Looking back on recent reads, I find I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction and fantasy – which is not exactly unusual, but is not as much the case anymore as it was, say, five years ago! In fact, I didn’t read any nonfiction this month, which isn’t the norm anymore.
I read a very odd book, Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey, which…I hesitate to categorize as sci fi or fantasy, because I don’t want to give too much away. The two main characters keep repeating their lives and meeting each other in different ways – but it’s not exactly reincarnation, because they keep living through the same time period, and it’s not exactly parallel worlds because they’re different relative ages to each other…it’s very strange and intriguing!
A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers is a rather lovely, philosophical sci fi book – it’s about a utopian future rather than the so common dystopian ones, and is the first in her Monk and Robot series…and it really is about what it says. This was the author of A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, and I was curious to see what else she had written.
I’m also still in the throes of my T. Kingfisher obsession, and so read Swordheart, another book in her larger Clockwork Boys world. It was an absolute delight – not necessarily my favorite of hers (still Paladin’s Grace, I think) but probably the funniest I’ve read to date. It did have strong similarities to some of her other romances – she seems to like writing tortured paladins/warriors who are well-intentioned but a little obtuse about romance, and who are very, very concerned about not pressuring their romantic interests. And I’m pretty much down for that! This one is about Sarkis, who’s trapped in an enchanted sword, and Halla, who becomes the master of the sword when she draws it. They’re both wonderful.
I went on from there to a reread, In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, which I think may have been my attempt to read something Kingfisher-like, since I kind of just want to keep reading Kingfisher but don’t want to read all the way through her back catalog in a matter of weeks! This one isn’t really that close a resemblance, but there is a similar sense of humor to it. A send-up of every book about kids from an ordinary world going to a magical one, the main character, Elliot, is a snarky, sarcastic delight.
Meanwhile, A Psalm for the Wild-Built put me in mind of the Murderbot series I’ve been reading through – again, no outward resemblance but something in the style reminded me. (And it’s probably not just me, since Murderbot’s author blurbed Psalm.) So I read book 4 in the series, Exit Strategy by Martha Wells, as Murderbot continues dealing with global corruption, self-identity and social anxiety, while really just wanting to watch serials. Although it’s not as funny as that makes it sound.
And finally, I rounded out with Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon…which is the real name of (wait for it) T. Kingfisher, when she’s writing children’s/YA books. Most of that catalog (she is massively prolific, just by the way) looks a little too young for my taste, but this one is super fun. Castle Hangnail and its minions are in dire need of a new Master, or else the Board of Magic will shut them down, but they have doubts about Molly, the twelve year old witch who comes to take on the job. The whole thing is funny and clever and I was absolutely thrilled to pieces when Molly’s warning spell makes itself known by a strong smell of rosemary, an element also in Clockwork Boys.
It’s been a busy month! I’m planning on more Murderbot soon and another Kingfisher may sneak its way in…we’ll see! What have you been reading lately?