Still busy, still reading when I can. This month’s two standouts were two Very Long Boys that I took my time to read. I think it’s still important to read the way you most enjoy it, and so so what that I didn’t read as many books as usual. I loved these two universes and I took my time because I didn’t want to leave them.

City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you are looking for a world that sucks you in and gives you that adrenaline-high of I am so invested I want to stop reading because what if something bad inevitably happens to these characters who have now become my children but also I must keep reading because it is simply so good.

…full review coming soon.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is the kind of old-school action-packed yet deeply human science fiction I love more than any other kind of book. The novel strikes a delicate balance between mystery and good plotting, poignant human stories and heart-pounding action.

I had a few issues with the way the book sometimes felt dated. I always acknowledge when old white male authors of yore are painfully problematic, but Corey is relatively contemporary. He still makes some of the same basic mistakes when writing about women, race, and oppression. Stay in your lane, dude.

Kingdom of he Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

A slam-dunk in the context of its genre. I was very unsure at first, and this novel takes a while to settle into its tone. The beginning, aside from the plot twist, feels a little rough-shapen. The plot also feels a little too tightly packed, and sometimes I was deeply tired on behalf of our main character. Still, the dynamic between central couple in this novel is superb and they have entered into the storied ranks of my comfort characters.

Also, if you like food and cooking, you’ll like this book. I don’t, really, so a lot of the food content went over my head and just impeded the rest of the story.

Death Fugue by Sheng Keyi

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A mind-bending mixture of 1984 and Octavia Butler, Death Fugue is an allegorical juggernaut. It’s intense and incredibly deep, covering a stunning range of philosophy and humanity. I used all my knowledge of the Chinese ancients and modern political philosophy and I still want to go back and read it all again.

But Death Fugue, like any good work of fiction, doesn’t forge the humanity of its characters, and that’s what chilled me. Death Fugue isn’t just profound—it’s also straight-up creepy.

Full review of Sheng’s beautiful writing, this translation, and the novel in general coming soon.

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