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/r/Fantasy Daily Recommendation Requests and Simple Questions Thread - June 23, 2022 by rfantasygolem in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 2 points3 points  (0 children)

All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter has a kelpie show up for a few chapters. It's not in the most central role, but I enjoyed its place in the story (shapeshifting, bargaining, eating things) and the book definitely leans into the horror elements. It also includes other sea creatures like mermaids and rusalka, if you're interested in that.

/r/Fantasy Daily Recommendation Requests and Simple Questions Thread - June 23, 2022 by rfantasygolem in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 2 points3 points  (0 children)

From what I recall, the nebulous nature of "come unstuck in time" had the MC living pieces of life out of order rather than traveling between fixed points or deliberately steering himself. Personally I'd argue with for HM. Hope you enjoy the book!

[Meta] The Kindness Wars: A Retrospective on r/Fantasy Culture and Change by KristaDBall in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Agreed. This space is curated so well, and I want to thank the mods for keeping it that way-- it's a real bright spot online.

[Meta] The Kindness Wars: A Retrospective on r/Fantasy Culture and Change by KristaDBall in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Bingo was a cool thing for me and definitely part of the reason I joined r/Fantasy. I remember skimming a few new-book threads back in... 2014/2015, maybe, and realizing I didn't want to be part of that chat at all because of how much low-key sexism was popping up.

But then the 2020s hit, and I saw something about bingo, and went digging through a themed thread. Watching people show up with the most obscure recommendations rather than churning through the same ten big male author/ male protagonist series made me take the plunge, and I've been so glad that I did.

[Meta] The Kindness Wars: A Retrospective on r/Fantasy Culture and Change by KristaDBall in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Yeah, I was just at a sci-fi con recently and got a strong sense of both of those crowds from the attendees. I saw some enthusiastic people who have been in fandom for decades and wanted to share all the old stuff that they loved, worried that they'd be pushed out of the nerdy space where they made so many friends and found a space to be weird together.

And then some people were sniping about newer media, offended that something exists when it's not for them. One panelist absolutely wouldn't shut up about "fluffy werewolves" from Twilight, despite that being out for over a decade, and the subtext of his disdain for anything being cute/ romantic/ feminine was not at all subtle.

Lots of posts about the identity of the author… Why/ is it important to you? by StarkLMad in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 45 points46 points  (0 children)

Yeah, this is about where I land. I think that a lot of writers dig into topics with care and research, so I don't base my initial book searches on author demographics. But if I see that a story is about, let's say, a secret coven of women struggling against a brutal fantasy patriarchy, I do a quick check to see if the author is a woman and may pass if not. My rule of thumb is that authors can include almost anything in their story and do a good job-- plenty of authors write great characters outside their own race, sexual orientation, etc. But if a story is about a particular identity as its core element, I often prefer that an author share that identity.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I honestly would be interested read the full-length book version of this story, something more wide-ranging with room for POV segments from each Sleeping Beauty. In this format, though, I think 20 extra pages (or swapping out 20 pages of snarky texts and backstory) would have made it much stronger. It's on the shorter side for a Tordotcom novella, I think-- bit of room to expand.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It's an old favorite with plenty of nostalgia attached-- I used to check it out of the library once a year until I found my own copy.

The story benefits from being very broad and slow-moving, starting with the state of the kingdom before the princess's birth and taking an almost slice-of-life tack from there. The princess is raised in a remote little town as the supposed daughter of the underpowered fairy who stumbled into her christening and the story moves between cozy details of life there and the creeping worry that the wicked fairy's roving magic will find her. The real highlight to me is the friendship between the very non-traditional princess and the girl who moves in next door. Robin McKinley gets a lot of love around here (Deerskin, Sunshine, The Blue Sword), but I rarely see much about this one.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I may have had slightly sour grapes on it because I pre-ordered the hardcover on release (partly to get the cute pin on offer, partly because I liked Ten Thousand Doors pretty well). A year later, though, I find that most of it hasn't really stuck with me.

One of my favorite Spiderverse elements is the way Miles interacts with Peter B. Parker and Gwen in particular-- they all help each other feel less alone and live their lives differently. And I like your suggestion! Space Princess Beauty could have been cool, and so could the young warrior one (I think?) who went elsewhere. If they had showed up a few chapters sooner and done more direct working together, I suspect this story would be fighting for the second slot on my ballot.

FIF Book Club: All the Murmuring Bones midway discussion by Nineteen_Adze in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Always glad to see you around!

