User Profile

Holly Becker

Joined 1 year, 5 months ago

I mostly read science fiction and fantasy books, simple manga in Japanese, and about one non-fiction book a year. See also StoryGraph

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Adrian Tchaikovsky: Elder Race (2021, Tordotcom) 5 stars

A junior anthropologist on a distant planet must help the locals he has sworn to …

Review of 'Elder Race' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

I'm a sucker for science fantasy, and this was a very sweet story. I loved the contrasting viewpoints - Lyn with her adventure, demons and wizards perspective, Nyr with his science and bioengineering, and the linguistic difficulties that enable the disconnect. I appreciated a main character with depression, but still getting to be a hero. 

Aliette de Bodard: Fireheart Tiger (EBook, 2021, Tom Doherty Associates) 4 stars

Fire burns bright and has a long memory….

Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away …

Review of 'Fireheart Tiger' on 'Storygraph'

3 stars

Didn't enjoy this one. The main character's motivations didn't make sense to me or feel consistent. Maybe I'm missing something? 

Ryka Aoki: Light From Uncommon Stars (Hardcover, 2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in this defiantly joyful …

Review of 'Light From Uncommon Stars' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

The premise of this book is so wacky - abused runaway trans girl violinist + deal-with-demons famous violin teacher + refugees from an intersteller war running a donut shop - that I feel like it shouldn't have worked, but somehow it did. This is a heartwarming tale of a young violinist blossoming in a supportive environment, and a selfish teacher coming to care about her student instead of using them for her own ends, and a strange family coming to understand itself a little better, all with some help from their friends.

I blitzed through this book and loved it. 

Shelley Parker-Chan: She Who Became the Sun (Hardcover, 2021, Tor Books) 4 stars

To possess the Mandate of Heaven, the female monk Zhu will do anything

Mulan meets …

Review of 'She Who Became the Sun' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

A sweeping, slightly fantastical retelling of the rise of the Ming dynasty. I enjoyed the segments from Zhu's perspective and her incredible drive to get what she wants, at any cost. I found the  Ouyang and Esen segments less interesting, since they kept making bad decisions that didn't make sense to me. I wish we'd seen Wang Baoxiang's perspective, since I liked him. 

Overall, I enjoyed it more than I expected, considering the violence and relatively grim perspective. 

Max Gladstone: The Ruin of Angels (EBook, 2017, 5 stars

The God Wars destroyed the city of Alikand. Now, a century and a half and …

Review of 'The Ruin of Angels' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

The whole premise of this book was bonkers and I loved it. A city with three competing cities you can move between with a thought? A <spoiler>rocket</spoiler> in a fantasy book? I liked seeing Kai and Tara again. I enjoyed the many viewpoints, but it made it harder to stay in the flow while reading. 

Vénus Khoury-Ghata: Nettles (Paperback, 2008, Graywolf Press) 5 stars

Review of 'Nettles' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

I loved this book.

While not one of Ursula's true horror novels, it is a dark fantasy, and I found the setup to be quite grim, and The Thing <spoiler>with Toothdancer</spoiler> really got to me, in a way that most of her other books don't. Once the story got going though, it was wonderful - an adventure romp through strange, mysterious and terrifying places, a motley crew with varied talents using them to solve problems in usual ways, and a satisfying ending. Recommend.

Nghi Vo: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (EBook, 2020, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 4 stars

The cleric Chih finds themself and their companions at the mercy of a band of …

Review of 'When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

While I really liked this book, I also disagreed with how the central romance was portrayed. (This seems appropriate, given that it's about conflicting tales of the same story). I liked that the tigers were characterized as fierce and unconstrained by human attitudes towards, well, killing and eating humans. However, this made the romance between <spoiler>Ho Thi Tao and Dieu read as abusive to me; it didn't seem sweet that she loved someone who destroyed her stuff and thought about killing her that much.</spoiler>

That said, this was a very enjoyable book to listen to. Chih and Si-Yu were wonderful, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

P. Djèlí Clark: A Master of Djinn (Hardcover, 2021, Tor) 4 stars

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe …

Review of 'A Master of Djinn' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

A lively romp though a steampunk Cairo filled with magic and Djinn. I really enjoyed it, even though I figured out some of the twists before the narrator, which is unusual for me. 

Seanan McGuire: In an Absent Dream (2020, Center Point Large Print) 5 stars

Review of 'In an Absent Dream' on 'Storygraph'

5 stars

I love this book already, and the audiobook does a great job with it. If you've read the previous books in the series you know how this has to end. It's wonderful and heart-wrenching to see how we get there. Probably my favorite book in the series.