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Down the TBR Hole #11

Life is a bit insane right now, so posts are going to be infrequent for a minute. I thought it was time for another trip through my TBR shelf. Should be interesting this time because my birthday is in a week, so I am going to be taking notes for my usual bookshop buying trip!

This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!

TBR Total – 247

Attrition of the Gods – P.G. Burns – Vague but still interesting. I like the idea of a force influencing all major things throughout time.
Decision:Keep

The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh – I have this book on my physical shelf. I want to read it because it sound interesting but I also am trying to not get into series at the moment. I am one of those people who has to finish a series once I start and I haven’t wanted to dedicate the time to a whole series yet.
Decision: Keep

The Achieved (The Archived #1) – Victoria Schwab – Another one I really want to read but again don’t have the time to get into a whole series but I do think I am going to read this one soon.
Decision: Keep

Broken Fate (Threads of the Moirae, #1) – Teenage Fates from mythology, I love the idea.
Decision: Keep

The Night Watch (Watch #1) – Sergei Lukyanenko – Sounds alright but generic, nothing is standing out as unique.
Decision: Remove


The King Must Die (Theseus #1) – Mary Renault – Sounds alright but hard to discern if it is supposed to be factual or fiction.
Decision: Remove

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops – Jen Campbell – This sounds fun.
Decision: Keep

Forget Tomorrow (Forget Tomorrow #1) – Pintip Dunn – Sounds like a YA version of Minority Report. I loved that movie so I am curious how this will be.
Decision: Keep

The Thirteenth Tale– Diane Setterfield  – I got this book at a bookshop. I will pick it up someday soon.
Decision: Keep

How They Met, and Other Stories – David Levithan – I really like his storytelling and I like the idea of a various types of love stories in this collection.
Decision: Keep

Keep: 8
Remove:2
Total TBR – 245

Didn’t do the greatest at removing this time but there are quite a few on this list I really want to get to soon.

The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas – Review

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Starr and her childhood friend Khalil make their way home from a party. The night takes a tragic turn when Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. Starr is the only witness. Starr must decide how she wants to handle the situation. How she wants to speak out about what happened and who Khalil is as a person. She learns she has to use her voice, her weapon to make the changes that are necessary.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I have had this book sitting on my physical TBR shelf for a long time. I knew it was going to be a tough read, one that I had to be in the right mindset to read. It was just recently that I decided that I was in the right head space to be able to read this book and take in everything it was presenting.

Starr was a great narrator. I felt like I was close to her. I felt like I could easily understand her and her choices. We are presented with a  young woman who is stuck in-between worlds. She lives in an impoverished neighborhood but goes to a wealthy private school. Her parents are making ends meets. They hold a devotion to their neighborhood and culture but also want to keep their children safe.

Starr states multiple times that she has to wear different masks depending on where she is. At her schools he has to be careful of how she speaks. She can’t use certain slang or a certain tone. She doesn’t want to be labeled as one type of person. She is very conscious of how she presents herself in that world.

At home she has to do the same thing. She is careful of what she says and how she acts, trying to not let out anything she talks about at school come out. She knows she has to be a certain person in this neighborhood too. She can’t be fully herself anywhere.

This was a tough part for me to read. She is always oscillating between different forms of herself. Reading about her trying to contain her emotions at school because she doesn’t want to be labeled as the “angry black girl,” was tough. I felt sympathy for her. No one, especially a kid, should have to always be watching themselves so people don’t label them as one way.

One of the things this book does so well is show you that there are so many different sides to a person and story. We have seen this story so many times in the news in the last few years. We always get the same way of interpreting the situation. The media gives us one story and doesn’t gives us the whole picture.

One of the things this book does so well is force to remember that you don’t know anyone in these stories. You don’t know these people and thus you do not get to pass judgement on them. A life is lost and that deserves to be respected. A few pictures do not tell a whole story. A few actions do not determine who a person is. What this book does is remind us that those who have been killed in these tragedies are human, just like anyone else. They deserve the same respect and dignity, period.

I also found the storyline with Hailey interesting. I know people who are similar to her. They make jokes, make comments not thinking about what they are saying. They think that if they don’t “mean” it, it doesn’t matter. They frame their actions through their own lens. They see their comments from their side but refuse to listen to the other side. They refuse to ask if what they said may hurt, refuse to see that they might have to change their thinking.

