Three Morally-Gray Characters | Short Reviews

Two of three which is queer!

We’re doing a summary post of some books I really liked. They all deserve a full review, but this is what they’re getting.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson (The Masquerade #1)

I genuinely loved the morally-gray (maybe even simply wicked) female protagonist. You are on her side because her island is taken over and controlled under an empire that believes heavily in eugenics, ruthlessly changing the society as they see fit and placing the kids in terrifying boarding schools. And Baru plays the waiting game for revenge for her family which they murdered, as the colonizers clothe her and educate her in what they see fitting. There’s lesbians, an island, politics and so much blood spilled. Definitely a brutal fantasy, but more so in the cultural impact and strategies than the wars of high fantasy. It’s very much debating morality of if ends justify means, as Baru gets to find out how far she is willing to bend and betray to get in a position of power. 4 out of 5 stars because it’s a bit long-winded in its writing.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (The Locked Tomb #1)

The tagline for this book seems to be lesbian necromancers in space, which would be correct. It’s very much a love it or hate it type of book, because you’re thrown into the plot and have to start paddling to keep up with the characters. It does a great job turning into an unusual fantasy book even though it’s set in a fairly usual setting of deadly competition. The writing and character personalities are fantastic, as well as the well-hidden system behind the magic – not to forget the enemies to lovers (maybe) of the main characters. I want to reread it already. 4 out 5 stars, because it’s confusing in the beginning and you have to commit, even if it’s well worth it and I adore it.

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (John Cleaver #1)

I was definitely looking for morally-gray characters, and this is a fun take on sociopaths (not that that’s what you call it anymore). It’s about a guy who is obsessed with serial killers and how they think, but doesn’t want to let himself become one. It’s also a paranormal story with demons, of which the protagonist suspects his neighbour is one. This guy’s poor mom, trying to help out, but not being able to. 4 out of 5 stars, yet I have not retained so much of it, I have to admit. It was just an interesting read, which was just horror enough.

City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault | Review

Pages: 375

Genre: high fantasy, lgbt

TW for the book (from author): “abuse (physical, emotional, mind control — seriously, if depictions of abuse trigger you, please be very careful when approaching this novel/avoid it.), torture, homelessness, child abandonment, police brutality, racism, family death, memory loss, death by fire (mention) and hanging.”

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

I went into this book with little expectation or knowledge outside of it being a lesser-known fantasy book with many queer characters. All that was very true! All the characters are queer; bisexual, demi, pan, poly, gender fluid, agender, asexual, aromantic is all represented in an overall ruthless and amazing magical city. It is also a very ethnically diverse group. I just found out the author is the person behind the “Aro ace database” and it’s ownvoices for aro-ace.

The writing caught me from the very beginning;

Arathiel had grown tired—tired of not feeling rough wood under his hand, tired of not smelling the salty sea or earthy autumn air, tired of not tasting even allegedly spicy meals. Tired of being alone, a shadow, always one step removed from the world. One day, he would need to face his family.

I might have a big weakness for main characters who take the time to observe the world around them, is a thief or assassin, but also cares deeply for their friends. Also in general I find that there is way too little focus on platonic love, friends and friends as found-family in fantasy and young adult books (which is what I mainly read when it comes to fiction). And this book truly had all of those things, to the point where the few boring parts where the pacing gets a bit too slow is overshadowed by the good and unique elements for me. This book just gave me a lovely, fun and exciting experience reading it with characters I squeal over, but also feel comforted by. Without sacrificing any of the heavyness or high fantasy elements usual to the genre.

Tonight, however, he had a more mundane activity in mind: a game of cards with the two precious friends he’d managed to make. Way more stressful than sneaking into an inhabited building during the day, locating his target, and slitting his throat before anyone noticed him. Not to mention, Cal wanted to invite a new player today. Worse, he wanted Hasryan to do it.

