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“Spinning Starlight” an Imaginative, if Inconsistent, Sci-Fi

The author of Stitching Snow, (Snow White in space with cobbled-together droids as the dwarves, a deeply underrated favorite of mine) returns with an inventive science fiction fairy tale retelling in Spinning Starlight, an alien-rich, portal-traveling take on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Wild Swans.” Though the tale lacks the conviction and focus of Stitching Snow, … Continue reading ““Spinning Starlight” an Imaginative, if Inconsistent, Sci-Fi”

I Gently Entreat You To Read “The Book of Three”

With a 60th anniversary in the offing, Lloyd Alexander’s 1964 The Book of Three is predictably familiar, having been published only ten years after The Lord of the Rings‘ inaugural volume, in an era before we as a society collectively ran archetypal, medieval-inspired, hero’s journey quest fantasy into the ground. I say this lovingly, for … Continue reading “I Gently Entreat You To Read “The Book of Three””

A Story Imprisoned by Style in “Furthermore”

“Ferenwood had been built on color,” Tahereh Mafi writes of her protagonist, Alice’s, magical homeland in her middle grade debut. “Bursts of it, swaths of it, depths and breadths of it.” What seems a surprising new direction after her gritty, post-apocalyptic Shatter Me series actually, considering Mafi’s lush, lyrical writing in her excursion into sci-fi, … Continue reading “A Story Imprisoned by Style in “Furthermore””

“Gretchen and the Bear” A Botched Experiment in Genre

Where science fiction and fantasy meet, there is an estuary of richness to be had––whether it’s industry making waves in a world of magic (The Legend of Korra, Shadow and Bone), sorcery that works like science (Trial by Fire), or vice versa (Crewel), these genres aren’t quite as at odds as it would initially seem––in … Continue reading ““Gretchen and the Bear” A Botched Experiment in Genre”

“Instant Karma” An Instantly Charming Summer Romance

Marissa Meyer’s prolific collection of gallivanting sci-fi (Cinder, Renegades) makes a contemporary set in a tiny coastal town a surprising choice, but her disarming use of character and a witty but completely sincere approach to writing it make the genre a natural fit for a writer whose domain is normally superheroes and spaceships. Meyer’s lead … Continue reading ““Instant Karma” An Instantly Charming Summer Romance”

“Wings of Ebony” A Promising Idea That Can’t Take Flight

You’ve likely heard a story with the makings of Wings of Ebony before: girl has hidden godly and/or magical heritage, crisis sends her past careening into the present, magical world welcomes her with varying degrees of open arms, all is not what it seems. A setup like this is a perennial refrain in young adult … Continue reading ““Wings of Ebony” A Promising Idea That Can’t Take Flight”

Space is Darker Than Imagined in “The Weight of the Stars”

In Wicker King author K. Ancrum’s new book, a girl named Ryann Bird, forced to reckon with difficult circumstances after the deaths of her parents, meets a new arrival to her nowhere-town, Alexandria, who has painful connections to a Voyager-like deep-space mission. As she begins to fall in love with her, and learn the truth … Continue reading “Space is Darker Than Imagined in “The Weight of the Stars””

“Rule of Wolves” a Tepid Finale With Too-Easy Answers

The Grishaverse, fantasy author Leigh Bardugo’s expansive, multi-series magical work, is fast becoming too unwieldy to pitch in one sentence. Rule of Wolves, its most recent installment, is six books in the making and the sequel to King of Scars, a spinoff that follows the young and unready King of Ravka, Nikolai Lantsov, as his … Continue reading ““Rule of Wolves” a Tepid Finale With Too-Easy Answers”

If You Love These Books, You’ll Love These Albums

Even if you don’t listen to music as you read, the creative realms of fiction and music are deeply intertwined––look no further than an author’s Spotify playlists. It’s hard to pin down what makes the atmosphere of a book so captivating, but I find that a musical analogue is often the perfect basis for comparison. … Continue reading “If You Love These Books, You’ll Love These Albums”