Showing posts from September, 2021

The Witness for the Dead

The Witness for the Dead Katherine Addison, 2021 Premise: Set in the world of The Goblin Emperor . As a Witness, Thara Celehar investigates murder and deception while navigating hostility from other religious and political personnel. Did...did I just read a fantasy noir? That was really good? Be still my heart!  Don't misunderstand, this book isn't overtly stylized like a hardboiled detective novel, it doesn't read like a pastiche or parody. However... The protagonist, despite being a sort of priest with a religious calling/inborn magical ability, functions as a private investigator on behalf of those who have passed away The plot concerns several interwoven cases that involve corruption and/or scandal The protagonist has a scandal in his backstory that sets him apart socially and emotionally from others The protagonist is undermined by others in authority due to their own selfish motivations The protagonist does good things because someone ought to do them, and few others

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book Neil Gaiman, 2008 Hugo Winner - 2009 Honestly, I can't blame all of my review hiatus on Red, White, and Royal Blue . That book I liked so much I found it hard to review. This book I didn't like enough.  And here's the thing - I know it's personal. More a particular quirk of timing than most of my reasons for liking this book or that book. In the first few pages of The Graveyard Book, a family is murdered and a toddler is stalked by a killer through the streets of a small town. This is presented in a dark way, but it's all just the setup. It's all the "once upon a time" for the story of a boy adopted and raised by the ghosts of a graveyard and a series of intriguing (if never truly amazing) linked stories about the adventures he has. And I couldn't handle it. I couldn't handle the fact that a child (the main character's sister, who is barely spoken of for the rest of the book) and her parents were brutally killed in the fi

Red, White, and Royal Blue and One Last Stop

Red, White, and Royal Blue Casey McQuiston, 2019 One Last Stop Casey McQuiston, 2021 Hi! Not dead, still reading, but parenting a toddler while holding a full-time job during a pandemic has made it hard to do anything that feels nonessential like write reviews. But my inability to adequately review Red, White, and Royal Blue led into this hiatus, so I'm hoping having recently read One Last Stop will get me out. Both of these were wonderful. They have some of the characteristics I now associate with my favorite romance: a world that feels real-ish, but just a little warmer and better than real, where life isn't easy, but good things happen to people who are being their best selves. That's on top of great characters and relationships, of course. How do I review a book that was like an incredibly sweet warm hug with several hefty cups of wish fulfillment tempered with a few tablespoons of realism and just a pinch of panic attack? (That last bit isn't the book's fault,