The art is lovely, the characters have rich inner lives, and the stakes feel both urgent and realistic.
Find yourself someone who looks at you the way Loki looks at Loki.
The author does a thing that makes me leery, put the reader in a fictional POV of a historical figure. She has Shakespeare think, while walking through a shopping district “it reminded him of his wife, Anne, and her endless appetite for shopping”. Is there contemporary evidence of this? Either that he thought this or that she did? Or does the author think this is always true of humans, which would be wildly misogynistic?
Even demons agree, Etrigan‘s horrible rhymes are the best thing ever.
Usually in history class this entire book is covered in the phrase “woman, who had worked for abolition now thought about the right to vote” which doesn‘t make sense. This book makes so much more sense. There were badass, take no prisoner woman working hard for both abolition and the rights of all women, the entire time: putting their lives on the line, forming partnerships, doing the work. Weird how their stories are just lost🙄
“Although some liberal watchdogs have tried to define Thor‘s hammer as a hate symbol, most of those who wear it are as positive in their outlook as those witches who wear the pentagram”…no one is wary of racist iconography because it‘s “negative”. No one is like “those Nazis are such Debby Downers”. Having your religious iconography co-opted by assholes happens, ask the Buddhists, but don‘t downplay it.
“…from Romania came King Carol I…from Russia came the Duchess of Edinburg‘s brother, Grand Duke Alexis, …and from Berlin, of course, came the bullying, overbearing, neurotic Kaiser Wilhelm II, determined to dazzle the other royal guests by the number and brilliance of his uniforms.
This was kind of an odd book, more character then plot driven. Tetley is a wonderful character and her narrative voice has a lot of charm. The world building is a little …odd. But the vignettes, the moments, like when Tetley has her first sexual experience while listening to a women read a fancy lunch menu from 2005 in a sexy voice, and realizing none of them know what honey was, hits home.
There is some beautiful language and wonderful monsters in this. There were also interesting questions about intersectionality: ie if your community of magic using, pagan, wolf girls mistreats you but are themselves mistreated by a force of fanatical imperialists, where does your responsibility lie? But I did dislike the foes to lovers thing that was going on and wanted the main character to hold more grudges.
“Survival is not a battle you win only once, you must fight it again every day. And so you take your small loses so that you can live to fight tomorrow…Can Kezi not survive the loss of one girl every few years? As it has for all my father‘s reign?”
….”I was only one girl.”
I‘m baffled. This author thinks there‘s never been a successful vampire musical because the “sexiness” of vampires is too difficult for musicals (which I think she called bouncy), not because most musicals fail. She has, I guess, never realized that phantom of the opera, Hadestown, and the Heathers musical are, essentially, vampire musicals. Or that Once More With Feeling, while televised, is …a vampire musical.
A 13 year old, who loves Halloween and has been working on her costume for months, is told by her parents, the day before Halloween, that she is “too old” to trick or treat. And when she objects they accuse her of being a brat. This injustice filled me with rage. And the narrative spent more time empathizing with adult authority, then letting her express rage or frustration.
This is lovely, strange and dreamlike. The Gardens, the world of a continuous summer evening party, where children are periodically hunted and eaten by nobles, is both familiar and terrifying. Thistle, Dora, and the horrible Lady Augusta are all the heroes of their own strange stories. I mean, Augusta kills a bunch of innocent people, but she THINKS she‘s the hero. The only one that matters.
The American Plan was developed to protect men from STDs during WW1 and 2, by holding women solely responsible for the spread of STDs and imprisoning them, indefinitely, for “crimes” as diverse as: being poor, being black, being an immigrant, eating lunch alone, walking, being in the same room with men, and reporting rape. Because any of these “crimes” meant the woman was likely a prostitute, even if she was 7.
This book is set in a world where sexual assault is treated as just a fact of life, a fact of life caused by the victim: her body, her choices. But it‘s s fantasy.
It turns out that, like a lot of other “pink collar” professions home economics was engaged in the project of radically improving the world for everyone while at the same time everyone sneered at it as something simple, frumpy, and unprofessional . Cause “girls”.
Whew. Did I not enjoy this. Part of it is me. I‘m in a mood. And I didn‘t understand that I was reading speculative fiction and Drama, with a capital “D”. So, coming in with more genre fiction expectations the world building was nonsensical and vague, the characters seemed either intense and unlikable or ridiculous and one note. To be fair, I‘ve never read The Glass Bead Game. Maybe that would change how I felt.
