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Book Review: The Tangleroot Palace

New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel Monstress , Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut collection of dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction, you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women. Briar, bodyguard for a body-stealing sorceress, discovers her love for Rose, whose true soul emerges only once a week. An apprentice witch seeks her freedom through betrayal, the bones of the innocent, and a meticulously plotted spell. In a world powered by crystal skulls, a warrior returns to save China from invasion by her jealous ex. A princess runs away from an arranged marriage, finding family in a strange troupe of traveling actors at the border of the kingdom’s deep, dark woods. Concluding with a gorgeous full-length novella, Marjorie Liu’s first short fiction collection is an unflinching sojourn into her thorny tales of love, revenge, and new beginnings.”

I love short fiction and general, but it’s especially great for the summer, when you can knock out a story of novella while enjoying the warm weather, and was thrilled to see that Marjorie Liu had had released a short fiction collection. I’m a huge fan of Liu’s Monstress series of graphic novels, and The Tangleroot Palace delivered exact mix of heart and grit that I expected, and more.

Book Review: The Kingdom of Liars

“In this brilliant debut fantasy, a story of secrets, rebellion, and murder are shattering the Hollows, where magic costs memory to use, and only the son of the kingdom’s despised traitor holds the truth. Michael is branded a traitor as a child because of the murder of the king’s nine-year-old son, by his father David Kingman. Ten years later on Michael lives a hardscrabble life, with his sister Gwen, performing crimes with his friends against minor royals in a weak attempt at striking back at the world that rejects him and his family. In a world where memory is the coin that pays for magic, Michael knows something is there in the hot white emptiness of his mind. So when the opportunity arrives to get folded back into court, via the most politically dangerous member of the kingdom’s royal council, Michael takes it, desperate to find a way back to his past. He discovers a royal family that is spiraling into a self-serving dictatorship as gun-wielding rebels clash against magically trained militia. What the truth holds is a set of shocking revelations that will completely change the Hollows, if Michael and his friends and family can survive long enough to see it”–

The Kingdom of Liars is a fantastic read for anyone who likes dark, intrigue heavy fantasy, or just stories of revenge and political maneuvering. The plot is propulsive and enjoyable, with excellent worldbuilding, that will grab you and pull you all the way to the explosive climax. Even better, a sequel has already been released.

Book Review:When the Stars Go Dark

A total departure for the author of The Paris Wife, Paula McLain’s emotionally intense and exceptionally well-written thriller entwines its fictional crime with real cases.”—People (Book of the Week) Anna Hart is a seasoned missing persons detective in San Francisco with far too much knowledge of the darkest side of human nature. When tragedy strikes her personal life, Anna, desperate and numb, flees to the Northern California village of Mendocino to grieve. She lived there as a child with her beloved foster parents, and now she believes it might be the only place left for her. Yet the day she arrives, she learns that a local teenage girl has gone missing.The crime feels frighteningly reminiscent of the most crucial time in Anna’s childhood, when the unsolved murder of a young girl touched Mendocino and changed the community forever. As past and present collide, Anna realizes that she has been led to this moment. The most difficult lessons of her life have given her insight into how victims come into contact with violent predators. As Anna becomes obsessed with saving the missing girl, she must accept that true courage means getting out of her own way and learning to let others in. Weaving together true crime, trauma theory, and a hint of the metaphysical, this tense, affecting story is about fate, unlikely redemption, and what it takes, when the worst happens, to reclaim our lives–and our faith in one another”–

A mystery that is more thought-provoking than murder and mayhem, When the Stars Go Dark touches on what makes a family, and what can break a family. A fallible, strong, female detective, Anna Hart tugs at you throughout the book, praying she solves the case but hoping it doesn’t tear her apart in the process. And if you are doing the 2021 yearly reading challenge, it can fit in categories 13,29, and 35!