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If you haven’t noticed already the adult science fiction and fantasy market is pretty saturated with male authors, both dead and alive. The major ones including Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin, Pierce Brown, Jay Kristoff, Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Garth Nix to name a few. Lately, I’ve been noticing more and more female authors who are becoming not the exception, but the rule. I’ve been considering writing adult SFF myself, so most of these authors are my inspiration. Knowing that it’s not impossible for me to write adult SFF pushes me to reach higher than I thought I could. I haven’t read all of these author’s works, but I highly recommend looking into them!

1. V.E. Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic series (2015-2017); Vicious duology (2013/2018)

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2. N.K. Jemisin – The Fifth Season series (2015-2017)

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3. Madeline Miller – The Song of Achilles (2011); Circe (2018)

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4. Nnedi Okorafor – Binti novella series (2015-2018)

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5. Samantha Shannon – The Bone Season series (2013—)

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6. R.F. Kuang – The Poppy War (2018—)

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Note: Be sure to check out the author’s blog post that includes content/trigger warnings before reading!

7. Margaret Atwood – The Handmaid’s Tale (1985)

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8. Diana Gabaldon – Outlander: A Novel (1991)

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Honorable Mentions: 

  • Madeleine L’Engle. Best Known for A Wrinkle In Time. 
  • Mary Shelley. Best Known for Frankenstein. Many argue that she invented the science fiction genre.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any books by these authors? Do you like adult SFF (Science Fiction & Fantasy)? Do you find yourself gravitating toward stories like these?

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Review: Six of Crows

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Read the synopsis here.

Review

Rating: ☆☆☆.75 = I LIKED IT.

Oceans Eleven meets Game of Thrones in this tale of six misfits who come together to complete the mission of their lifetime.

“A gambler, a convict, a wayward song, a lost Grisha, a Suli girl who had become a killer, a boy from the Barrel who had become something worse.”

Six of Crows is apparently set two years after the events in the Grisha trilogy. This book is almost flawless, but perhaps that’s the problem. I can’t think of anything bad about this book, except that if you didn’t read Shadow and Bone it will be a little difficult to understand the magic system at first (though even reading that one, I still had trouble). Normally, I detest multiple POV but Leigh Bardugo incorporated it fantastically. I felt that the story was original, but I failed to feel captivated as a whole. Regardless, I still thought the writing was impressive and the ending had me shook.

“Trying not to die was the best possible distraction.”

In the beginning there were some stabby scenes, but afterward the story slows pace. This was a VERY good story but so much felt dragged out. I suppose after all the exposition, I wanted to see more happen in the present rather than read the characters reflect on their pasts so frequently. I did enjoy the character development, but I just didn’t like when it slowed down that much.

For some reason it was difficult to truly care about this story and I wanted to DNF so many times. The main event doesn’t even begin to happen until over 60% in with mostly planning and plotting in the meantime. I feel like for a heist plot with a lot of risks involved, the author didn’t take enough risks herself. Even with the all the danger that occurs in this book, I felt like the author was somehow playing it safe.  On top of that, it took me TWO months to finish. I started in mid-April and put it down twice and finally completed the book in June.

“The life you live, the hate you feel—it’s poison. I can drink it no longer.” 

Six of Crows is good because it’s morally grey, there’s no happily ever after crap, and the characters are all dynamic. It also contains a decent balance between slow burn and action and the romance is minimal. So what’s the problem? I just wasn’t blown away. I still LOVE the Grishaverse and I love the author’s writing. I just failed to make an emotional connection with this story in particular. For me to do that, I have to relate or sympathize with the character’s plight in some way.

“When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.” 

One thing I will say is that I love how Bardugo incorporated her own condition, osteonecrosis, onto her character Kaz. He doesn’t have the same exact condition, but she wrote him with a physical ailment. It’s refreshing to read about characters who have a disability in fantasy. It makes so much sense! In time periods in which people didn’t have anywhere near the medical advancements we have now, I feel like more people then we realize were crippled, handicapped, or even missing limbs due to disease.

“I do seem to remember something about certain doom.”

What’s interesting is that there’s a lot of realism incorporated into Six of Crows. While there is a magic system, so much is done with forethought and careful planning that it took a little bit away from the mystique of everything. Perhaps that’s intentional on the author’s part and that’s exactly what makes this book stand out. In Shadow of Bone, we have characters with magical abilities who use the full extent of those powers and the writing style is bewitching. In Six of Crows, it’s about the reality of of the character’s world even though a magic system exists and the writing, while effectively detailed, is more direct and forward. That’s not a bad thing at all—just different from what I normally expect in this sort of fantasy. Despite my reservations, I DO like this book and have complete and utter respect for Leigh Bardugo as a writer.

