Book Chat: Changing Reading Tastes with Adult and YA Books

Good evening everyone. So to begin right away I feel like I should give a bit of background to explain why I chose to write this post. By the way before I do get started, I do still read certain YA books. I’m not throwing shade or criticising the genre, this is just a discussion of changing reading tastes.

I have always been a huge reader. I have always tended to read more sci fi and fantasy (SFF) but do also read a lot of comics, horror, literary fiction and non fiction. I even once read a slew of books on the Tudors (another day). However when I got my first paying job in college I started to obviously buy more books. The ratio of these tended to be 70:30 YA to adult.

I like everyone else, read all the vampire titles that flooded the market post Twilight. I then dipped my toes into the dystopian books that were post Hunger Games (and hated most of it after reading Ray Bradbury’s ‘Faranheit 451’). I did my time, we all did.

I had continued reading at this ratio and I didn’t notice any changes until last year, so about February 2018. I did two things, I bought a copy of ‘The Belles’ by Dhonelle Clayton and I started reading the first book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, ‘Shadow and Bone’.

Since I finished Shadow and Bone I’ll talk about that one first. One of the first things that I really didn’t love about this book is the emphasis on the romance and the characterisation. The book spends a good amount of time dissecting Alina’s feelings towards Mal. I have found that more recent YA fantasies do have more emphasis on romance which isn’t one of my favourite plot devices. But I had read YA with a strong romance before, why now had this changed?

I also mentioned the characters were another issue I discovered. Now I haven’t actually continued the series so I don’t know if this changes but I found Alina’s character to be very weak as well as Mal. Both are very one dimensional, especially Alina with an emphasis on her low self esteem. Characters like that are always good to see especially in the YA bracket but I felt the way it was portrayed through Alina came aross as whiny and selfish.

I have very few criticisms with The Belles just that the writing and characters again were not really for me. I have tried 3 times to read this book and each time I can’t get past the first few chapters. The difference I noted in the writing style is very hard to put into words but I knew right away this was definitely a YA book. This is when I definitely knew that my tastes had changed.

Another thing I saw my opinion changing about was YA series and how they played out. One such series I loved was Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I legitmately inhale read the first book and was fully obsessed with the series to the point I bought the next book the following day. The second book in the series as pictured above was much slower than the first and in my opinion didn’t deliver on the suspense of the first. Granted, it was now revealed who was the antagonist, the twist revealed etc but I still think that the series continued to lag after that.

I found this to be something I noticed in other YA series as well. Now I see it in adult series too, second book syndrome is alive and well (talking about you Red Rising) but there is a distinct thread through many of the YA SFF series I have read having an issue maintaining momentum over a series. I’m currently making my way through Tamora Pierce’s works of Tortall and the publication timeline of these runs from the 1980’s to now. The most recent book being published in 2018. These books were YA before the term was even coined and used but I find that the content of these books, as well as books such as Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, have a better pace and a writing pace that is more to my tastes.

That is to say, I have not stopped reading YA, or buying it. A good chunk of the books on my TBR are YA. Some examples include Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan and Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman among so many more. I think it’s honestly the best thing I have learned about my reading tastes in years and its refreshing to know I can recognise this and grow as a reader.

I am now reading a ration of what is approximately 85:15, adult to YA. There was no book that drastically changed my opinion. I haven’t read all the hyped books such as A Court of Thorns and Roses or Simon vs the Homo-sapiens agenda either. This happened as a subtle change over a year or so. I honestly see nothing wrong with it since I think our reading tastes change over time naturally and to see this happen organically makes me think I could change my mind again and go back to reading mostly YA.

Do you think your reading tastes have changed over the years? If so what made you realise it had changed? I’d love to discuss this with you guys, thank you for reading.

Sci Fi Books Written by Women Authors that I Loved

In case you are new here, hi I’m Hedwig and I’m a lady that loves scifi and fantasy. I have also read an eclectic amount of both scifi, fantasy and horror written buy some wonderful women. I feel like sometimes I have read books that very few people seem to talk about that would make great books for discussions about various aspects of scifi.

