Reading is one of my favorite hobbies. This page lists all the books that I have finished reading in 2024.
This page is built leveraging the goodreads API.
He Who Drowned the World (The Radiant Emperor, #2) cover
Currently Reading
He Who Drowned the World (The Radiant Emperor, #2)

by Shelley Parker-Chan
Publisher review: How much would you give to win the world? Zhu Yuanzhang, the Radiant King, is riding high after her victory that tore southern China from its Mongol masters. Now she burns with a new desire: to seize the throne and crown herself emperor. But Zhu isn’t the only one with imperial ambitions. Her neighbor in the south, the courtesan Madam Zhang, wants the throne for her husband―and she’s strong enough to wipe Zhu off the map. To stay in the game, Zhu will have to gamble everything on a risky alliance with an old enemy: the talented but unstable eunuch general Ouyang, who has already sacrificed everything for a chance at revenge on his father’s killer, the Great Khan. Unbeknownst to the southerners, a new contender is even closer to the throne. The scorned scholar Wang Baoxiang has maneuvered his way into the capital, and his lethal court games threaten to bring the empire to its knees. For Baoxiang also desires revenge: to become the most degenerate Great Khan in history―and in so doing, make a mockery of every value his Mongol warrior family loved more than him. All the contenders are determined to do whatever it takes to win. But when desire is the size of the world, the price could be too much for even the most ruthless heart to bear…
Started: Mar 29 2024
Translation State cover
Currently Reading
Translation State

by Ann Leckie
Publisher review: The first novel in a new series set in the world of the Hugo, Nebula and Arthur C. Clarke award winning Ancillary Justice. "There are few who write science fiction like Ann Leckie can. There are few who ever could."―John Scalzi The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will have a ripple effect across the stars in this powerful new novel by award-winning author Ann Leckie. Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn't "optimal behavior". I's the type of behavior that results in elimination. But Qven rebels. And in doing so, their path collides with those of two others. Enae, a reluctant diplomat whose dead grandmaman has left hir an impossible task as an inheritance: hunting down a fugitive who has been missing for over 200 years. And Reet, an adopted mechanic who is increasingly desperate to learn about his genetic roots--or anything that might explain why he operates so differently from those around him. As a Conclave of the various species approaches--and the long-standing treaty between the humans and the Presger is on the line--the decisions of all three will have ripple effects across the stars. Masterfully merging space adventure and mystery, and a poignant exploration about relationships and belonging, Translation State is a triumphant new standalone story set in Leckie's celebrated Imperial Radch universe.
Started: Jun 16 2024
Storia del nuovo cognome (L'amica geniale, #2) cover
Currently Reading
Storia del nuovo cognome (L'amica geniale, #2)

by Elena Ferrante (2012)
Publisher review: Lila ed Elena hanno sedici anni e si sentono entrambe in un vicolo cieco. Lila si è appena sposata ma, nell'assumere il cognome del marito, ha l'impressione di aver perso se stessa. Elena è ormai una studentessa modello ma, proprio durante il matrimonio dell'amica, ha scoperto che non sta bene né nel rione né fuori. Le vicende dell'Amica Geniale riprendono a partire da questo punto e ci trascinano nella vitalissima giovinezza delle due ragazze, dentro il ritmo travolgente con cui si tallonano, si perdono, si ritrovano. Il tutto sullo sfondo id una Napoli, di un'Italia che preparano i connotati allarmanti di oggi. Della trama non anticiperemo niente. Storia e forza della scrittura fanno tutt'uno al punto che ci pare sconveniente guastare al lettore il piacere di leggere sorprendendosi a ogni pagina. Meglio dunque abbandonarsi a Lila ed Elena: conoscerle a fondo, riconoscersi sia nella tendenza alla conformità acquiescente sia nella caparbia determinazione a prendere in mano il proprio destino.
Started: Feb 16 2024
The Saint of Bright Doors cover
Currently Reading
The Saint of Bright Doors

by Vajra Chandrasekera
Publisher review: The Saint of Bright Doors sets the high drama of divine revolutionaries and transcendent cults against the mundane struggles of modern life, resulting in a novel that is revelatory and resonant. Fetter was raised to kill, honed as a knife to cut down his sainted father. This gave him plenty to talk about in therapy. He walked among invisible devils and anti-gods that mock the mortal form. He learned a lethal catechism, lost his shadow, and gained a habit for secrecy. After a blood-soaked childhood, Fetter escaped his rural hometown for the big city, and fell into a broader world where divine destinies are a dime a dozen. Everything in Luriat is more than it seems. Group therapy is recruitment for a revolutionary cadre. Junk email hints at the arrival of a god. Every door is laden with potential, and once closed may never open again. The city is scattered with Bright Doors, looming portals through which a cold wind blows. In this unknowable metropolis, Fetter will discover what kind of man he is, and his discovery will rewrite the world.
