Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Songs: 5/7/23

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

Here we are in May, and I’m very nearly done with finals (and my first year of college? how 😀), and now I’ve got a fresh batch of songs, brought to you by a wikipedia rabbit hole, a beautifully cursed mashup, and what happens when you absorb too many Twilight memes by osmosis without actually watching or reading it. The internet is a lawless wasteland.

Enjoy this week’s songs!


“Ain’t Got No – I Got Life” – Nina Simone

does anybody know if this extended version is anywhere on streaming? I’ve only been able to find the shortened version…honestly a crime if you ask me

Like a lot of songs that end up on these posts, I stumbled upon this one fairly randomly—a Stereogum post on Instagram from a few weeks back commemorating 20 years since Nina Simone passed away. I just heard a snippet, and immediately went hunting for it on Apple Music—there was something so deeply captivating about it. And judging from the wikipedia rabbit hole I went on yesterday evening instead of writing this part of the post, it won’t be the last time. (“Sinnerman?” OKAY I DIDN’T EXPECT TO JUST…ASCEND THERE FOR A MINUTE HOOOOWHEE I’m gonna talk about that one in a few weeks at least, mark my words) But this one’s been on my mind a lot recently. From what I can tell, much of Nina Simone’s legacy is built from her more famous protest songs (see “Mississippi Goddam”), which damaged her career in the sixties but solidified her as one of the most important musical figures of the civil rights movement. This one slightly fits into that category—it’s a cover of sorts, mashing up two songs from the musical Hair (“I’m Black/Ain’t Go No” and “I Got Life” respectively). But even beyond the way Simone made these songs mesh together so effortlessly, there’s something more that she breathed into this song. Given the context of her life and her continued fight to help civil rights efforts in the U.S. and how much that affected her musical career, there’s something that she put into this song that nobody else could’ve. Even as her songs were banned from airplay and her career took a hit, she kept on producing this music, a commanding declaration of “I’m here, and there’s nothing you can do about it—You may have beaten my spirit, but here I stand.” Can’t get much more beautiful than that.

“Can I Go On” – Sleater-Kinney

There’s really no feeling quite like when shuffle digs up an old favorite from the depths of your music library. Unparalleled euphoria of remembering what it was like listening to a song for the first time…

That being said, I feel like I’ve lost Pretentious Gay Hipster™️ points since…this is only one of about three (tops) Sleater-Kinney songs that I actually like. Carrie Brownstein is great, don’t get me wrong—I love her work on what I’ve seen of Portlandia and in The Nowhere Inn, but Sleater-Kinney just rarely does it for me. I saw them live with Wilco a few years back, and…okay, I spent most of their set waiting for Wilco and hoping I’d like something, and I did like a few things. (There was also the secondhand embarrassment of them telling everybody to sing along during “Modern Girl” and very few people singing…oopsie) But I’ve never been a fan of either Brownstein’s or Corin Tucker’s voices—they work together, to a certain point, but they verge on grating for me. And other than this and “Modern Girl,” there’s nothing that’s really pulled me about most of their songs.

And admittedly, the minute that I found out that The Center Won’t Hold, which includes “Can I Go On,” was produced by none other than the woman, the myth, the legend, St. Vincent, it all made sense. I like this song because I like St. Vincent, not necessarily because I like Sleater-Kinney. There’s St. Vincent all over this song, from the plethora of effects on the guitars, which scream and shimmer in equal measure, to the chrome-like polish that doesn’t discredit the indie-ness of the band, but still makes it sound as smooth as ever. And even though I’m not a fan of their voices, the commanding harmonies of the chorus scream in perfect tandem, making for a rallying cry of a song that makes exhausted lyrics sound triumphant. A sprinkle of Annie Clark magic makes everything better.

“Supermassive Black Hole” – Muse

We know it. We love it. What is there to say about this song that hasn’t already been said? So I won’t bore you. I’ll narrow it down to it’s two biggest contributions to pop culture (I think):

  1. The Twilight baseball scene (I have never seen Twilight) (I intend to keep my exposure to scattered memes)
  2. This:

bask in the eternal glory of the supermassive bottom jeans. BASK.

“Wherever You Go” – Beach House

Beach House has been one of those bands that I really should be super into, given my somewhat shoegaze-leaning tendencies. The only reason is that I haven’t gotten around to listening to everything—I’ve loved the handful of isolated songs that I do know (“Space Song,” “Levitation,” “Woo,” etc.), and Bloom is on my insurmountable album list thanks to a recommendation from, of all people, my 9th grade honors English teacher. (I really shouldn’t be surprised about that. I bumped into him at a Spiritualized concert not long before I graduated last year. Shoegaze recognizes shoegaze.) The Beach House awakening, or something along those lines, is bound to happen soon, but for now, I’ll stick to random songs found in random places.

Like this one. Of course the song that I happened to randomly find in the background of a video was on their B-Sides and Rarities album. Again: I don’t have the Beach House experience to necessarily back this up, but with their other songs, I’ve noticed a slight degree of intentional production polish to make their songs sound as spacey as possible—which they absolutely do. But this song has all the lo-fi feel of a demo without losing any of that enchantingly drifting quality, with every instrument cranked up to sound as starry as possible. Victoria Legrand’s vocals always make me want to close my eyes and levitate (no pun intended), as the best shoegaze does—taking its sweet time to sweep you off your feet and into the clouds.