Fantasy centered in a city and its politics with merchant families and rivalry, it’s just great. It highlights the many tough, quick choices characters have to make, magic making everything more complicated somehow as well. And the plot builds so naturally on the personalities and choices made by these characters and their lives intertwining by living in the same city. It’s not a very extended world-building and I think here’s where the fantasy book would’ve had more potential to build on. There is very many characters to keep track on through multiple POVs, but personally it was okay, even if a bit difficult to understand or relate to all of them just by the sheer amount. It is just a book that tries (and succeeds) to do a lot in under 400 pages. The morally gray aro-ace wizard-in-training Nevian is suffering under an abusive mentor. Arathiel is a mood, as they say, as he’s been gone from the city for 130 years after disappearing while looking for a cure for his ill sister. He’s back to a completely changed city and deciding on whether to claim his right as a noble or keep this anonymous new identity as the keeper of a homeless shelter of sorts. And I loved Cal of course. I’ve highlighted too many quotes of him talking about cheese to not love that character.

Cal climbed into it, then stared at Larryn, his legs dangling. Expecting something. Larryn cleared his throat, hurried to his pantry, and retrieved several types of cheese from it. He had bought so many yesterday, and it would be delusional not to admit guilt had played a big part in it. He had no intention of cooking with this

This will be a book I return to reread and I need to get a physical copy as well. And I’ve yet to read the next book, which I’m excited for! I always need more personality-driven fantasy books with lots of politics in my life, but especially when they have such a queer cast and focus on friendship and found families.

Update Five Stars Predictions (pt. 2) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ages ago, nine months to be exact, I made a post of five star book predictions. And the problem with those types of things are that you not only want to read them all, but have time to write reviews, because most of them actually were great.

The Hidden Girl & Other Stories by Ken Liu (my review)

In short I really appreciated and liked this collection of short stories. I had my expectation set high as I like the short story collection The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by the same author. I don’t think I realized the sci-fi thread through this one, but it was a pleasant surprise. Still, it’s harder to make multiple sci-fi stories I find equally fascinating as shorts, so it became a four out of five star read. Absolutely worth it.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

I really would have loved this book as a middle school (or even younger actually) kid. It’s a queer romance between a Latino trans boy and a gay boy, featuring murder mystery and ghosts. And while I loved all those aspects, the plot was predictable for being young adult. I would say it was the age categorization that made my expectations higher and unfair for me to judge, so no star rating here.

Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel

You ever start reading books during off-time and then realize it’s hard to continue once the semester starts, especially if it is too close to whatever you study? I’m still not done with this book, even though I love it. I will say that halfway through, it’s a five star read. I especially loved the discussion on how math education should be changed, and how Frenkel himself got into mathematics.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong:

This is an emotionally heavy and brilliant book. The writing alone is breath-taking, and made everything come to life in such a way that I needed several breaks while reading it. The book is written as a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read, with a raw honesty. It is centered around his Vietnamese family, living through the war and its consequences, about family, violence and trauma, but also healing, identity and sexuality. The book tries to do much by interweaving storylines through time, and as a consequence it has some slowness and confusion, making it a four out of five star read for me.

I also loved the poetry collection «Night Sky with Exit Wounds» by Vuong. Would absolutely recommend them both.

Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe (web comic link): this is a on-going web comic, but I’ve binged all the episodes released so far. I really adored the art style, I was unsure of the Hades-Persephone romance because it’s done so much, but it’s very self-aware and certainly cute. I truly liked how much focus it is on Persephone being a young godess trying to be independent, but learning that it’s okay to take support from others, while everyone shitting on her special treatments. Definitely so much personality to these characters, big and small, which is why it’s getting five stars even though I was bored at certain points.

A Separate Peace by John Knowles | Book Review

Pages: 208

Genre: young adult, classic, dark academia aesthetic, historical setting

Synopsis

A timeless coming-of-age book set in the summer at the beginning of the second world war. The all-boys boarding school in New England becomes a rare place that has not yet lost its charm and innocence to violence. Friends and rivals is sometimes the same as we follow the protagonist Gene, a introverted intellectual, and the school’s star athlete Phineas, who also has the ability to talk himself out of any trouble. And trouble they find themselves in as Phineas is somewhat of a spontaneous risk-taker and Gene can’t seem to keep from following him, developing quite a strange bond. The events of the summer and the war eventually makes this period of time life-changing for Gene, that divide in anyone’s life where there’s a before and an after.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four stars

This book gets a lot of shit because americans seems to be forced to read it too often in high school. But if you, like me, pick it up on your own, it’s quite obvious why it’s gotten its place as a classic.