So here I am with another list of some of these books that are firm favourites of mine that I’d love to be able to discuss with others at some stage. Just a not that I didn’t include Margaret Atwood since she is pretty well known. These are also just very good books you should check out anyway;

  • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse: You have no idea how quickly I voted for this in the Hugo awards. This book follows Maggie Hoskie, a monster hunter of the Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation). The world we know has ended, destroyed by climate change and overrun with monsters, Gods and other entities. Maggie is then tasked with finding a missing girl and uncovers a much bigger threat to the entire tribe that she alone can fight. This book is AMAZING. Native culture is wonderful and not ever publicised enough in literature. All of the supernatural figures are not your usual greek or roman creatures which makes for a much more interesting book.
  • Kindred by Octavia E.Butler: Yes she may be known as Dame Octavia but noone is talking about her half as much as they should. This is the story of Dana who while moving into her new home with her husband, falls down nauseous and dizzy and wakes up in a river in 19th century Maryland which is a dangerous place for a black woman. Dana and her husband have to figure out why she is time travelling back to the antebellum South and how she can stay alive while she is there. This book is a hard but fantastic read. You are literally praying for Dana’s safety anytime she jumps back, you can’t put it down and the scenes are very raw descriptions of the tortures endured by people of colour during this time of slavery. Also a good introduction to Butler as an author.
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin: No. I won’t shut up about this book. This books details the mission of human male Genly Ai. Ai is an agent for the Ekumen, an intergalactic counsel and has been tasked of convincing the planet Gethen (or Winter) to join the council. Gethenians have no gender, choosing to be male or female once a month during a period known as ‘kemmer’ and we follow Ai on his mission to both learn and navigate his way on Gethen. Never has this book been more relevant with its questions of gender, sexuality and the nature of war. This a powerful, quick read that mixes political machination with growing a relationship with someone from a world you know nothing of.
  • The Beauty by Aaliah Whiteley: A short but powerful story that is firmly within the New Weird category, within this world all the women are dead. Taken by a sickness, the men that are now left are living with the Group in the Valley of the Rocks. Nate is the storyteller of the group and relives memories of days past each night with the Group. How will they continue in a world without women? I won’t say anymore and will firmly remind you this is a book within the New Weird so it is WEIRD. It’s so well written and has a very very different outcome to what you may consider could be in the book. There are some very relevant questions in this book about societal structures, politics and gender roles in society. Definitely worth a read.
  • Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill: One of Cork’s own writers, this is a young adult book that hits very hard. In a future world, girls are created in labs, made for men and educated for their pleasures. All girls are numbered, rated and punished when not ‘suitable’. This book follows Freida as she and her closest friend, Isabel, approach their final year. Then Isabel starts putting on weight. Then she disappears briefly. Then the boys arrive and Frieda may have to do the unthinkable to survive. I read this book in a night and cried for ages after finishing. O’Neill has written other books that push subjects that need to be discussed such as date rape, love and bodily autonomy but nothing will haunt you as much as this future that remakes The Handmaids Tale into something scarier.
  • The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor: Phoenix is a 2 year old woman with the body and mins of an adult and a product of New York’s Tower 7. Phoenix lives in the tower with other ‘accelerated humans’ and questions nothing about her life. Until her partner, Saeed, commits suicide at a result of seeing something horrible Phoenix then begins to realise her home is prison and she will soon discover her true power and how she will change humanity forever. I love Nnedi Okorafor’s book and this is no execption. The world building ,the characters and the writing are so vibrant with a very powerful presence on the page. This book moves from America to Africa and is a prequel to Okorafor’s other novel Who Fears Death. Phoenix is an angry, powerful character who questions everything around her and stands by her decisions and her mistakes.

So theres my list, I’ll be making one for my fantasy recs as well as horror but I think that there is something in here for everyone.

Do you have any books that are less hyped scifi? Do you have any favourites? I’d love to hear your recommendations. Thanks for reading guys!

