The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers

22733729A friend highly recommended The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. With so many books on my reading list I didn’t think it would be possible to get to this, so I opted to try to audio book.

Wayfarer is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

I don’t really want to give anything away and honestly it is so richly complex that I’m not sure I can really summarize this book. I lack the vocabulary to do this book justice to portray the elegant way the universe is created through little details of life and habits. I lack the eloquence to describe the food and the soap and wine and small intricacies of life in space that Chambers weaves into the story. I will no doubt be inadequate to express the characters, their complex lives outside the plot, the expansive ideas of what a person can be, and their beautiful, beautiful relationships. I will also fall short of explaining the interaction of the alien species, the coming together, the falling apart, and the (mis)understandings. But most importantly I lack the ability to articulate the love of love in this book, the many ways of different people being together – as friends, as family, a colleagues and collaborators, as lovers, pairs, and more.

But I can clearly say that the wait for book two, even though it is coming out in a few weeks, will most definitely kill me.

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A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess

A shadow Bright and Burning(Looks left, looks right) Uh where have you been all my life??? Okay stop me if you heard this one before: an orphan girl and her boy best friend are attacked when the magical powers she has been hiding are displayed so that she can rescue her friend. Total cliché. BUT Cluess weaves such an interesting tale that this was unputdownable and so much of this was original that I am okay with the cliché beginning. But I am getting ahead of myself.

In this Victorian-era fantasy, sixteen year old Henrietta Howel, has developed an ability to magically set things on fire. She can burst into flames. But female magic, witchcraft, is criminal and the sentence is death. In fear, she hides her ability, but when she is found out, rather than being punished she is hailed as the first female sorcerer in ages. She is the one who is prophesied will save England from the Ancients, seven magical demons who have been terrorizing England for many years

A Shadow Bright and Burning grabbed me like nothing has in a while. I totally stayed up wayyyyy pass my bedtime last night to finish it. Henrietta is amazing, ballsy, clever, and imperfect. It is set up in Victorian-era England so of course she is surrounded by dashing young men, which could be total cliché but Cluess does an excellent job of making it interesting. I don’t want to give too much away but not everyone is happy that the chosen one has been found and sexism is alive and well in Victorian England. And to be honest, I don’t seen Young Adult deal with that enough. It was a refreshing change of pace. Over all, the cast of characters is interesting and multidimensional. A Shadow Bright and Burning isn’t perfect. There were sections that did drag a bit, but for 95% of the time I was captivated. I loved the world building and all of the magic.

I enthusiastically await book two in the series. Although I’m pretty sure the wait is gonna kill me.

A Shadow Bright and Burning came out today, September 20, 2016.

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

Vassa in the NightWhile Vassa in the Night is inspired by the Russian folktale Vassilissa the Beautiful this is not your average folktale. It’s messy and complicated like life but filled with wit and magical mayhem. Vassa lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters in the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn. One night all the light bulbs mysteriously go out and Vassa is dared to go to the only store opened 24 hours, BY’s. I mean sure they behead people but only shoplifters. And yes, the parking lot is ringed in by poles thirty feet high with a severed head on each pole but Vassa is totally safe going in the middle of night, right?

The world building is lacking but the characters are strange, kooky and just plain fun. Vassa in the Night is no doubt weird and while at first nothing makes sense I think it all came together in the end, sorta kinda. I think Porter leaves the ending a bit open ended so that no two readers will walk away with the same impression of the ending. I think this has a hit or miss quality. That being said, I did enjoy it. I’m a bit disappointed because the hype for this book made it sound like it was life changing. It wasn’t. It’s a decent, enjoyable book.

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