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The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst

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Just fantastic. There is a dearth of broader published fantasy featuring the After. What happens after we win? What happens after the bad guy is vanquished and peace restored? How to you come back from that? Can a person come back whole and unmarred after the trials of war? How far would you go to regain whatever it was you lost? Sarah Beth Durst examines the After with such skill that I am still in awe three days later. In a modern publishing cycle where plucky 18yr old's gaining powers and saving the world runs rampant, it was a delight to journey along with skilled adults who have already Done The Thing. People who are confident and savvy, whose learning curves are more introspective than martial. A study in the relationships forged over decades and the love between people that has already been tested, broken and re-forged. "Getting the band back together" has always been a favorite trope of mine, and The Bone Maker is in great company next to Nicholas Eames'  Kin

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

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Gripping, engaging, suspenseful and frustrating....only in that I need the rest of this series in my hand. Right now. I want it all. Roanhorse does not disappoint; from her creative - yet respectful - use of pre-Columbian native peoples, to the world building (a magical pet! And it is GIANT!) and the political scheming of her characters at every level. Throwing the reader right into the plot, Roanhorse manages the truly impressive in launching in medias res across four seemingly disparate plot lines. Though they are quickly intertwined - whether through geography or over-arching schema - each voice stands on its own: a sea captain left to dry out in prison, a priest pulled onto a riverbank, a young boy on the verge of becoming something more, and a military man whose peaceful days are interrupted by tragedy. Each faced with impossible challenges and decisions that must be made in order to ensure the world as they know it or wish it to be does not fail. Black Sun 's pacing is whipl

The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher

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  T. Kingfisher continues to delight with a horror entry that kept me from reading into the wee hours of the night... mainly because I was afraid a portal to a creepy, nightmare dimension would open up in my bedroom and let the roots in. I first came across T. Kingfisher's books following a twitter suggestion from author Angela Boord (whose knockout novel Fortune's Fool is well  worth your time) and proceeded to tear through Swordheart  and Paladin's Grace  at an embarrassingly swift pace. Both are lovely studies in romantic fantasy and laugh-out-loud funny, so I was not sure what to expect from a horror novel by the same author. To be honest, I am a little mad at myself for doubting Kingfisher at all. The Hollow Places  is a grab you by the collar rollercoaster of a read. Engaging, terrifying, and just as laugh-out-loud funny as her romance entries have proven to be. Moments of suspense are  balanced with a necessary levity and humor that readers of Kingfisher have come

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H. G. Parry

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A  sweeping, tour de force retelling of the Jacobins, the Reign of Terror, slave rebellion, the burgeoning rights of man, and did I mention the magicians? It is always fun to imagine what the world would be like if keystone events played out while navigating the addition of magic. In A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians , H. G. Parry does admirable work in re-imagining post-colonial war Britain against the rising tide of revolution across the channel. Enlisting notable figures from history, she imbues some with power while others remain plainly mortal (and oft time those pose the greatest threat). With prose that reminds me of my days spent reading Motions to Compel and drafting legal correspondence, A Declaration treats the reader to the same florid storytelling they enjoyed in The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep , all-the-while casting an animated humanity on figures whose roles in history have been cast in ink across the pages of middle school history books world over. It is no e

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

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Ever read a book that leaves you at an absolute loss in your current scope of knowledge, hungering for more but unsure of where to even begin sating that clawing need? I need more of Rabbit, Chih and Almost Brilliant. I need In-Yo’s quiet smiles and I need to understand the spreading depths of the tradition and lore from which The Empress of Salt and Fortune unfolds, but most of all I need to discuss the rebellions and relationships Vo weaves together in a gorgeous text which manages to be concise yet sweeping at the same time. A catalogue, a history, a tactical guide and spiders web; Vo’s debut novella grasps you by the lapels and rips you from the modern world, all the while wrapping you in an eiderdown comforter and kissing you goodnight. It is a fairy tale and a lullaby, a portrait of resilience and an ode to the quiet strengths of women who bide their time and reap vast reward. Simply. Beautiful. For fans of: Circe , The Priory of the Orange Tree , The Life of an Amorou

The Glamourist by Luanne G. Smith

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Having torn through The Vine Witch over the course of a rainy Saturday and been left with the itch for a bottle of nice red and a fat coil knit hygge blanket, I jumped at the chance to read Luanne G. Smith’s second foray into her world of witches. And what a delightful read it was! To be blunt, The Glamourist  is a sequel just as cozy and endearing as it's sister novel and succeeds  on two fronts: Firstly, The Glamourist hits all the same, satisfying notes as its predecessor; the women are strong, bold and interesting. The world is creatively re-tuned into an alternate turn-of-the-century France successfully navigating the space between the familiar (Montmartre! L’Opera Garnier! The Latin Quarter!) while pulling the curtain further back in the reveal that this is not our own Paris. The men support our leads with an endearing sense of bafflement at the magic they do not understand and for once we have a potential mother-in-law with whom I, for one, would love to share a bottl

Queens of the Wyrd by Timandra Whitecastle

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To begin a review of Timandra Whitecastle’s Queens of the Wyrd , one must reference the very moment in which this book blipped on their radar, immediately sending them to Amazon.com: Moms? Viking Moms? A riff on Nicholas Eames’ glorious Kings of the Wyld ? WITH LADIES? Y’all, I don’t think I have ever gotten myself to Amazon and clicked ‘purchase’ faster in my life. Now, happily resting on my laurels on the other side of this novel, I’m pleased to report that Queens of the Wyrd was well-worth the hype I had built up in my head. Whitecastle had already impressed with her Living Blade trilogy (+ novella), and so as a reader I had been eagerly awaiting more of her work. Queens of the Wyrd delivered in such a heart-rending, just as epic-but-in-no-way-similar fashion. Perhaps it is due in part to the fact I am a mother and find myself looking back on prior years and wondering, “What happened?” Perhaps it is because I’m a sucker for all things Ragnarok and the delicious habi