Ravens and Empires

It has almost been a year since I started blogging with w&w and every time I start to write one I have to tell myself to stop gushing about books, because what better words than ones put together in tomes? As I went back to see if I can talk some more about books, and that I hadn’t been only doing that the entire ten months, I realized that I not only have terrible memory (which I already knew anyway), but that I also have an insane amount of restraint, because to my surprise I’ve only done two blogs that were recommendations. And so, with permission from myself to me, here’s a couple more books that I hope y’all will check out, and probably even like.

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I’m going to start of with a real goodie, but also I’m cheating a bit. Last time I did one of these I recommended The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, and that was before I finished it. Well I did finish it now, and the second book, Empire Ascendant is also pretty damn great. Imagine a less violent “Game of Thrones”, where it’s not greed that’s driving people to power and conquest, but desperation and survival. And it’s all queer as hell. In the first book several of the protagonists go on their own journeys through a land riddled with inter-dimensional tears that bring together alternate versions of the world, allowing for certain people and things to get through. In the second one, everything is much more dire, but Hurley unveils a lot of the machinations that have been quietly weaving themselves together surrounding our heroes. I’m not usually one to advocate for a gray morality in the books I read, but I will tell you that Hurley skillfully navigates through murky waters and does so tastefully and, dare I say, elegantly. The cultures she creates are as unique as the landscapes she builds, and the gender norms are present in the context of this fantasy world, which is more fluid than water.

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This second one I’m taking a leap of faith on, because it’s not out yet but will be at the end of February, and it’s The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie. I already mentioned Leckie in one of the older blog posts, but it is because of my familiarity with her work that I’m not fearful of recommending her upcoming publication. So far her queerness track record is pretty good, with 4/4 books messing with gender and sexuality in ways that surpass many of the queer tv shows and other media types. The thing that got me even more excited about this book than just the excellent writing that Leckie delivers in her work is this post that one of her advanced readers posted.

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Here’s the post on the blog.

I know that these recommendations are slightly difficult to access, with one being a sequel and the other still in it’s last publication stages, but in all honesty I’m recommending it anyway, and anything by these two authors is good anyway so take your pick from their backlist. Hurley is the author of The Stars Are Legion and The Geek Feminist Revolution which I wasn’t aware of when I randomly picked up her book God’s War, and within the first two pages the main character was framed as a queer woman. Leckie writes nonbinary characters, plays with gender a lot, and does relationships really well, especially the non-romantic ones, which while it seems like a turnoff actually left a greater impression on me than any romantic one did (there’s still romance in Provenance, and her Radch trilogy can be read with romance in or out of mind).

Anyhow, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and an amazing New Year.

Images courtesy of kameronhurley.com/ and Leckie’s Amazon author page

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