Children of Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi)

Children of Blood and Bone is the first novel in the Legacy of Orisha trilogy by Tomi Adeyemi.
Finished on: 25.4.2018

Plot:
In Orisha, there are two kinds of people: the maji and the kosidán. The latter rule over the former, keeping them firmly under thumb even as they fear their magical abilities. But ever since King Saran killed almost all maji, magic hasn’t really been an issue anymore. The remaining maji like Zélie are maji in name only, recognizable by their white hair, but without magic powers. As fate will have it, Zélie, her brother Tzain and none other but the princess Amari find themselves on their way to restore magic to Orisha, in possession of a magical scroll and pursued by Amari’s brother Inan.

I enjoyed reading Children of Blood and Bone but I’m a little torn about it. I wanted it to be a little more revolutionary than it was.

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Die Flut (Ulrike Schmitzer)

Die Flut is a novella by Ulrike Schmitzer. As far as I know, it hasn’t been translated, but the title means The Flood.
Finished on: 12.4.2018

Plot:
Red mud has flooded the land, covering pretty much everything. Any human who touches it, turns black, as if coated in paint. Fearing an epidemic, that the blackness might spread, not knowing whether it has an effect apart from the change in looks, hard measures are being taken to control and quarantine the affected. In this situation, a farmer is looking for his grandson. And he has to hurry – not just because the situation becomes increasingly dangerous for everybody, but also because his skin has started to change and if anybody realizes that, he’ll be in big trouble.

Die Flut is a slim volume and gives us a taste of a very unusual worldbuilding and a generally interesting writer. It’s the first thing I read by Schmitzer, but I’ll be sure to check out what else she’s done.

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The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

The Hate U Give is a novel by Angie Thomas.
Finished on: 7.4.2018

Plot:
Starr lives in the rather poor, mostly black neighborhood of Garden Heights. But she has been attending the richer, white prep school a little outside of Garden Heights for a while, so she has been out of touch a lot with her childhood friends. So when she attends a party in Garden Heights and she runs into her former best friend Khalil, she is overjoyed. When the police come to break up their party, Khalil gives Starr a ride home. And then the police stop them for a traffic check – an encounter that Khalil doesn’t survive: he is shot by the police officer. Starr is left traumatized and the only witness – and she has to figure out how to deal with both facts.

The Hate U Give is an impressive book – a vibrant story with great characters and many small, important and big, important details that dissect racial relations and racism in the USA way beyond police killings of black people.

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Superheldinnen (Barbi Marković)

Superheldinnen [translates as Superheroines] is a novel by Barbi Marković:
Finished on: 20.3.2018
[Here’s my review of the stage adaptation.]

Plot:
Every Saturday, three women come together in a Viennese café to pool their powers and send good vibes to the people who deserve and need them. They have strict rules for that which means that they’re able to keep working together, even though they couldn’t be any more different. In fact, the only things they seem to have in common are that none of them were born in Austria, and that they all have powers. But on this particular Saturday, all three of them have some kind of deviation from their usual procedure in mind.

Superheldinnen is an ambitious novel that captured my attention. Albeit it not succesful in everything that it attempts, it is an enjoyable read that has interesting things to say.

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Kindred (Octavia E. Butler)

Kindred is a novel by Octavia E. Butler.
Finished on: 20.2.2018

Plot:
On her 26th birthday, Dana is supposed to celebrate with her white husband Kevin. Instead, Dana is pulled back in time to the 19th century. She sees a boy drowning and saves his life before she comes back to the present. But she can barely process what happened before she gets pulled back again to find the boy a little older. Somehow her fate seems to be intertwined with his. But a black woman on an antebellum plantation is in a precarious position to say the least.

Kindred is a fascinating, well-written, smart book that really takes the system of slavery apart – and in a way that makes for an amazing page-turner.

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Die Judenbuche [The Jew’s Beech] (Annette von Droste-Hülshoff)

Die Judenbuche is a novella by Annette von Droste-Hülshoff.
Finished on: 2.2.2018

Plot:
Friedrich grows up under tough circumstances with an alcoholic, abusive father. Even after his father dies and he is adopted by his uncle Simon, Friedrich grows up to become a very hard man who is followed around everywhere by Johannes, Simon’s illegitimate son. When a group of wood thieves turn more violent, Friedrich is involved. And when a Jewish man, Aaron, is murderd, Friedrich is also implicated.

Die Judenbuche is an interesting novella that I think could have even profited from being expanded into a novel. In any case the slim volume does carry quite a punch already.

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Behind the Mask: A Superhero Anthology (Ed. by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson)

Behind the Mask is an anthology of superhero stories edited by Tricia Reeks and Kyle Richardson.
Finished on: 29.1.2018
[I won this book as an uncorrected ARC in a Librarything Early Reviewer giveaway.]

Behind the Mask is a very entertaining anthology. Of course, there are stories that worked better for me than others, but overall, I had a lot of fun with the various takes on superheroes in this, stretching from origin stories to questions of inheritance, from every day obstacles to big fights.

After the jump, there’s more about each of the stories separately.

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Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes (Steph Swainston)

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes is a collection of moments, scenes and vignettes that are part of the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 29.1.2017

“Plot”:
Wrought Gothic collects various glimpses into the background of the Fourlands in differing forms. There are some outtakes, a few descriptions from a tour guide, a history essay by Simoon, and a look at Jant’s past.

Wrought Gothic and Other Scenes provides us with some nice background information of the world of the Fourlands and some of its characters, but not everything worked all that well for me. Still, as a supplement of this complex world, it was nice.

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Aftermath (Steph Swainston)

Aftermath is kind of a novella in the Fourlands Series by Steph Swainston. It’s actually a first look at the next novel in the Series, The Savant and the Snake which hasn’t been released yet, and includes some bonus material.
[Here are my reviews of the other books.]
Finished on: 27.1.2017

Plot:
After the events of Fair Rebel, there are a lot of pieces to be picked up. When Gayle, the Castle’s Lawyer, wakes up from her injuries, Simoon, the Castle’s Treasurer, is already waiting for her. He is deeply unsettled by events and tries to find his footing again. He talks things through with Gayle, trying to figure out how to go on from there.

Aftermath is short and probably mostly for more committed fans of the series, with the background information and the glimps of what’s to come it provides. I really enjoyed it.

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Silver Silence (Nalini Singh)

Silver Silence is the first novel of the Psy-Changeling Trinity Series (or the 16th novel of the Psy-Changeling Series) by Nalini Singh.
Finished on: 21.1.2018
[Here are my reviews of the other books in the Psy-Changeling series.]

Plot:
Psy, changelings and humans have come together under the Trinity Accords. The peace and cooperation treaty is still in its infancy, but Silver Mercant plays a central part as the coordinator of a joint emergency response network. That’s exactly why somebody tries to kill her. It’s only due to chance (and his growing obsession with her) that Valentin, alpha of the bear changelings, catches wind of the attempt. He knows that Silver needs a place to lie low and he can give it to her. And maybe he can give her even more.

Silver Silence is the start of a new story arc of the Psy-Changeling books – officially the start of Season 2. Having followed the series from the beginning, I can’t say that I feel much of a break between Season 1 and Season 2, but that doesn’t matter because it achieves again what I’ve come to expect and love from the series.

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