I thought this storyline was well done. You see Starr try so hard to make exceptions for this girl. You see Starr do all the work and finally realize that she doesn’t need to be the one doing the work. She doesn’t need to keep around a person who is narrow minded and refuses to realize that changing their thinking is needed.

What I was just okay with
There as nothing in this book that didn’t feel like it didn’t fit. It was a full story, it flowed well. I felt like I was sitting on the edge of this family’s life, watching as they navigate this complicated world. Their bound was strong and great to see. There was no forced happy endings. There was no forced ways of fixing the issues that weren’t realistic. You felt the connection between not only Starr and her family but also the neighborhood.

What I Wished was Different_
There nothing that did not work in this book. It was done so well.
Five Star
I am white. I don’t live this life but I do work with kids who do. I work in an inner city at the schools. I hear these stories from their lips and this book helped me understand them even better. I gave this book five stars because it is one of those books that everyone needs to read.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“….people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice.” (pg. 59)

“It is easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.” (pg. 169)
(This line hit me hard. As someone working in after-school programming in these schools in order to try to help these type of situations this one really did hit hard).

“My bad. I didn’t know shoes determined somebody’s race.” (pg. 235)

“I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving.” (pg. 246)

“We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us.What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” (One of the main points of this whole book)

“They with a capital T. There’s Them and then there’s Us. Sometimes They look like Us and don’t realize They are Us.” (pg. 343)

Book Tag: It’s Finally Fall

It is officially Fall, though the weather is having a terrible time making up its mind if it wants to actually feel like Fall or not. I do enjoy Fall.  I like the changing colors and the curling up in a big sweater and reading. What I don’t like is that it means Winter is on its way and I despise Winter. I hate being cold and I hate snow. But I will enjoy Fall while it lasts!

Thank you to Alyssa Grace over on Serendipitous Reads for tagging me to do this fun tag! Make sure to check out her awesome blog!

Apparently this stared on Booktube but Alyssa did hers as blog post and so will I since I also do not have Youtube channel.

1. In the fall, the air is crisp and clear – Name a book with a vivid setting

29939230For this one I am going to have to go with the multiple London’s from The Shades of Magic of Series by Victoria Schwab. The different versions of London are so unique and vivid. Red, White, Grey and Black London are places I could see in my mind’s eye without much effort.

Nature is beautiful…but also dying – Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deal s with heavy topics like loss or grief

9781616956776 More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

I adore that book, it so beautifully written. You are wrapped up in this world and these characters but it is absolutely heartbreaking. It deals so many heavy topics that you will definitely need to go watch a comedy afterwards to heal your heart.

Fall is back to school season – Share a non-fiction that taught you something new

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Quiet, The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain
This book taught me exactly what it means to be an Introvert. I knew the term but didn’t understand what it truly meant. After reading this book I felt more confident in myself and became okay with being an Introvert.

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with people we love – Name a fiction family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of

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This is simple, the trio from Harry Potter. While their lives are super dangerous I would love nothing more than to hang out with Harry, Ron and Hermione for just a day.

The colorful leaves are piling up on the ground – Show us a pile of fall-colored spines

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Fall is the perfect time for storytelling by the fireside – Share a book wherein somebody is telling a story

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We are the Ants – Shaun David Hutchinson
Our protagonist tells us the story of when he was given a chance to save the planet. We are taken on his journey to decide if life is really worth living and if it is, what makes it so.

The nights are getting darker – Share a dark, creepy read

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Heartshaped Box – Joe Hill

I don’t read creepy books often because I don’t like to be scared. This was quite creepy. More than once I had to put it down and find something else because I was scared.

The days are getting colder – Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day

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Little Ellie Clause – James Manos
This is more a winter read but it is one of the most heartwarming books I have ever read. It is about an orphan girl who is adopted by Santa and the journey she goes on to save her birth parents and find her faith in life. It is just so sweet and one of my favorite holiday reads.

Fall returns every year – Name an old favorite that you’d like return to soon

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The Giver – Lois Lowry

This is one of my favorite books and I haven’t read it in a few years. It is just one of those books that always hits home and sits with me. It is also one that I see with different eyes as I get older and older. I just adore it.

Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights – Share your favorite cozy reading accessories

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A warm blanket, my couch and my kitty, all I need for a good reading night!
This was a fun way to dive into the Fall season. I am tagging anyone who wants a way to kick off Fall!

The Burn, Rewrite and Reread Tag (Take 2)

I did this post a long time ago and was just going through some of my past posts and thought it would be fun to do it again. I am not sure where this started, I know I saw it on Booktube a few times. If you know the creator, please let me know!

The Rules
-Randomly choose 3 books.(You can use the ‘Random’ option on your Goodreads read shelf.)
-For each group, decide which book to burn, which one to rewrite, and which to reread.
-Repeat until you completed three rounds.


Reread – I read Hell awhile ago.  I remember it being funny while also having some interesting commentary. I need to pick it up again and read it with a reviewing eye.

Rewrite– I really liked Winter. I think there were some elements of the end I would like to adjust and connect pieces better. I know that I had trouble with Scarlet’s story, so I think I would rewrite those portions.

Burn – I would burn Origin. I really disliked that book. It was slow moving, it built up to nothing and went nowhere.

Reread- I would reread Unlikley Friendships. This was just an adorable book!

Rewrite – This was hard because I think both of the other books could benefit from a rewrite. I think though I would choose The Magicians Land. These books had potential they just needed to connect to each other better.

Burn– I actually loved Twilight when I first read it, but it has not aged well with me.

Reread – I would reread The Lucifer Effect. It was a fascinating look at how good people do bad things. I love looking into the human mind and I was enthralled by this one.

Rewrite -While I loved The Cursed Child and thought it was interesting there are definitely parts that could be rewritten. I mean there are just pieces that don’t make sense timeline wise.

Burn – I guess that leaves me with burning The Bad Beginning. I loved the start of this series but for me it devolved into nonsense that I just could not enjoy by the end.

What do you think of my choices? What book would you reread, rewrite or burn?

Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Review – Maggie Stiefvater

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Blue has found somewhere to belong. She has found friends that mean everything to her. They are getting closer and closer to find Glendower and waking him up. They are on the verge of making the ultimate discovery. There are just a few things in the way such as mysterious sleeping king’s daughters and a missing mother. Can Blue and her friends find a balance and end their hunt once and for all without losing themselves in the process?

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4.jpg

Blue and Gansey’s growing relationship was one of my favorite aspect of this story. It is very subtle. There are no huge declarations of love or feelings. It is explored in a simple easy way throughout the story.

I am used to YA stories where the romance is overwhelming in the story. The characters are constantly thinking about each other. They are obsessing about if they should or should not end up together. You begin to wonder how they function thinking about anything or anyone else. For me, it always feels a bit unrealistic.

Here we saw how they became a couple without ever having this huge moment about it. It felt more real to me. They both know that their relationship can cause issues but there is no denying the way they found comfort in one another. I loved the way Gansey would anticipate the calls from Blue. We didn’t need him to go on and on about how important those calls were. We saw it and felt it right beside him.

I think this way of allowing the romance to grow organically let us concentrate on the rest of the stories and characters. It kept Blue and Gansey’s romance from taking over the story.

I also thought the addition of Gwenllian was fun. She was a good way to keep the plot moving and giving us more connection to the Glendower story. She is hilarious and I liked the way she talked about the world around her. I thought she gave the story and interesting perspective.

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I still enjoyed the character growth throughout the story. I liked seeing Adam come into himself and Ronan begin to find a purpose for his dreaming. I thought we started to see what Gansey wanted an how he felt about the world. I was still invested in them as much as before but I started to wonder if the plot was going anywhere.

I still felt like we were heading somewhere but the story didn’t quite know where. Characters were thrown in hoping to almost distract us from the fact that things weren’t moving anywhere. The hunt for Glendower was still on but I almost wondered why it mattered at this point. I was just expecting for the plot itself to solidify a bit more in this second to last book.

What I Wished was Different_.jpg
Malory’s character seemed to have no point for the story. He came to visit and I expected him to really push the plot forward. I almost expected him to have some huge connection to Glendower himself and for his revelation to throw Gansey into turmoil. I wanted him to mean something to the story.