Started: Jun 14 2024
Song of Solomon cover
Currently Reading
Song of Solomon

by Toni Morrison
Publisher review: Milkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.
Started: Apr 17 2024
The Mimicking of Known Successes (Mossa & Pleiti, #1) cover
The Mimicking of Known Successes (Mossa & Pleiti, #1)
by Malka Ann Older
Publisher review: The Mimicking of Known Successes presents a cozy Holmesian murder mystery and sapphic romance, set on Jupiter, by Malka Older, author of the critically-acclaimed Centenal Cycle. On a remote, gas-wreathed outpost of a human colony on Jupiter, a man goes missing. The enigmatic Investigator Mossa follows his trail to Valdegeld, home to the colony’s erudite university—and Mossa’s former girlfriend, a scholar of Earth’s pre-collapse ecosystems. Pleiti has dedicated her research and her career to aiding the larger effort towards a possible return to Earth. When Mossa unexpectedly arrives and requests Pleiti’s assistance in her latest investigation, the two of them embark on a twisting path in which the future of life on Earth is at stake—and, perhaps, their futures, together.
My rating: ★★★
Started: May 25 2024 Finished: Jun 16 2024
Witch King cover
Witch King
by Martha Wells
Publisher review: "I didn't know you were a... demon." "You idiot. I'm the demon." Kai's having a long day in Martha Wells' Witch King... After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well. But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence? Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions. He’s not going to like the answers.
My rating: ★★★★
Started: May 05 2024 Finished: Jun 12 2024
Starter Villain cover
Starter Villain
by John Scalzi
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novel category. I had read pretty much all the fiction books that this author has written so far, and I have consistently liked them. This was no exception.
This is the story of Charlie, a divorced former journalist now substitute teacher living with his cat in a house his siblings want to sell. All he wants is to open a pub downtown, if only the bank will approve his loan. Then his long-lost uncle Jake dies and leaves his supervillain business (complete with island volcano lair) to Charlie. But becoming a supervillain isn't all giant laser death rays and lava pits. Jake had enemies, and now they're coming after Charlie. His uncle might have been a stand-up, old-fashioned kind of villain, but these are the real thing: rich, soulless predators backed by multinational corporations and venture capital. It's up to Charlie to win the war his uncle started against a league of supervillains. But with unionized dolphins, hyperintelligent talking spy cats, and a terrifying henchperson at his side, going bad is starting to look pretty good.
it has been interesting to see the author evolve over time. I liked his early work as well as his current one, but he is finding particular success for the stories that make fun of the genre and its tropes: from Redshirts (star trek parody) to The Kaiju Preservation Society (kaiju genre parody) and now this book, that is a parody of the Villain genre (think Despicable Me with no Minions but unionized Dolphins instead). It's quite enjoyable, but my favorite books by this author are still the ones in the Old Man's War series. (★★★★)
Started: May 10 2024 Finished: May 24 2024
Heartstopper: Volume Four (Heartstopper, #4) cover
Heartstopper: Volume Four (Heartstopper, #4)
by Alice Oseman (2022)
My review: Wow, the author really upped her game with this fourth volume. I liked the previous instalments quite a lot, but this one is even better. I am glad there are such wonderful books available to this generation of young adult readers. It is very important to have realistic portrayals of adolescence, as diverse as the real world is.
This volume focuses on Charlie's struggles with mental health and he coming to terms with his eating disorder. The issue is portrayed with tremendous empathy, and really powerfully. I hope that readers struggling with similar issues will gain hope, and decide to seek the help they need. And for the rest of us, it will help better understand the problem, and boost our empathy and awareness of the problem. This is a great read, I strongly recommend it. (★★★★★)
Started: Apr 21 2024 Finished: May 05 2024
Some Desperate Glory cover
Some Desperate Glory
by Emily Tesh (2023)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novel category. I had never read anything by this author before, and I did not know what to expect. It turned out... it was a treat!