“Rubberband Girl” – Kate Bush

Unlike something like The Kick Inside, I’m not sure, even though scattered Kate Bush songs like these have grown on me a ton, that I’ll go all in on The Red Shoes. The only other song I’ve heard is “Big Stripey Lie,” and…okay, to the disappointment of Kate Bush’s #1 fan (my brother), I really haven’t been able to get into it, now matter how hard I try (sorry 😭). I appreciate the weirdness, but…it doesn’t do anything for me personally. And I’ve heard that the rest of The Red Shoes isn’t the best of her work, but I’m not about to diss everything about her. This queen just got inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, after all, I’ll put some respect on her name. Why wouldn’t I be, since this song stands before you? IT’S SO WEIRDLY CATCHY. I LOVE IT.

This seems like it leans more on the radio-friendly side of Kate Bush, but even she can make radio-friendly as oddball as she can. Her voice transforms from her ordinary singing tone to a velvety hiss to something as springy as the rubber bands she sings of. It’s a delightful trickster of a song—it still sounds firmly 80’s, even though it was released in 1993, but then it devolves into Bush saying “here I go :)” all innocently, and then dropping into the most wondrously weird and distorted “uhh-UHH-uhh-UHH” chorus I’ve ever heard at around the 3:40 mark. There’s a full horns section. You’ve got some Van Halen-y guitar solos sprinkled in. Under the reverb-y, 80’s polish, her weirdness has never ceased. Regardless of how you view the merits of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, you can see how much of a shoo-in she was.

Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/2/23) – Star Splitter

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Honestly, it’s a wonder that I managed to get my hands on this book when I did. I heard about it from a few “out this week” blog posts from other book bloggers (thank you!!), and as of today, the book’s only a week old. I put it on hold on the Kindle library, and it came in surprisingly quick, to my relief! I was super excited by the sci-fi premise, and in most of the relevant aspects, it absolutely delivered!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Star Splitter – Matthew J. Kirby

The method of space travel that 17-year-old Jessica Mathers is familiar with isn’t the kind you’d expect. In for the process to work, teleportation is a crucial step—the body that you’re in on Earth isn’t the same one that goes to space. But either way, after six years of waiting to reunite with her scientist parents on a faraway exoplanet, Jessica is going to space.

But when she wakes up, she’s alone in the wreckage of the ship that was supposed to carry her and the crew, stranded on an alien planet. The walls of the wreck are covered in the evidence of something sinister, and her parents are nowhere in sight. And a teleported clone of herself may be the only person she can trust—and the only person for miles around on this planet.

TW/CW: sci-fi violence, blood, murder, body horror, loss of loved ones

tread lightly – this review contains some spoilers!

Sci-fi that references old(er) poetry is an incredibly niche demographic, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t squarely in the middle of it. You got me there.

This book kind of came out of the blue for me—I forgot that Matthew J. Kirby existed after reading a few of his books in middle school (sorry), so Star Splitter was more of a left-field pick for me. But despite its flaws, it was a fascinating and gripping read—certainly a better addition to the world of YA sci-fi!

Hard sci-fi is hard to nail down for a young adult book; astrophysics and quantum mechanics are hard for anybody to understand, but I can speak for myself as an (older) teenager and a longtime YA when I say that it might be even harder to understand for a younger-skewing audience. Not to insult anybody’s intelligence—I’m fully including myself in there, in all my new English major glory. But Kirby hit the near-perfect balance with explaining the mechanics of teleportation, and how it factored into space travel. It wasn’t explained like it was being explained to a child, but it didn’t dump all of the information in an unceremonious chunk of jargon, either. And it’s a super fascinating concept to boot—it adds a layer of suspense to an already suspenseful book, there’s significant ramifications for most everything about the world that Kirby sets up, and there’s an existential aspect too. It’s all great there.

The story itself held a lot of water for me as well! There was so much to pick apart in it‚ from Jessica’s existential conflict about interacting with her own clone (HUH) and her own body to the mystery of what happened to the DS Theseus and its inhabitants. (Also, loved that we had a spaceship called Theseus. I’m assuming it’s a nod to the Ship of Theseus, but it also works on another level when you consider what happened with the crew. I won’t spoil anything about that in particular.) Kirby’s writing consistently kept all of that afloat, juggling two different timelines with suspense unfolding in both of them. His descriptions of the landscape of Hades (Mr. Kirby really likes his Greek mythology, huh?) were also nothing short of lovely—I’m a sucker for any kind of alien planet exploration, and Star Splitter, for the most part, adequately scratched that itch.

I say “for the most part” because, as much as I loved it, there were so many parts that seemed too important that were just left out of the final conflict. The sideplot about the ruins of an alien city with a giant pile of ground sloth-looking skeletons???? Bioluminescence everywhere?? BEING PURSUED BY AN UNSEEN ALIEN IN THE SHADOWS??? That was my favorite part of the whole novel, but we really didn’t get any resolution to it. It felt like such a crime that we never got to see where that thread led, given how much it was foreshadowed and otherwise built up. I get that it wasn’t necessarily the main conflict, but Kirby gave it a similar amount of weight to the main conflict, so it felt like it was in need of a more satisfying conclusion than “Jessica got out of the city ruins somewhat unscathed.” I NEED MORE. GIVE THE PEOPLE (ME) WHAT THEY WANT.