Instead he came, gave a bit of new information and then just hung out for the rest of the story. What he revealed he could have revealed over the phone. His insights into the ley line wasn’t anything we didn’t already know. I forgot he was even in the story for most of it. When he left at the end I didn’t care. He was jus there for another person to talk to, it felt.

I gave this installment 3 out of 4 stars. I liked how it continued the growth of the characters. I just wished that I felt more connected to the plot and that some of the characters had a real purpose.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“Lonesome means a state of being apart. Of being other. Alone-some.” (pg. 28)

“It was so impossible to live life backward.” (pg. 115)

“How unfair she’d been to assume love and money would preclude pain and hardship.” (pg. 242)

 

 

February Wrap-Up

IMG_5320I decided I wanted to start doing monthly wrap-up posts. I will go through the books I managed to read throughout the month as well as the posts that I did as well. I might occasionally add movies and tv-shows.

During February I only managed to read three books. I think this was because one of them was slower and also because I did a lot of writing.  I also did some rearranging of my apartment that took time away from reading.

Books I read:
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee – This was a quick read. Fun, funny and interesting. Eager for the second book!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Beck Albertalli – I adored this book. My favorite of the year so far. Made me so happy.

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang – Short stories but took me a while to get through. Some were better than others. I will do a full review soon with my thoughts.

518zN4ZSZiL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Blog Posts:
I have been trying to post more often. I have a back-log of books to review which makes it easier. I am hoping to be able to keep up a steady posting schedule.
Down the TBR Hole #1
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein- Review
Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli – Review
The Everything Box – Richard Kadrey – Review
Down the TBR Hole #2
New Writing Space
The Book Feels Tag
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue – Mackenzie Lee- Review

TV Shows:
Queer Eye – I have been obsessed with the reboot of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” on Netflix. I binged all the episodes in a weekend. I loved the original but I think I love this reboot even more. The guys are great with all separate personalities, and every episode just has such an air of positivity and happiness. I can’t wait for more episodes!

What was your February like? What were some of your favorite reads, movies, tv shows or songs?

Down the TBR Hole

I saw this tag on on Howling Libraries and it looked like fun. It was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading. 
Links will be  on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
  • Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next week!

Current TBR – 246

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Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – Date added: August 22, 2013
I think I added this one after hearing about the movie? Through looking back at it now, I just don’t feel any real connection to it.

Decision: Remove

I am America – Stephen Colbert – August 22nd, 2013
I think I added this after I read John Stewart’s book on the history of America. I liked that and still own it. I think I will keep this because one day it would be fun to read. It will probably just be awhile before I get to it.

Decision: Keep

Suicide Notes – Thomas Ford – Date added: August 22nd 2013
This sounds interesting and like it would have a good look at life. I am still intrigued by the plot.

Decision: Keep

The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker – August 22nd, 2013
I have heard mixed reviews about this one. I still like the idea of the plot through. I am all for different mystical creatures outside your usuals like vampires and werewolves.

Decision: Keep

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The Children of Men – P.D. James – August 22nd, 2013
I love dystopian stories. This one is a classic and I will get to it one day.

Decision: Keep

The Never List – Koethi Zan – August 22nd, 2013
I have no idea how this one ended up on my list. Reading the summary again, sadism and torture seem to the main plot points. I have zero interest in either of those.

Decision: Remove

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – August 22nd, 2013                                                    I own this one and I do want to read it one day. I remember starting it once and the slang throwing me off. I have to find a time when I am ready to try to decipher the meanings.

Decision: Keep

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night – Mark Haddon – August 22nd, 2013
I will get to this one, one day. I have every intention of reading it. I have heard great things. I just have to find the mood and time.

Decision; Keep

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The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold – August 22nd, 2013
I was interested in the plot at first with this one but as time as moved on I feel like my interest has all but gone. Plus I have heard very mixed reviews about it.

Decision: Remove

The Lincoln Myth – Steve Barry – May 19th, 2014
I think this was added when I into reading history thrillers. I do like these stories where a some ancient artifact connected to history is sought because it can change the world. But I think I will stick with James Rollins at the moment.

Decision- Remove

Have you read any of the books on my current list? What are your thoughts on what I decided to keep and remove?

 

 

 

Reader Confession Tag

I saw this tag on Interrobang and thought it would be fun to do. I am working on a number of reviews but not sure if I will have time to complete them before the New Year. I know its been a minute since I posted anything so I thought this would be a good one to post for the moment.