While we live, the enemy shall fear us. All her life Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the murder of planet Earth. Raised in the bowels of Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, she readies herself to face the Wisdom, the all-powerful, reality-shaping weapon that gave the Majoda their victory over humanity. They are what’s left. They are what must survive. Kyr is one of the best warriors of her generation, the sword of a dead planet. But when [spoilers removed]
This is a thrillingly told space opera about the wreckage of war, the family you find, and who you must become when every choice is stripped from you. Despite its length, the book is hard to put down and keep you on your toes with quite unexpected turns of events. I loved it, and I am looking forward to reading more by this author in the future. (★★★★★)
Started: Apr 13 2024 Finished: May 03 2024
Thornhedge cover
Thornhedge
by T. Kingfisher
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novella category. I have previously read and enjoyed work by this author, hence I was quite eager to read this one.
Thornhedge is a modern fairy tale of a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways. There's a princess trapped in a tower. This isn't her story. Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right? But nothing with fairies is ever simple. Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He's heard there's a curse here that needs breaking, but it's a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold… (★★★★)
Started: Apr 07 2024 Finished: Apr 16 2024
Uncanny Magazine Issue 55: November/December 2023 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 55: November/December 2023
by Lynne M. Thomas (2023)
My review: This review is for The Year Without Sunshine by Naomi Kritzer. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I have previously read and enjoyed work by this author, hence I was quite eager to read this one. I was blown away: such a great story.
The story is set in today's U.S.A., where people are going through a semi-apocalyptic event, including pandemic, civil unrests, and a climate event that is taking away the sun. It is a story of how people react and community comes together, with the signature solar optimism of the author.
This is a great story that I recommend to everyone, especially to people that are a little down and needs their faith in humanity to be boosted a little bit. It's, so far, my #1 choice for the Hugo award in this category. (★★★★★)
Started: Apr 06 2024 Finished: Apr 07 2024
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue, 197, February 2023 cover
Clarkesworld Magazine Issue, 197, February 2023
by Neil Clarke (2023)
My review: This is a review of Introduction to 2181 Overture, Second Edition by Gu Shi. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category.
I had never previously read or heard of this author, hence I really did not know what to expect. It turns out this is one of the strongest among the Hugo finalists in the Novelette category, and quite a remarkable story. The story is set in the near future, when a technology has enabled humans to hibernate for long periods of time. The first half is a very hard science fiction exploration of the many legal and ethical implication of the technology. The second part moves away (seamlessly) from hard science fiction to a more emotionally powerful exploration of the implications of the technology on human lives.
This is a great read that I recommend to everyone. I hope more work by this author will be translated into a language I can read. (★★★★★)
Started: Apr 07 2024 Finished: Apr 07 2024
Uncanny Magazine Issue 50, January-February 2023 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 50, January-February 2023
by Lynne M. Thomas (2023)
My review: I read the stories separately at different moment in times, but goodreads keeps merging them into the magazine where they first appeared.

One Man's Treasure by Sarah Pinsker. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I had previously read and liked a few stories by this author, and I was curious to read this one. It turns out to be the most interesting and enjoyable story by this author I read so far.
One Man's Treasure is set in a world quite like ours, but where magic exists and... it is very expensive. Using this premise the author waves an interesting story that is a reflection of the inequalities of the real world we live in.

How to Raise a Kraken in Your Bathtub by P. Djèlí Clark. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I had previously read and loved quite a lot work by this author, and I could not wait to read this one. I was not disappointed.
The story is set in the Victorian England, and it features a misogynistic, xenophobic protagonist that unhappy of his unearned wealth, decides to prove his worth without much effort since he believes he is entitled to it. The tone is often funny and light, and that tempers the horrors of colonialism and "white burden" thinking of the era. A great book, one of my favorites among the finalists this year.

Bad Doors by John Wiswell, a finalist for the 2023 Nebula Awards in the Short Story Category.
I previously read some other short fiction by this author, and I really loved his D.I.Y. Hence when I heard he wrote another short story, and that it was short-listed for the Nebula, I could not resist.
The premise of the story is relatively simple is relatively simple: a mysterious door keeps appearing wherever the narrator goes. What makes the story interesting though is the world where it takes place: it is set in the America of Covid-19 pandemic, disinformation, and conspiracy theories. It reads a little like a dystopian story, yet it is 100% the world we did (and still do) live in.
