Recover Reading: non-mysteries

I didn’t only read mysteries while I was recovering, even though it might seem that way. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the other books I went through!

I had read In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan in its original incarnation, as a serial published on her blog. So when the book was announced, I was excited to revisit it, but also curious about how the story might change in a different form. As it turns out, the heart of Elliot, Luke, and Serene’s journey remains unchanged, but the book is significantly revised and expanded from the original. It remains one of my favorite recent takes on portal fantasies and just as hilarious and heart-rending/warming as I remembered.

Then I picked up The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis, which I didn’t enjoy as much as I had expected. I was looking for a Hornblower/Aubrey-esque airship escapade, and I do think that’s what it wanted to be. But for me it seemed a bit too grim and the characters never quite solidified. However, several people I generally trust thought it was great, so I do recommend checking it out if a female captain of an airship sounds like a hook you’d be into.

I’ve been reading through Helen Oyeyemi’s backlist and–going strictly off of what was available on Overdrive at that moment–picked up What is Not Yours is Not Yours. While I think I prefer the spooled-out surrealness of Oyeyemi’s novels, this was overall a pretty strong short story collection. I especially liked the way characters from one story would appear in another, lending a sense of cohesion and purpose to the book.

Since Frances Hardinge is one of my favorite authors, a new book by her is always an exciting time! Her latest, A Skinful of Shadows, is strange and sad and lovely–not surprising, from Hardinge. Though I found the historical aspect of the setting less potent than Cuckoo Song or The Lie Tree, I loved Makepeace and her bear, as well as the shape the story took. Surprising and hopeful and lovely.

I had tried reading Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway at least once before and hadn’t managed to finish it. This time I kept going and was mostly rewarded. I liked it quite a lot, except that the story seemed somewhat awkwardly caught between wanting to be a light teen romance and wanting to explore some deeper and harder relationships between parents and children. Ultimately I’m not entirely sure how I felt about it as a whole, but I don’t regret reading it.

Finally, I picked up Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake. I had mixed feelings about a couple of aspects of Hadley’s characterization, but overall I really liked the way Blake took a somewhat implausible plot and used it as a base to explore different kinds of relationships and growth. It wasn’t always an easy or comfortable read but I did appreciate it–a good one for teens looking for a story that’s a little challenging in terms of theme.

 

4 Comments

Filed under bookish posts, reviews

4 responses to “Recover Reading: non-mysteries

  1. I’ve been meaning to look at In Other Lands. Now that you’ve reminded me about it, I’ve picked it up. I generally do like portal fantasy!

    • Maureen Eichner

      It’s interesting in that SRB clearly loves portal fantasies and also spends a long time having her main character go “WHAT THE HECK” about the more questionable aspects of those portal fantasies.

  2. I was so charmed with the team-up of ghosts in Skinful of Shadows — the book was mostly as grim as I was expecting, but the team-up thing was unexpected and so so sweet.

    I just bought In Other Lands! I am happy with it as a book and when I got it, the press that publishes it also included a little sticker with a doodle of Luke and Sarah Rees Brennan’s signature on it. How adorable is that? So I’m happy and looking forward to rereading it.

    • Maureen Eichner

      Yes, I really enjoyed the various ghosts–Hardinge is good at adding those bits of humor that keep her books from becoming relentlessly grim.

      That is adorable! I got my copy from the library, so did not get a cute sticker.

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