My Favourite Stephen King Books

“Sometimes human places, create inhuman monsters.”

Last week I made a post on my Instagram about Stephen King for his 72nd birthday. All of a sudden I realised from looking at my collection that I never talk about him and yet he’s been one of my favourite authors. Everyone has their story for how they first started reading Stephen King. Mine is a bit sentimental since it was my Dad that originally got me reading King’s books and we still discuss them now. I was twelve and I bought a cheap copy of ‘Carrie’ in a local newsagent and I’ve never looked back.

I’ve read a good chunk of King’s work and collected just as much over the years (I won’t part with ANY of my King library) so my favourites are always in flux. Also this list could have been super long so this is the most concise I have. So here we go, the closest I’ll get to a concrete favourites list.

(Please note I would usually give The Dark Tower it’s own breathing room but the one book I have here is a literal work of art.)

  • ‘Carrie’: Where it all began, this is the story of Carrie White. Carrie White is a social misfit hated among her peers and abused by an over religious mother. Carrie discovers that she has telekinetic powers. An invite to Prom leads Carrie and the reader to discover her true potential. I really identified with Carrie at the age I was (minus the powers and the over zealous mother) when I read the book and honestly I still share no pity for her bullies. Also that Pop in the picture is utterly adorable.
  • ‘Pet Sematary’: The Creed family move from Chicago to the town of Ludlow in order for Louis Creed to get a job at the University of Maine. The house sits beside a road that is used heavily by large trucks. After the death of a pet in the family Louis learns of a piece of land that can reanimate the dead and begins to wonder what else it can do. This is different to the others since it holds the top spot for all time favourite. It regularly swaps with ‘The Shining’ but has held first place for a long time. Another rec from my Dad that still chills me to the bone.
  • ‘Misery’: Annie Wilkes is Paul Sheldon’s biggest fan. His biggest all time fan. Such a big fan that when she rescues him from a car crash she has to help him. Paul has just killed Misery Chastain, Annie’s favourite character. He will have to decide is Misery’s life worth his. King discussed in ‘On Writing’ how Annie Wilkes is the personifcation of his own addictions and struggles with substance abuse and that makes her even more frightening. This is one of those few books where the movie is it’s equal but there is definitely some incidents between Paul and Annie that never made it to screen. Thankfully. This is also one of the few King books with no supernatural influence within the story so it’s perfect for anyone who wants to read King but not anything too paranormal.
  • ‘Insomnia’: A recent widower, seventy year old Ralph Roberts finds himself waking up earlier and earlier each day. Eventually Ralph begins to notice small figures moving around in the night. This coupled with bizzare behaviour from one of his neighbours Ralph decides to investigate these strange happenings. This one is also set in Derry, Maine and is one of the only books I have read that takes place through the perspective of an elderly character. This book has unique discussions about getting older and just describes what it’s like to suffer with insomnia. Maybe give this one a miss if you haven’t read The Dark Tower.
  • ‘Doctor Sleep’: Danny Torrance is now a fully grown man. Never truly free from the legacy of the Overlook Hotel Danny works in a hospice trying to recover from his alcoholism and his past. Then Dan Meets Abra Stone, who shines brighter than them all. Abra has drawn some nasty people to her door and Dan is going to have to do all he can to fight them. This is obviously the sequel to The Shining and honestly it is a great sequel. I was wary about it at first but this is definitely a fantastic story. The movie also looks promising and I can’t wait to see Ewan McGregor as Dan.
  • ‘On Writing’: Part memoir, part how to guide, this is a book written by King for both writers and readers alike. A work of non fiction, we learn more about King’s life, his method, his advice and a list of reading recommendations. This needs no further explanation, you don’t need to have read his work before (spoilers there may be though) and it’s very easy to read if you are not into non fiction usually.
  • ‘The Drawing of the Three’: This is the second book in the Dark Tower series and takes place directly after the conclusion of ‘The Gunslinger’. In this installment we follow Roland Deschain as he crosses through the doors and enters our world to gather allies and knowledge about the Tower. Again I said it earlier but this series needs its own post. But this is honestly genius how it weaves between plot, characters and uses different tropes. The way it uses the portal fantasy is absolutely wonderful.