(★★★★)
Started: Mar 17 2024 Finished: Apr 07 2024
Ivy, Angelica, Bay cover
Ivy, Angelica, Bay
by C.L. Polk (2024)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I have previously read and enjoyed work by this author, hence I was quite eager to read this one. This turned out to be the sequel to St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid, that I had enjoyed quite a lot.
This is set ten or twenty year after the previous instalment: the young girl we met in St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid is now grown up and has taken the role that used to be the one of her mother. This time she is the one presented with a mysterious orphaned and powerful girl girl to raise into witchcraft. And the time could not be better, since Hurston Hill is threatened by a suspiciously powerful urban development firm. Miss l'Abielle steps up to protect her community with the help of the new girl.
This is a great story and worthy finalist for the Hugo awards. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 02 2024 Finished: Apr 06 2024
Uncanny Magazine, Issue 52, May/June 2023 cover
Uncanny Magazine, Issue 52, May/June 2023
by Lynne M. Thomas
My review: This review is for The Mausoleum’s Children by Aliette de Bodard. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I read a lot of reviews praising the work of this author, and I read a couple of good short stories by her, so I was quite intrigued to read one more.
The story is part of a series of loosely connected stories, that form a mosaic that strengthen each of them. Unfortunately I have not read any of the other stories, and I am left wondering if I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the previous ones.
Despite that, the story is quite good, an interesting exploration of trauma, and the different ways people deal with it. (★★★)
Started: Apr 02 2024 Finished: Apr 02 2024
St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid cover
St. Valentine, St. Abigail, St. Brigid
by C.L. Polk (2020)
My review: I have previously read and enjoyed work by this author, hence I was quite eager to read this short story, the prequel to the 2024 Hugo Award finalist novelette "Ivy, Angelica, Bay". It turns out to be quite good.
The story is set in today's world, but for the fact that magic exists, even if it is rare and common people don't really know about it. The protagonist, a young girl given away by her mother in return to magic, is raised by somebody that does know how to use magic.
But the protagonist will soon learn that all magical requests comes with a price. And a girl with witchcraft, no friends, and only her mother’s bees to confide in will pay whatever’s necessary to keep the girl she loves safe. (★★★★)
Started: Apr 02 2024 Finished: Apr 02 2024
On the Fox Roads cover
On the Fox Roads
by Nghi Vo (2023)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Novelette category. I had previously read quite a few stories by this author, so I was thrilled to read one more. I was not disappointed.
In this story a young unnamed narrators find herself running away from justice with some bank robbers. She end up learning the ropes of the job, including how to access the mysterious Fox Road.
The style is beautiful, and both worldbuilding and atmosphere creation are great... but not exactly my cup of tea somehow. I am sure many will love it though. (★★★)
Started: Mar 31 2024 Finished: Apr 01 2024
Nightmare Magazine, Issue 133, October 2023 cover
Nightmare Magazine, Issue 133, October 2023
by Wendy N. Wagner (2023)
My review: This review is for The Sound of Children Screaming by Rachel K. Jones. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I do not believe I had previously read anything written by this author, and I was quite curious to give it a try... and what an incredibly powerful story it ended up being!
Sometimes the most horrifying, scary, and tragic stories do not come from the fantasy of writers, but from the real world. This is the case for mass shooting in schools, that is at the heart of this short story. I will not say more, to avoid spoiling it for you. I will just say it is a deserving finalist for the Hugo and a likely winner.
This is a must-read that I recommend to everyone. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 31 2024 Finished: Mar 31 2024
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 200, May 2023 cover
Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 200, May 2023
by Neil Clarke
My review: This review is for Better Living Through Algorithms by Naomi Kritzer. Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story is a finalist in the Short Story category. I have read and enjoyed previous work by this author, and I was looking forward this new one. I was not disappointed.
In the near future, a new app become viral. It is a wellness app, that helps you improve your life, and be happier. It sounds too good to be true but... it seems to work? I won't say more to avoid spoiling it, but it is a quite remarkable story, full of the optimism that I learned to expect from this author, even when speaking about the shortcoming in the human nature.
A great story and a strong contender for the award. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 31 2024 Finished: Mar 31 2024
Bookshops & Bonedust (Legends & Lattes, #0) cover
Bookshops & Bonedust (Legends & Lattes, #0)
by Travis Baldree
My review: I had previously read and loved Legends & Lattes, and when I learned there was a prequel I could not wait to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed.
