When Short Books Do You No Favors: A Discussion of Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao

I’m a fan of short books. They’re great ways to get your reading count up if you’re trying to meet a goal, and they’re a wonderful way to fit some reading into the day when you don’t have the energy or mental space for a longer, meatier book.

But sometimes, shortness just doesn’t work for the story you’re trying to tell. Sometimes, you really do need to take the time to explore your setting and your plot, and if that takes 500+ pages, then so be it. If you need to do that in order to do justice to the story that you want to tell, then you need to do that!

Unfortuantely, Song of the Crimson Flower by Julie C. Dao is a perfect example of when short books do no favors, for either the author or the reader. If you want to know why I, unfortunately, did not enjoy this book, then read on!

You can get a copy of this book here!
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How Not to End a Trilogy: The Case of The Folk of the Air

This review has been three years in the making. Lol.

When I first read The Cruel Prince back in 2018, I honestly saw the appeal. I thought it wasn’t a particularly great book, but it was a highly entertaining one. It was problematic as fuck – it portrayed a victim being in a romantic relationship with her abuser as a good thing and perpetuated that age-old super harmful stereotype of boys being mean to girls because they like them. But it was still enjoyable to read because its main character was one of the most ruthless, ambitious, cunning girls I’ve ever seen in YA fiction. I didn’t know where The Cruel Prince was going to take me, but I did know I wanted to go along with Jude Duarte.

Little did I know the Jude that developed in The Cruel Prince, the Jude that I fell in love with in The Wicked King, was going to be snatched away and replaced by a changeling (hah!) in The Queen of Nothing.

Read on to find out how I was let down by one of the most anticipated reads of the entire YA community.

(Be aware though that this discussion post is not spoiler-free!)

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Get The Cruel Prince here, The Wicked King here, or The Queen of Nothing here.

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Who is Centred in Your Narrative? (a discussion of Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez) – NOT SPOILER-FREE

Woven in Moonlight was one of my most anticipated reads for the first quarter of 2020, and when I finally got the chance to read it for #PhilMythReadathon (check out my TBR video here, or the announcement video here) I was super eager to get started.

Unfortunately, I ended up feeling a bit uncomfortable about how the book’s plot ultimately ended up panning out – enough to write a whole review about it, apparently.

Please keep in mind the following things: I am not Latinx and I am not Bolivian. Therefore take all of my criticism with a grain of salt.

Also, please be aware that this review contains spoilers (although I tried to keep them as vague as possible). So if you haven’t read Woven in Moonlight yet, you might want to skip this post!

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Get this book here.

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The Makings of a Good Redemption Arc (a discussion of The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala)

Hey there guys, gals, and non-binary pals! Today, I want to tell you all about another book that I bought months ago and only recently finished (because I am trash like that). I posted one of my usual ‘pick my next read from my physical TBR’ polls on Twitter (which I started doing in an attempt to knock some items off of the catastrophically large pile of books I haven’t read yet) and the book that won that particular poll was The Tiger at Midnight, by Swati Teerdhala.

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Get this book here!

One aspect of this book immediately caught my attention, and that’s the redemption arc one of the main characters undergoes. It got me thinking about redemption arcs in general, and how authors sometimes don’t really get to pull it off well because they fundamentally misunderstand their own characters (I’m looking at you, J.K. Rowling).

What really struck me about The Tiger at Midnight and its featured redemption arc is how well it was done. Redemption arcs – especially those that feature the character being redeemed falling in love with a hero – can often be fraught with toxic pitfalls, but this book avoided them neatly and nicely. And in this blog entry, I break down what was it about this redemption arc that made it work!

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When Do Slow-Paced Books Work? (a discussion of Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson)

It was too slow-paced. I was bored. I kept flipping pages to get to the end. These phrases are just some of the common criticisms we hear often regarding books that are either slow-paced or have a stretched out plot. Sometimes, those criticisms are valid. After all, I’ve done my fair share of flipping through books that I felt were taking for-fucking-ever to get to the point like Wicked Saints.

However, I’d like to present my hot take for the day: a slow pace can be fit a book better than a fast one, and it totally depends on the author’s ultimate goals for their audience’s reading experience.

A perfect example is the book I recently finished, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. At first, I was pretty reluctant to pick up the book because I’d been seeing mixed reviews of it online, but I decided to one day (the day me, JM, Inah, and Miel went to Pride, incidentally!) because a) that cover is gorgeous, and b) it was on sale!

After an interminably loooong time (I mean, clearly – I bought it in June and just finished reading it in November, lol) I finally picked up this book, went very quickly through it, and realized that I actually disagreed with most people’s assessment that the book was boring!

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Purchase this book here.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Not everyone’s going to have the same opinion about a book. But I do think that, in general, we’ve been spoiled by fast-paced, action-packed YA books where everything moves along really quickly. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Some of my favorite books play out like a movie on the page. But because we’re so used to things being set in motion quickly, we’ve come to expect that same treatment for almost every book we read.

I believe that the slow pace worked just fine for Sorcery of Thorns and added an aspect to the book that would not have been there had the plot gone faster.

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[Discussion Post] Jade War – Fonda Lee // fantasy in the time of globalization

Welcome to my stop on the Jade War Tour, guys, gals, and enby pals! Thank you so much to Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea, Caffeine Book Tours, Orbit Books, and of course Fonda Lee for letting me be a part of this blog tour, and for sending over an ARC of Jade War, a pin of Empire of Sand (click the link to read my glowing review!), and a letter from the Pillar Fonda Lee herself! The personal touches were the best thing about this package in my opinion, and I can’t think Fonda enough not only for bringing the Green Bone Saga universe into being, but for also taking the time to connect with her fans!

This is probably gonna be a long ass review, so grab your drink of choice and get comfy!

I did my best to make this review as spoiler-free as possible, but of course, tread cautiously!

Let’s get started!

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Purchase Links:
Amazon
Book Depository

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Galit Na Naman Si Tita: SOBRANG KALAT

If you had told me that the month of May on bookish Twitter was going to end like this, I wouldn’t have believed you. I mean, sometimes I think the bar for authors to behave is literally on the fucking ground, but hoo boy, some of these people have got industrial shovels.

Let me preface this entry in the Galit Na Naman Si Tita series with the following premises:

  1. Unlike my previous entries where I was more disappointed or frustrated, this time, I actually am mad. I am steaming, boiling mad.
  2. ALL OF THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF PEOPLE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE PRIVATE LOCKED ACCOUNTS, IT IS NOT THAT HARD.

All right, let’s get started.

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