“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

Recommended to me by: Eric Roberts

A fantasy novel based on Eastern European folk tales, but going in a direction all its own. The main character is a young woman, and there are other women with agency in the book. Unfortunately it is still a feudal social structure with a king and a male […]

“Voices” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Recommended to me by: adrian-turtle on dreamwidth.

This sequel to Gifts is much more comfortable to read. Rather than being about households polarized and divided by their powers, it is about a harshly occupied city where the people are known for “having peace in their bones.”

The city-dwellers are people of color, and the […]

“Gifts” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Recommended to me by: Referenced in The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture blog post.

This is not a comfortable book to read. At first it feels irritatingly simplistic and aimed at young readers, but with not enough happening. Then it feels irritatingly complex with not enough answers to hard questions.

What […]

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

I clearly remember not wanting to turn the light out, the first time I finished reading this book, spooked by mind control. I was around 9 years old, new to having my own room, lined with bookcases of my parents’ books.

Rereading it now, it’s interesting to see which parts I could practically recite, […]

“Sea Change” by S. M. Wheeler

Recommended to me by: s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’

This wild fantasy felt true to me, true to inner journeys and struggles and transformations. It has violence in it, but not a lot compared to the modern fashion, and deaths are grieved instead of being passed over without comment. Heroes, villains, and monsters […]

“Pure” by Julianna Baggott

Recommended to me by: s.e. smith at this ain’t livin’

This is a layered, well-crafted dystopian science-fiction novel offering both entertainment and examination of modern issues. It has scientific advances and their consequences, predictable heterosexual teen romances, well-developed female characters, adventures, violence, nuances of interaction, and a detailed sense of place.

Where many books […]

“Tender Morsels” by Margo Lanagan

Recommended to me by: Meloukhia

This is a fairy tale, but no child’s story. It starts with incest and pregnancy and abortion, and continues with gang rape. Then Liga is magically placed in a world that matches her heart’s desire, peaceful and safe.

While examining the consequences of assault and the consequences of avoiding […]

“A Drunken Dream and other stories” by Moto Hagio

Subtitle: 10 Stories of the Human Heart

Recommended to me by: laughingrat.dreamwidth.org

Moto Hagio is one of the most renowned Japanese artists of shojo manga, high-quality comics for teen girls. She was one of only a few women in the genre in the seventies, and she continues creating art today.

This is a chronological […]

“The Bards of Bone Plain” by Patricia McKillip

As much as I loved some of McKillip’s early books, I think I’ve aged out of her target audience. This book seemed put together from bits and pieces of past books, with many cookie-cutter characters and an emphasis on the young adults falling in love and pairing off at the end – heterosexually, of […]

“The Wild Wood” by Charles de Lint

The Wild Wood is part of the same series of books based on Brian Froud’s illustrations as Something Rich and Strange.

Charles de Lint is a well-known fantasy author, but the writing in this book is distractingly amateurish, with overly detailed descriptions of people’s clothes and exact measurements of snowfall, along with cardboard characterizations. […]