May releases I’m intrigued about

Here’s my list of May anticipated releases, I know this is going up a bit late but better late than sorry! As always, this list is a just a small(ish) selection,  I haven’t mentioned all the books I’m intrigued about and I’m sure I missed a number of great ones. However, I love gushing about shiny new books and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do so.  It’s not a TBR by any means though I really want to read those!

Science Fiction

 

The Undefeated—Una McCormack (May 14, Tor.com Publishing)

She was a warrior of words.
As a journalist she exposed corruption across the Interstellar Commonwealth, shifting public opinion and destroying careers in the process.
Long-since retired, she travels back to the planet of her childhood, partly through a sense of nostalgia, partly to avoid running from humanity’s newest–and self-created–enemy, the jenjer.
Because the enemy is coming, and nothing can stand in its way.

 

You know I always need to feature at least one Tor.Com novella in my monthly posts! I’m excited about this one because I have a thing for political thriller science fiction stories. I don’t know a lot about this one, I haven’t read any reviews yet but I would like to read it asap!

 

Children of Ruin (Children of Time #2)—Adrian Tchaikovsky (May 14, Orbit)

Thousands of years ago, Earth’s terraforming program took to the stars. On the world they called Nod, scientists discovered alien life – but it was their mission to overwrite it with the memory of Earth. Then humanity’s great empire fell, and the program’s decisions were lost to time.
Aeons later, humanity and its new spider allies detected fragmentary radio signals between the stars. They dispatched an exploration vessel, hoping to find cousins from old Earth.
But those ancient terraformers woke something on Nod better left undisturbed.

I read and absolutely loved Children of Time when it was published so I’m very, very excited about the sequel! I’m not sure it needed a sequel, the first book was a great standalone, but I loved the world so much that I’m looking forward to reading another story set in it!

 

Fantasy

 

Middlegame—Seanan McGuire (May 7, Tor.com Publishing)

Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of story.

Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.

Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realise it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.

Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.

Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained

 

I tend to like Seanan McGuire books (even if I DNF’d the last one I read) so I’m willing to give it a try! At first glance, I thought it was a novella but it’s actually not: it’s a 500+ pages book. As always with McGuire, the premise is amazing!

 

A Brightness Long Ago—Guy Gavriel Kay (May 14, Berkley)

In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count–and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast. 

Danio’s fate changed the moment he saw and recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one autumn night–intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger–and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.

Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.

 

I’m sooo excited about this! I read and really liked Children of Earth and Sky a few years ago and I’ve been meaning to read more books by Kay ever since. Historical fantasy is one of my favorite genre and few writers can pull it off as well as Guy Gavriel Kay. 😀

 

What are some of your most anticipated releases this month? 🙂

April Wrap-Up & May Reading Plans

I survived my midterm exams!

pizza yes GIF

However, as I mentionned last month, school stuff prevented me from reading a lot. The beginning of the month was great but, toward the end, I didn’t manage to read a single page. I’m still happy with what I read anyway, I hope next month will be better reading-wise but since I have two groups projects due plus a week long event organised by my student organization.. well, we’ll see!

Also, I didn’t get to write a post about the BSFA so I’ll do a quick update here. I wanted to read all the novels and the short works nominated, but I didn’t get to everything in the end: I only read the novels and half of the short works.

Embers of War won the Best Novel category and Time Was won the Short Work category! I’m happy with the winners, the novel shortlist was amazing so I would have been happy with any of them really. Time Was was also a good one though not as good as Nina Allan’s The Gift of Angels: an introduction in my opinion. I understand why it won, I won’t complain too much but still, it’s a bit unfair to compare novellas to short stories or novelettes…

Anyway, congrats to all the winners!

Books Read

  • New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl ★★★★
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 26: January/February 2019 ★★
  • Europe at Dawn (The Fractured Europe Sequence, #4) ★★★★
  • Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 149 ★★★
  • Time Was by Ian McDonald ★★★ 1/2

As you can see, April was a short fiction-heavy month, I tend to read more short stories when I’m very busy. They’re easy to squeeze in a busy day! 😀

Reviews Posted

Not many as you can see… I hope I’ll catch up a bit this month.

Favorite Read

What a great little collection! I don’t always love anthologies because they usually tend to be mixed bags but this one was very good. I really liked most of the stories and I discovered a lot fo authors I never heard of before!

