Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks

Rating 3.5 / 5 stars

My first time reading queer fantasy, surprisingly. But a great way to begin. Fire Logic is the first book in a quadrilogy called the Elemental Logic series. Fire, Earth, Water, Air. Fire, Earth, and Water have all been published and Air will be published next year.

Fire Logic introduces us to a land called Shaftal that has suddenly lost its leader Harald G’deon without him naming a successor. Horrible timing as Shaftal is being invaded by a people called the Sainnites. The main character, Zanja, is of the Ashawala’i people, from a valley north of Shaftal. She is drawn into the war and struggles to survive and make sense of all she encounters. She encounters users of all the elements, including her own fire.

An incredibly complex world filled with people who are equally complex, no matter their gender or status or sexuality. It’s just how things are. Fire Logic challenges you to think, to wonder how deep loyalty runs and why it should or not be that way. It’s violent and political but still filled with friendship and love. It’s multi-faceted and refreshingly not heterosexual.

I gave it 3.5 because while it is a great novel and a good start to a series, I finished the book scratching my head over the very worldbuilding I know I just praised. I spent some time processing what I read and I still don’t understand most of the lore. I want to read the rest of the series even though I know I’ll still be confused at the end of those books too.

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What Just Happened?

The weirdest thing happened to me today. I was on twitter and I tweeted that I finished a debut novel by one author and then was gonna read a debut novel by another author. Decided to tag both authors. Lo and behold not just a few seconds later, I was blocked on Twitter by the author whose book I was going to read next. I had been scrolling through her profile right before I tweeted (to double check if I spelled her book’s title correctly) and was not blocked. Less than ten seconds (my tweet had a “9s” timestamp on it on my feed) I was blocked.

What the flying fuck? It’s your debut novel and you’re blocking someone who wants to give you money and read your book.

I thought maybe she was one of the authors who hates fan tagging but she has retweeted other people saying they were reading/had read her book. So nope.

I thought maybe there was something she didn’t like about my account. Nothing offensive, my last tweets were about cancelling Kindle Unlimited, my profile info just said I was into books and true crime podcasts. So… I don’t think so?

My last thought is that she had a beef with the other author I tagged (who did not respond and did not block me).

But still. What the fuck. I’m definitely not buying her book now. Fuck that noise.

2017 Year In Review and Goal for 2018

2017 was not a good year for me regarding reading.

Most books I read, I did not finish. Mostly library books that I tried to read but gave up before I even reached the halfway point. I did buy several books in 2017 but have not read most of them. I believe I purchased at least 8 books and I only read 3 of them. The rest sit on various shelves around my home.

I only wrote 10 reviews in 2017. Not even one per month. I’m ashamed of this. I want to do better in 2018. Additionally, there’s still one review of a comic book I finished around November that I still have not done.

Therefore my goal for 2018 is to publish at least one post per week on this blog and at least one of those posts must be a review. I do want to make posts other than recaps and reviews. I know I have close to zero views on this blog but I wish to do this anyway.

October Recap

Books read:

None

Books currently reading:

Batwoman Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death by Marguerite Bennett, James IV Tynion

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright

Books purchased:

The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera

Books read but did not finish:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

Placed on TBR:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Super Sons Vol. 1: When I Grow Up (Rebirth) by Peter J. Tomasi

Rating: 4 / 5 stars

This volume collects Super Sons issues 1 – 5.

It tells the story of Jonathan Kent, the son of Superman and Lois Lane, and Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul. Damian has taken on the mantle of Robin while Jonathan is called Superboy.

Both boys are amusing and likable. Their personalities make them obvious who their fathers are but the boys are able to easily show that they are unique. While Damian is annoyed Bruce is trying to keep him out of the field, Jonathan is struggling with an impending move to the city. Damian inevitably drags Jonathan into the field to hunt down some bad guys and the boys struggle to get along just as their fathers do. They bicker and fight but still manage to rescue a little girl from her evil brother.

I personally look forward to the next issues. Definitely a comic book I would purchase as a gift.

The only flaw was there were multiple pages with blank speech bubbles. I hope it was only a flaw in the PDF and did not extend to print copies.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for this honest review.

September Recap

Books read:

Thrawn by Timothy Zahn

Secrets in Death by JD Robb

Books currently reading:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Books purchased:

Warcross by Marie Lu

Books read but did not finish:

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Placed on TBR:

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

 

The Man Booker Prize 2017 Shortlist

1. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster

Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on.

As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.

2. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Fourteen-year-old Linda lives with her parents in the beautiful, austere woods of northern Minnesota, where their nearly abandoned commune stands as a last vestige of a lost counter-culture world. Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. When Mr. Grierson is charged with possessing child pornography, the implications of his arrest deeply affect Linda as she wrestles with her own fledgling desires and craving to belong.

And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do—and fail to do—for the people they love.

Winner of the McGinnis-Ritchie award for its first chapter, Emily Fridlund’s propulsive and gorgeously written History of Wolves introduces a new writer of enormous range and talent.

3. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .

Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

4. Elmet by Fiona Mozley

In this atmospheric and profoundly moving debut, Cathy and Daniel live with their father, John, in the remote woods of Yorkshire, in a house the three of them built themselves. John is a gentle brute of a man, a former enforcer who fights for money when he has to, but who otherwise just wants to be left alone to raise his children. When a local landowner shows up on their doorstep, their precarious existence is threatened, and a series of actions is set in motion that can only end in violence. Steeped in the natural world of northern England, this is a lyrical commentary on the bonds of siblings and fatherhood, and on the meaning of community in the modern world. Elmet marks the launch of a major new voice in literary fiction.

5. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

6. Autumn by Ali Smith

Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. That’s what it felt like for Keats in1819. How about Autumn 2016? Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces,divided by a historic, once-in-a-generation summer.Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand-in-hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.

Ali Smith’s new novel is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means. It is the first installment of her Seasonal quartet—fourstand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are)—and it casts an eye over our own time. Who are we? What are we made of? Shakespearean jeu d’esprit, Keatsian melancholy, the sheer bright energy of 1960s pop art: the centuries cast their eyes over our own history making.

Here’s where we’re living. Here’s time at its most contemporaneous and its most cyclic.

From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in time-scale and light-footed through histories, a story about aging and time and love and stories themselves.

 

I have not heard of any of these books but they all sound interesting.