In this prequel Viv is a young orc, and her career with the notorious mercenary company Rackam's Ravens isn't going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she's packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk—so far from the action that she worries she'll never be able to return to it.
What's a thwarted soldier of fortune to do?
Spending her hours at a beleaguered bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted, but it may be both exactly what she needs and the seed of changes she couldn't possibly imagine.
Still, adventure isn't all that far away. A suspicious traveler in gray, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling, and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected.
This was a great book, I do hope the author will take us back to this fictional universe soon! (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 12 2024 Finished: Mar 28 2024
Heartstopper: Volume Three (Heartstopper, #3) cover
Heartstopper: Volume Three (Heartstopper, #3)
by Alice Oseman (2020)
My review: What a sweet and touching story! I am glad there are such wonderful books available to this generation of young adult readers. It is very important to have realistic portrayals of adolescence, as diverse as the real world is.
In this volume Nick and Charlie and their classmates go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private… Meanwhile Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?
By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 10 2024 Finished: Mar 22 2024
The Tyranny of Metrics cover
The Tyranny of Metrics
by Jerry Z. Muller
My review: Since I work for a data and metrics driven company, I thought it was healthy to read a book critical to this approach, at least to better understand its limitations and shortcomings.
This book focuses on how the "obsession with quantifying human performance" threatens business, medicine, education, government, and the quality of our lives.
Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, according to the author we have gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself, and this tyranny of metrics now threatens the quality of our organizations and lives.
Jerry Muller focuses on the damage metrics are causing and shows how we can begin to fix the problem. Filled with examples from business, medicine, education, government, and other fields, the book explains why paying for measured performance doesn't work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But Muller also shows that, when used as a complement to judgment based on personal experience, metrics can be beneficial, and he includes an invaluable checklist of when and how to use them. The result is an essential corrective to a harmful trend that increasingly affects us all.
It's an interesting book, I found it useful, even if it could have been probably condensed to 1/3 of its length without losing anything. (★★★)
Started: Mar 04 2024 Finished: Mar 11 2024
Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2) cover
Heartstopper: Volume Two (Heartstopper, #2)
by Alice Oseman
My review: What a sweet and touching story! I am glad there are such wonderful books available to this generation of young adult readers. It is very important to have realistic portrayals of adolescence, as diverse as the real world is.
Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie is gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.
By Alice Oseman, winner of the YA Book Prize, Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie’s lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us. (★★★★★)
Started: Mar 03 2024 Finished: Mar 09 2024
Klara and the Sun cover
Klara and the Sun
by Kazuo Ishiguro (2021)
My review: I had never read anything by this author, and I was quite eager to try given all the good reviews I read about his work. I was not disappointed. What a remarkable book!
From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love? (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 14 2024 Finished: Mar 03 2024
Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1) cover
Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1)
by Alice Oseman (2018)
My review: I heard a lot of good reviews for this graphic novel, hence I decided to give it a try. I really liked it. And the graphics quality is quite remarkable: the artist is able to conjure deep emotions with a very small number of strokes.
This is the story of Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player. They meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more...?
Charlie Spring is in Year 10 at Truham Grammar School for Boys. The past year hasn't been too great, but at least he's not being bullied anymore. Nick Nelson is in Year 11 and on the school rugby team. He's heard a little about Charlie - the kid who was outed last year and bullied for a few months - but he's never had the opportunity to talk to him.
They quickly become friends, and soon Charlie is falling hard for Nick, even though he doesn't think he has a chance. But love works in surprising ways, and sometimes good things are waiting just around the corner... (★★★★★)
Started: Feb 19 2024 Finished: Feb 21 2024
We Travel the Spaceways cover
We Travel the Spaceways
by Victor LaValle (2021)
My review: I had previously read previous work by this author and I was eager to read this one when I heard it came out. I was not disappointed.
Grimace is a homeless man on a holy mission to free Black Americans from emotional slavery. His empty soda cans told him as much. Then he meets Kim, a transgender runaway who joins Grimace on his heroic quest. Is Grimace receiving aluminum missives from the gods, or is he a madman? Kim will find out soon enough on a strange journey they’ve been destined to share. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 12 2024 Finished: Feb 16 2024
Clap Back (Black Stars, #5) cover
Clap Back (Black Stars, #5)
by Nalo Hopkinson (2021)
My review: A past struggle for racial equity could achieve a profound future victory in this audacious short story about technology, hoodoo, and hope by a Nebula Award–winning author. Burri is a fashion designer and icon with a biochemistry background. Her latest pieces are African inspired and crafted to touch the heart. They enable wearers to absorb nanorobotic memories and recount the stories of Black lives and forgiveness. Wenda doesn't buy it. A protest performance artist, Wenda knows exploitation when she sees it. What she's going to do with Burri's breakthrough technology could, in the right hands, change race relations forever.