Two things this book highlights exceptionally well; the setting of the external world at various times affecting or not affecting the remote world of the book, here the boarding school, as well as the unusual relationship between the two boys Gene and Phineas as they grow up side by side.

The knowledge of the outside world and the war brewing is something that constantly comes in drips through the story. That is, until the war breaks out and the cast of characters somehow intentionally try to downplay it in their heads until they finally are no longer able to ignore the reality in front of them. I read this book at the start of covid-19 becoming a pandemic, which was a somewhat ironic backdrop with its similar aspects despite the difference of how accessible news and media is today.

I was suprised by how queer the story felt, as a classic. A lot of searching after finishing the book lead me to the author being asked about and then rejecting any intentional homosexual themes. But I mean – obviously others had the same read of the situation. It’s interesting when the obsessiveness of the male and masculine goes so far to one side that it reads as queer. At points as they grow up the relationship between Gene and Phineas feels like those really destructive friendships that behave like romances, but the teens does not yet know how to pinpoint those big feelings or if they are gay. Spoken as a queer person. It could be interpreted as obsessiveness of other reasons, say jealousy, but it certainly is romantization going on in how Gene describes Finny. It fits with the (lately heavily criticized) dark academia concept because of that obsessiveness attached to the secluded group dynamic the boarding school brings.

Whether you want to call the relationship homoerotic or obsessive romantization for other reasons, it’s obvious the setting of the novel doesn’t permit such a relationship, as it gets its fitting ending.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

Genre: fantasy, dark academia (debatable)

Pages: 459

This book pissed me off; I wanted to like it, but its faults are so enormous. I DNF’ed it 60% in, should’ve been much earlier, but I had hopes considering the author.

Rating out of five: one star

I love dark academia, I love books with “darker” or morally gray protagonists, I’m even a fan of messy and disorganized plots. This book is too shallow to be able to drown someone in it, though a drowning was certainly in the plot. You cannot just give your characters all this past and current, very explicit, trauma and then not play out the consequences in any shape or form. It is not the shortcut to “darker” or more “mature” content that this book was so heavily marketed as, it only brings up questions of what is for shock factor.

Here’s an actual list of all the trigger warnings for this book, but just a few; sexual assault, rape (including of a child), racism, discussed suicide.

It’s a girlboss-gatekeep-gaslight type of book, even if it starts pretty catchy and held my interest for a while. Bardugo has gone to Yale, where it takes place, and brings a lot of realistic components. Among all the upper-class students (future world-leaders) and their secret-society magic, the characters sometimes briefly dips their toes into the societal discussions it seems this book wants to have as its themes.

Meaning you get characters around the MC Alex superficially talking/having one-liners about feminism, poverty, privilege, homelessness, sexism and drug-use. And Alex herself is supposed to come from a very poor background, but only carries that with her when convenient plot-line-wise. Otherwise she seems pretty middle-class, as it’s the only group Bardugo explicitly highlights to be hard-workers. There is actually nothing good connected to any poor characters, although Alex has her moments of «even the drug dealer didn’t deserve to be murdered». The poor people are sell-outs, they’re drug-dealers, murderers, something to leave behind. That could’ve been parts of her trauma, but it’s never brought-up or discussed as such.

Now. I’m going to write this as quickly as possible, because I do not want to think about it anymore. Here’s where I stopped reading; the MC’s Alex’s friend is sexual assaulted while on magical drugs (in which she seems to give consent on camera, but is drugged in an non-noticeable way bc magic) and the pay-back is Alex getting the confession with magic and then making the guy responsible eat shit, literally. Up ’til that point there was some uncomfortable casual racist comments and thoughts from the other MC towards Alex, which is never brought up in any other shape. Of course you can have racist characters, it’s just a bit (very) weird when it’s never pointed out by anyone. Alex herself is also sexually assaulted as a kid by some magical creature (ghost? demon?), making her act out in all kinds of ways – but this also was written very out of the blue and explicitly. Also it’s very heavily emphasised that she was a kid, same day as she got her first period. It felt very wrong in how it was written. I don’t even want to quote it.