I feel like this happened a lot with Star Splitter for me—aside from the main conflict, there were so many fascinating and inventive things going on with the world that felt so creative, but were just tossed aside as afterthoughts once they were explained. The fauna on Hades? Mt. Ida? QUANTUM GHOSTS? I was just taken aback by so many parts of the plot, only to have them scrapped in favor of the main conflict, which I…halfway understand. All this is to say that said main conflict was excellent, but I just wanted more. It wasn’t like Star Splitter was an exceedingly long novel either—320 pages leaves some room to explore at least a few other aspects of the world, I think. That’s why I’m *officially* putting my rating at 3.75 instead of the full 4 stars—there was so much creative stuff to chew on, but not enough of it was expanded upon. I’ll be needing a sequel, please and thank you. 🫶🏻

All in all, an inventive and fascinating sci-fi novel that presented a plethora of creative aspects to fill up the plot, but still left me wanting in some places. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

As of now, it looks like Star Splitter is a standalone, but Matthew J. Kirby is the author of several other books for children and young adults, including the Dark Gravity Sequence (The Arctic Code, Island of the Sun, and The Rogue World), The Clockwork Three, A Taste for Monsters, and many others.

Today’s song:

getting caught up on Palehound before Eye on the Bat comes out…another great album!! this song reminds me so much of Wilco

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

April Wrap-Up 💻

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

This monthly wrap-up was brought to you by the letter ‘S.’

Let’s begin, shall we?


Well, here we are. It’s nice and warm outside, I’m only about a week and a half away from finishing my first year of college, and “Cool About It” is my most-listened-to song of the year so far, according to Apple Music. Yeah, I’m fine.

Somehow, I’m finally at the stage in the school year where everything is starting to wind down. My really stressful finals finals moment ended up happening…a good two weeks before I really should’ve been doing all that, but there’s something to be said for starting projects early and finishing them before everything is supposed to get stressful. (My secret? Overthinking and overestimating how close due dates are. Works like a charm.) Now that finals are right around the corner, I really don’t have a whole lot to do, blissfully. All is quiet. No stats tests to bomb at 7 am in a building I’ve never even set foot in before. I have achieved inner peace (becoming a humanities major).

That being said, working on all of these projects did eat up a good amount of time that I’d normally be reading, or blogging, and all of my other silly little activities, so my reading did take a relative hit. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t find some great books—I got to some anticipated releases, and I have another 5-star read to tick off the list! There were several non-review/Sunday Songs posts that I was eager to get to (see below), and I managed to get them all written, so I’m glad about that. Also, finally finished the Broken Earth trilogy…[incoherent, muffled screams intensify]

Other than that, I finished Dark (CORRECTION: IT FINISHED ME. GO WATCH DARK), watched Beau Is Afraid (forget Beau, dude, I’m afraid…also very overwhelmed…), had some fun on Easter, got a nasty cough (just now getting over it 😭), and started packing up my dorm. Time…time is a thing, huh?


I read 16 books this month! I wasn’t able to read as much because of finals season, but it’s been a decent, if slightly more on the “miss” side of hit or miss, bunch. I did get a 5-star read, but said book was Thom Yorke’s lyrics and poetry combined with Stanley Donwood’s older Radiohead art, so that was bound to happen.

Also, I unintentionally read an abnormal amount of books that start with the letter ‘S’…do with that what you will.

2 – 2.75 stars:


3 – 3.75 stars:

Star Splitter

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Stone Sky

5 stars:

Fear Stalks the Land!

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Fear Stalks the Land!5 stars




this song has taken up far too much space in my brain but I’m not complaining at all
this song sounds so sparkly I love it
we love First Band on the Moon in this house
another favorite of mine from this album
I wish you could still make custom ringtones out of songs bc this would absolutely be my pick
what is April if not Dark and boygenius taking up all my brain space
no thoughts only the one happy Radiohead song in existence

Today’s song:

in which Peter Gabriel gets into those Danny Elfman shenanigans

That’s it for this month in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Sunday Songs

Sunday Songs: 4/30/23

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Here we are at the end of April, and my cough finally seems to be letting up. The weather’s consistently warm again, the trees are starting to bloom, and I’m doing my best to ignore the fact that the latter will definitely trigger some allergies in a few weeks, because hey, the trees are starting to look beautiful. All is green and new!

Enjoy this week’s songs!


“Ride a White Swan” – T. Rex

there has never been a better visual descriptor for how this song makes me feel


T. Rex, Marc Bolan’s self-titled debut, was the last hurrah of his hippie roots (you really can’t go back from album titles like My People were Fair and Had Sky in Their Hair…But Now They’re Content to Wear Stars on Their Brows, huh) before going full-on glam rock, as well as the first album under his newly shortened name (no longer the full Tyrannosaurus Rex). But even as he’d gotten a crisper, cleaner name to call himself, he hadn’t fully abandoned the original, psychedelic fantasy that was Tyrannosaurus Rex, and this song—and, judging from most of the song titles on the rest of the album, everything else—is proof. It’s got everything—druids, spell casting, black cats, tall hats. What else does one really need in life? It’s whimsical. It’s lovely. It’s light. It’s a classic. Revel in the joyous whimsy!

