Re: Apotheosis is a fun popcorn read that delivers on its premise of bringing Japanese and western media characters to life and having them meet their creators, with varied reactions - leading to an intense “us vs them” battle. The beginning is a little slow, and the characters' reactions to finding out they’re fictional often feel a bit unrealistic, but once you get past the setup the pace picks up quite quickly and the novel is engaging with excellent action scenes and lovable (or love-to-hate-them) protagonists.
Nightwatch Over Windscar continues The Weep series, with all of the strengths of the first (Nightwatch on the Hinterlands) and not a single bit of mid-series downturn. Iari and Gaer are back, and Gaer’s chapters continue to be my favorite (and we also get a bonus Char chapter partway through!) Eason sustains character voices masterfully, and as in Hinterlands it’s delightful to see Iari and Gaer adapt each other’s speech patterns.
From video game and anime music to holographic displays to Asian food, Light From Uncommon Stars takes the reader on a journey that encompasses all of the senses, with picturesque descriptions that fully immerse you in Southern California. And both the characters and the story that accompany the setting do it complete justice. Katrina’s experiences in particular are intense, and I definitely cried for her at a couple points, both sad tears and happy tears.
The Goblin Emperor is one of those few novels that makes me regret giving out five-star ratings to so many things that I’ve read, because it doesn’t let me adequately express how much I enjoyed this masterpiece. It came highly recommended by the /r/fantasy subreddit, and it did not disappoint in any way. Maia makes a wonderful protagonist, newly and quite unexpectedly made Emperor after a tragic airship disaster killed his father and three older brothers. He is quite unprepared for this turn of events, uneducated about courtly matters or how to rule a country, and needs to learn all of these things immediately.
Saint Death’s Daughter is an elaborate family drama centered around the Stoneses, a line of royal assassins and necromancers. The current necromancer Stones is Miscellaneous Stones, known as Lanie, who grows up isolated from the rest of her family (to keep her safe from their influence, as she’s allergic to death and violence, including mentions and intentions of it) and tormented by her older sister Nita.
There’s a lot of symbolism and metaphor; some of it is literary, some of it philosophical, and some of it religious. The book starts out as a magical school plot, with some possibly-snarky societal critique of baroque application processes and studying requirements in modern universities. Then things start to get…extremely weird (they were already weird).
N.K. Jemisin is known for being a master of worldbuilding, and her reputation is absolutely, definitely, no question deserved. The worldbuilding in The Broken Earth is incredible. But…I kind of hated everything else about the trilogy. The second-person narration was unbelievably annoying, the plot was uninteresting, and I don’t particularly like reading plots that involve coerced breeding, even if they make a lot of sense in a very well-explained world that does have excellent worldbuilding.
With zero-indexed titles and a protagonist named Ada Liu (after Ada Lovelace) who’s a Coder, I was pretty excited for Zeroth Law - and Ada’s half of the novel was indeed as entertaining as expected. Sadly, I found her co-protagonist Isavel’s arc to be rather generic and boring, and decided not to continue with the series after book 1 because half the chapters made me want to stop reading.
From its frenetic pacing to its video-game-NPC dialogue to its uncomfortably erotic torture scene, A Hunter Among Wolves has a lot of issues. This probably should have been a DNF, but the one thing it does have going for it is that it’s short enough to not be too big a time investment so I figured I may as well finish it so I could write a full review and see if it got any better (it did not).
To be honest, the more I think about Meet Me in Another Life, the more holes I see in it and less I’m satisfied with it. The ending does not make very much sense and I’ve become more and more bothered by it. However, much of it is very sweet, and I did enjoy most of it quite a bit while I was reading it.