Review: The House of Shattered Wings

The House of Shattered Wings
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #20 for 2017
#AWSFF Reading Challenge:
– Locus Award Nominee for Best Fantasy Novel
– British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novel
Personal Challenge Tasks:
– A book about a haunted building
– An award-winning book
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica’s Ultimate Reading Challenge Task: A book based on mythology
PopSugar Challenge Prompts (maximum 3):
– A book by a person of color
– A book based on mythology
– A book about an immigrant or refugee
Better World Books Prompts:
– A book set in a place you want to visit (Paris)
– A fantasy novel
– A book by a person of color
– A book by a female writer
Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge Prompts:
– A book by an immigrant or with a central immigration narrative
– A fantasy novel
GenreLand – April: Thriller & Suspense
Possible Book Bingo Squares:
– A Book with an Award
– A Book with an LGBTQA Character
– A Book by an Author of Color
Follow the Clues: Trail 1, Clue 5

I liked this book quite a lot, yet at the same time, I don’t feel like I got to know it very well. There was all this lush and darkly beautiful world-building, but I got mere glimpses of it out of the corner of my eye as I followed along. To some extent, this is explained by the fact that most of the characters were also feeling their way in the darkness, trying to figure out just how they came to be where they were, but I did not feel a shared journey with any of them. I was constantly held at arm’s length.

Perhaps this is also because the tone of the book was very purposefully Parisian. It is elegant and chilly, with just enough whimsy to keep you from losing interest. De Bodard did a great job with the atmosphere, and most of the time her language was perfectly suited to the setting.

I am a sucker for mythological mashups, so this was right up my alley. I do wish the author had given us a bit more on Philippe’s background, though. I was also disappointed in the murder-mystery aspect of the story. It was there, and it was resolved, but it didn’t feel at all central to the story. Perhaps that is more of a marketing issue, though. There was enough here that I’m interested in reading the next book in the series, but I also can’t help but wonder if maybe I’d be happier with this author’s Obsidian and Blood series.

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Review: 2017 Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards Poetry Contest: Winning Entries

2017 Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards Poetry Contest: Winning Entries
2017 Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards Poetry Contest: Winning Entries by Poudre River Public Library District
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I am a contributor to this collection, and my honorable mention poem appears on page 14. I hope you like it!

Book #19 for 2017
Personal Challenge Task: A book with a cat on the cover
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica’s Ultimate Reading Challenge: A book with multiple authors
PopSugar Challenge Prompt: A book with multiple authors
Better World Books Challenge Task: A book of poetry
Read Harder Challenge Prompt: A book published by a micropress
Book Bingo Possible Squares:
– A book with multiple perspectives
– A book from the library
– A book with multiple authors

I was glad I could attend this year’s awards event. It really makes a difference when you can hear the poets recite their works, even when they have a visual component.

I don’t remember who actually won, but here are my top three picks in each division:
Adult:
“This Man, This Me” by Erik Rock
“The Other Eggs” by Morgan Taylor
“Phases of Our Dying Sun” by Erik Rock
Teen:
“Burning Ballet” by Emma Boice
“Before Dawn” by Gabrielle Nadig
“Glass” by Mariah Reis

This annual collection always boasts great variety and is nice if you’re looking for a quick read. It’s available for free download from the library’s website.

View all my reviews

Review: 2017 Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards Poetry Contest: Winning Entries

2017 Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards Poetry Contest: Winning Entries
2017 Fifth Annual Battle of the Bards Poetry Contest: Winning Entries by Poudre River Public Library District
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I am a contributor to this collection, and my honorable mention poem appears on page 14. I hope you like it!

Book #19 for 2017
Personal Challenge Task: A book with a cat on the cover
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica’s Ultimate Reading Challenge: A book with multiple authors
PopSugar Challenge Prompt: A book with multiple authors
Better World Books Challenge Task: A book of poetry
Read Harder Challenge Prompt: A book published by a micropress
Book Bingo Possible Squares:
– A book with multiple perspectives
– A book from the library
– A book with multiple authors

I was glad I could attend this year’s awards event. It really makes a difference when you can hear the poets recite their works, even when they have a visual component.

I don’t remember who actually won, but here are my top three picks in each division:
Adult:
“This Man, This Me” by Erik Rock
“The Other Eggs” by Morgan Taylor
“Phases of Our Dying Sun” by Erik Rock
Teen:
“Burning Ballet” by Emma Boice
“Before Dawn” by Gabrielle Nadig
“Glass” by Mariah Reis

This annual collection always boasts great variety and is nice if you’re looking for a quick read. It’s available for free download from the library’s website.

View all my reviews

Review: The Color Purple

The Color Purple
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book #18 for 2017
Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge Prompts:
– A book that has been banned or frequently challenged in the USA
– A classic by an author of color
– A book in which a character of color goes on a spiritual journey
– A book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color
Book Bingo Possible Squares:
– A Book-to-Screen Adaptation
– A Book with an Award
– A Book with Multiple Perspectives
– A Banned Book
– A Book with an LGBTQA Character
– A Book with a Female Heroine
– A Book by an Author of Color
– A Book of Letters
Personal Reading Challenge Task: An award-winning book
The Legendary Book Club of Habitica’s Ultimate Reading Challenge: A book of letters or about letters
Better World Books Challenge Prompts:
– A book with a color in the title
– A National Book Award winner
– A banned book
– A book by a person of color
– A book by a female writer
– A book that’s been adapted into a movie
PopSugar Ultimate Reading Challenge Tasks (maximum 3):
– A book of letters
– A book by a person of color
– A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read (family saga)

This isn’t the sort of thing I normally get much out of, and I guess I’ve been reading a lot of unreliable narrators lately, because I kept expecting some weird twist ending, like Nettie was a ghost the entire time or something. (Spoiler: She’s not.) So yeah, the missing 5th star in the rating is totally on me; the book is fine, I recommend it, and I think it’s a damn shame that it gets pulled from high school curricula a lot. And I will just say that I was underwhelmed and occasionally offended by Spielberg’s film adaptation.

I’m not sure what to say about this book that hasn’t already been said a million times. It’s a moving story of African-American women (centered on Celie in particular) in the first half of the 20th century. It’s brutal and depressing, yet uplifting at times and often told with gentle humor. I really liked that part of the story followed Nettie to Africa and provided a unique perspective on the three-way clash of tribal culture, colonialism, and mission work. And throughout the book, Walker shows the broad spectrum of frenemyship and sisterhood that I think any woman can relate to.

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