Review: This is How You Lose the Time War

36516585★★★★★

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading.

Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone have united to bring one of the most stunning works of speculative fiction I’ve ever read. This epistolary novella chronicles the exchanges between two spies on opposite sides of a war that permeates time and space. What began as elaborate taunts between enemies on the battlefield turns into something more.

I have only one word for this whirlwind tale: breathtaking. I finished This is How You Lose the Time War in a single sitting- not because I wanted to as much as I needed to finish it. The lyrical prose combined with the masterful storytelling results in a story that dares you to put it down, and I did not dare. In just over 200 pages this book will steal your heart, shatter it, and then stitch it back together as you watch.

Continue reading “Review: This is How You Lose the Time War”

This Post Couldn’t Wait: The Seep

I know this post is coming at you in the middle of a hiatus, but bear with me, it’s exciting.

So, I was browsing Edelweiss+ on this Friday night in and, as usual, I check out the LGBT+ review copies first. Of the 3,913 DRCs available for request or download as I write this, there are 6 in that category (which is heinous, but I won’t dwell on that for this post).

But anyways, 6. That’s one more than yesterday, so yay! So, among the titles I’ve been seeing on repeat for weeks, what’s new? The Seep by Chana Porter.

45448133“A blend of searing social commentary and speculative fiction, Chana Porter’s fresh, pointed debut is perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Carmen Maria Machado.

Trina Goldberg-Oneka is a trans woman whose life is irreversibly altered in the wake of a gentle—but nonetheless world-changing—invasion by an alien entity calling itself The Seep. Through The Seep, everything is connected. Capitalism falls, hierarchies and barriers are broken down; if something can be imagined, it is possible.

Trina and her wife, Deeba, live blissfully under The Seep’s utopian influence—until Deeba begins to imagine what it might be like to be reborn as a baby, which will give her the chance at an even better life. Using Seep-tech to make this dream a reality, Deeba moves on to a new existence, leaving Trina devastated.

Heartbroken and deep into an alcoholic binge, Trina chases after a young boy she encounters, embarking on an unexpected quest. In her attempt to save him from The Seep, she will confront not only one of its most avid devotees, but the terrifying void that Deeba has left behind.”

When I say my heart was palpitating as I read this description, that was no exaggeration. Queer representation in this sort of genre-bending speculative fiction is extremely rare – all that I’ve seen recently amounts to a couple short stories in the first volume of Today, Tomorrow, Always (review here). So, if it wasn’t readily apparent, I’m insanely excited about this book and you can count on me chatting about it for the rest of this year.

The Seep will be released on January 21, 2020. It’s a long way off, but you can always save time later by adding it to your Goodreads TBR now!  Continue reading “This Post Couldn’t Wait: The Seep”

Advance Review: Today, Tomorrow, Always (Vol. 1)

★★★☆☆44651182

Today, Tomorrow, Always is an anthology of varied short stories. This is this first volume of what will be a continuing series of anthologies showcasing what was billed as “a literary-sci fi-speculative fiction mashup at its finest.” So of course I had to pick this up, right?

All of the stories in this anthology were, at the very least, good. Some were too brief for me, some I couldn’t connect with. The rating for Today, Tomorrow, Always is essentially an average of all the stories contained within it. That being said, the ones that I loved were really brilliant.

Multilinear Memories by Gwen Tolios is one of those hypnotic stories that blurs the timeline of events and possibly the boundary of what is real and what isn’t. I don’t often love ambiguity in stories like this, but Multilinear Memories manages this feat beautifully.

Egg Toast by Elise Thi Tran is both brutal and lovely. Wren Sun-Lee confessed to her long-time boyfriend that she was raped several years ago and boards a train to her attacker’s house, picking up a carton of eggs along the way.

Skylight by Avra Margariti was so charming, I absolutely loved it. A young man discovers that the imaginary boy that he played with as a child was real and slowly befriends the man he spent years believing existed only in his head.

If the description has piqued your interest, it is definitely worth picking it up, but I can’t strongly recommend this for those who aren’t fans of this sort of multi-genre mashup.   Continue reading “Advance Review: Today, Tomorrow, Always (Vol. 1)”

Review: The Test

★★★★★41940388

Alright, I’ll admit it. The Themis Files series has been gazing at me from my to-be-read shelf for over a year now. I’ve heard Sylvain Neuvel’s praises sung endlessly by friends and fellow reviewers, but I still haven’t made it to his debut novel, Sleeping Giants. I was thrilled at the announcement of The Test, his first novella, something for me to fly through quickly on a late night. The biggest takeaway for me: wow, I’ve been missing out.

I think this is one of those books you’re better of diving into yourself with as little foreknowledge as possible, so I’ll keep this brief. In order to become a citizen of Britain, you must first pass the twenty-five question British Citizenship Test. Idir Jalil, an Iranian immigrant hoping to secure his family’s future in this country they’ve come to know, will pass this test or he and his family will be deported immediately. The stakes are high enough before the day goes awry, forcing Idir to make decisions of life or death.

The Test flies by at breakneck speed. I like, many other readers, tore through this in a single sitting. Neuvel does not mince words. He quickly sets the stage as he introduces Idir, and just as promptly turns the world on it’s side less than twenty pages in. This is a masterfully written story that explores the value of a human life, and it rocked me to my core with each twist and turn as the plot unfolded.


The Test by Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopian
Length: 112 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date: February 12, 2019
Source: Personal copy
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