So there you have it! I plan to do more posts on King in the future so keep tuned. Anyone else love the books listed? Or maybe love a lesser known work? Tell me! I’d love to hear. Thanks for reading guys!

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

‘ ‘And they do say the p-pen is mightier than the sss-
‘-sword,’ said Esk ‘All right, but which would you rather be hit with?’ ‘

Welcome back to the Discworld! This is part of my return to the Disc to finally finish the series so I am very excited to review this to begin the entire journey here on the blog.

The eighth son of an eighth son is a powerful thing living on the Disc. The eight son of an eighth son is destined to be a wizard, but what if that eighth son is not a son? Meet Eskarina Smith! She is going to be the first lady Wizard, but women can’t be wizards can they?

This book got off to a slower start than the previous two books in the series but has quickly become my favourite. In terms of worldbuilding, the groundwork has already been laid in the previous novels, namely A’tuin and the Disc but Esk’s (Eskarina) home is in a new part we have yet to see. Esk lives in the town of Badass (haw) in the Ramtops. The Ramtops are the mountains, 500 miles Hubwards of the city of Ankh-Morpork which is the main setting for many of the Discworld novels. It was very entertaining to see that small village mentality in action and under the hand of Pratchett.

The plot itself is pretty well contained and follows the journey of Esk and Granny Weatherwax as they make their way to Unseen University so Esk can be trained as a wizard. It does have a slower build up to the climax and it speeds up very suddenly when it does arrive. This didn’t really impact my enjoyment much but it did make it seem a bit like it was slogging in places but it still works perfectly for a Discworld novel.

At last, the characters are WONDERFUL. We meet our first witch on the Disc, Granny Weatherwax. Granny is honestly my favourite character in the story, I love Esk too but I really loved the way Granny was written. She is the resident witch of Bad Ass and when she takes Esk in she struggles with how to navigate dealing with someone Esk’s age (she is nine years old). Esk is the kind of little girl we all wished we could be, taken in by a witch with a big set of powers passed on to her and a bigger undertaking for being the first girl to enter the Unseen University. Granny and Esk develop a close bond as the novel progresses and its honestly heartwarming. We do meet other characters at the University but since this is a story focusing on feminism and women most of all I feel that Granny and Esk stand out in a way they are supposed to.

This is not a perfect book by any means but it still has all the elements of Discworld that I fell in love with in the first place and it further expands the world for us. The wit is razor sharp, the characters fall out of the book and on to your desk while you’re eating your lunch and we continue to learn more of the ways of this world. This was only the third book in the series aswell so I think it’s only fair to give Pratchett the benefit of the doubt on this one.

★★★★/5

July wrap Up

Welcome to my first wrap up! Well it was a good reading month overall, off to a slower start but still a good amount for such a busy month! In total I read 8 books in July (‘Godsgrave’ by Jay Kristoff not pictured) and the break down was this;

  • A Closed and Common Orbit- Becky Chambers ★★★★/5
  • Wild Magic- Tamora Pierce ★★★.5/5
  • Brown Girl in the Ring- Nalo Hopkinson ★★★★/5
  • Binti- Nnedi Okorafor ★★★★/5
  • Monstess: Awakening- Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
  • American Gods- Neil Gaiman (Reread on audio) ★★★★★/5
  • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day- Seanan Mcguire ★★★★★/5
  • Godsgrave- Jay Kristoff (audio) ★★★★★/5

Honestly in terms of rating I have never had such a good reading month, the lowest is 3.5 and I like to think that the reason for this is I know my tastes better than ever. I listened to 2 audio books both over 15 hours in one month since I was so busy with work ‘American Gods’ is my favourite book of all time and I have never read it on audio. I listened to the authors preferred text and a full cast production which I highly recommend. ‘Godsgrave’ totally floored me. I don’t think any sequel has ever left me so shook and utterly gobsmacked.

