I haven’t been reading much lately. Maybe it’s the emotional exhaustion, maybe it’s the stagnation of quarantine life. Possibly it’s reading burnout. Never had one of those, but there’s a first time for everything, right? But recently, with the weather changing and the days getting longer, I had more opportunities to take my brother out to the playground, and what’s there to do when you’re sitting in a place full of rambunctious children? Obviously read. And while I’m sure that everyone and their mother have already read the books I’m about to recommend, everyone’s mother isn’t here to stop me from doing just that.
The Locked Tomb duology, and hopefully soon to be trilogy, is really, very great. It’s got interesting characters, an intriguing plot, visceral settings and descriptions, and, of course, queers. If there’s only one thing I can choose from these books, it’s the absolute hatred that the two main characters have for each other, that is also completely overshadowed by the actions they do in showing the hidden but strong care and protection towards one another. The humor is humorous, pun intended, and the necromancers are both deadly and awkward, and what’s better than capable characters feeling uncomfortable.
This next one I haven’t really gotten far in, but the first third that I made it through is absolutely fantastic. The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a fantasy novel (also a part of a trilogy!) that is full of intrigue and turmoil. It focuses on colonialism, indoctrination, education camps, and politics. The book is full of distorted yet familiar depictions of societal grasp over minorities in the sense of race and gender, and so far I’ve never been more tense while reading a book, but like in a good way! Baru, a young woman who was raised in a place that was colonized in her childhood, grows up to be a protégé accountant for the empire that occupied her home and must navigate her role as she is placed in a dangerous and contested territory. The gray areas of morality are excellently explored, and the violence is palatable. (I am someone who really could not finish the fames Game of Thrones for the gratuitous gore so this being tasteful and not needlessly gruesome is a huge plus.)
These two reads will engage you for a long time, and are so far the only books that have been managing to get me out of my reading dry spell. If you’re a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, these are definitely for you, and if you are not, they just might capture your interest still as the writing is great, the stories colorful, and the worlds beautiful in such strange ways. Let me know if there are any books that have been getting you through this rotten year!