Obviously, it’s difficult criticizing how authors writes (or not writes) anything to do with sexual assault. This is personal feelings only. But I can definitely say there’s lack of depth all over this novel. All together it gives the book a big fucking no from me.

Bardugo tried to go in many directions in this book. It’s a murder mystery, it’s magical societies, it’s supposedly dark academia even though it hits so few of the characteristics other than being placed at Yale with next-to-none of the school part of it. I’ve wondered where it went wrong, because the author managed the balance of depth and action in Six of Crows, but honestly it’s too un-redeemable for me to care. There’s so much better secret-society dark academia, even with magic, out there to find. For the most part, I can’t understand why so many people love this book except for it drawing in a YA crowd that has never read anything “darker” and finds it exciting, ignoring anything bad or horrible. Like it genuinely confuses me. I wanted to like it too, but there was too many warning flags showing up throughout the 60% I read.

summer, nature & poetry | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver (poetry)
  • Tell Me by Kim Addonizio (poetry)
  • Rereading Felicity by Mary Oliver (poetry)

Added to TBR:

  • What Is This Thing Called Love by Kim Addonizio (poetry)
  • Mortal Trash by Kim Addonizio (poetry)
  • Bukowski in a Sundress: confessions from a writing life by Kim Addonizio (memoir, essays)
  • Notes on a Silencing by Lacy Crawford (memoir, true crime): about experiencing sexual abuse on an elite boarding school
  • frank: sonnets by Diane Seuss (poetry)
  • The Book of Love: poems of ectasy and longing by Rumi (poetry, classics, philosophy)
  • Tales of Norse Mythology by Hélène A. Guerber (mythology)
  • The Anthropocene Reviewed: essays on a human-centered planet by John Green (nonfiction, essays)
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson (classics, humor, journalism)

Three things on my mind:

  • So much has happened lately, most of them really nice. I got through my exams with better marks than I could’ve wished for despite lots of roadblocks, spent some time alone waiting for my 2nd covid-19 vaccine. Managed to get it and finally spend time with friends and family, some I haven’t met in two years now.
  • This spring exam season was the first time I sat down and was like “I can actually do this” because I do love what I’m studying (physics). I just don’t love the whole regiment I have to uphold to try to get a working, cooperative brain and focus. Like basically I have to schedule when I do certain activities as I know I’ll have pain afterwards, mainly eating, and it was tricky to figure out the most efficient times. I have crohn’s disease among other things, and it’s fairly active still, but we’re working on it.

  • So I’ve done a lot in my daily life this summer, but I’ve read so little. Mostly poetry. And I have been very happy, for the most part. I’ve watched a lot – a lot – of movies, because that’s a social thing to do. I can’t get through a movie or tv series without skipping some parts if I’m on my own, so I really only get the chance to enjoy them under supervision of other people. I did watch cats, the movie. And would wholeheartedly recommend against it. My body was having physical reactions to not being able to keep up with the godawful CGI/human cat faces, the inconsistency of them making it only more fucked up. Glad I did it with someone beside me, it was hilarious to suffer together. Better movies I watched for the first time was The Matrix (I laughed at every matrix I calculated with for the rest of the week), The Martian, Gravity and My Neighbor Totoro. All great films, of which Totoro is definitely the supreme winner.

  • I’ve been reading a lot of love poems lately. I opened Felicity by Mary Oliver to the part of Love, and the first thing I met was Rumi’s writing that she included. There was no less of a sign of wisdom to not let fear guide you in anything, let alone emotions of importance like love.

Someone who does not run toward the allure of love walks a road where nothing lives.

Rumi


I did think, let’s go about this slowly.