And it seems like it was the perfect storm—for a short time, anyway. Arriving in 1970, right at the end of the sixties when the world was still clinging to the flower-child mentality, this was the perfect piece of escapist hippie music. It was Bolan’s first hit as T. Rex, and it was what launched him into stardom in the early seventies. From what I can tell, most of his career after his (excellent) third album, The Slider, was an attempt to rekindle some sort of hit, both in the U.K. and in the U.S., and despite his efforts and his complicated relationship with fame, never ended up being fruitful. Especially knowing that he died so prematurely and that most of his efforts were in vain, it always makes me sad to think about that stage of his life. Bolan was obviously such a creative soul at heart, a skilled frontman and a master of oddball wordplay, and thinking about he wasted so much of that talent by trying to please other audiences really seems to me like one of the great tragedies of rock music history. It doesn’t feel right to reduce Marc Bolan to a lesson to all of us creatives intending to make a living, but I think his story speaks more to the music (and any creative) industry as a whole; he’d gotten a taste of fame, and this fame pressured him to try and crank out hit after hit. It’s not so much an issue of Bolan as a person, as flawed as some of his fame-induced decisions were, but the way that the music industry has shaped people to behave in that way. Art should be art for art’s sake, not a pursuit of money or stardom. The music industry did Marc Bolan an unforgivable disservice, and I’ll die on that hill.

Anyways, listen to The Slider. God-tier album.

“A Love of Some Kind” – Adrianne Lenker

Alright, I’ll step off my Marc Bolan soapbox for a moment. Let’s cool down a little.

This lovely spring weather has made me feel the same way that this song does. Even if the album cover for Hours Were the Birds wasn’t set against a backdrop of dewy pine branches, I have no doubt that it would still sound the same. Adrianne Lenker seems to have captured the art of making an unrelated smell like petrichor and gently rock about like a wooden boat on a lake. There’s a slight melancholy to it (nothing quite compared to “Disappear,” another track I love from this album—I need to listen to the whole thing), but it’s undeniably hopeful; it’s a plea for reciprocation and love after a rocky period, a star-staring hope and yearning: “I know we’re strangers, so it’s okay/ You don’t have to say it/Strange is better anyway/And I think that we can make it.” There’s a certain talent that the best singer-songwriter artists, in my experience, have: the ability to hinge an entire song with a single instrument and their voice. Most of the time, it’s an acoustic guitar, and Lenker hits the nail right on the head. With just her gentle, misty voice, and the strums of her guitar, she evokes all of those sensations I mentioned earlier with such relatively little material. Even her birdlike whistles bring to mind the feeling of plants stretching their feelers after the snow melts away. I really need to listen to more Adrianne Lenker.

“House of Jealous Lovers” – The Rapture

The beginning of “House of Jealous Lovers” functions to me like the sound engineering of the screams in Jordan Peele’s Nope: are they screams of ecstasy? Are they screams of fear? Who knows. They’re all shrouded in a deliberately-placed layer of fuzz that makes it impossible to tell. And by the time you’ve started to contemplate if it’s one or the other, it’s too late: it’s Uptight White Boy Music Time.

And even without knowing much about said Uptight White Boys, it’s clear how “House of Jealous Lovers” took its place in the early 2000’s post-punk-revival movement in New York City, sliding right next to the likes of The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and others. There’s not much going on lyrically, but there’s a frantic urgency to the hoarse scream that Luke Jenner (no relation to…any other infamous Jenners, luckily) delivers every line in that makes every word feel like a command. Cloaked in endlessly delayed guitars, it feels like it’s hiding something the whole time, even if part of the bridge just consists of the band counting to eight in unpredictable, wavering tones. Throw in some cowbell (as one does), and you’ve got such a strangely suspended moment in time: shaky and uptight, but somehow still self-assured in a way that makes this song hold up after almost 20 years. It feels like the world’s most neurotic club jam. I love it.

“The Cradle” – Colour Revolt

I stole this one from the great Julien Baker, who named it on boygenius’ episode of Pitchfork’s Pass the Aux series, as her hype music when she was a senior in high school, right next to…Drake? I can’t forgive the Drake, but…we all did questionable things in high school, I guess.

Drake aside, I’m so glad that Julien Baker introduced me to this song. Just like that, I’ve got another album on the Sisyphean list of albums on my notes app. Just like “House of Jealous Lovers,” we’ve got another hoarse white guy (I’ve got cough drops for everybody, take your pick) who somehow makes it work. Wonderfully. There’s so much that “The Cradle” does in such a short amount of time. It seems to invert the formula of musical buildup. Apart from the first few guitar chords, the first seconds of the song explode into delightfully crunchy guitars, letting the music take center stage, making the quiet, abrasive vocals linger in the background like a sinister afterthought. There’s something sinister about this song that I can’t quite pin down—maybe it’s that inversion, the way that the song explodes in the beginning, and only goes quiet and plodding during the last 30 seconds, as if you’re in a horror movie, waiting for something to drop from the rafters. There’s something compellingly intricate about this song, even more impressive that The Cradle was an album made in the aftermath of Colour Revolt getting dropped by their former label and three of their five original band members jumping ship. Even if this is my only exposure to Colour Revolt right now, I can still say how impressive of a feat that is.

“Sunshine” – The Arcs

Inside of you there are two wolves. One of them wants to listen to “Sunshine” by The Arcs. The other wants to listen to “Sunshine” by Sparklehorse. You are incredibly pretentious, and you also probably need a nap.

When I first heard this song, I seriously thought that the light, tinny piano intro was going to be the start of a sample. To any artists reading this (I doubt there are, but still): THIS HERE. SAMPLE THIS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING.

