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review 2018-06-19 02:34
4.5 Out Of 5 "The Pathway to X" STARS
X: A Novel - Kekla Magoon,Ilyasah Shabazz

 

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

X

Ilyasah Shabazz & Kekla Magoon

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A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book 

Co-written by Malcolm X’s daughter, this riveting and revealing novel follows the formative years of the man whose words and actions shook the world.

 

Malcolm Little’s parents have always told him that he can achieve anything, but from what he can tell, that’s a pack of lies—after all, his father’s been murdered, his mother’s been taken away, and his dreams of becoming a lawyer have gotten him laughed out of school. There’s no point in trying, he figures, and lured by the nightlife of Boston and New York, he escapes into a world of fancy suits, jazz, girls, and reefer. But Malcolm’s efforts to leave the past behind lead him into an increasingly dangerous territory. Deep down, he knows that the freedom he’s found is only an illusion—and that he can’t run forever.

follows Malcolm from his childhood to his imprisonment for theft at age twenty, when he found the faith that would lead him to forge a new path and command a voice that still resonates today.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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A somewhat harsh, albeit enlightening, fictionalized history about Malcolm X.  Centering on his informative childhood to young adult years.  I learned some things and had some things laid bare for me.  The audio by Dion Graham lends a very authentic voice and is well done.

 

At the end of the story, his daughter speaks about her dad and then there is a couple chapter's telling all about what they (Shabazz and Magoon) kept true to his story and what they embellished on.  Plus an additional timeline of his life.  I read this for a reading challenge (X title) and this is one of those instances where I'm content a reading challenge compelled me to choose something I wouldn't have normally had on my radar.

 

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~MY RATING~

4.5STARS - GRADE=A-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 4.5/5

Main Characters~ 5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 4/5

Pacing~ 3.8/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 4/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 5/5

Originality~ 5/5

Ending~ 5/5

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Book Cover~ Awesome!

Narration~ ☆4.5☆ by Dion Graham with Ilyasah Shabazz

Setting~ Lansing, MI, Boston, MA, and Harlem, NY

Source~ Audiobook (Scribd)

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review 2018-06-16 03:17
Many things happen -- some even positive -- in this very strong entry to the season.
Assassination - Malka Older

I take it all back -- every hesitation I've expressed over the last couple of weeks -- this episode fixed everything.

 

Well, no, not really. But man, it's close enough to justify a little hyperbole. This has none of the weaknesses or shortcomings of the last couple of episodes -- there's some good action, the plot moves forward, there's some great character moments and the reader isn't left wondering about what's going on. There's one character's action that you can't be positive about, and there's something that happens in the closing paragraphs that you can't know everything about -- but you will soon into episode 10. But those are different from being aware that there's a lot going on and you don't get to see or know about it.

 

This takes place in the shadow of the events of last week's episode, kicking off mere hours later, and carries you at a great pace through the next events.

 

Adechike and Ojo have a confrontation about their nation's actions (and some of Ojo's) and I found myself rooting for the junior warden -- not something I'd have expected even a week ago. Michiko's investigation bears some fantastic fruit. Takeshi learned more than he expected to -- and possibly kicks off another sub-plot (who doesn't want one so close to the end?). And the other wardens find themselves forced to react to the embryonic war.

 

This far into the series, it continues to be difficult to talk about the events without ruining things for people who have yet to start the series, so hopefully this was enough. This was a very strong entry -- the strongest since episode 4 or 5, and one that bodes well for the end of this season.

 

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/06/15/born-to-the-blade-1-9-assassination-by-malka-ann-older-many-things-happen-some-even-positive-in-this-very-strong-entry-to-the-season
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review 2018-06-12 02:15
Pretty much everything goes wrong for everyone
Refugees - Malka Older

Argh. I just don't know what to say here -- clearly, this should've posted on Friday, but I only got one sentence down that I didn't delete. This is only posting today because I didn't let myself cut anything. This episode is too short, I think. When I consider everything I want to complain about, it all boils down to length (I'm not even seeing page counts on Amazon/Goodreads for the last couple of these). I do think the episode length is a legitimate problem, but at the same time, it's part of the design of the series, so I should just shut up about it.

 

Which is just a long way of saying, I think I liked this episode, but I'm not sure -- it sure didn't satisfy my need as a reader to get a chunk of story big enough to appreciate what's happening around these characters. I'm not saying these need to clock in at 250 pages or anything. Just 10-20% more?