This is important. This should take

some really deep thought. We should take

small thoughtful steps.

But, bless us, we didn’t.

Mary Oliver, Felicity

Poetry: mary oliver, addonizio, lambert | Short reviews

Shame is an ocean I swim across by Mary Lambert: contains very powerful stories by someone who is a musician as well, the writing flows very well. Talks about sexual assault, mental health and fame. Very good phrasing and descriptions of situations I can relate to as well, not that that’s a requirement. The excellence of titles like “It is time to eat something other than pizza and tequila” mixes well with the somber topics. Four out of five stars. Definitely check the trigger warnings.

Tell me by Kim Addonizio: it took me some time to both understand the poet and the work, but it grew on me the second and third time I read it. Each poem is very hit or miss for me in how interesting I find it but overall obvious that Addonizio is a good writer. It’s feministic in how it shows someone moving unrelentless through the world, while not shying away from gritty parts. Just that level of honesty Addonizio brings creates such a depth that I can’t blame her too hard when she finds it lacking in her poetry students. Very little pretentiousness to find here, very much confessional and communicating directly to the reader. Four out of five stars, I think I’ll take a dive into her other work soon.

Why I wake early by Mary Oliver: I continue to find a lot of comfort and beautiful parts in Mary Oliver’s writing, even if this one wasn’t a personal favourite. In general, her poems are all about understanding humans through nature (as in the actual spending time in nature), in various ways. Usually with a bit more variety than here. Fav. poems is “The Arrowhead”; “The Snow Cricket” and “Where Does the Dance Begin, Where Does It End?”. Three our of five stars.

Winterkeep (Graceling #4) by Kristin Cashore | Book Review

Genre: (adult) fantasy

Pages: 528

I would look up trigger warnings before reading it! While I loved the book, I nearly had to stop because I expected a lighter type of fantasy, but even if it’s always taken up serious subjects, it suddenly got a lot darker and more in-depth. Among other things very explicit child abuse and gaslighting, also against one of the protagonists. As well as suicidality, animal abuse, etc. LIke there’s been sadists since the first graceling book, but it feels much more explicit here, probably because it’s more applicable to real-life.

Synopsis

Four years after Bitterblue left off, a new land has been discovered to the east: Torla; and the closest nation to Monsea is Winterkeep. Winterkeep is a land of miracles, a democratic republic run by people who like each other, where people speak to telepathic sea creatures, adopt telepathic foxes as pets, and fly across the sky in ships attached to balloons.

But when Bitterblue’s envoys to Winterkeep drown under suspicious circumstances, she and Giddon and her half sister, Hava, set off to discover the truth–putting both Bitterblue’s life and Giddon’s heart to the test when Bitterbue is kidnapped. Giddon believes she has drowned, leaving him and Hava to solve the mystery of what’s wrong in Winterkeep.

Lovisa Cavenda is the teenage daughter of a powerful Scholar and Industrialist (the opposing governing parties) with a fire inside her that is always hungry, always just nearly about to make something happen. She is the key to everything, but only if she can figure out what’s going on before anyone else, and only if she’s willing to transcend the person she’s been all her life.

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Ever wondered what happens after the good protagonist becomes king/queen of the kingdom and wants to turn it into a democracy? Here, a familiar history of corruption, burning of scientific knowledge and other countries’ secret exploitation of their resources creates difficulties.

You could absolutely read this book as a stand-alone, even though it’s a very late (like nine years late) fourth book in a series I loved as a kid. While the rest of the series is young adult, it seems to have grown with its audience very deliberately and the themes and actions of characters in this book is very much adult.

Some day I need to write a review of the original trilogy, but just know that I loved it with all my heart. The first book features a kick-ass character named Katsa that’s trying to get out a life being used as an assassin just because she’s skilled/graced with it. And this book is a continuation of that in two ways.