1280px-Stipula_fountain_penHave you ever damaged a book?

Unfortunately the answer to that is yes. There was one incident that I won’t talk about because it is definitely something I am ashamed of now. Though I know as a child I am sure that I accidentally hurt a book. Though I can say now, I treat book with the greatest amount of respect.

Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

Not that I can remember. To be honest it is rare that I borrow books, I usually buy my own so that I can not worry about anything happening to them.

How long does it take you to read a book?

It all depends on the book and what is going on in my life. If I get wrapped up in it, I can finish it in a day or so. If it is good but doesn’t keep me wondering about it, it will take a few days. If it is slow and I am busy then it make take a few weeks. I almost always read before bed so that sometimes can dictate how long a book takes me to read. I wish I could read faster but I always make sure that I am able to appreciate what I am reading.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick. It is four separate stories that are related. So far it is an interesting look at the process of life and death and I am interested to see how all these stories come together.

What book haven’t you finished?

I rarely leave a book unfinished but it has happened. I have tried to read Little Women about four times and can never get past the first four chapters. I also couldn’t finish Winter’s Tale either, I read about 200 pages and it just did not make any sense to me. I will try, sometimes too hard, to finish a book but sometimes that is just not possible.

Hyped/Popular books that you just did not like?

The book that comes to mind is The Fault in Our Stars. I read it because of how much everyone was talking about it but I just did not feel the depth of emotion attached to it that I was expecting. I wanted to cry and feel the pain of the book but I felt like the true emotions weren’t explored as much as they could have been.

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?

I can’t think of a book that I would be ashamed of telling people about. I think any and all books are worth reading. No one should be ashamed of what they are reading, as long as you are reading. I have read everything from nonfiction to paranormal romances and I wouldn’t be ashamed of telling anyone about any of them.

How many books do you own?

That would take a while to count. I have four full bookshelves and need another one because I am out of room. I love being surrounded by books and I do not plan on downsizing my collection anytime soon.

Are you a fast or slow reader?

Again this depends on the book. If I am hooked and enraptured by the book then I will soar through it. If it is only alright then I am slower. It also depends on what is going on in my life. Lately because of the holiday and personal things on top of getting a new job my reading time has been very limited.

Do you like to buddy read?

I can honestly say I have never done it.

Do you read better in your head or out loud?

I definitely read better in my head. I tend to stumble over my words when I read outloud. I can read faster in my head which is how I like to read.

If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be?

This is a tough question because I think that if I had only one book sooner or later that book would get old and tiring to read. But I HAD to chose I would definitely chose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I adore that book and I think though I might tire of it eventually it would take quite awhile before I got to that point.

This was a fun tag to do, so if you are looking for a tag consider yourself tagged!

What Makes a Great Christmas Gift? My Book!

IsThereMore_AmazonDo you have a book-lover on your Christmas list? Looking to give someone a fun and interesting book that will make them rethink the world around them? Want a book that makes you look at the world a bit differently? Like stories similar to Twilight Zone and Black Mirror?

Then you my book, Is There More? ,is the perfect Christmas gift. It is a book of 8 short stories that all explore the world from a different angle. My book is a quick and interesting read.

As one reader put it on Goodreads: “Spinning stories that span lifetimes, Brittney Rz deftly takes readers on a journey through her wild imagination. If you’re a fan of the Twilight Zone and stories with surprising-yet-satisfying twists, you’re going to love “Is There More…?”’

Is There More? is available as a paperback and an e-book as well. Be sure to check it out on Amazon! And if you enjoy it or those you share it with enjoy it a review is always appreciated!

Thank you and have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!

Mask of Shadows – Linsey Miller – Review

29960675How far will you go for revenge? Would you enter a contest where the only way out was to win or die? Would you be able to kill other contestants in order to reach the position that will allow you to avenge your family?

These are questions that Sal has to ponder when they find a flyer for auditions to become Opal, part of The Left Hand of The Queen. Sal is a street thief who has spent the last few years just trying to survive. They know that becoming The Left Hand will allow them access to those who destroyed their life. Sal enters into the auditions and learns that revenge is not as simple as they first thought.

(Note since Sal is genderfluid and uses he/she/they pronouns based on how they are dressed I will be using they to refer to them throughout this review to avoid misgendering them at any point.)

