Reading Round-up: January 2021

Hello, hello! It’s time for a Reading Round-up.

I read a lot of books over the months of December and January, as might be expected, though most of December was taken up with a Kate Daniels re-read for reasons that will become apparent below. My TBR is huge right now because I also purchased a lot of books as stress relief from the end of November on. Not everything I read gets reviewed on this blog, just the most interesting stuff.

Anyway, digressions aside, let’s get to the books!

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

This is a new book in the world of the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore. I talked about the book Fire, from the same world, in my Best of 2016 post. Like Fire, Winterkeep is an intensely compassionate book — something I sorely needed at the time I read it — and one that deals directly with the effects of trauma and abuse and how we can grow to overcome them. The telepathic foxes, airships, and not-so-subtle environmental themes made it a particularly enjoyable read, so if any of those elements appeal to you I definitely recommend it. This is the only Young Adult book on the list this month (I read relatively little YA lately) so if that’s your preference, this is the book for you. It also happens to be at least slightly LGBTQ friendly. That said the main relationships are largely heteronormative, even if the central romances in the book include a very nurturing man and a less nurturing woman.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

In a total change of pace, I read Black Sun for my new book club. Did I tell you about the book club? It’s a very casual group of friends who have similar book interests, which is something I’ve been sorely missing from my life. I’ve had Black Sun on my TBR since I heard it was coming out, but I probably wouldn’t have gotten to it as quickly as I did if we hadn’t collectively decided on it as our first book. Black Sun is an epic fantasy with morally gray characters, a decent amount of violence and gore, and multiple POVs. I definitely recommend this book — that said, like many epic fantasies it takes a bit of time to get going. I’m so glad I took the time, however, because there was a clever twist at the end of the book that I didn’t see coming at all, which is rare enough that I quite enjoyed it. And I loved the world building for this novel, which drew very heavily on South American and Polynesian culture and myth.

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews

If I had to pick a favorite book from the past two months I’d be sore pressed to pick between this one and Winterkeep, but they’re very different titles. Blood Heir is an urban fantasy in the world of the Kate Daniels series. The setting is post-apocalyptic Atlanta, a city totally reshaped by magic in an event known as the Shift, and the book follows Julie, Kate Daniels’ adopted daughter, as she returns to the city under an alias. It’s important no one knows who she is — if her adoptive mother Kate finds out she’s in Atlanta, then the prophecy Julie is trying to change will come true, and Kate will die. The book is accessible for folks looking to enter the world of post-Shift Atlanta for the first time, but it’s best enjoyed if you’ve read the Kate Daniels series — a lot of old characters reappear. I discovered that series back in 2015 and talked about it in my Best of 2015 post.

Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower by Tamsyn Muir

The only novella on the list this month, Princess Floralinda and the Forty-Flight Tower is an imaginative retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale about a princess locked in a tower by a witch. When the princes who come to save her fail to free her, Floralinda must learn how to free herself. Tamsyn Muir shows the trademark dark humor that fans of The Locked Tomb trilogy so love in this book (the first two books of which made my Favorite Books of 2020). I do think the ending fell a little flat for me, unfortunately, but I enjoyed the ride and I suspect another reader might feel very differently.

That’s the round-up! What have you been reading this month?

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