muccamukk: Steve standing with his arms folded, looking disapproving. (Avengers: Judgy Arms)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading
Missed last week, but it's been a bit dire all over anyway. Finest in popular fantasy I either didn't enjoy or flat out didn't finish.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, narrated by Priya Ayyar
I really dislike this book, and almost half is more than enough of a chance. The hero is a controlling asshole who hides information from the heroine who is 100% under his power (he more or less kidnapped her). The heroine keeps trying to set boundaries only to have them stomped on. There are no other women. The writing is overdone and not very good. I can't actually tell what the world building is like because everything's a flowery metaphor. South Asian mythology angle was nice. Did not finish.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens by J.M. Barrie
Won't rate this as I'm so very far from the target audience, which is apparently very small children who live in London. It was quite sweet, and interesting to see the early version of Peter Pan, but dragged on a bit. I did like the scenes with Peter interacting with human children, which is I guess what we're going with for the next book.

Peter and Wendy by J.M. Barrie
I liked some of this. Peter was effectively quite creepy, which was enjoyable, and a lot of the descriptions and whimsy were nice. However it was really difficult to get past how profoundly racist it was, and the sexism didn't help. I know, I know, 1911, but I really can't picture presenting this to an actual child.

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling #1) by Erika Johansen
Read about 140 pages and decided that life was too short for this shit.

I don't believe in the world, and I don't like the characters. The author has basically said that if you take 21st century Britain and America, took away their technology, they'd turn into boilerplate 1980s fantasy novel "Middle Ages Europe," complete with 99% white people, women not getting to do anything, feudalism and the Catholic church as the only religion. Which, lol, where to start?

So the protagonist is a princess who was raised away from the court and basically knows nothing except history and botany, and shows up and starts judging everyone, from the street walkers to the courtiers ("The prostitutes need to get better jobs!" "Wait why is the palace spending this much on servants?" Pick one!). You can tall the bad guys because they're all ugly rapist slave owners. The only other women are a dead mother, an absent guardian, an evil queen, and the maid. The only black people are a sex slave and a minstrel/bandit.

Never has a book made me wish I were reading The Goblin Emperor, and I didn't even especially like that one either.

On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz
My mom really liked this, but I found it actively annoying and bailed three walks in.

What I'm Reading Now
Library: The Food of a Younger Land: A Portrait of American Food from the Lost WPA Files edited and illustrated by Mark Kurlansky, collection of essays about food culture in Depression-era US, divided by region. Varies from history, to humour to recipes, very interesting, but slow going.

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe, breaking my ban on books with "girl" in the title already, about three National Guard soldiers who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, a bit chatty, but very interesting.

What I'm Reading Next
Louise Erdrich maybe? I really need to read something well written soon.

Library, I think the first volume of Midnighter by Steve Orlando needs to go back soonish.
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