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A reaper at the gates (2018, Razorbill) 5 stars

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his …

Review of 'A reaper at the gates' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

3.5 stars. Still enjoyed most of the story, but it definitely dragged a bit in the first half. Also, was disappointed in how the author treated the Blood Shrike in this book. She came off as criminally stupid against Keris, and it seemed to be solely in service of the trope of making the enemy seem almost impossible to defeat. But honestly, I'd much rather not have that trope if it meant the Blood Shrike not stupid just for the plot.

Review of 'Lifting as We Climb' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

This is a good introduction to how Black women have helped fight for the right to vote and how others - mainly white women - have discriminated against them. It's not a terribly indepth book, and I especially wish it provided more information on just the discrimination that Black women continued to face after the 19th Amendment and their work to pass the Civil Rights Act. But otherwise, I learned a lot.

We Free the Stars (Hardcover, 2021, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)) 4 stars

Review of 'We Free the Stars' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

It wasn't a perfect book (some story lines got dropped midway through and quickly picked up again at the end), but I loved this book. Such a satisfying ending to the first one and for the characters. Zafira remains a great protagonist - strong but flawed - and Nasir got over his poutiness, which made him even more enjoyable. And man, could feel the steam coming from those two!

Review of 'Queen of the Conquered' on 'GoodReads'

5 stars

4.5 stars. What a fascinating book. Kacen Callender did such an amazing job creating an incredibly sad but complex world where no one is innocent, even those who have been horribly wronged. The story takes place in the Caribbean-inspired islands of Hans Lollik, which were colonized centuries ago by the Fjern, who have enslaved the native Islanders. The story starts with the slaughter of one Islander family that was rare in their ability to earn freedom and work their way to some power and then evolves into a mystery as someone starts killing off the ruling Fjern one by one.

The story is partly about revenge and how corrupting it can be. The main character, Sigourney, was a child during the massacre and the only one who managed to escape alive. She's since been forced to live her childhood on the run but has slowly been working on a plan …

Hurricane Season (2020, Norton & Company Limited, W. W.) 4 stars

The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse—by a group of children playing …

Review of 'Hurricane Season' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

This was a hard read, both in terms of subject matter (big ol' CW for rape and child abuse and other stuff) but also the technical writing style. Melchor definitely knows what she's doing in how she writes this book - her use of stream of consciousness and run on sentences definitely has a sweeping feel to it, evoking that sense of chaos you would get in a hurricane. On the other hand, it definitely makes it hard to follow what is happening. I think for the most part that the work on the reader's part is worth it - although it does take time to get used to the flow of the writing, ultimately the story that's slowly unraveled is a worthy one. I do wonder if so many run-on sentences were needed, though.