DNF

37699659

It was a short fiction nominee for the BSFA and it didn’t work for me at all. It’s a very short novella but it took me a week to read the first 30 pages… The writing was okay but I was confused and I couldn’t care less about the story. I read about 30% of it and it was enough for me.

Currently Reading & Tentative TBR

I’m currently reading the January/February issue of Interzone and I also just started String City by Graham Edwards. So far, the world is really cool but I’m not convinced by the main character. I don’t know, I only read 10% of the book so my opinion will probably change.

Here are the other things I would like to read:

  • The Last Tsar’s Dragons by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple

  • Miranda in Milan by Katharine Duckett
  • Clarkesworld #150
  • Apex Magazine #117

I hope I’ll be able to read more than that but we’ll see! 🙂

 

How was your month? 😀

Book Review : The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

40642333

Genre : Historical Fantasy

Publisher : Grove Press

Length : 403 pages

Format : eARC

Rating : 3 stars

Publication Date : March 12th 2019

 

 

 

Publisher’s description

Set in 1491 during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, The Bird King is the story of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker. 

Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?

As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.

Book Review

 

Set in 1491 in Granada, The Bird King is a historical fantasy book following the fall of the last Muslim emirate of Spain. Fatima is one of the many king’s concubines, she’s also a slave: her mother died while giving birth to her shortly after being bought off. She resents the way she’s treated by everyone, for most people, she’s nothing more than a beautiful thing, her worth is similar to the worth of a pretty chair. She knows she could be sold off at any moment if the king found a nicer looking toy to play with. Since she’s a concubine and a slave, she doesn’t have a lot of freedom. However, she’s not going to let that stop her from meeting her one and only friend, Hassan.  He is the royal mapmaker and he has a very peculiar talent: he shapes reality when he draws.

Because of his powers, Hassan is seen as a sorcerer, he’s tolerated by the king because his tricks are the only reason the emirate is still standing. However, the Christians are now at the doors of the palace and the king doesn’t really care to protect Hassan anymore. Fatima isn’t going to let her only friend be killed off to appease the court. If saving him means giving up everything she knows, she’s going to do it, no matter the cost.

 

The moment I heard about this book, I knew I was going to read it. I love historical fantasy books and the setting was very intriguing! I thought the descriptions were wonderful, I could picture the various places, the characters and the tension perfectly. I really liked the scenes set in Granada but I loved the setting at the end of the book even more. I won’t talk about it in details because it would spoil the intrigue of the book but it was a fantastical place full of wonders!

I also loved the characters, Fatima is fascinating, she isn’t a likable character but she doesn’t have any reasons to be either. She was ignored and hated by a lot of people in the palace and, because of that, she can sometimes appears rash and selfish. However, she’s a complex and layered character, I loved slowly discovering her personality. She’s full of contradictions but she’s not stupid by any means. She made the most of each moment she had as a slave: she speaks different langages, she’s educated and she’s interested by the world outside the palace. She’s also very fierce and she wants to protect her friend as much as possible.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Hassan because he spent a lot of his time complaining but he was also interesting. He and Fatima were very different but they a great dynamic, you could see their friendship on the page, I especially enjoyed the stories they tell each other about The Bird King, the uncompleted poem they heard about when they were children. I also liked the fact that their relationship was strictly platonic, Hassan isn’t into women so he doesn’t see Fatima as a pretty thing.

However, as much as I was really interested by the characters and the setting, I really struggled with the pacing of the book.  I like slow character-driven stories, like The Dollmaker by Nina Allan, however, as much as I like them, this was sloooooooow. More than half of the book is about Fatima and Hassan being pursued by their enemies and it didn’t held my attention for long. I found myself reading and re-reading the same parts because my brain wasn’t focusing at all. After a while, I started to skim the descriptions to only read the dialogues. The descriptions were nice but not particularly interesting or relevant to the plot during this part of the story.

It was a bit frustrating because I loved a lot of aspects but the pacing didn’t work for me at all… However, I think I have an unpopular opinion on this one, I read a couple of reviews and no one seems to find the pacing weird. If you’re intrigued by this book, don’t let my review deter you! It had very interesting elements and themes and even if it didn’t end up working for me, I could see a lot of people liking it. I would still read other works by G. Willow Wilson.

 

3 stars.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Netgalley and Grove Press. All opinions are my own.