... hmm. I don‘t think I like this book. That is on me. I picked it up thinking, based on the old fashion art, that it was an old manga that the movie was based on. But it‘s a graphic novelization of the movie. And there just isn‘t enough story to it. Maybe some things that make sense with music and acting are nonsensical without them? Also, I never saw the movie.
Here is the experience of reading Seanan McGuire: Giant spider w/lice in its hair 😱...named Greg...”the whole time Greg, my big, brave spider boy, who had to know all the way to the bottom of his primitive mind that he was about to die, continued to stand guard over me”....I guess I‘m ride or die for the giant spider now.
Numerous listings of “looking glasses” in inventories of early-17th-century Plymouth might lead the reader to believe there was a good supply of mirrors. While this is possible, we learn from the OED that “looking glass” was a common vernacular term for chamber pot during the first half of the 17th century.
Marvel treats intelligence like a superpower and the “most intelligent one”, a ranking that only makes sense in comics, tends to be white (and blue) dudes from the 60s. Characters like Valerie, Shuri, and Moon Girl exist, but until they have footing in conversations between the smart characters, until we see them solving problems, and until specialization matters, it‘s just a weird superpower. TLDR none of these men is a medical doctor!
I‘ve read several Labyrinth stories. None have ever focused Sarah, which is a shame. The further adventures of a dimension hopping woman who disrupted a monarchy and summons muppets would be worth telling. Most are about Toby, which is exhausting. No one is interested in Toby, as a person. Better stories slide a new girl into the labyrinth and tell her story. This one is interesting, it draws focus to the darkness of the labyrinth.
Through their investigations, they [philosophers] have discovered the only thing philosophers ever discover: that everyday notions used without incident in normal social interactions become murky when closely analyzed.
It seemed like there were two narratives here: the story of a rebellious woman and her sometimes uncomfortable relationship with her family and society and the story of Edo and Perry: Both of these stories are interesting on their own. I don‘t quite buy the bridge between them. But I‘d read either narrative on its own.
It‘s not that this is a bad book, but something occurred to me and now I can‘t stop thinking about it. When does Addie go to the bathroom? When she‘s with other people they forget her as soon as she‘s out of sight. So when she‘s having one of her tragic, doomed love affairs, when does she poop? Does she poop? She doesn‘t need to eat. Maybe she doesn‘t need to poop? Maybe she hasn‘t pooped in 100s of years?
Advertising for love became an essential element of urbanized society-like a postal service or sewer system, but sexier.
This is a fun story. It was so fun I was a little blind sided by some of the darker moments and violence. I wish that Danny had more support among her friends and family, but I imagine that her lack of support was probably one of the least fantastical parts. I guess it needs to be said, just in case: trans women are women.
Mr Sinister: if I have to behave everyone does!... Exodus: Ah, Mr Sinister has something to say. Can you all tell how shocked I am?
Sinister: Are your epaulettes getting bigger? You want to go down this road, I will be on your ass every step of the way. Mister Sinister‘s shoulder ornament will not be outdone.
Mystique: Kill me.
Some years have been hard, but overall, I have a pretty easy life. If I find a dead deer, I don‘t even have to fight a bear for it. I don‘t even have to eat it if I don‘t want to.
“Merida, I have to tell you something....I‘m carrying a child” Mer chuckled. It was just his quirky sense of humor. But Doug‘s pale eyes were unwavering. “I had a reading with a friend from the psychic institute,”he said. “Though I really didn‘t need her to tell me. This is something I‘ve known for a while.” Baking pot brownies for the sick is brave and noble but these people are incredibly annoying.
This isn‘t a fun read. Treating children like consumer products isn‘t great, but this is also just a weirdly distanced story. Having so many POV characters really separates the author from the audience. For example this bit about diabetes is wrong and bad (type 1 diabetes takes the amount of time it takes) and I don‘t know if the character talking is wrong, the author wrong, or something else.
I would have to learn the hard way what James Baldwin meant when he wrote that “people who imagine that history flatters them are impaled on their history like a butterfly on a pin and become incapable of seeing or changing themselves, or the world.”
The setting of this story is breathtaking; strange and eerie. The logic of the place, a shifting infinite and crumbling house, that is also, somehow, a sea full of statues, is all consuming. The characters that wander through the story seem less important then the house that is the world. If you like House of Leaves or Sandman, you might like this.