Waiting on Wednesday: Storm of Locusts

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings. It gives you the chance to shout to the void about a highly anticipated release!

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Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse

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March 2019 Wrap-Up

March 2019 is the worst reading month I have had in a long, long time. It has been literally years since I only read 4 books in a month. Blog activity has been low because I haven’t actually read anything that I can write about, and my physical TBR pile is the largest it has ever been. So I’m forced to ask myself, is this a reading slump?

…Not really. Because it has come to the attention of my 24-year-old self that…fanfiction is a thing in the world that exists.

There were a number of reasons why my reading this month has been so low. The main one is that I have 3 essays (10,000 words total) due in two weeks, and I’ve been working away at those, rereading/rewatching the texts I need for them. I also had to write and submit my abstract for my master’s dissertation, and actually research that enough to pin down an idea that I want to work on for the next few months. I’ve also been preparing for the fact that my mum gets married in two weeks (the same weekend as all those essay deadlines!!!) and I need to write my speech as I’m giving her away.

But these are all excuses for the other main reason I have not been reading books – nearly all my reading time has been spent on AO3, reading Spike/Buffy fix it fic as I try to wrestle with the fact that my childhood faves are actually Extremely Problematic Faves that were written very, very badly in the original canon. In my defence, I did actually have a class on fanfiction in one of my modules this term, so it started out as assigned class reading. But now…well, several 100k of fic consumption later, that’s not really an excuse is it?

I’ve always had friends who were very into fanfic, but have never read it myself. I think, in part, this is because I was initially a part of a lot of bookish fandoms. Books (at least my favourite books) don’t tend to be subject to the same issues as TV that warrant the intense need for fanfic– early or sudden cancellations that result in incomplete storylines, large casts of characters with unequal levels of exposure, inconsistent characterisation or character assassination – and also I deliberately seek out books with queer content, so I didn’t need fic to fill that gap either.  I’m not saying the same problems aren’t there in books, or that book fanfic isn’t a worthy pursuit, it just never suited me as a reader. Part of the reason I like a book is also for its writing style, so I often found it jarring to either read fic that was written entirely differently, or to read fic that imitated or had aspects of the original text but was still obviously different. However, reading fic for BtVS is completely different, mostly because the TV show was a hot mess, but I also have an emotional investment in the characters going on ten years, and I can now say what most people already knew: the quality of a good fanfic is actually pretty amazing. Especially when you don’t have another novelistic text to compare it to, and can value it on its own very real merits rather than constantly having another writer’s work in the back of your mind as a comparison. Especially when the original text is kind of awful, and extremely dated gender-politics wise.

In April, I plan to divert my attention back to physical books. This will be especially helped by the fact that I no longer have assigned class reading and instead will now be working on my dissertation, which means I’ll have more time to dedicate to reading for pleasure and getting through that physical TBR. But I don’t think I’ll be giving up fanfic anytime soon either, and honestly I’m kind of loving the fact that I’m getting acquainted with a whole other side of fandom that I knew about in theory but not in practice.

 

Books Read: 4

 

Continue reading March 2019 Wrap-Up

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag

I’ve just finished my own nostalgia-fuelled BtVS rewatch, so I was so excited when I saw that Sarah at Written Word Worlds had created this awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was my first ever fandom and probably my first ever expanded fictional universe – 15 year old me was quite frankly OBSESSED. I have signed pictures that I bought at cons and everything. Watching it this time round, aged 24, was interesting and a little hard because….it’s not as good as I remember it being (!) I still love all the characters with all my heart – particularly Cordelia, Spike, and Buffy – but, well, it’s no secret that Joss Whedon’s feminist credentials have taken a good bashing in the last couple of years, and I could not get over how problematic every single one of the male characters in this show (bar Giles, hero to us all) are twenty or so years on. Even Spike, my OG fictional crush, is way more abusive and toxic than I ever remember him being, and I’ve had to cross the final frontier and dive headfirst into the dark rabbit hole of Spike/Buffy fix-it fic on AO3 to try and recapture the unproblematic Spike of my 15-year-old daydreams.

Although I’m now viewing it through less rose-tinted glasses, Buffy is still an amazing story that did loads of interesting things to fantasy and to TV – it’s no surprise that TVTropes has so many tropes named by this show! I guess BtVS will now have the title of the Ultimate Problematic Fave.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Princess and the Fangirl

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings. It gives you the chance to shout to the void about a highly anticipated release!

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The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston

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Review: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. But the power of the Raven is weakening. It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo arrives. And in seeking to help the Lease’s true heir Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

Why did I want to read? I love Ann Leckie’s sci-fi so I was super excited for her fantasy debut.

