I had a great reading month. Because of my vacation during the first two weeks of May I managed to read all books from my TBR! You can read my spoiler-free mini-review of each book from The Bone Witch trilogy below. I also shared my thoughts about each story from the amazing anthology Dragon Bike.
The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch, #1) by Rin Chupeco – reread
In four words: necromantic, detailed, fascinating, slow-paced
What I liked: The world in this book is very well-written. I wish I was able to visit it! The many details and vivid descriptions made it feel real. The same can be said about the characters. Our narrator is Tea (pronounced as Tey-uh). There are two story lines. We get snippets of an older Tea who is exiled. Most of the book contains the story she tells a bard about her life. Tea starts out as a young girl who accidentally raises her brother from his grave. After that she has to leave her home to start her training to learn to control her magic. We slowly find out more about the world and the magic system. Especially interesting are the heart glasses people wear around their neck. The colour can change based on how people feel.
What I disliked: The pacing could be better. I think the writer sometimes pays too much attention to the clothing and the food. This slows down the story. I did get used to the pacing. So the more I read in the book, the fewer it bothered me.
Trigger warning for death
The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch, #2) by Rin Chupeco – 4 stars
In four words: intriguing, elaborated, dark fantasy
What I liked: This sequel continues where the first part ended. So it didn’t take long before I again felt totally immersed in the story. We keep switching between past and present events. It’s interesting to see how much Tea changed. For me, one of the most fascinating things about this trilogy is to slowly discover what happened. I also liked to see some side characters getting a bigger role. It was especially nice to read more about Khalad, the Heartforger’s apprentice and about Likh.
What I disliked: Due to the two story lines, there are multiple plots and subplots. It was sometimes hard to keep up with everything that happens in the book. I also thought that some (sub)plots were more interesting than others.
Trigger warnings for death, graphic violence and loss of loved ones
The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch, #3) by Rin Chupeco – 4 stars
In four words: complex, satisfying, bittersweet conclusion
What I liked: It was interesting to see everything slowly coming together. For a long time I didn’t know what ending I could expect. As readers we are kept in the dark for quite long. Only in the last fifty pages we get to understand everything. The ending was bittersweet, but it fitted the story. I’m glad the book also has some romance and funny moments. Otherwise this would have been a dark and depressing story.
What I disliked: If I had to, I would have a very hard time summarizing the books from The Bone Witch trilogy. Especially in this last part, a lot happens and there are many people involved. At some points it felt like too much. I think I would have loved this trilogy even more if the plot was less complex.
Trigger warnings for death, war, graphic violence, gore and loss of loved ones
Dragon Bike: Fantastical Stories of Bicycling, Feminism, & Dragons by Elly Blue (editor) – 4 stars
This is an anthology with fifteen short stories that each have at least one bicycle and a dragon. My two favourites are Chen d’Angelo and the Chinese-Italian Dragon and Slow Burn, Steady Flame. I also liked most of the others. Here are my thoughts about the stories:
Chen d’Angelo and the Chinese-Italian Dragon by Jennifer Lee Rossman: This amazing story made me smile! It’s about the joy of wondering in a world with barely anything new to discover. I really admired the world the writer managed to create in just a few pages.
Witchcanix by M. Lopes da Silva: I liked the scientific approach of this fantasy story. But just when it got interesting, the story suddenly ended.
The Sound of Home by Monique Cuillerier: Even though the first half of this story was a bit confusing, I enjoyed it. I liked the idea that home can mean a very different place to each person.
What Is a Girl Without a Dragon? by Gretchen Lair: This story made me think of White Oleander. But the tone of this one is more light-hearted. I like that I came to care about the main character in just a few pages.
The Mothers of Pequeño Lago by Kate Macdonald: This is quite an exciting story in which the dragons aren’t friendly. It’s a pity that the ending is a bit rushed.
Bootleg by Alice Pow: I found this story a bit boring. A character creating their own bike could be interesting, but the story wasn’t.
The Dragon’s Lake by Sarena Ulibarri: A nice twist to a classic dragon story. It wasn’t as original as the others, but an enjoyable story.
Storing Treasures by Paul Abbamondi: This is a really cute comic!
‘Til We Meet Again by Joyce Chng: I enjoyed reading about this alternative dragon race. Especially interesting is the idea that dragon racing is not just a sport, but an important cultural tradition.
Beasts of Bataranam by Taru Luojola: I didn’t expect to find this story in the anthology. Unlike the others it’s historical fiction. This story about slaves on a plantation is quite sad, but ends on a hopeful note.
Wyvern by Phil Cowhig: This is a mysterious sci-fi story that slowly unfolds itself. I liked the story, but it was left too open ended for my tastes.
Slow Burn, Steady Flame by J. Rohr: I loved the character arc in this story! It was amazing to see Eleanora taking control over her own life. This was a good story on it’s own, but I would love to read more about her.
Round by J.A. Sabangan: I really enjoyed this heart-warming feel-good story about being yourself.
Bicycle Art by C.G. Beckman: This story reads like a modern fairy-tale. It was enjoyable, but not really “my cup of tea”.
Simple Treasure by J.A. Gross: The idea is interesting, but this story is too short to fully develop it.
Wyrd & Wonder blog posts I liked
Just like every year, I loved to read the fantasy-themed posts on other blogs. The ones I liked the most:
– Sahi @ My World of Books recommended fantasy books with inspiration from around the world
– The bloggers @ The Fantasy Hive made a recommendation post on fantasy voices from around the world
– Line @ First Line Reader shared her favourite historical fantasy books
– Siavahda @ Every Book a Doorway made multiple posts for Wyrd & Wonder I love to read, but my favourite is the one where she recommends fantasy standalones
– Jess @ Jessticulates discussed the TIME 100 Best Fantasy Novels of All Time and shared her list with novels that are missing
What happened on my blog
Including the one you’re currently reading, I published six posts for Wyrd & Wonder:
– Wyrd & Wonder 2021: TBR
– Fantasy from Around The World
– Fantasy Voices from Around the World
– Children’s and YA Fantasy in Translation
– Who Should Win the 2021 Hugo Award for Best Short Story