It’s the same kind of simple, yet well-done world as before. The parts of the world have expanded, and I love the intelligent foxes and telepathic sea creatures here. Mainly the fantasy aspect is certain characters being gifted with one skill (called grace), visible by different colours on each eye. The second thing that’s stayed the same is the fierceness in the protagnosists, even though Cashore has developed in what ways a character can be strong and weak. It’s no longer just survival; it’s politics, finding strength in overcoming trauma, being intelligent and compassionate. There’s power in continuing to care for people, even after other’s have failed you. This book’s plot reads very much like a mystery, with the different POVs helping to create puzzle pieces that fit so perfectly together, yet still surprises you.

I loved the kraken-like (The Keeper) creature’s POV so much and would’ve liked its part to be bigger, though I get how that would work against the essence of its character. I felt like this book had a lof of different elements to love and that’s stuck in my mind since I read it. For instance, Lovisa has to take cover far into the country-side, where she really comes to terms with what her goals are after being through so much crisis and trauma. Along with the usual action, which there is a lot of, the book highlights the more tedious, but real-life consequences of continuing living a life. Even reading Lovisa’s inner voice is painful as she’s constantly discrediting herself, but so very real.

My absolutely favourite character was the fox Adventure – I don’t get how people dislike him. I mean his constant thoughts alone brings great relatable humor;

The fox had never before experienced the level of anxiety he’d been experiencing lately. It was too much. He could not keep everyone safe all by himself! And his siblings, all of whom were present at this party, were as useless as ever.

Somehow I think this became the book where I realized there’s worth for me in following trigger warnings, because it has a very explicit scene of Lovisa as an older daughter being threatened with her younger brothers’ suffering by the hands of her parents. Somehow, that was what got me and I just sobbed the rest of the book to be honest. But I reread those parts the next day and it’s really well done, in many ways. It’s in accord with the abusive behaviour of her parents until that point, the illusion in Lovisa’s mind of them having been good to her at times is completely destroyed, making their downfall a lot more satisfying.

What I felt reading this book: Excited about the mystery-feeling of the plot, well-written characters and the added dimension of the politics. Sobbed a lot. Appreciated the relief the non-human characters brought.

They Never Learn by Layne Fargo | Book Review

Look up trigger warnings! There’s a lot around sexual assault and abuse of power.

Genre: thriller, serial killer, dark academia, lgbt; f/f relationships, queer women, two bisexual female protagonists

Pages: 378

Synopsis

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan… until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay… and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality. 

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Sometimes I feel the books with a really interesting plot/synopsis that feels targeted at me, is the ones that let me down the most. It’s got a very good goodreads rating too. I just couldn’t get over how much I didn’t like the writing, as in the language used being cringy and constantly taking me out of the story. There’s two f/f queer friendship (both POVs are bisexual women) that turn sexual at certain points, both ending up very different. It’s all very intense and dramatic, yet it fits into the story. And there’s enough twists to the characters and the plotlines that I did enjoy reading it, even if it was built on somewhat one-dimensional characters.

I first blamed it on the fact that writing a serial killer is difficult, and it still could be, but it’s the same problem with the student Carly. Because in many ways she’s supposed to showcase the start of a girl turning cold and ruthless by the experiences and total lack of support in the systems, like being ridiculed by school administration when trying to help her friend after a sexual assault. It was a nice comparison, even if it was laid on a bit thick with even the professor Scarlett pointing out how she saw a young version of herself.

I have to state that there’s nothing wrong with these “unlikable” female main characters that made me dislike the book, as I often prefer them. In general, the author seems to be known for writing those well. I also want to say I whole-heartedly disagree with some other bad reviews claim that all the rapists weren’t equally bad and so on, it’s showcased all the way why the serial killer chooses her victims and the actions they’ve committed. I had to stop reading those reviews quick to not get sick, as they excuse sexual abuse so blatantly. It’s not meant to be feministic in how you should cheer on a serial killer, that’s up to the reader, but in showing how a culture of abuse and sexual assaults can be protected against those who want to report it. And that’s not far-fetched at all in today’s society, even if it shouldn’t have to defend itself as fiction.

