Tag Archives: Fiction

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night

Well.

That didn’t go AT ALL like I was expecting it to.

I saw some reviews of this floating around on Goodreads a few weeks ago, and when I decided to look up a plot description, it sounded like everything I wanted from a novel. The story begins with Lilliet Berne, star soprano of the Paris Opera, being offered an original role in a new opera. But as she reads the story, she realizes that the opera is based on her own life, and exposes secrets from her past that she wants to stay buried. There are only four people who know Lilliet’s secrets, and she decides to find out who’s working behind the scenes to expose her. As she does, the reader follows her on her journey and learns how Lilliet went from orphan farm girl, to circus equestrian, to courtesan, to imperial spy, and ended as an opera singer.

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Thrones, Dominations (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #1) by Dorothy Sayers and Jill Patton Walsh

Thrones, Dominations (Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane #1)

*WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*

I actually finished reading this book over a month ago, and even though I meant to write a review immediately, I obviously kind of forgot about that. So I apologize in advance, because I’m going to be a little fuzzy on the details.

First, background: Dorothy Sayers left this book unfinished, having abandoned it in 1936. She left some fragments of the novel behind, and Jill Paton Walsh was recruited to finish the book in 1998. It’s not clear how much of the book is Sayers and how much is Walsh, but it feels primarily the latter, and I’m try to articulate why I felt this way.

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Wolf-Speaker (Immortals #2) by Tamora Pierce

Wolf-Speaker (Immortals, #2)

It’s been over a year since I read the first book in Tamora Pierce’s Immortals quartet, Wild Magic. I remember enjoying it almost more than Pierce’s Alanna books (which will always be first in my heart, of course) but other than that, I started this book with only vague memories of the plot and characters of the previous installment.

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Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales

Here’s an interesting thing I noticed: on the cover photo that I found for this review, the full title is Stone Mattress: Nine Tales. But my copy (the paperback version, with the bright yellow cover) reads Stone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales. I’m not sure why there’s a difference in the titles, but I’m glad I have the wicked version.

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The Girl With All the Gifts by MR Carey

The Girl with All the Gifts

“Her name is Melanie. It means ‘the black girl’, from an ancient Greek word, but her skin is actually very fair, so she thinks maybe it’s not such a good name for her. She likes the name Pandora a whole lot, but you don’t get to choose. Miss Justineau assigns names from a big list; new children get the top name on the boys’ list or the top name on the girls’ list, and that, Miss Justineau says, is that.
There haven’t been any new children for a long time now. Melanie doesn’t know why that it. There used to be lots; every week, or every couple of weeks, voices in the night. Muttered orders, complaints, the occasional curse. A cell door slamming. Then, after a while, usually a month or two, a new face in the classroom – a new boy or girl who hadn’t even learned to talk yet. But they got it fast.
Melanie was new herself, once, but that’s hard to remember because it was a long time ago. It was before there were any words; there were just things without names, and things without names don’t stay in your mind. They fall out, and then they’re gone.”

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train

When I started this, knowing that it was one of the big It Books of the year, I was pretty sure I knew what to expect. I had read the publisher-provided description, which goes like this:

“Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?”

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Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott

Ghostwalk

*WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*

In theory, this book should have been my jam. The story opens with Elizabeth Vogelsang being found dead in a river near her Cambridge home, clutching a glass prism in her hand. Elizabeth is a 17th-century scholar who specializes in Isaac Newton, and her death interrupts her work on a book exploring Newton’s interest in alchemy. Elizabeth’s son, Cameron, recruits Lydia Brooke (a writer, friend of Elizabeth, and Cameron’s former lover) to ghost-write the rest of Elizabeth’s book. Along the way, Lydia tries to unravel the secrets in Elizabeth’s research – secrets that might have led to her death.

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