Jan. 9th, 2019

soc_puppet: Dreamsheep as Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time (Default)
I think I finally figured out a metric for if I do more regular media reviews: Do I regret spending my time/money/energy on this product?

Some examples:

The Queen of Ieflaria/Daughter of the Sun by Effie Calvin: Not even for a second. Very delicious wish-fulfillment-y f/f fantasy with comforting worldbuilding. Go read if any of those interest you.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray: Definitely. The inclusion of disc breaks in the audio book was poorly timed and considered, the coolness of having a disabled bisexual character was very much offset by the fact that she ended even the "ten years later" epilogue confused about her identity, and it vacillated between paying close attention and respectfully treating important issues and massively misunderstanding and/or ignoring them. A single example of the latter: the trans girl character spends a good chunk of the beginning of the book near obsessed with getting her emergency week's supply of HRT, which is then never addressed again after she is outed/forced to out herself, even though it's strongly implied that the characters have been in their situation for well over a week and possibly even into months. There are many more.

The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes: Yes. I made it through the first story of the audiobook and tried to keep going for more, but due to poor chapter markings, ended up skipping the second story entirely and getting a good chunk into the third before realizing what had gone wrong. Admittedly, the depiction of power-hungry, money-grubbing, lizard-people dragon-blooded villains secretly controlling Las Vegas and literally enslaving people through debt in said third story definitely didn't help. As a gentile who wasn't aware of the origins or impact of that trope until a few years ago, I'm willing to believe that the author was similarly ignorant, but that doesn't mean I want to keep listening to it regardless. (Treatment of female characters is also not great. Or basically anyone, as far as I could tell. The POV character has some growing up to do, I guess is where I'm going with this, and the worst part is that I'm not sure the author is aware of it.)

The Second Mango by Shira Glassman: Nope! Entirely Jewish cast (by a Jewish author), focus on female friendship between a lesbian queen and a demisexual GNC warrior woman, with secondary romance plots; the writing is a little on the amateurish side, but improves with each book in the series. Very wish-fulfillment-y. Gave me high expectations for Jewish representation and portrayal in other books not that I'm throwing more shade at Beauty Queens.

Skullduggery Pleasant: Big no on the (first) book, kinda iffy on the audiobook. Wonderful snark, interesting worldbuilding, loved the characters; like Harry Potter, though, the series got darker as it went along, and I'm not really into that? The narrator for the audibook is also somewhat more somber and less energetic than my own mental reading of the book was, to the point where it felt darker than I remembered. I ended up not finishing the audiobook, which I had hoped would get me back into the mood for a series re-read (since only the first three or so books are available in audio) and an attempt at finishing what I've got available (I have through the eighth). Disappointed by that, but it's still a good, fun book overall.

April 2019

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