I really wanted to write a review of A Blade so Black. Mainly because I'm a huge Slayer fan (Angel before Buffy but that's neither here nor there) but not a huge Alice in Wonderland fan. Needless curiosity got me. Verdict?
I am a playlist person with *certain people*. I often have a hard time expressing certain emotions to certain people. When that happens I am very thankful for my parents raising me on everything from Motown to the Doors to Dylan and James Taylor. Of course, from there I've picked up on everything from 80s everything to Billy Joel, My Chemical Romance, Nsync, being a 90s Pedophile, Gomez (my cat's namesake), Harry Connick, Jr., Robbie Williams and Mika. I've often turned to their lyrics and book quotes to say what I couldn't find words to express.
I wanted to do a different spin on the Top ____ Tuesday and so I came up with an idea. There was NO DOUBT a landslide of Young Adult books that led me to start Novel Lives. I am not going to review or even attempt a mini-review of each. I went on a YA reading binge between June 2017 until Novel Lives launched in July 2018 and no they weren't all home-runs. Even for those that were all home-runs. For some it is a more horrific draw... an attachment based on being placed between empathy and disgust, and four days of insomnia (you know who you are). While, for others it is a love for the gift they've brought to the world. Others have provided desperately needed escapes and some desperately needed hope I can turn to, while others provided hope, taught me about the world, about myself and for one it is for a plan, a future I never got to live out and I miss it with every beat of my heart. They are all too meaningful and too different in their respective purpose to single out and say one belongs before another. That is not what we do to art. And all of these are pieces of art.
The Disasters is a laugh out loud mash-up of characters so diverse that even when you think you know where they lie on the spectrum of diversity, two chapters later you realize they have a multi-cultural and sexual orientation chasm going on in one character. Meanwhile I don't remember any of this being mentioned in the promotion for the book, nor the overriding Middle-Eastern themes. Well done on the England and HarperTeen's part to let that be a surprise welcome. This book is being promoted on the the plot, characters and overall fun to be had. Oh and the dedication, which I love. To everyone who's ever felt like a disaster. Here, have a spaceship! Now fly.
When life well, lifes... sometimes it becomes hard to even lean on the things that get you through, like reading, writing and my little corner of the internet. So instead of relying strictly on deadlines and what I planned, once I was passed September 4th, I went to what I wanted to read, which changed things up. That isn't to say I didn't want to read what I planned. Not at all. I just had a couple ARCs calling to me (one I am not planning to review till *ahem* November* and one not coming out till the end of the month) but it was the right choice! They really helped me connect with things I had to deal with and the other helped me laugh, and just get of my own head. If I end up reviewing it sooner than expected? So be it.
Warnings (mentioned by author in book): Mental illness (bipolar), blood use in magic, gun violence, war, colonialism, racism, descriptions of dead bodies, mention of reproductive coercion, mentions of torture, mention of suicide Heidi Heilig has created a piece of art that is multi-faceted in characters, writing structures and plot points. Within this she has interwoven an own voice struggle as a bipolar woman through the main character, Jetta, who simply refers to it as her malheur, the french word for misfortune. Heilig discusses writing a bipolar heroine at the end of the book. She balances writing Jetta's manic highs driving her family's successful shadow plays, her ability to defend herself and control spirits through necromancy. However, it also causes rash decisions and leads to actions that harms herself and those she cares the most about. This comes with the depressive lows where she withdraws, panics and sleeps due to the exhaustion of fighting it all because of a driving resilience, intelligence and need to not have her malheur define who she is nor her life.
I don't read more than one book at a time (unless you count audible "rereads" which I sometimes fall asleep to). However, I also read pretty quickly. If I read more than one book at a time, at the rate I read, I wouldn't be able to absorb it all. I think the only time I've stopped one book to pick up another is if I've had an ARC dropped in my lap right before its publishing date and/or if it was an attempt to go back to a book I was about to DNF (did not finish).