I’ve decided that, at least for the foreseeable future, I’m going to be participating in WWW Wednesdays, which is a meme hosted over at Taking On a World of Words. To take part, you just answer the three questions below, and link back to TOaWoW! These posts are also where I include my State of the Sia update, which I’ll do my best to keep short.
State of the Sia update: What is there to say? I’ve been in a lot of pain this week, and it’s only Wednesday. But so it goes! I’ve also had a lot of cuddles from our kittens and Chihuahua, and my Cosma Visions oracle arrived yesterday, which I’m seriously excited to unbox.
Now, onto my reading!
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Science Fantasy
Representation: Nonbinary MC, nonbinary secondary characters
Published on: 31st August 2021
In the Watchful City explores borders, power, diaspora, and transformation in an Asian-inspired mosaic novella that melds the futurism of Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station with the magical wonder of Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest.
The city of Ora uses a complex living network called the Gleaming to surveil its inhabitants and maintain harmony. Anima is one of the cloistered extrasensory humans tasked with watching over Ora's citizens. Although ær world is restricted to what æ can see and experience through the Gleaming, Anima takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora safe from all harm.
All that changes when a mysterious visitor enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around the world, with a story attached to each item. As Anima’s world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places—and possibilities—æ never before imagined to exist, æ finds ærself asking a question that throws into doubt ær entire purpose: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?
Listen, all you have to do is mention Catherynne Valente’s name and I am here for whatever it is you’re selling. So far, this is an absolutely wonderful book, with beautiful prose and absolutely fascinating worldbuilding. It’s not really like Palimpsest in any way other than also being about a magical city; it’s its own thing, and its own thing is stunning. I’m going to have a very hard time talking about this one in any way that isn’t just solid exclamation marks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, lesbian secondary character
A dark, twisty modern fairytale where three sisters discover they are not exactly all that they seem and evil things really do go bump in the night.
Iris Hollow and her two older sisters are unquestionably strange. Ever since they disappeared on a suburban street in Scotland as children only to return a month a later with no memory of what happened to them, odd, eerie occurrences seem to follow in their wake. And they’re changing. First, their dark hair turned white. Then, their blue eyes slowly turned black. They have insatiable appetites yet never gain weight. People find them disturbingly intoxicating, unbearably beautiful, and inexplicably dangerous.
But now, ten years later, seventeen-year-old Iris Hollow is doing all she can to fit in and graduate high school on time–something her two famously glamourous globe-trotting older sisters, Grey and Vivi, never managed to do. But when Grey goes missing without a trace, leaving behind bizarre clues as to what might have happened, Iris and Vivi are left to trace her last few days. They aren’t the only ones looking for her though. As they brush against the supernatural they realize that the story they’ve been told about their past is unraveling and the world that returned them seemingly unharmed ten years ago, might just be calling them home.
Sutherland’s prose is absolutely gorgeous, and I love that the story managed to surprise me – I thought I had it all sussed out just from the blurb, but nope, Sutherland creates her own mythology rather than drawing from folklore. The ending left me feeling a bit raw, though. There’s quite a lot of horror elements, and it’s not a story that plays nice, but if that’s okay with you then this is a really beautiful book.
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw
Genres: Sci Fi, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 17th August 2021
A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade... but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir. The highly-evolved AI of the universe have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humans from ever controlling the universe again. This band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all.
Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel is a page-turning exploration of humans and machines that is perfect for readers of Ann Leckie, Ursula Le Guin, and Kameron Hurley.
I think next up is going to be The All-Consuming World, which I only requested at all because Circe Moskowitz a) loved it and b) described the prose as beautiful – and promised that yes, it’s a heist story (which I normally don’t care for) but a pretty damn epic one.
Having taken a peek at the first few pages…I already know I’m going to adore it. The prose!!!
Here endeth the weekly check-in!