Is it dark academia? Absolutely, it’s a look into a professor/murderer’s mind set on an university campus, trying to avoid persecution. The student’s POV even shows how her experiences and obsessiveness with helping her friend and keeping up with writing leads her into a darker path than she could imagine. It definitely showcases the potentially worst sides of an (academic) institution with abuse of power from everyone in charge.

idk life is weird ft. crime & fantasy books | Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver (poetry)
  • We’re in the middle of exam season so I’m trying to not read much else, because I lose too much time at once, hahha. I have the bookshelf of high fantasy books I want to read when sometime maybe finally vacation comes around.

Added to TBR:

  • Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. Memoir.
  • The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. Thriller, crime.
  • I Don’t Want To Kill You (John Cleaver #3) by Dan Wells. Exactly the type of horror/thriller book it sounds like
  • Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Nonfiction, memoir, true crime. Recommendation by Naty’s Bookshelf made me want to read it!
  • Comradely Greetings by Slavoj Žižek and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Nonfiction, philosophy, politics. Based on letters between philosopher Žižek and pussy riot member Tolokonnikova as she was in jail in Russia.
  • Alien Oceans: The Search for Life in the Depths of Space by Kevin Peter Hand. Nonfiction, science, astrobiology.
  • Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2) by Tamsyn Muir. Queer fantasy/sci-fi.
  • A Dowry of Blood by S. T. Gibson. Fantasy, horror, vampires. lgbt; bi/pan characters.

Posts I’ve loved by other bloggers:

Three things on my mind:

  • Let’s start with a light-hearted, fun thing. I’m looking into which science communicators and scientists (within math and physics mainly) to bring into our university’s science festival. And we already have a list to take from, but I can message whoever I want for the most part and that’s one of the reasons I suddenly found more science books to read again.

  • I’m kind of tired of myself lately. But life doesn’t stop being weird, and I’ve had some of the most surreal days. So many hospital visits, so little studying in comparison even though exams are just around the corner. Doctors who can’t keep things straight, like the one medicine I was put on and there to talk about? My mom, on the other side of the country, had an allergic reaction and no one would treat her for too long?? Had she not have extensive medical experience with two sick kids and the help of a very frightened young doctor, her anaphylactic shock could have gone very badly. It’s all been very strange and nervewracking. On the bright side, I will get to see a very nice nurse every month moving forward. Also, as I’m writing this I might have circled into my strangest sleep schedule yet with falling asleep at 7pm and waking up numerous times before giving up around 3 am, for the last three days in a row. It’s better than waking up at 4 pm in some aspects, until you realize that the grocery store doesn’t open until 10 am and you’ve ran out of food. I’m so hungry right now, hahha.
  • *Trigger warning for anything bad mental health and suicidal ideation* Have any other college students taken surveys about mental health during the pandemic? Because our massive one just dropped and 1/2 of students reported major psychological symptoms and around 1/4 of students had seriously considered taking their own lives. What maybe surprised me most was that while other symptoms had a massive jump, suicidal thoughts were already close to that level in 2018. Seems like there’s both an accute problem and an underlying one that never was discussed enough. There seems to be some money being thrown at the problem, but from what I’ve heard lately any mental health programs dealing with those more serious symptoms have issues getting to everyone within a decent time. It isn’t like this wasn’t a predictable result of a year of pandemic? It’s so concerning, because for students we’ve had these low-entry “are you experiencing exam stress?” type of help, but very little else. I was in the system pre-covid and has had therapy throughout it, only online, but everyone should’ve had that chance at any point.
  • The Shadow and Bones tv series is – well, a thing. I have seen it, after much back and forth about whether I wanted to. I’m not sure what I think other than that I didn’t originally connect with the Grisha books so it could only make that part better for me and they didn’t have enough of the Six of Crows gang to ruin anything bad for me. So would watch again, I guess? It is pretty great to see certain parts in such a visual way, but I feel I have to rewatch it a second time to not just sit there nervous that the show runners will ruin something. Also I’m still worried about the potential second season? But also want to see what they would do? Would love your thoughts if you got any on whether you like the series or not! One thing I’m certain of; I’m loving all the new content about the crows because of the series.