 

Which is a crying shame -- because there's real opportunity in these pages for Michiko and Kris to get something done (both to help their people and the readers who like them as characters), but there wasn't time. Ojo doesn't seem like the same man anymore -- which is completely understandable, but I'm having to do too much surmising to get to my understanding. I did like Adechike's portion of this episode -- that was really well done.

 

Oh, and Lavinia continues to be just the worst person in this world. but that's not a surprise, really.

 

The action here revolves around this world preparing for the looming war -- I get why the characters don't know what actually happened to set off the conflict, but it'd be cool to let the readers in on the secret. There's preparations for war -- both in getting fighting forces ready, and refugees from affected/soon to be affected areas streaming into Twaa-Fei. Which is going pretty horribly -- between the stress that an influx of refugees brings to an area and a healthy dose of subterfuge on someone's part.

 

Speaking of Twaa-Fei, I'd have preferred to see more examples of this compact on between the nations working (however well it actually functions) before seeing it on the verge of collapse. It's hard to appreciate just what they're close to losing without seeing it more.

 

I'm still in this 'til the end, I think I'm still enjoying this -- but I feel the authors are holding out on us, which bothers me. I'm trusting they'll win me over (again) soon.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/06/11/born-to-the-blade-1-8-refugees-by-malka-ann-older-pretty-much-everything-goes-wrong-for-everyone
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text 2018-06-03 23:57
Fantasy Flights June Meeting - Urban Fantasy
Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older
Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish
Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang
Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst
Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes

The librarian usually sends out links for each months topic. This month, her links include an article titled something like "what is urban fantasy" that only says it's a marketing category and a list of "where to start" that has more male authors than female authors. I, just, I don't know, ya'll. If I were introducing someone to UF, I'd probably talk about the use of noir tropes in contemporary fantasy settings, broken vs unbroken masquerades, and Carrie Vaughn's theory, "these books are symptomatic of an anxiety about women and power." But, sure, here's a dude saying it's meaningless marketing and a list of mostly dudes to read.

 

The other big UF reader in the group is going to be out of town for this one, so I'm trying to psych myself up to deal with a room full of guys all talking about Harry Fucking Dresden. 

 

I'm also bounding myself by recommending in-progress series or stand alone books. A few months back, one of the members asked for recommendations for completed UF series that weren't PNR, and I want to avoid repeats. Okay, he didn't say PNR, he asked for books that weren't all about vampire sex. So at least one person may have some non-Dresden. . . take a deep breathe, Saturdays, you don't want to start another fight in book club.

 

Whatever. I love this genre. 

 

Shadowshaper - Daniel José Older. So far this series has 2 novels and 3 novellas and is dynamite. The protagonist is an artist who discovers her legacy includes channeling spirits into physical forms. She makes her graffiti come alive. Yeah, that's right, I talk all that shit and then start off with a book by a man.

 

Owl and the Japanese Circus - Kristi Charish. Action packed with an unlikable heroine, this series follows an antiquities thief and her vampire hunting cat through endless poor decisions and explosions. I adore that she isn't good with weapons and doesn't have powerful magic abilities. I just recently finished the 4th installment, and the heroine is consistently a train wreck.

 

Zero Sum Game (Russell's Attic) (Volume 1) - SL Huang. Fast paced, plenty of violence, and her magic power is being really good at math. Do I need to go on? 

 

Drink, Slay, Love - Sarah Beth Durst. A teenage vampire gets stabbed by a unicorn and finds herself able to go out in daylight. Her family decides to enroll her in high school so she can lure teens back to the rest of the bloodsuckers. This is a lighthearted, almost rom-com book that is exactly as much fun as my first sentence indicates.

 

Broken Monsters - Lauren Beukes. The protagonists are all human in this not-quite police procedural where strange murders point toward incomprehensible motives.

 

 And I think I'll stop there. I really want to add about 10 more books. We'll see where the night leads.

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review 2018-06-01 07:30
Trade Deal
Trade Deal - Malka Older

After Kris' trial the dust is setting and this episode is bit slower than the last. While it wraps up several outstanding questions from the last episode, it also broadens and expands into new storylines, now that Kris has made it to be a Warden.There was a bit too much exposition for my liking but it didn't matter much. I really like this serial so far, I'm curious to see where it is going.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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