Funnily some of my shorter reads were the biggest stand outs, such as Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan Mcguire. I like to read different formats and lengths of books so one, my terrible eyes get a bit of a break and two, it is easier to get more reading done overall.

To conclude, not a hugely long post. I have more planned to put up this week now I have some work stuff finally out of the way. I have one I am very excited to write up at last so keep an eye out!

The Tea Master and the Detective- Aliette de Bodard

When you’re out there, with no one and nothing to stand in your way – when you realise how small you are – you also realise that everything that ever was, that ever will be, is connected to you. That we’re all, in the end, part of the same great thing.’

I read this for the 2019 Hugo’s as I am attending the World Sci fi convention in Dublin this year (Dublin 2019) and it did not disappoint. This story was a great merging of some of my favourite tropes and genre’s of story while packing a punch for something so short. So this is gonna be a mini-ish review.

Welcome to the Scattered Pearls belt! A ‘provincial backwater’ in the depths of space where humans and AI/mindships mingle and mix among each other. It is here we meet The Shadow’s Child, a discharged mindship who is suffering from the trauma of a battle. The Shadow’s Child makes her living from blending teas (YES) that function as drugs and remedies for people trying to survive deep space travel. When Long Chau walks in and introduces herself as a consulting detective looking to hire The Shadow’s Child to recover a body from deep space, we slowly unravel a detective story and a study of PTSD in space.

This is my first time reading any of Aliette de Bodard’s work and especially anything set in her Xuya universe and I really enjoyed it. I like shorter novellas but I sometimes feel that especially when they are sci fi that they can be short to the point it get bogged down with world building/character perspectives. This was had none of that. The world building is very straightforward and is essentially just a description of Space but with Vietnamese inspired notes. That’s it. Nice and simple.

The characters really stood out for me. I have not read ANY books from an AI perspective and I found this story did it really well. The Shadow’s Child is such a wonderful and refreshing character, de Bodard imbues this mindship with so much emotion and such humanity. She is a ship that is recovering from a violent event and she can’t go back into deep space as a result and she struggles to make rent and survive which is such a basic human need we would obviously not assign them to a synthetic sentient being like a mindship. It really made the story worth it for me. Long Chau wasn’t as well developed and I felt she suffered for it as a character for it but it is a shorter work. She has very Sherlockian traits including a drug addiction but she is a good foil for The Shadow’s Child. She was entertaining and fun to read.

I love detective stories. I spent a good chunk of my teenage years watching Sherlock, watching many Sherlock Holmes movies and reading the actual stories so this was like a love letter to one of my favourite tropes. I will say however that sometimes it felt too Conan Doyle-esque? So if you don’t like retellings it may not be for you. It’s still a highly original story regardless but it may not suit Sherlock Holmes purists.

To conclude, this was a perfect entry to the Xuya world and I can’t wait to read more. I did check to see would these 2 characters feature again in other Xuya stories but de Bodard has said they probably will not. I will read more of her stuff and this actually has me stumped for what my choice for the novella category for the Hugo awards.

★★★★/5

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

A man will suffer misery to get to the bottom of truth, but he will not suffer boredom ‘

****TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR GORE, VIOLENCE, ASSAULT, RAPE, BLOODY, TORTURE AND EVERYTHING ELSE.****

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2019. It felt like it took forever for it to be here and I distinctly remember my boyfriend driving me in lashing rain and traffic so I could collect my copy from the bookshop. This book was INSANE.

Tracker is a hunter and he has a ‘nose’. People know him for it. This is how he finds himself tasked with the job of finding a boy whos been missing for three years and among a group of others with the same job. Among them is a witch, a goddess and a shape shifting leopard. What follows is a non linear story that mixes myth, magic and history as Trackers journey takes him across Africa from city to city as more questions arise. Who is this boy? Why are so many hostile creatures looking for him? And how has he been missing for so long?