I’m not up to date on any of my Arcs lore, but the jump from the songs that I heard on heavy rotation on Alt Nation back when I was in middle school to this is nothing short of gutsy. But somehow, it makes complete sense. Just like the animations in the music video, it’s vibrant and polished to a shine, bursting with neon color. From the backing vocals to the smooth piano intro, it’s clearly a song that’s been in the studio for extensive amounts of time, a piece of art being chiseled out of stone. And what came out when the dust settled was an irresistibly pop-sounding indie tune of a perfect length. Every move feels exceedingly deliberate, from when the backing vocals kick in with the “sha-la-la-la-la-la”s in the last third to the quiet explosion of different instruments in the background. The only other song I can think of called “Sunshine” is an exceedingly melancholy one (as with pretty much any Sparklehorse song…sorry, Mark), but if anything, this is a song that more than lives up to its title.

Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/25/23) – Social Queue

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Earlier this month, I was looking for some books with autism rep for Autism Acceptance Month. I stumbled upon this one on a Goodreads list, and it seemed like a fun read. And while I did have some problems with the writing style, it was a solid romance through the lens of a young Autistic woman!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Social Queue – Kay Kerr

18-year-old Zoe is determined to turn over a new leaf. After a string of bad experiences in high school, she lands an internship at an online media company, where she writes pieces about her dating experiences—or lack thereof. But when these pieces get noticed by some of her old high school classmates, Zoe must reassess her idea of romance—and if taking second chances is worth it at all.

TW/CW: ableism, police brutality, bullying, sensory overload, misogyny

I found this one mostly on a whim (the quest for good disability rep never ends) and figured that it would be a good read for Autism Acceptance Month this year. And…I’ve come out of it with mixed feelings. I did like it, and I’d say it was a solid read. But I just had such a hard time getting into the writing, and while I loved all of the discussions around autism and disabled identity in general, they often came out very forced.

Let’s start with the good stuff. Zoe was a great protagonist, and she was the perfect fit for this kind of story. Although I wished we could have seen some more personality from her, I loved the journey of self-love and acceptance that she goes on over the course of this book. She had great character development, and her interactions with the other characters felt authentic and genuine. I can’t speak to how accurately her autism was depicted, but as a neurodivergent person, a lot of it felt very authentic, what with the sensory overload and whatnot. Either way, it’s always incredibly refreshing to see disabled characters/stories actually being written by disabled authors, so Kay Kerr deserves a thank you just for that.

There were some great conversations about autism and about disability in general as well in Social Queue! Zoe’s experiences—especially with her well-intentioned but ultimately harmful coworker trying to write about disabled issues—were so important to have in a book, and Kerr handled all of them very well. I loved the emphasis on restructuring the language we use around disabled people, especially removing the context of disability automatically being synonymous with suffering and doing away with the narrative of “overcoming” one’s disability. Social Queue raises so many questions that are so often left out of conversations about disability (and in feminism in general), and even as a piece of fiction, it works as a good primer for somebody looking into disabled issues.

That being said, some of the situations which Kerr tried to implement said conversations about disability came off as forced to me. For instance, early on in the novel, Zoe witnesses an instance of police brutality directed at an Autistic man. While this is a great starting point for conversations about disability and police brutality, it felt…blatantly like a plot device, like this horrifying instance of police brutality was set up just so that these conversations could be had in the book. Even though said conversations stemming from it were worth having, the placement and writing of it just made such a horrifying thing into nothing more than a conversation starter. Didn’t leave the best taste in my mouth.

I think part of why that instance didn’t work was because of Kerr’s writing style. Just like the cover, which looks like it was made in 15 minutes on Canva, nothing about it felt very distinct; none of the characters had unique voices, and most of the descriptions of the plot were mostly concerned with going from point A to point B without much embellishment. I’m not saying that Kerr should’ve gone headfirst with the purple prose, but the writing felt so dry that it needed some kind of embellishment, anything to make it more interesting. Even though Zoe was a solid character, this writing made for a significant amount of disconnect between her and some of the other characters that we were supposed to sympathize with.

Additionally, the romance aspect was iffy for me. I loved the premise of Zoe reconnecting with people from her high school and exploring her sexuality, but since the writing was so bland, most of said love interests were interchangeable to me. The only distinguishing factor was a) one of them was a girl (we love to see characters questioning their sexualities, though!! good stuff), and b) that one of them was a creep. That was pretty much it. Also, the fact that Zoe ended up with Gabe after all that infuriated me. I get forgiving and forgetting, but if a guy makes a WHOLE CLASS PRESENTATION about how you’re “so inspiring” just because you’re disabled, I WOULDN’T EVEN CONSIDER GIVING HIM A SECOND CHANCE. WHY. Apologies aren’t even enough at that point. That’s just disgusting. And I’m glad that they did cover that, but…Zoe. Bestie. You can do so much better than him. There was a lot of “he was mean to you because he had a crush on you, so it’s fine” action in Social Queue as a whole too, which rubbed me the wrong way, but Gabe was the most offensive for me.

All in all, a romance novel that did a good job of representing disabled and Autistic issues, but was let down on several occasions by its bland writing. 3 stars.

Social Queue is a standalone, but Kay Kerr is also the author of Please Don’t Hug Me and Love & Autism.

Today’s song:


That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Songs: 4/23/23

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

I may be slightly sick, but I did not lose my lack of coherence, so today, I give you a very famous banana, Wall-E, and the only band that can make a Black Sabbath song sound dainty. Have fun trying to bring it all together. I certainly did.

Enjoy this week’s songs!


