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Search tags: family-affairs
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review 2018-10-10 00:45
Downer
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories - Stephen King

My PC heat-quited on me while writing my review, so take two.

 

This was a bit of a let down.

 

First of all, it's such a depressing collection. I looked forward to the horror bits because they were at least lively (and even those were a lot more scarce than usual).

 

Second, because I had already read some of the longer stories, and none was that worthy of a second pass. Well, maybe Morality, but hell.

 

If I had to list the ones I really liked, I'd go with Drunken Fireworks, because while predictable, it made me laugh and I needed it; Mr Yummy, because it touched an odd bittersweet chord; Green God of Agony was very neat; and Under the Weather because it was so gruesome to see it coming, even if it was another depressing one.

 

No, seriously, this is not a happy collection. Or even an exiting one. Pick another.

 

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review 2018-09-27 01:40
Pretty but problematic
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

I'm divided on this one.

 

I liked the writing. I liked the stab at representation and consent issues. New takes of old tales are always an interest to me, and the sci-fi slant is just more win.

 

I could not get over Earland. On his own, he undermines most of the good bits about body-autonomy, consent and chauvinistics screenings. There's this bit where the doc passes on testing the virus/cure combo on a male cyborg ostensibly because he's too old (and in his mind, ostensibly because he has a son), but then gets all gung-ho on testing the teen girl, and a female colleague implies it is because he's a chauvinistic ass. But hey, no! That woman was obviously wrong and overreacting! (oversensitive feminists!) He just knew that the immune one he was looking for would be a cyborg teen girl. He's not racist or anything. It is just a pity that the easiest way to find her was to implement a draft on a group with little body autonomy and they... well... die. The princess (and a cure... that too) must be found! He's just working with the system! Honest! (I kept thinking of The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks, and also the Nuremberg Trials, ain't he a peach?)

 

The other bit that I did not like was the very end.

 

Cinder is overwhelmed by all the revelations and pretty much giving up, even as Earland gives her the tools to escape and a path forward (Oh yeah, and on that note, this speech is not skeevy at all

But finding you and being able to reinstate you as queen are two very different goals. I have planned this moment for a long time. I can help you.”
Cinder gawked at him as panic gripped her lungs. “Reinstate me as queen?”
The doctor cleared his throat. “I understand you are frightened right now, and confused. Do not think too much. All I’m asking is that you find a way out of this prison. I know you can do that. Then come to Africa. I will guide you through the rest. Please. We cannot let Levana win.”

) she can't even contemplate it till she thinks about her prince *eye-roll*. Yeah, the whole cheese is a bit much, but getting out of dodge? How about not needing a love interest to get the drive to stay alive? (sorry, but Bella consumed any quota of patience for that devise that I ever possessed)

(spoiler show)

 

And I knew it was a series, but I still hate books that do not resolve the main plot. I like series with myth arcs and more or less self contained volumes. I can count the amount of books I "forgave" cliff-hangers or series' hooks with one hand, so a final demotion, though this one smaller and more personal.

 

Hell, likely all the cons I wrote there are personal anyway. It likely is the perfect book for many people, and I might still read the rest. I'm just not in as much of a rush as I felt I'd be at the start.

 

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review 2018-09-14 15:59
Hah!
Magic Triumphs - Ilona Andrews

Really, what else is there to say about the closing of a saga worth it's salt?

 

Ok... Fast paced wrap up choke-full of badass moments, everyone gets a scene bit or at least a name check and the last solution reeked of poetic justice with a good dose of deus-ex-machina (heheh). Plus all the mommy moments that were hilarious, dysfunctional, messed up and all around weird, or awesome, or blood-thirsty, or all of the above, lol.

 

Now, for all the bits that I can't comment without spoiling

 

I'm never, ever, no matter how many times the books name him, will stop grinning at Teddy Jo's name.

Luther. And Roman. And Beau Clayton. Come on, they are so awesome.

Kate's "we are a family of monsters" acceptance moment, when she gives up on trying to shield Conlan from violence and decides to go with "but we are the most violent BAMFs around, so you are safe".

Hugh having a second Conclave crashing moment.

Kate and Hugh having their "yeap, we are siblings indeed and dad sucks" chat.

On that vein, Kate and Nicks vaguely siblingly but even more combative relationship too (seriously, this family!)

The muggle Lt stepping up with "what do you need?" and all the muggle forces showing.

Saiman, why?

Julie and Erra leaving to have their own adventures after a visit to grandma? So want to see

(spoiler show)

 

Oh, lookie, I just busted my yearly challenge

 

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review 2018-09-11 20:05
The more things change
North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell

How to tag this.

 

Know this though: if you expect a romance... well, there is romance, but it's not really the meat of the story. More like a sprinkled seasoning to give the excuse, and a happy ending I guess.

 

What this is about is industrialization, the theme for most characters was the failure point of their principles or what they considered their cornerstones, and the running one on interactions was misunderstandings arising from lack of enough knowledge to "wear another's shoes" (and no, I do not mean empathy), and it was masterfully done (if long-winded). So masterfully actually, that I had a raging fit and had to stop reading at one point (workers vs owners/strikes), because it is still such an on point analysis today.

 

The vehicle for all that is us following Margaret Hale through a three-year-long trauma conga line, through which she carries herself with so much poise and holding herself to such impossible standards that I could not help but want to shake her.

 

I'm a bit addled still by how packed this was, and I confess I'm downright intimidated by the prospect of her other books. I think I'll leave Wives and Daughters for another year's reading project.

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review 2018-09-11 11:16
Gorgeous and Flavourful
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

This one was fast fun and a different flavour on the usual tropes of it's genre. Big on representation, and an interesting peek into a rich and varied culture and myth set that I confess I know nothing about.

 

The kids feel a bit older than they are (might be a cultural thing), and this thing of putting the end of the world responsibilities onto the children's shoulders is one that constantly sticks in my craw now that I'm older, but I happen to know it was the bomb when I was a kid (Harry Potter, I'm looking at you) so the one star demoted might be an "unintended audience" thing.

 

Wondering what else I can get my hands on from the area, which this book's popularity might make easier, so kudos too for broadening horizons and opening markets.

 

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