Okay this was absolutely wild. I had very high expectations that were met and twisted into knots that very quickly became wtf moments. World building first, the world this takes place in is very violent. James sets the novel in an alternate Africa that is very similar to Africa in reality. It was very easy to picture locations and cities as the story moved so it wasn’t as heavy.

In terms of plot, as I already mentioned it is non linear and meanders a lot. The story is told by Tracker and he is often distracted from his own account to tell other stories. It is also heavily hinted that Tracker may not be entirely reliable as a narrator. Something that I didn’t exactly appreciate was how he described certain things and found NUMEROUS ways to compare them to genitalia? That was a bit bizzare. Now is the time to address the warnings at the start, this book is very graphic, violent and bloody. If you have any form of triggers, be careful with this book. James holds no punches in terms of detail and goes overboard at times describing some of the more horrible acts that Tracker performs on others or experiences himself.

The meandering plot was definitely more to my own taste. I don’t mind a slower book that can take a little longer to get there so long as it is worth it. It felt like a story you could get lost in given enough time and if you are a person who likes maps then this book may make you smile. And by the way? You’re gonna need them.

Finally the characters. Tracker as our protagonist is not the easiest to gel with. His character arc is very grim and very violent which leads him to become the angry morally grey man we come to know. Tracker also doesn’t appear to be heterosexual, having sexual and romantic relationships with men throughout the story. Leopard is definitely the more interesting of the pair, literally being a shape shifting leopard man but also just in terms of his own character arc and his relationship to tracker. Their relationship is very strained and is a confusing mess of deep love and intense anger. Leopard is also not particular about what gender his partners are, like Tracker, favouring men and this makes their relationship even harder to understand in places. One issue I have is the lack of women characters. It’s something I automatically noticed and couldn’t forget about as the story progressed. There are women characters such as the Sangoma, Bunshi and Sogolon but they are just kind of markers used to distinguish the different points of Tracker’s story. Not to mention how some of the women are painted with a very singular brush due to Trackers mistrust of all of them and his assumption they are all witches?

Something that does bother me is the USP people are using to recommend this book is pitting it as ‘African Game of Thrones’. Nope. No way is that even near to describing this book and it isn’t fair on both writer and reader to reduce the story to something that simple. This is a rich, rambling description of a fantasy story set in an Africa where Gods are as likely to kill you as your neighbour. Its a terrifying bloody ordeal told by a man we cannot trust but with whom we must stay until the story ends. And it is brilliant.

I keep asking myself, would I recommend this book? Yes and no. It’s already polarising enough because of the violent and graphic detail it uses to tell a story. But it is a great book for discussion and a really, really good set up for what is going to be a trilogy. I would recommend this for fans of American Gods in particular. To conclude, it is a wonderfully written account from an untrustworthy character in a world that will both shock and excite as the secret of the boy becomes even clearer.

★ ★ ★ ★/5

Brown Girl in the Ring- Nalo Hopkinson

The African powers, child. The spirits. The loas. The orishas. The oldest ancestors. You will hear people from Haiti and Cuba and Brazil and so call them different names. You will even hear some names I ain’t tell you, but we all mean the same thing. Them is the ones who does carry we prayers to God Father, for he too busy to listen to every single one of we on earth talking at he all the time. ‘

Welcome to my first review on the blog! I find it extremely satisfying to review a book by an author on my radar for so long and to read a book that appeals to me so much as a reader and that really captures my tastes in genre.

‘Brown Girl in the Ring’ is set in a dystopic Toronto where the city is now ruled by violence and murder. Those of money and privilege have long fled, those left behind having to navigate a ruined world . At the heart of it stands Ti-Jeanne, a new mother finding with her own place in society and her struggle to accept the ways of her own people. When Ti-Jeanne finds herself at the heart of a wicked scheme she must learn to accept not only her own power but that sometimes the old ways are the most reliable.

