elder Race’ is the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Little-known fact: Arthur C. Clarke came up with his third law after reading Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Elder Race. Okay, maybe Clarke predated Elder Race by a few decades, but the idea that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic has never been truer than it is in this slim little story that is at once aContinue reading “‘Elder Race’ is the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy”

‘Light’ has a ‘Touch’ of Magic

Picking up an epic fantasy can be daunting, because they tend to be, well, epic. Lots of people, places and things. A lot of new names to try to pronounce and magic systems to learn. How an epic fantasy chooses to introduce all of these new things can make the difference between something being dazzlingContinue reading “‘Light’ has a ‘Touch’ of Magic”

‘Djinn’ a Magical Steampunk Tale

A while ago, I wrote about my love for P. Djeli Clark’s The Haunting of Tram Car 015 and how much I was looking forward to A Master of Djinn, the novel set in the same steampunk Egypt as the haunted tram car. There’s always danger in liking something, in looking forward to something. ThingsContinue reading “‘Djinn’ a Magical Steampunk Tale”

Let ‘Riverland’ Take You Away

One thing every lonely kid has is some imaginary escape to another, more magical, usually safer world. (Maybe not-lonely kids have this, too, but I can’t speak to that.) Mine was a copse of trees choking the side of a road far away enough from anyone who cared that they were allowed to grow thickContinue reading “Let ‘Riverland’ Take You Away”