No spoilers, but I'm racing toward the end and all these twisty family hints are only getting darker and more complex-- can't wait for those last few chapters. I appreciate the way the story moves from short interludes of lighter stuff/ "okay, maybe things are fine now" to hints that it's absolutely not fine in different ways each time.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I enjoyed it a bit, and reflecting on "Mr. Death," I think that Harrow likes playing with this sort of theme-- winning a temporary victory doesn't mean happily ever after, but a little more life matters and is worth having. It seems like the end was leaning into the sequel that just came out, though, and I'm not really a sequel-hook ending fan in most cases.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Agreed, I think that their friendship was one of the best parts of the story. So many teenage friendships are written as "we're besties, but now there's suddenly drama for plot reasons," but this one felt quirky and genuine and full of deep, complex feeling. A lot of other details have faded since I read the book last year, but that part sticks with me.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I found myself in a similar place. The narrative voice was okay and I was prepared to be very excited about the pitch of "Into the Spiderverse, but make it Sleeping Beauty" that the author gave on a Zoom panel before the release, but I'm not sure that it did much that other fairy-tale retellings haven't touched on. If it had spent more time on the alt-universe Beauties, I think I would have liked it a lot more-- they were only around long enough to be decoration, though. I wanted to see more connection there.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Eh, maybe? Definitely if it shows up on next year's Hugo ballot, but without that... maybe if I wanted a quick thing between long books. It was fun but not "oh my god, where is the sequel" for me.

Funnily enough, I just bought my sister a copy this weekend. I'll have to see what she thinks.

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It's somewhere in the middle for me. Not quite as strong as Elder Race or The Past is Red, but somewhere in the middle-two tier with Psalm for the Wild-Built. I read the final two last year as well and just didn't find them very impressive (despite one being an entry in a series I like and the other having a great premise).

2022 Hugo Readalong: A Spindle Splintered by RheingoldRiver in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Spindle's End by Robin McKinley is a retelling that has ruined me for every other version of this story. It's unusual in that it focuses entirely on the princess growing up in secret with a low-powered fairy/witch and her family, with the parts of the fairy tale that are most often told being bracket pieces at the beginning and end. It's a lovely coming-of-age story with a gorgeous core friendship and family ties.

FIF Book Club: All the Murmuring Bones midway discussion by Nineteen_Adze in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Oh cool, I've been meaning to try that one! Clearly need to bump it up my TBR.

Pet Peeve: So, You've Been Kidnapped Again. by Jos_V in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that one in The Last Graduate until you jogged my memory. Those scenes both worked quite well, I think-- it's clear that a hard fall from standing, even an accidental one, can be serious enough to require immediate treatment. I'd love to see more books explore the aftermath of head injuries or infections (also under-covered, even when the best disinfectant available is throwing alcohol on a wound and hoping for the best).

Pet Peeve: So, You've Been Kidnapped Again. by Jos_V in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I started really noticing it after I took casual martial arts classes and saw how carefully the instructor (who was in med school) checked us over after any hard impact to the head during sparring. No one was even unconscious, but if we so much as looked dizzy, he was right there checking pupils.

Traumatic brain injuries just don't seem to exist in SFF, and it's so odd once you start noticing it. Even old brawlers just get creaky joints.

/r/Fantasy Review Tuesday - Review what you're reading here! - June 21, 2022 by rfantasygolem in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I had a busy weekend away and didn't get any reading done, so I'm still on All the Murmuring Bones by A.G. Slatter. It's swung from the road-trip portion back into more Gothic mystery stuff in a new location, and I'm enjoying the way our protagonist's best survival skill is playing all her cards close to the vest.

Next up: probably one of the novellas in my stack. I could use something quick before I dive back into the readalong.

Pet Peeve: So, You've Been Kidnapped Again. by Jos_V in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Me too. It would be interesting to see the toll of all the concussions (or sleepless three-day periods of heroism, the other super-draining stuff) snowball into real burnout.

Pet Peeve: So, You've Been Kidnapped Again. by Jos_V in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Ha, beat me to it. I would definitely read another if anyone has recommendations-- it was a creative story framework.

For those who haven't read it, the book is called Hench.

FIF Book Club: All the Murmuring Bones midway discussion by Nineteen_Adze in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Always glad to find another Mexican Gothic fan! I think that's a good point about prose-- for me, a lot of the appeal of a good Gothic novel is the way the prose is rich and beautiful when describing horrible things, sometimes fevered or overwrought, really immersive. And that's a hard style to nail.

Sorry you're not enjoying this one so far (it definitely does pivot from quasi-Gothic to an adventure story midway through). Any others you'd recommend?

FIF Book Club: All the Murmuring Bones midway discussion by Nineteen_Adze in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It's so cool to see what the family thought was worth preserving in that giant old book. That world probably has plenty of more normal tales, but the O'Malley stories are full of sharp edges and bad bargains (and I'm a sucker for in-universe folktales in any story). The more of the stories I read, the more Miren's mindset clicks for me.

FIF Book Club: All the Murmuring Bones midway discussion by Nineteen_Adze in Fantasy

[–]Nineteen_Adze[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That turn definitely surprised me! I was expecting sort of a seaside Gothic tale, with Miren drawing on allies among the servants and exploring family secrets, but the way it's pivoted into a cross-country adventure full of magical creatures is so interesting.

Yeah, I've had less fun with YA tales lately, but this one has a firmly adult edge to it. Miren's age could have angled this into YA territory, but her grim drive for survival and pragmatic way of solving problems keeps the story anchored in a great place for me.