“Heavy Bend” – Big Thief

With full sincerity, I mean this in the absolute nicest way possible: the beginning of this song sounds like an Apple ringtone. An Apple ringtone, but the kind that has no business being as much of a banger as it is. Like the Piano one. Did any of that make any sense? I need a Taskmaster-style choreography to this one now. Would this give Noel Fielding shrew vibes?

My Big Thief/Adrianne Lenker conversion has begun, thanks to my brother and his girlfriend, and every day I’m inching closer to listening to Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You. But this song is unique—everything, from the echo of Adrianne Lenker’s sighing into the microphone to the hypnotic, harp-like strums that feel like the auditory answer to dew-covered spiderwebs in the early morning. That hypnotic quality reminds me a lot of “Bicycle,” another song that I raved about a few months ago, that shares the quality of feeling enchantingly impressionistic, like a painting imbued with motion. And as much of a cliche as this is, “Heavy Bend”‘s biggest crime is being too short. Some songs work as short and snappy (see “We’ve Got a File on You,” “Pam Berry,” “A Little Bit of Soap,” etc.), but this song feels like it’s begging for a key change, a bridge, just something to propel it beyond a minute and 36 seconds. On the other hand, that makes it tantalizingly easy to play on repeat. If you play it enough times on loop, you can just pretend that it’s longer. Denial is the first stage of grief.

“All Tomorrow’s Parties” – The Velvet Underground & Nico

nothing like cackling at niche jokes alone in your dorm, amirite?

I’ve finally got around to listening to another classic album—one that I’d heard about half of beforehand anyway, but still enjoyed, for all of its legend, discomfort, and strange beauty. A classic story of a disaster and a sales flop becoming a tried-and-true classic, every song feels like its own world—a very seedy, eerie, and hazy world, but a world all the same. I doubt anybody will ever describe Nico’s voice better than the journalist Richard Goldstein, who described it as “something like a cello getting up in the morning.” I wouldn’t automatically put it on my top 10, but it’s clear that its lasting legacy isn’t without reason.

“All Tomorrow’s Parties” is one of the songs that was relatively new to me, and it quickly became my favorite of the album. There are so many layers to it, more than the peelable, bruised, Andy Warhol banana on the album cover. It chugs along like a great machine, elephantine in its size, slow in its looming progress. Nico’s distinct voice, thick, resonant and cavernous, plows it along, drawing a long shadow over the music. Each piano chord seems to plod along, even with how rapid each chord is. It almost feels like a dirge in the way it seems to crawl, certainly for the fate of said “poor girl” that the song describes. Unlike “Heavy Bend,” this song is the perfect length—the typical 3 minutes doesn’t give it enough time to loom over the listener, but just over six minutes gives it all the time in the world.

“I/0” – Peter Gabriel

“gay rights” – Peter Gabriel 2023

Oof, another beautiful one…I’m just glad this one is easier to swallow than “Playing for Time,” but it’s just as powerful.

Peter Gabriel’s had his fair share of movie involvement, from writing various film soundtracks to providing the tearjerking end-credits song “Down to Earth” for Pixar’s Wall-E. So it’s not surprising how easily he can slip into that cinematic smoothness with such ease. Certainly helps that the Soweto Gospel Choir, the same choir that performed with him on “Down to Earth,” provided backing vocals for “I/O” as well. Even though every song from the forthcoming i/o (stop trying to capitalize the i STOP TRYING TO CAPITALIZE THE i) has been paired with a visual so far, this one is practically begging for its own Pixar movie, or even just some animated music video. You can feel every bit of nature creeping through this song, from every creature mentioned in the lyrics to running water and green hills.

was this another gateway to sci-fi for baby Madeline? probably.

If we’re keeping with the Pixar theme, that would be two Pixar movies that he would hypothetically contribute to with a deeply environmentalist message. I’ve never been a die-hard Disney or Pixar fan, but Wall-E is special to me in so many ways—it was one of the first movies that I ever saw in theaters as a kid, and 15 years later (Jesus, I feel old), it reflects on humanity’s disconnect from nature, and the dangers of thinking that we’re the masters of everything that we can grab at. The scene where Wall-E reaches up to touch the stars still fills me with incredible awe. But, as with everything, we didn’t listen, and now we’re in the landscape where a handful of corporations are responsible for polluting a large part of our planet. And that is why we’ve become disconnected: as soon as we forget that we’re as much a part of the Earth as every other plant, animal, and other entity, we think that we can get away with all of this. And that’s what Wall-E tried to tell us in 2008, and it’s what “I/O” is telling us now: “So we think we live apart/because we’ve got two legs, a brain and a heart/we all belong to everything/to the octopus suckers and the buzzard’s wing.” Here and now, I’m glad that at least one other old white guy besides David Attenborough recognizes this. Happy belated Earth Day.

“Step On Me” – The Cardigans

I can’t pull the “I LiKEd tHiS sOnG bEFoRe IT wAS a tIKtOk sONG” card because I technically didn’t know this song in particular, but with David Bowie as my witness, I can swear that I did grow up listening to The Cardigans in the car quite a bit. I’ve had the luck of having very few songs I know become “tiktok songs,” but I’ve found that it’s no use griping over it and insisting that “[you] liked it before it was cool.” People are just going to assume that you got a song from some popular place, and that is the case sometimes, as much of a pretentious hipster I am. I vehemently despise tiktok’s obsession with speeding up every song that gets popular (WHY), but either way, it led me back to The Cardigans and to First Band on the Moon, and I’m happy with that—and happy that everybody else seems to be enjoying it.