The Raven Tower has many trademarks of Ann Leckie’s writing style that I loved in the Ancillary trilogy: an unusual and unique narrator, a diverse cast of characters, intriguing and strange worldbuilding that only starts making sense as the novel unfolds, as opposed to being clear from the very first chapter. Because so much of this world and how it works is revealed slowly through the plot – which is as much about what has happened in the past as what is happening to Eolo in the present –  I highly recommend going into this book as blind as I did, which makes reviewing it very hard!!

 

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February 2019 Wrap-Up

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This month was a slow reading month for me – mostly because I also had three essays to write for a mid-month deadline, but also because I discovered the joy of Stardew Valley (which honestly had a similar level of impact – i.e. HIGH – on my reading productivity).

On wrapping up, I was surprised and pleased to find out that, although I read less, the split between reading for my studies and for pleasure was actually 50/50 this month. That’s partly because the books I did read for pleasure were highly anticipated releases like King of Scars and The Raven Tower, that I deliberately scheduled reading time for.

I also finished The Adventure Zone: Balance arc, and loved every moment. Now that I live alone, I’ve started listening to podcasts much more to fill up things like cooking or cleaning time, and it was kind of embarassing to cry into the meal I was come the final Balance episode. If anyone wants a funny but consciously diverse D&D campaign to follow, TAZ is definitely the one to choose!

Books Read: 6

 

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Review: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

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Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Why did I want to read? It’s Leigh Bardugo. It’s Nikolai. Of course I want to read it.

Leigh Bardugo is one of those authors who gives me hope, because the improvement in her work over time is just so pronounced. And never more so than King of Scars, when we’re back in Ravka and revisiting Nikolai, Zoya, waffle queen Nina Zenik, and even the legacy the Darkling has left in a post-civil-war country. Combining the amazing talent for characterisation that we all know and love from Six of Crows with a new, politically charged epic fantasy plot, this book was brilliantly complex. I wanted to savour every moment.

 

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Top Ten Tuesday | Favourite Couples in Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly book tag that was run by The Broke and the Bookish but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provides a different bookish theme those deep-seated desires to list! Anyone is welcome to join in on their blog, in the comments or any other way. 

So, it’s time to attempt my first ever Top Ten Tuesday! I’ve realised that my blogging has been a bit lax lately, and there are some upcoming themes that I’m super interested in, so I decided to jump right in.

In particular, romance in a book is something I’m on the fence about. I love a good romance as much as the next person, and have definitely fangirled over more than my fair share! But most people will admit there has been one unnecessary romance (or god forbid, a superfluous love triangle) that has ruined a perfectly good book. I also sometimes wonder if the unrealistic (and often heteronormative) nature of literary romance has somewhat negatively impacted me growing up – possibly not the best musing for the week of Valentine’s Day!!

Instead, let’s focus on the positive – my favourite literary couples, and why I love their love!!

 

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January 2019 Wrap Up

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I accidentally went radio-silent during most of January, blogging wise, as my master’s course workload kicked up a notch. After suffering through a couple of weeks of a pretentious and ultimately soul destroying Creative Writing class, I decided to switch out into a different module, which had a lot of catch up reading. I’m sad that I didn’t get on with the Creative Writing class, as it’s my 2019 resolution to write more, but I figured that anything that actively dampens my urge to write, as this class did, probably wasn’t worth my time.

Consequently, that means that my module choices this term are: Fantasy Post-1950, Fantasy Across Media, and Bleeding Edge: Depictions of Illness in Contemporary Fiction. These modules are all super interesting and fun, and my reading list includes: UprootedHowl’s Moving Castle, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Wicked and the Divine, and Tombraider. I’m planning on writing my final essays on kdrama, Uprooted, and depictions of mental health in Young Adult literature.

Because of this nearly all the reading I did this month were the books on my various reading lists. However, I have started listening to The Adventure Zone podcast, which is an amazing D&D podcast which is fulfilling my need for fiction in the interim.

 

Books read this month: 9

 

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Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

**This review will have spoilers for The Cruel Prince and a marked spoilers section for The Wicked King.**

After the events of the first novel, Jude Duarte finds herself in a position of influence over the land of Elfhame to protect her family. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

Why did I want to read? Have you read my Cruel Prince review? I fucking love this series. I was literally counting down the days and months until this book came out.

The Wicked King will now become one of the prime examples of me loving a book series and its characters enough to blind me almost entirely to its flaws. I know there are some things about The Wicked King that I found frustrating, and that make me see it as slightly lower in quality than The Cruel Prince. In fact, my review will mostly be dedicated to them. But every time Jude goes into Determinator mode and does something badass I find it really, really, really hard to care.

This book was a five star book for me, even if I’m now going to go into detail over why it possibly shouldn’t be.

TW: abuse, dubious consent

 

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