sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
This is the last of my read-in-2016 books to post!

Ursula Vernon (under her penname T. Kingfisher) released this story as an online serial over the last several months, and it ended on December 29. It was wonderful following it as a serial, with new updates to look forward to twice a week! And when I read the last part it was weird to think that was actually over.

It's a portal fantasy, and stars a girl named Summer who gets sent to the magical world of Orcus by Baba Yaga in search of her heart's desire. She meets friends, but she also meets awful things happening. The whole thing is done with Vernon's usual depth and soul, as well as her usual delightful quirkiness, and the combination of these things makes for a wonderful book. In the early stages of release, Vernon seemed to be somewhat nervous about presenting this book to the world, thinking it maybe too odd to really work for people, but: it works. It really works. It's wonderful.

It's hard to know how to talk about this book in more detail though, because I was reading it for months, so a lot of the details were already fuzzy by the time I got to the end. But I highly recommend it, and you can read the whole thing here.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
This is a collection of fairy tale-related short stories and poems, many of which T. Kingfisher had earlier posted on her blog as Ursula Vernon. So a number of these stories I'd read before, but some were new to me, and at any rate I don't object to rereading a good short story!

I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the stories and poems in this book. Kingfisher's just so good at writing stories with emotional impact, striking details, and thoughtfulness. And with both love for and a critical eye towards the fairy tales she's riffing on.

There were only two entries that gave me an "eh" reaction, those being Night and Odd Season. Everything else was really great!

In my opinion the strongest entries were the bluebeard story, the loathly lady story, and the snow white story. And the titular story, Toad Words.

Dang though, I just want to read T. Kingfisher's fairy tale reimaginings forever and now I'm out of ebooks to buy! I hope she writes/publishes more soon.
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
You guys this book is so gooooood

And okay there are many things to squee about but let me start with everything is spoilers, whoops )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Sings-to-Trees!!! Gosh I love the dude. I was first introduced to him when Ursula Vernon* posted about him to her livejournal, lo these many years ago. And now he's in book form! Along with a bunch of goblins.

(Here's a round-up of what Vernon posted about Sings-to-Trees back in the day, all of which is definitely worth reading; incidentally, my god, I've been following Vernon's online activity for more than a DECADE. )

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
It's like this book was written JUST FOR ME and it is SO GOOOOOOD.

It's a retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Snow Queen", which was one of my favourite fairy tales when I was a kid. I reread that story about a million times! And unlike things like Cinderella it's not a story that anybody ever bothers doing a retelling of or deconstruction of or analysis of (I'm not counting Frozen because like hell is that actually connected in any meaningful way with The Snow Queen, whatever Disney says).

But T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon) manages to capture in this book everything I loved about the original story while also making it BETTER.

Read more... )
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
Okay, here's some really brief reviews of the latest three books I've read. (...you'll notice I haven't been posting a lot of book reviews of late. This is because I haven't been reading a lot of books. It's weird and it sucks and I hate it and I don't know how to fix it. I've only read 4 books, one of which is novella-length, since the beginning of 2016!)

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison

Writing reviews of books that I unreservedly love everything about is a lot harder than writing books where I have complaints. Especially writing reviews of a reread of a book I love. What is there to say?

Well, here's something. After I finished rereading this book, I was trying to think about what I like so much about it. And I mean there are lots of things, both big overarching things and lots of small choices that were made, that all come together and add up to why I love it to the degree I do. But one thing I realized is.....its main theme has a surprising amount in common with my perennial feel-good reread, The Blue Castle.

thematic spoilers for Goblin Emperor and Blue Castle, no details )


The Seventh Bride, by T. Kingfisher

T. Kingfisher is a penname for Ursula Vernon, to keep her books for adults distinct from her books for kids. As Kingfisher she tends to write fairy tale retellings. This one is more or less a retelling of Bluebeard, though with fewer dead women, which is always nice.

I loved how the interplay between Rhea and the other wives made for the most important relationships in the book. And I loved the depth of complexity that Maria ended up having, more than I expected her to!

I don't seem to have a lot else to say about this book though. It was good and I liked it, the end? I guess?


The Terracotta Bride, by Zen Cho
I loved it and had a lot of feelings! And I wish I'd written more down immediately after finishing because I can no longer remember my thoughts in enough detail to write a more comprehensive review than this!
sophia_sol: drawing of Combeferre, smiling and holding up a finger like he's about to explain something (Default)
The author's note at the back references Eva Ibbotson, and with good reason. This book definitely shares a lot of characteristics with Ibbotson - but with the notable difference that it doesn't have any of Ibbotson's recurring problematic themes. And it has the extra bonus of having all of Vernon's particular charm and strengths. So, like, Ibbotson but better. Which is exactly what I want out of middle grade fantasy so I am delighted!

Read more... )

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