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!
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker-Chan
Mulan meets The Song of Achilles; an accomplished, poetic debut of war and destiny, sweeping across an epic alternate China.
“I refuse to be nothing…”
In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother's identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu uses takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother's abandoned greatness.
A lush, fresh literary voice merges with commercial appeal in this accomplished debut. Powerful and poetic, beautiful and brutal, She Who Became the Sun is a bold reimagining of the rise of the founding emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
I’ve got to admit, I’m not loving this, but it’s not the book’s fault. I’m coming to the realisation that I might just not enjoy Epic Fantasy anymore. Probably doesn’t help that at least so far, this reads more like Historical Fiction than anything else – there’s been no magic, so it’s all just…monasteries and then soldiers and I don’t really care???
I don’t want to DNF this one, but I will if magic doesn’t show up soon.
WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?House of the Patriarch by Barbara Hambly
No one can talk to the dead . . . can they? Free man of color Benjamin January gets caught up in a strange, spiritual world that might lead to his own demise, as he hunts for a missing teenager in this gripping, atmospheric historical mystery.
New Orleans, 1840. Freshly home from a dangerous journey, that last thing Benjamin January wants to do is leave his wife and young sons again. But when old friends Henri and Chloe Viellard ask for his help tracking down a missing girl in distant New York, he can't say no.
Three weeks ago, seventeen-year-old Eve Russell boarded a steam-boat - and never got off it. Mrs Russell is adamant Eve's been kidnapped, but how could someone remove a teenager from a crowded deck in broad daylight? And why would anyone target Eve?
The answer lies in New York, a hotbed of new religions and beliefs, of human circuses and freak shows . . . and of blackbirders, who'll use any opportunity to kidnap a free man of color and sell him into slavery. January's determined to uncover the truth, but will he ever be able to return to New Orleans to share it?
Barbara Hambly’s writing is so beautiful, and since I’ve read all her fantasy books, I’m willing to read her historical fiction as well. I’ve got to admit that I didn’t enjoy House of the Patriarch that much, though; definitely a weaker installment in her Benjamin January series. (Which is, on the whole, excellent; this is a weird outlier).
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?A Pale Light in the Black (NeoG #1) by K.B. Wagers
Representation: Queer cast
Genres: Sci Fi, Queer Protagonists
The rollicking first entry in a unique science fiction series that introduces the Near-Earth Orbital Guard—NeoG—a military force patrolling and protecting space inspired by the real-life mission of the U.S. Coast Guard.
For the past year, their close loss in the annual Boarding Games has haunted Interceptor Team: Zuma’s Ghost. With this year’s competition looming, they’re looking forward to some payback—until an unexpected personnel change leaves them reeling. Their best swordsman has been transferred, and a new lieutenant has been assigned in his place.
Maxine Carmichael is trying to carve a place in the world on her own—away from the pressure and influence of her powerful family. The last thing she wants is to cause trouble at her command on Jupiter Station. With her new team in turmoil, Max must overcome her self-doubt and win their trust if she’s going to succeed. Failing is not an option—and would only prove her parents right.
But Max and the team must learn to work together quickly. A routine mission to retrieve a missing ship has suddenly turned dangerous, and now their lives are on the line. Someone is targeting members of Zuma’s Ghost, a mysterious opponent willing to kill to safeguard a secret that could shake society to its core . . . a secret that could lead to their deaths and kill thousands more unless Max and her new team stop them.
Rescue those in danger, find the bad guys, win the Games. It’s all in a day’s work at the NeoG.
I was approved for an arc of the sequel, I didn’t manage to write a review the first time I read Pale Light, and I’ve been feeling kind of down and want to read something feel-good, which Pale Light is (albeit not the same kind of feel-good as the Wayfarer series! Quite different kinds of sci fi, but related. Cousins to each other, maybe).
I’m crossing my fingers that I can take a lot of notes and write a worthy review this time!
Here endeth the weekly check-in! What are you reading this week?