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In Conclusion: Black History Month 2022

Rebekah is an avid reader of fantasy for all ages, and enjoys world and non-Eurocentric fantasy the most (except when dragons are involved).

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Previously Read

Title: Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha #1)
Year Published: 2018
Age: Young Adult
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Status: Finished, not owned

Title: Children of Vengeance and Virtue (Legacy of Orisha #2)
Year Published: 2019
Age: Young Adult
Author: Tomi Adeyemi
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Status: Finished, not owned

Title: The Killing Moon (The Dreamblood #1)
Year Published: 2012
Age: Adult
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Format: Book
Genre(s): Fantasy
Status: Finished, not owned

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Year Published: 2010
Age: Adult
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Format: Book
Genre(s): Biography, History
Status: Finished, not owned

Title: The Farming of Bones
Year Published: 1999
Age: Adult
Author: Edwidge Danticat
Format: Book
Genre(s): Historical fiction, Contemporary
Status: Finished, not owned

Young Adult (13-17)

Title: SLAY
Author: Brittney Morris
Year Published: 2019
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Contemporary, scifi
Status: Finished, not owned

What I liked:

Just about everything. I was pulled into the story almost immediately, but I also love a really good "gameplay" novel. I loved Kiera's passion for her game and how far she was willing to go to protect it, just to provide a safe space for gamers who face discrimination and racism in other platforms. It was a harsh mirror to our own reality. I loved how everything came together and we saw a community that supported each other and lifted each other up to greater heights.

What I didn't like:

There were very few things I didn't like, and most of that came from a place of discomfort - but that is the point. I hated that Kiera and Claire went through the kinds of things they did in their respective worlds; misogyny and racism, in Claire's case specifically, xenophobia. These are all things I have never experienced, and I hated that the conflict present in the book was something that should not be an issue, but is an every day fight for many people in our world.


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Title: The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1)
Author: Namina Forna
Year Published: 2021
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): High Fantasy, Feminism
Status: Finished, not owned

What I liked:

As a fantasy reader, primarily, the world and culture of a novel are the very first things I look for to draw me in. Unlike character-driven novels where the worldbuilding takes a backseat, I crave a colorful setting, and The Gilded Ones did not disappoint. The reader is thrust into a cohesive world with very clear gender roles and hierarchies of society. I was intrigued that Deka already faced some discrimination in her village, and that the ceremony would give her a place to belong. Ultimately she found a place to belong, though not how she had imagined.

What I didn't like:

I had a few issues. First, I felt the writing was simplistic, more in line with what I might find in a middle grades novel, not young adult. It wasn't bad, just basic. I thought the abuse many of the characters went through was not written well, and somewhat mediocre reasons were given for it. I would have been equally sympathetic to the girls without all of that. Third, the concept of the deathscreamers and their link to the alaki seemed too strange, even for a fantasy such as this. Perhaps more will be understood and explained in the upcoming Book 2, The Merciless Ones (2022).

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Title: The Sound of Stars
Author: Alechia Dow
Year Published: 2020
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Queer
Status: Finished, not owned

What I liked:

The dual-POV between Ellie and Morris was a lot of fun, especially Morris. I liked the story and the classic trope of two lovers not-meant-to-be. The story was just very unique to me for this genre. I don't usually read alien invasion-type stories, but I've really been wanting to dip my toe in the waters of this genre, and after reading Winter's Orbit this past January, I think I want to read more fantastical outer space stories like this. I liked the tension build-up from both character POVs, and of course as a book and music nerd, I absolutely loved the constant references to some of my favorite authors and musicians.

What I didn't like:

At times I felt like the stakes weren't high enough from Morris' POV, but mostly I attribute that to his relatively low emotional state throughout the book. And ultimately, the revealed prophecy fell very flat for me. It was an unexpected twist that I would have been, as a reader, much happier without. I feel like the exact same ending could have been achieved if that one small thing were not a part of the story, and it took away so much of the scifi-ness that I was enjoying most. Lastly, Ellie's broken record about how the situation wasn't "all that bad" and the humans were "treated well enough" started to get on my nerves.

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Title: The Kindred
Author: Alechia Dow
Year Published: 2022
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Sci-Fi, Romance, Queer
Status: Finished, not owned

What I liked:

It was not so similar to The Sound of Stars that it felt like I was reading the same story. This is a frequent feeling when reading standalones by the same author in the same genre, but with The Kindred, it was quite obviously a return to the same universe and time but a completely unique story. It shared some of the same tropes, such as a couple on the run and unexpected allies, and the tie-ins were cleverly done. Joy and Felix were an absolute pleasure to read about and cheer on, especially towards the end.

What I didn't like:

Like with The Sound of Stars, there were points that felt as if they were dragging significantly, and sections were difficult to get through. I thought the parallels between the alien worlds which Joy and Felix belonged to and our world were overdone; as a reader I would have much rather felt their perspective as a wholly alien point of view.

Adult (18+)

Title: The Shadowed Sun (The Dreamblood #2)
Year Published: 2012
Age: Adult
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Format: Book
Genre(s): Fantasy
Status: Not finished, not owned

What I liked:

At the time of writing and publishing this hub, I am not yet halfway through the book. However, it is an exciting and suspenseful return to the world I came to love in The Killing Moon. It is a fantasy of the highest historical type and I am looking forward to finishing it, but unfortunately not as quickly as I would like.

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TBR - All Ages

Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Year Published: 2014
Age: Middle Grades
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Genre(s): Memoir

Title: How Beautiful We Were
Year Published: 2021
Age: Adult
Author: Imbolo Mbue
Genre(s): Historical, Literary Fiction

Title: Me (Moth)
Year Published: 2021
Age: Young Adult
Author: Amber McBride
Genre(s): Poetry, Magical Realism, Contemporary

Title: Must Love Books
Year Published: 2022
Age: Adult
Author: Shauna Robinson
Genre(s): Romance, Contemporary

Title: The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1)
Year Published: 2019
Age: Adult
Author: Evan Winter
Genre(s): Fantasy, Dragons

Title: The Red Pencil
Year Published: 2014
Age: Middle Grades
Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Poetry, War

DNF - All Ages

Title: Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1)
Year Published: 2019
Age: Adult
Author: Marlon James
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Fantasy, Mythological Fantasy, LGBT

Title: The City We Became (Great Cities #1)
Year Published: 2020
Age: Adult
Author: N.K. Jemisin
Format: Audiobook
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Queer

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