ninetalevixen's reviews
2011 reviews

Strike the Zither by Joan He

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To my pleasant surprise, I breezed (pun intended, given the main character’s name is Zephyr) through this one. I went in with tempered expectations since I really liked Descendant of the Crane (still holding out hope for a sequel/ series continuation someday…) but not so much The Ones We’re Meant to Find.

I’m giving Strike the Zither a solid 3 stars even though I was on the fence in the beginning; it picked up around halfway, and although I’m not a fan of the ending (can you say sequel bait, folks?) I do find myself invested enough to probably continue the series — especially since it’s loosely based on one of the Four Classics of Chinese Literature. (I do love a good reimaging.)

[Better review to come ... maybe?] 
Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey

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Did not finish book. Stopped at 31%.
I don't want to throw around the word "propaganda," but it's the term that came to mind while reading this book. (To be fair, it's self-labeled as "A Manifesto," which maybe should have been a warning sign to me.) A lot of words are used but I'm not sure that much meaning is conveyed; there's a lot of generalities and sweeping statements. I'm anti-capitalist and anti-racist, but I can't say that I agree with some of the more extreme claims presented here. 
Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

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Did not finish book. Stopped at 35%.
Atmospheric, check. Faerie lore and academia, check. Multiple intriguing subplots, check.

On the other hand: This is written in the style of Olde English Academic Texts (the kind of book they made you read in high school that you SparkNotes'd instead), which I'm not really into but could potentially get past. The protagonist isn't labeled as autistic but fits the stereotype to a T, including arrogance and lack of empathy, and I'm not about that either.

But the dealbreaker for me is the obvious comp-het romance, which I am REALLY not into. I just don't buy it at all, and I like to think I'm pretty good at suspending disbelief even for romantic development. So added to the above, I'm not gonna be picking this one back up. 
The Jade Setter of Janloon by Fonda Lee

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Somewhere between 3.5 and 4, but I'll round up to offset my bias against the format and my disappointment that my library didn't have a print/ebook edition. 

I kept putting this one off, renewing over and over without ever actually starting it, and I'm honestly not sure why — once I finally hit play, I was immediately reimmersed in Janloon, fascinated by an entirely new perspective and protagonist. I did predict a lot of the reveals, more due to consistent worldbuilding and solid foreshadowing rather than tiresome cliches, and of course the
SpoilerKaul, Maik, and Ayt
cameos hit me in the feels. All in all this was a satisfying addition to the series. 

Last but not least, shoutout to the narrator. Kishino has a lovely "regular" narrating voice as well as fantastic character voices: distinctive, appropriate to each character's personality, without being caricaturistic.
SpoilerHilo and Lan
were particularly charismatic, exactly how I imagine they'd sound. I think I finally understand why other people actively seek out audiobooks narrated by a specific person.
Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire

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Another solid addition to the Wayward Children saga, with great expansions to the lore and to the beloved cast.

This setting was one of my favorites yet: a quirky not-so-little shop, home to lost things, a talking bird, nexus of countless new worlds to explore. Also what I'm pretty sure was a cameo appearance by (view spoiler) that really got me thinking about how the Doors work, beyond what Antsy explicitly finds out.

Maybe it's because I read this in a few sittings rather than straight through as I've tended to do with the previous books, but I felt like the pacing was a little more uneven and the plot a bit denser in comparison — particularly in the last quarter or so. Thematically I found it more ambiguous, too. None of these are failings, per se, but it just felt different than the rest of the series. 

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Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

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Did not finish book.
oops my library loan expired and the holds queue is v. long