muccamukk: A heart drawn in beach sand, ocean in the background. (Lights: Beach Heart)
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What did you finish reading?
Icon (Persona #2) by Genevieve Valentine
This really is the other half of Persona, to the point where there's no recap of any kind, and if you haven't read the previous book since it came out, well, hope you remember who everyone was. I mostly managed to catch up, but it felt less like a story of its own and more as picking up the threads of the first book and carrying on with them.

It continues with Valentine's classic trapped characters trying to make a rigged system work for them, while slowly being corrupted by the system. Which is pretty bleak for YA, I must admit, as it tends more to grim compromise and the bitterest sweet rather than happiness for anyone.

I liked the characters and the writing a lot. It felt very hyper-vigilant and detail focused, with every bit of body language recorded and searched for meaning, and all the characters watching and working out all angles, and any real emotions repressed and only showing through the cracks.

I enjoyed the hell out if it, and out of the plotting and politics, but it's probably not everyone's style. Definitely read them both at one time.

Breath of Earth (Breath of Earth #1) by Beth Cato
I really liked the main character and found her plot compelling, trying to find answers about herself and solve a more specific mystery, while a war she may or may not be complicit in rages all around. It was well done, and a difficult book to put down. Again it was a bit short on women, basically having the heroine and two antagonists, but they were all well played. Romance may have been slightly pasted on, but I liked that she was into the DLI primarily because he was decent to her.

For the most part, I liked the world building, especially the incorporation of Hidden Ones from various cultures, in a way that felt respectful, and was interesting and something that I hadn't seen before. Excellent use of various shapeshifters. I admit having wished for more of an explanation than "We've always had magic, but history and culture is almost exactly the same, save the last 100 years." It didn't really work for me, but I was willing to handwave it, as that was clearly all we were going to get.

Looking forward to the next one.

Engraved on the Eye: Short Fantasy and Science Fiction by Saladin Ahmed
Short collection, but very enjoyable. Two of the stories were set in the same secondary world as Throne of the Crescent Moon (including a bit of backstory that I'd read somewhere before), and the rest were a mix of SF and F short stories in a variety of worlds.

I think that "Where Virtue Lives" the backstory for how Raseed ban Raseed met Doctor Adoulla Makhslood was my favourite of the bunch, even if I'd read it already, but the dark supervillain comedy "Doctor Diablo Goes Through the Motions" and the dystopic SF mystery "The Faithful Soldier, Prompted" were also excellent. The only story that didn't really work for me was the closing one, which fell a bit D&D campaign.

Very much enjoyed over all, looking forward to more.

What are you reading now?
Margaret the First by Danielle Dutton, a very short novel about Margaret Cavendish, a writer in Restoration England. Very short.

What are you reading next?
Shall I continue my alphabetical wanderings through my e-reader? Shall I choose at random? Who can tell?
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