(Does anybody know if this song was attached to a certain trend? I know that it’s vaguely trending, but I’m not sure how or why—I’ve just seen it with a few unrelated art videos…)

“Step On Me” is one of many lovely bites of pop on First Band on the Moon, and one of the best—certainly my favorite track on the album. Nina Persson casually just created the national anthem for people-pleasers with this one—a song about dodging your own needs, letting people walk (sorry, step) all over you: “go on and step on me,” even as the object of the song stands on her left foot and breaks it. With a crunching, muted intro that continues to punctuate the end of every chorus, everything about this song is proof that The Cardigans. got the recipe for a good pop song down to a science back in the 90’s—Nina Persson’s deceptively delicate, ringing voice, no shortage of hooks and catchy lyrics, and radio friendliness without over-simplicity. Every time the scratchy, muted intro comes on shuffle, I can’t help but drop everything and turn up the volume. Like I said—The Cardigans had pop music down to a science. No wonder they’re trending again. If you can make a Black Sabbath cover sound dainty (MULTIPLE TIMES), you can pretty much do anything.

“New York City Cops” – The Strokes

Like Jack White, Julian Casablancas is just one of those musicians who I really want to hate, but then I hear songs like this that are just so undeniably catchy that I just can’t hate him all the way. That being said, the thought of him still makes me want to roll my eyes all the way back in my head, mainly because of flashbacks of him taking over Sirius XMU and saying something along the lines of “now, this next song is from a 60’s punk band from Peru…oh, you don’t know them?” I really wish I was kidding.

Even though the beginning feels a little manufactured to me (the staged-feeling quality of Casablancas screaming, then going back on it: “ahahaha………didn’t mean that at all 🫦”…oh, please), the rest of the song is a masterfully tight piece of post-punk (oh, post-punk revival…okay, fine). It’s delightfully uptight—it all feels boxed in a cramped room, but it takes the confines of that room runs with it, never once loses momentum after the first drumbeat. The rough edges of Casablancas’ voice contrast perfectly with each scratchy guitar chord, a constant buffet of sound that never loses its sandpapery texture. I mean that as a compliment—it’s not a grating sandpaper, but more of the hard-edge, punk sandpaper that makes The Strokes sound the way they do. And although this song was subject to some abysmally bad timing in the U.S. (the song was initially removed from the U.S. release because the album was released so close to 9/11—the chorus of “New York City cops/but they ain’t too smart” was, understandably, a massive no-no so close to such a tragedy, even if it was completely unintentional), I’m glad “New York City Cops” ended up seeing the light of day a significant amount of time after the fact.

Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books

The Bookish Mutant’s Books for Autism Acceptance Month ∞

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

As some of you may know, April is Autism Acceptance Month here in the U.S.! I don’t think I’ve highlighted a book list for the occasion, but in my ongoing quest for disability rep in general, I’ve come across many great books with Autistic protagonists and stories. If you’re looking to diversify your reading, it’s always important to uplift every kind of marginalized voice, and disability rep in general often gets left in the dust. So I’ve compiled a list of books by Autistic (with one exception—the author is still neurodivergent, just not Autistic) for this month.

NOTE: some of the older books on this list may still use the term Asperger’s, but in recent years, the term has since been renamed to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the DSM-5, in part because of its association with Hans Asperger, who was involved with Nazism. Some people still use the term, but it is still important to acknowledge the history behind the term.

Enjoy these book recs!




TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these books, and if so, did you like them? What are your favorite books with Autistic rep? Let me know in the comments!

Today’s song:

That’s it for this list of recommendations! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/18/23) – The Spear Cuts Through Water

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I was in a fantasy mood recently, so I decided to pick up The Spear Cuts Through Water after hearing some rave reviews from other bloggers. The gorgeous cover only added to the sell. But in the end, this novel ended up being a major disappointment—a murky, 500+ page slog that was only enjoyable for fleeting moments. I really need to stop setting myself up for disappointment with all these overly long high fantasy books…

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Spear Cuts Through Water – Simon Jimenez

The Emperor of the Moon Throne has terrorized the land of the Strangled Throat for centuries, aided by his three reckless sons, aptly dubbed The Terrors. But like everything else that he has seized, the Emperor’s power comes from an age-old moon god who has been locked under the palace against her will. But a god is not meant to be kept in captivity.

So she escapes. Aided by Jun, a disgraced palace guard, and Keema, a warrior from a distant, mysterious land, she sets off on a journey to find her freedom. But the Moon Throne will not let go of her so easily…

TW/CW: ableism, cannibalism, child abuse, murder, body horror, substance abuse, mentions of sexual assault (off-page), torture, loss of loved ones

This is one of those instances where I feel like I’ve read a completely different book than all of the 5-star reviewers. I really wanted to like it—and there were a few things that I did like—but ultimately, it felt like a 20-minute prog-rock song in book form: well-written, but so unneccesarily convoluted and full of itself that it became insufferable.

Before I go on my tirade, I will acknowledge that there were some wonderful, very bold and skilled parts of this novel. Jimenez’s writing had moments of being both beautiful and insightful—there were a few anchors to pull me through the slog, and his prose had moments of being incredible. 2nd person is always a bold choice, but unlike other aspects of this novel, it was executed very well, succeeding at being both immersive and fresh without feeling like it was bold just for the sake of being so.