This is a great story, even if I believe it would benefit to be extended into a full size novel. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 10 2024 Finished: Feb 12 2024
Go Tell It on the Mountain cover
Go Tell It on the Mountain
by James Baldwin (2001)
My review: I have heard about James Baldwin in the context of the struggle for racial equality, but I had never read any of his work. I am ashamed to say I did not realize he wrote fiction (I wrongly assumed his work was focused on non fiction). I read this book thanks to my work book club and... wow what an incredible work of art. He is clearly among the best of the best in American literature.
Go Tell It On The Mountain, first published in 1953, is Baldwin's first major work, a semi-autobiographical novel that has established itself as an American classic. With lyrical precision, psychological directness, resonating symbolic power, and a rage that is at once unrelenting and compassionate, Baldwin chronicles a fourteen-year-old boy's discovery of the terms of his identity as the stepson of the minister of a storefront Pentecostal church in Harlem one Saturday in March of 1935. Baldwin's rendering of his protagonist's spiritual, sexual, and moral struggle of self-invention opened new possibilities in the American language and in the way Americans understand themselves.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 29 2024 Finished: Feb 11 2024
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These Alien Skies
by C.T. Rwizi (2021)
My review: I had never read anything by this author before, and I am quite glad I did, because he is extremely talented. I need to read more of his work!
The story is set in the future. Two humans are sent to the far side of a star gate... but accident happens sometime at the wrong time: Copilots Msizi and Tariro are testing a newly constructed wormhole jump that presumably leads to unsettled habitable worlds. Then an explosion sends them off course, far from where they started and with little chance of ever making it back. Now they’re stranded on their new home for the diaspora. It’s called Malcolm X-b. But they’re beginning to wonder how many light-years from civilization they really are.
Great book, my only regret is that it's way too short. This should be expanded into a full length novel. (★★★★)
Started: Feb 06 2024 Finished: Feb 08 2024
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2043... a Merman I Should Turn to Be (Black Stars, #3)
by Nisi Shawl
My review: 2043 is set in a neat feature where African-descended "USians" are obtaining their overdue reparations... underwater. They can get their body modified to live underwater and receive land to develop. Five miles off the South Carolina coast, Darden and Catherina are getting their promised forty acres, all of it undersea. Like every Black “mer,” they’ve been experimentally modified to adapt to their new subaquatic home, and have met with extreme resistance from white supremacists. Darden has an inspired plan for resolution. For both those on land and the webbed bottom-dwellers below, Darden is hoping to change the wave of the future. A good story that I enjoyed quite a bit, but maybe less strong of the other instalment of the Black Stars series. (★★★)
Started: Feb 04 2024 Finished: Feb 06 2024
Uncanny Magazine Issue 56: January/February 2024 cover
Uncanny Magazine Issue 56: January/February 2024
by Mary Robinette Kowal (2023)
My review: This review is for Marginalia by Mary Robinette Kowal (goodreads keeps merging the story with the magazine where it was first published, even if it is available separately).
I had previously read and enjoyed this author's sci-fi work, but this is the first time I read one of her fantasy stories. There are clearly some of her signature themes mixed in, for example the exploration of gender roles, but it reads very different from her usual work. It's an enjoyable and good story, with an original "monster". Who needs dragons when you have giant acid snails? (★★★)
Started: Jan 29 2024 Finished: Jan 31 2024
A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1) cover
A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)
by Arkady Martine (2019)
My review: Every year I read all the finalists of the most prestigious science fiction awards (at least in the English speaking world): the Hugo awards. This story was a finalist in the Novel category a few years back but I did not managed to read the book before the voting deadline, and I am finally catching up now. The book won the award and I heard tons of good reviews about it, hence I was very eager to read it.
Despite some reading trouble along the way (I paused reading the book when I lost my kindle while traveling to Mexico, and resumed when I got my kindle back when it was found more than a month later), I really enjoyed and loved it.
Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.