What I enjoyed the most:

One of the things that caught my attention about this book when I first heard about it was the fact that the main character is genderfluid. I have read a few books where a side character is genderfluid but never one where the main character was. I have also not heard of genderfluid characters in a fantasy novel. I was interested to see how this story was going to be done.

Now I do want to state that I am not genderfluid and I don’t know anyone who is so my opinions are based off the research I have done. I did read some reviews of this book by genderfluid reviewers who approve of Sal and the way they were represented.

The society in this world seemed very accepting. When Sal first meets the rest of The Left Hand they state how they are to be addressed. They base their pronouns off what they are wearing, if they are wearing more feminine clothes they use she, if they are wearing more masculine type clothes they are he and if their clothes don’t fall into either category they use they. Once their pronouns are explained it is accepted. No one argues with them or try to fight them about who they are.

There was one moment where they were purposely misgendered and it was done by a character to argue against Sal. The character did it to put Sal down and argue against them staying in the competition. This character was quickly corrected and reminded to respect who Sal was. But that was the only time that Sal’s gender was discussed in any negative fashion.

There were also a variety of sexualities in this story. One character is bisexual, one is implied to be asexual and another is gay. There are also a number of POC as well. I liked the diversity in this book and how it was just accepted. This wasn’t about accepting people for their sexuality or color, it was about these auditioners trying to become The Left Hand for a variety of reasons. In the end it mattered what they could do not how they identified or who they were attracted to.

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the use of masks. Everyone auditioning was given a mask with a number and that was who they became until the end. The three other Left Hands had their own masks and no one got to see their real faces. This was an important part of this story.

The masks kept identities secret. We didn’t get to know who anyone truly was. It didn’t matter. What mattered was what they could do. Could they kill without thought? Could they do what was necessary to become an assassin? Could they remove who they once were and take up this new position in life?

Sal puts on their mask and they become twenty-three. They become someone who is out to do whatever is necessary to become Opal. They can’t let anyone get in their way. But even though this is mainly about a competition to kill the competition there are soft sides to the characters. I liked that feel. I was glad to see lighter moments, moments where care was shown. I think without these moments the story would have been hard to relate to. I found who I would root for and who mattered. If it was all about death, it would have been easy to write everyone off including Sal.

What I okay with:

One of my favorite parts of a story is the dialogue. I feel like through the dialogue I connect to the characters. I can learn if they are humorous, deep or intellectual. I can learn if they are more sarcastic or serious or if they hide behind words. I had a bit of trouble with the dialogue in this story. I felt like it was stilted and clunky. There were times that I wondered what the point of a conversation was or where it was going. Sometimes it felt like conversations just ended for no reason. I wish the dialogue was a bit more precise and relatable.

I also had a bit of trouble with the world building. It wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t feel part of the story but it was enough that I never felt set in the story. I felt like we were fed pieces only when necessary creating more of a jigsaw puzzle image. I had trouble figuring out how things connected.

I wished we had gotten a bit more history. There is a timeline in the back of the book about how they land was created. I wish that had been peppered throughout the story instead. It wasn’t until I read that that I felt like I understood how certain pieces fit together but by that point I was done with the book. I think putting those pieces in the story would have helped me feel more grounded.

What I would change:

Characters are what keep me reading a story. They are the reason I feel connected to a tale. If a character is flat or undeveloped I find myself struggling to finish a book. Unfortunately for this story I felt little connection to Sal.

Sal is a thief who lost their whole family and is out to avenge them. That is about all I know about Sal. I wanted to know more about their connection to their family. I wanted to know more about their homeland. I wanted to know if they felt wanted or needed in their home if they were on the outside. I wanted more history about Sal.

I think if we had gotten some flashbacks to Sal’s life before we would have a better way of understanding their choices during the story. Sal has potential to be a deep character. I think making Sal a deeper character would have made this more than a simple revenge story.

 

In the end I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads. I liked the pace, it was fast and never felt dull or slow. I just wish we had gotten a bit more about the world and a bit more about Sal.

Quotes:

“Most everyone wanted me to pick one, make addressing me easier to them by denying myself. I was already dressing so they could get it right. The least they could do was try. I didn’t see why I had to choose.” (pg. 79).

 

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