Flame in the Mist - Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist - Renee Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist – Renee Ahdieh

“The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands.”

Flame in the Mist - Fairyloot

Flame in the Mist – Fairyloot

This came out of a FairyLoot box, but having read The Wrath and The Dawn, I would have eventually picked it up (in paperback!) I had heard it described as Mulan meets 47 Ronin, and they were not wrong. Mariko is destined to marry the Emperor’s son, but after a brutal attack on her convoy to the Imperial city, she disguises herself a boy and tracks the men who attacked her, eventually infiltrating and joining the Black Clan.

It’s clear from the outset that Mariko has a head for strategy, and after she’s accepted into the Black Clan, she uses her alchemical knowledge to invent explosive weapons and smoke devices which help cement her standing. I liked her dedication and obstinacy in the face of a hundred obstacles. She has the option to go to her brother for help several times, but she is determined to discover the truth of the attack for herself, and then later on, to uncover the true truth underneath the ‘truth’ she has been offered. There were more layers to this book that I was expecting, and several twists and turns. I did think that this could have been a standalone novel, especially as I approached the final chapters, but it looks like there will be a sequel, at least.

Get Flame in the Mist here.

For fans of An Ember in the Ashes, Truthwitch.

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a closed and common orbit – Becky Chambers

a closed and common orbit TL

“Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence.
When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She’s never felt so alone. But she’s not alone, not really.
Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over.
Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it’s anything but empty.”

the long way to a small angry planet became one of my favourite books immediately, and a closed and common orbit is on the way to the same. It’s a real balm of a book, love and friendship in space with a rich and detailed universe of goings-on to hang out in too.

The split narrative of a closed and common orbit tells the story of Pepper looking out for Lovelace as they come to terms with living in a body, and of Pepper’s childhood when she began to learn there was a whole galaxy out there.

I love the small touches in these books – in the long way to a small angry planet, a character seriously messes up some negotiations after making an inappropriate hand gesture, and in a closed and common orbit, Lovelace gets a tattoo with unfortunate side-effects. The hinting at a larger world, at a great cultural depth, is done with small touches and hints, light brushstrokes giving a peek at the broader canvas.

These are well worth reading over and over, uplifting as they, with an overwhelming sense of celebration; enjoying life and everything in it.

Get the long way to a small angry planet and a closed and common orbit here.

For fans of Station Eleven, All The Birds In the Sky.

Lumberjanes #1

Lumberjanes Vol 1. TL

“Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together…and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!”

Nothing is better than Lumberjanes. I want to go to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types, and I want to earn all the badges, and battle three-eyed creatures in the forest, and solve anagrams, and dodge sword wielding suits of armour in underground caves, and sneak back into the camp dorms without getting caught afterwards.

It’s a real cute tale of lady friendships and love, with some excellent jokes and just an overall great attitude, and I want to live in it.

Get Lumberjanes here or here.