I strongly recommend this to everyone. (★★★★★)
Started: Nov 23 2023 Finished: Jan 28 2024
The Black Pages (Black Stars, #2) cover
The Black Pages (Black Stars, #2)
by Nnedi Okorafor
My review: I enjoyed every single book I read by this author, but Who Fears Death is the one book that stand out above all other. I was afraid she would never reached the same heights (even iof, as I said, all her books are great), but I did not need to fear: The Black Pages is amazing. I really do hope she expand it into a full length novel, because it's really incredible. It touches religious extremism, colonialist cultural erasure, cultural identity within an original and entertaining story that you cannot put down.
By fate and fire, a being four millennia old is reborn in Mali in a short story of contemporary African life and ancient secrets. Issaka has returned home to Timbouctou and a devastating al-Qaeda raid. His only hope for survival is Faro, a stunning, blue-beaded supernatural entity who rises free from the flames of her imprisoning book as it burns. Compelled to follow Faro, Issaka is opening his eyes to their shared history and the ancestral wisdom of his own past. (★★★★★)
Started: Jan 28 2024 Finished: Jan 28 2024
System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7) cover
System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries, #7)
by Martha Wells
My review: I really enjoyed the previous instalments of the Murderbot Diaries and I could not wait to read this one. I was not disappointed.
Following the events in Network Effect, the Barish-Estranza corporation has sent rescue ships to a newly-colonized planet in peril, as well as additional SecUnits. But if there’s an ethical corporation out there, Murderbot has yet to find it, and if Barish-Estranza can’t have the planet, they’re sure as hell not leaving without something. If that something just happens to be an entire colony of humans, well, a free workforce is a decent runner-up prize. But there’s something wrong with Murderbot; it isn’t running within normal operational parameters. ART’s crew and the humans from Preservation are doing everything they can to protect the colonists, but with Barish-Estranza’s SecUnit-heavy persuasion teams, they’re going to have to hope Murderbot figures out what’s wrong with itself, and fast. Yeah, this plan is... not going to work. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 10 2024 Finished: Jan 27 2024
The Visit (Black Stars, #1) cover
The Visit (Black Stars, #1)
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
My review: I previously read and liked quite a lot We Should All Be Feminists, a non-fiction book on feminisms, written by this author. When I saw she had written a sci-fi short story I knew I had to give it a try. I did not know what to expect.
The premise is simple: the story is set in the current world with a single difference: the genre roles are reversed. Matriarchy is the standard. In this world, two men—old friends—confront the past and future.
One night in Lagos, two former friends reunite. Obinna is a dutiful and unsophisticated stay-at-home husband and father married to a powerful businesswoman. Eze is single, a cautious rebel from his university days whose arrival soon upsets the balance in Obinna’s life. In a world where men are constantly under surveillance and subject to the whims of powerful women, more than Obinna’s ordered and accustomed routine might be on the line.
This is a great short story, that reminded me a lot of The Power. It's quite short, so perfect to read while commuting or during a short break from your chores. (★★★★)
Started: Jan 27 2024 Finished: Jan 27 2024
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Untethered Sky
by Fonda Lee
My review: Despite her numerous awards, I had never read anything by this author, but I came across a lot of good reviews for this book, and I could not resist. The story was described as an epic fantasy fable about the pursuit of obsession at all costs. I enjoyed the book, but probably because of its relatively short length, I would not exactly describe it as epic.
This is the story of Ester. Her family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family. Ester’s path leads her to the King’s Royal Mews, where the giant rocs of legend are flown to hunt manticores by their brave and dedicated ruhkers. Paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra, Ester finds purpose and acclaim by devoting herself to a calling that demands absolute sacrifice and a creature that will never return her love. The terrifying partnership between woman and roc leads Ester not only on the empire’s most dangerous manticore hunt, but on a journey of perseverance and acceptance. (★★★)
Started: Dec 20 2023 Finished: Jan 09 2024
Counting Casualties cover
Counting Casualties
by Yoon Ha Lee (2023)
My review: I really liked this author's Machineries of Empire and Thousand Worlds series. I was eager to read this short story by the same author. It was good!
This is the story of Commander Niaja vrau Erezeng, up against an enemy that doesn’t just destroy all the beings, ships, and planets in its path, but also consumes their greatest arts, somehow scratching them from existence everywhere.
It is a fun short read, but if you have not read anything by this author, start somewhere else, this is good, but their other work is even better. (★★★)
Started: Jan 03 2024 Finished: Jan 05 2024