RECAP

PROS:

  • Minimal romance
  • I have to tip my hat to the genius and planning behind writing this story..
  • So many twists and surprises at the end.
  • Complex, unique and flawed characters.
  • Best written multiple POV I’ve read in awhile.
  • The details of The Ice Court were so intricate and brought the entire world to life.

CONS:

  • While I liked his character, Kaz wasn’t nearly as deadly as everyone talked him up to be like. I would’ve liked to see Kaz as the anti-hero more.
  • I wasn’t emotionally invested. Possibly due to multiple POVs.
  • For a rescue mission plot, it surprisingly dragged.
  • It took me way too long to finish.

Do I recommend it? YES.

Will I read the sequel? YES.

Do I intend to read every Leigh Bardugo book written? YES. YES. YES.

Let’s Chat 

Have you read this book yet? Is it on your TBR? Who is your favorite character? I really enjoyed Wylan and Nina the most! Do you recommend any other books with an ensemble cast?

Let’s Talk About The Sense8 Finale

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My Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

“Amor Vincit Omnia” … Love conquers all things.

Coincidentally, I’ve been considering getting that quote as a tattoo for over a year.

Years before, a mysterious sensate by the name of Angelica Turing kills herself just before giving birth to her “cluster”. All the sensates share a birth date and are all the same age as well. It isn’t until their thirties that the cluster discovers that they are all psychically connected and are able to visit one another at will. They also each have a specialized skilled anywhere from pharmaceutical knowledge to professional kickboxing, which they can borrow from one another in high stress situations even if they’re on the other side of the world. The main villain is a man named Whispers, who is the head of an organization called “BPO”. His goal is to hunt down sensates to lobotomize and kill them. The finale, which aired on June 8th, picks up exactly where we left off almost a year ago. With Wolfgang being captured by Whispers and the other sensates devising a plan to rescue him.

If I’m being honest, my review will never do this show justice. It’s inclusive, diverse, and has a LOT of representation. It doesn’t do the bare minimum. It goes above and beyond. The fanbase is global and extremely passionate. I didn’t feel like I was watching a show that filled some kind of diversity quota. The characters all felt so real. If you think this show is unrealistic in terms of representation then are you really living???

The TV show is not limited to major U.S. cities with predominately white, wealthy populations the way most mainstream TV and films are. Real life is full of different kinds of people, religions, sexualities, and skin colors. It shouldn’t be “ground breaking” for a TV show to bring so many different types of people together, but it is. It makes me feel like MCU, a major franchise with an ensemble cast, could do such better considering the success of other diverse franchises. Yet MCU continues to pander to the white Conservative population who isn’t “ready” to see LGBT+ super heroes or a WOMAN be in her own starring film. Don’t get me wrong—- I love the MCU franchise, but it sort of makes me feel like I’m settling if Sense8’s show runners can pull something this brilliant off on a Netflix budget.

Characters

  • Capheus Onyango, a man from Nairobi, Kenya
  • Sun Bak a woman from Seoul, South Korea
  • Nomi Marks, a trans woman from San Francisco, California
  • Kala Dandekar, a Hindu woman from Mumbai, India
  • Lito Rodriguez, a closeted gay actor living in Mexico City
  • Riley Blue, a bisexual Icelandic women living in London
  • Wolfgang, a man from Berlin, Germany
  • Will Gorski, a police officer from Chicago, Illinois

Supporting Character(s)

  • Amanita, girl friend to Nomi – she’s black, bisexual, and has 3 dads.

There are several other supporting characters, but Amanita plays a HUGE role and I felt like she was worth mentioning. Especially because of the representation she brings.

***If you watch this show and I mislabeled anyone or did not identify someone as queer, please comment below. I looked up the characters online and looked through some Sense8 threads to be sure, but I obviously could still miss something.

WHAT I LOVED: (WARNING: CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS)

  • The filmography.
  • The choreographed fight scenes.
  • The tourist scene.
  • The dancing/singing scenes.
  • The van painting dance scene.
  • How there’s accurate portrayal of every culture and city.
  • The transgender woman is played by a transgender woman.
  • Most of the actors are actually from the country they are said to be from.
  • The characters aren’t tokens of their culture, sexuality, or race!
  • They didn’t shy away from black love. Capheus and his love interest are portrayed nude on screen. I had to look away for 99.9% of the final scene because I don’t like to see nudity personally, but I appreciated that black bodies were welcome. There’s an unspoken thing in Hollywood that black bodies are ugly or disgusting, especially naked. So I was surprised they showed that black people are deserving of sensual experiences.
  • One word: Bazooka.
  • A CHARACTER’S ALMOST DEATH.
  • THE EIFFEL TOWER SCENE.
  • NO QUEER DEATH.

Let’s Chat 

Have you seen this show? What do you think of it? Sense8 packs in a lot of heart, action, thrill, and most of all empowerment of people who otherwise need to feel that way. The heroes are not one size fits all and it’s beautiful to see different kinds of people step up and fight in order to save the world.