First off to talk about the world, I found it very easy to picture the slums of Toronto despite never being there. There wasn’t much world building needed because it is a real city. I think was a good move since the book spent more time as a result establishing the culture and the characters which the novel really depended on.

On that note, the book draws heavily from Afro/Caribbean culture. Hopkinson herself is Jamaican born Canadian and spends a lot of the book describing figures from Caribbean folklore. Some of my favourite parts of the book are the descriptions of the various deities and creatures that Ti-Jeanne encounters. The story doesn’t shy away from graphic violence or gore either, so if you are anyway upset by blood magics or gory rituals this may not be for you. I particularly loved the Duppy spirits and the depiction of some of the Gods such as Legbara and Eshu. One of the stumbling blocks I had in the reading was the language used by Ti-Jeanne and the others in her community, mostly because I am obviously not from the relevant background. However I did like one moment when Ti-Jeanne’s grandmother, Gros-Jeanne , switched to a more standard English when talking to some quote ‘non-Caribbean people’. I like the fact it is acknowledged that when the characters are at home that they have their own language that is specifically for them and their own community.

Finally, I want to talk about the characters. Ti-Jeanne is the hero of the novel but we do meet other characters in her life including her grandmother Gros-Jeanne, Tony her ex lover and the novels main antagonist Rudy Sheldon. We meet Ti-Jeannes baby son also but since he is unnamed for the whole novel we just meet him as ‘Baby’. I liked the characters most of all, Ti-Jeanne and Gros Jeanne being my favourites. Ti-Jeanne goes through a lot of growth in the book and her grandmother functions as her main mother figure as well as the voice that educates us on her culture and her ways.

Ti-Jeanne as a character is not only very believable but also very easy to empathise with. I really enjoyed the brutal honesty of how she is struggling with motherhood. It also presents a very real scenario of how Ti-Jeanne finds it hard not to blame her son for her loss of freedom or resent him for needing all her attention. I think also by the end of the story we finally see Ti-Jeanne accept her own life for what it is. She also manages to discover her own voice over the course of the book and take back what was robbed from her.

There is a strong theme of feminism in this novel, obviously focusing on women of colour and the power they can have within this world so it will come as no surprise that Rudy is presented as the main antagonist of the plot, aside from Toronto itself. Rudy is a vengeful, bitter control freak who uses abuse and violence to maintain his hold on people. As the plot reveals more about him we come to understand how awful he truly is and how he really maintains his power. The eventual crossing of paths that brings Ti-Jeanne to Rudy’s attention is what ultimately leads to her own self discovery and how she needs to motivate herself to defeat Rudy. It’s this confrontation with control that I think really displays how easy power can be taken away from those who bully others to keep it and how much those who are at the bottom of society really have when they take their power back.

Overall I absolutely loved this book, it was so easy to read and once I got used to the language I flew through it. It helps I also like more complex protagonists like Ti-Jeanne. This is a must read for fans of Octavia Butler and Nnedi Okorafor and I can’t wait to read more of Hopkinson’s work.

★ ★ ★ ★ /5

Welcome to Hedwig’s World

Good Evening! My name is Kayleigh, but you can call me Hedwig. Welcome to my blog!

I’m delighted to finally have a blog up and running at last. I’ve wanted to set one up for a while now and it is here at last. First of all, I love books. I adore reading and living between the pages of another world is my ultimate love. That is why I have created this blog primarily, to write reviews, share my opinions and just meet more bookish folk who understand my love of reading.

I’m also a big fan of comics, conventions, Dungeons&Dragons and horror movies. I’m a massive nerd basically. I aim to discuss these things on this blog too if they interest you! In terms of book genre, I mostly read fantasy, sci fi and horror but read a lot of graphic novels/comics, non fiction and literary fiction too. Variety is important to me and so is learning new things.

I’m an artist also, but I’m currently working in administration to take a break from 4+ years in art education/work. Feel free to find me on Twitter and Instagram if you want to talk more but overall, thank you for reading and I can’t wait to get started here! (Yes that is Spike. I am am big Buffy nerd).

Stay spooky!