“Bold” is generally I word that I could ascribe to most of this book. A lot of it was written in a fresh, nontraditional way, and I appreciated its execution in some sections. But a lot of it just felt like showing off—having unconventional chapter breaks and an infuriating structure just for Jimenez to show that he was capable of doing so. Most of these ended up being to the novel’s detriment. The random “chapter” breaks (there really weren’t any chapters in this book?), which mostly just ended up being sized-up font that was, essentially, what should have just the first sentence of the paragraph. And since they were all just first sentences of the paragraph, there were 2-3 of these breaks per page. POVs got switched without warning and without explanation, making the reading experience overcomplicated where it could’ve been an easy fix. It just felt like it was biting itself in the foot in the name of art—it could have been a beautiful story, if it wasn’t so intent on showing off how “different” it was.

As a result, so much of this novel got lost. Even though I was fairly lost trying to discern whose POV is it this time, I did notice one thing while reading The Spear Cuts Through Water—where’d the worldbuilding go? Other than the vague notion of a fantasy world (gods and goddesses, some talking animals/spirits, etc.), I had no idea of the layout of the world, the regions of the world, any kind of cultural cues or conventions, any kind of magic system…it just wasn’t there. At all. The same goes for the characters—they were all but cardboard, moved around like pawns for seemingly no reason. (I get that they were under oath by the Moon God, but the point still stands. They didn’t need to be that stiff.) Other than the reveal about Keema, nothing compelled me about either of them, or any of the other passing side characters. This novel was just so intent on chasing itself in circles that it forgot the essential elements that a novel needs.

All in all, a fantasy with great potential, but that ended up losing itself under layers of attempts to be daring and new. 2 stars.

The Spear Cuts Through Water is a standalone, but Simon Jimenez is also the author of The Vanished Birds.

Today’s song:

LOVE this album, this feels like a perfect match for “There’s No Other Way”

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Sunday Songs

Sunday Songs: 4/16/23

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

Casually just started coughing up a lung for a week, but at least the sun’s out for the first time in about 3 months, so a win is a win in my book. It would be nice to be able to sleep without waking myself up from said coughing, but maybe if I just listen to the record another time through…hmm…

Enjoy this week’s songs!


“Hammer Horror” – Kate Bush

Oh, the beauty of unflattering YouTube thumbnails.

I always feel guilty for not liking Kate Bush as much. She’s clearly been such a groundbreaking artistic genius for most (if not all) of her career, and she’s an undeniably incredible storyteller as well. But music taste is music taste, and everybody’s got a different one.

I used to think that Kate Bush was generally just hit or miss for me, but as I’ve started to listen to more of her work, I think the root of it is that I’m just more into earlier Kate Bush. I haven’t pinned down a rhyme or reason, really—I haven’t listened to The Kick Inside or Lionheart yet—but they’re really just so fun. There’s an infectious, early-70’s-inspired undercurrent that runs through all of them, combined with high drama that only a 19-year-old Kate Bush could produce. Take “Hammer Horror,” which combines an operatic, orchestral element in the first 30 or so seconds, but slips into a Hunky Dory-like groove, punctuated by lightning strikes of bright guitar—man, I miss how guitars sounded in the 70’s. It’s pure theatre—and even though I’ve never claimed to be a theatre kid, there’s something about the way that she leans fully into all of the clawing-at-the-camera drama that makes it all the more fun to listen to…if you just forget the music videos of that whole period. (*coughcough “Them Heavy People” coughcoughcough*)


can somebody pass the Dayquil? seems I’ve got some—*C O U G H*

“Satanist” – boygenius

Worry not: the Boygenius Breakdown is far from over. I’ll spare you from the rest of it after this week for the sake of adhering to my self-imposed color schemes, but behind the facade, I’m still curled up in the fetal position listening to “We’re In Love.”

Penned by Julien Baker and sectioned off for each of the powerhouse members of boygenius to shine, “Satanist” was an instant hit for me from the record after the singles had been released. Backed by steady guitars, this song stands as a fun, cheeky dare about pushing the limits friendship—”will you be a Satanist with me?/Mortgage off your soul to buy your dream/Vacation home in Florida.” It all feels like a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun, but with boygenius’ strong connection and shared friendship, there’s an intangible, genuine feel to it, as if the song could’ve stemmed from a genuine question. (Again: “Were In Love” feels like its lyrical twin, in that sense. Lots of callbacks and intertwining on this album.) But at its culmination, when Phoebe Bridgers’ sharp-edged scream fades into a hazy, sunset background, the music suddenly sinks underwater, all three of their voices seeming to fade under the waves in a haunting, enchanting conclusion. I can almost imagine that, with the image of the record, that the end of this song is their hands reaching up from the ocean—”you hang on/until it drags you under.”

“Amoeba” – Clairo

“[Clairo’s] a lebsian” was an easy sell from my brother’s girlfriend for this song before I could actually hear it playing, but it was a worthwhile sell beyond that. Most of what I know of Clairo comes from snippets of some of her viral songs and Lindsey Jordan (a.k.a. Snail Mail) making the crowd sing “happy birthday” to her over FaceTime during one of her shows, but I’m glad that I’ve been exposed to this song. It flows effortlessly, easily: never does it feel the need to elevate itself or explode entirely, and its gentle existence is what continues to endear me. The vocals scream 2010’s, but some of the instrumentals feel like they traveled in a time capsule from the 70’s—quiet as they are, the funky keyboard licks and bassline make me sway in my seat every time. Everything in this song is understated, but that’s its hidden power—if everything is quiet, no part can overpower another, making for a seemingly perfect melding of each element. I don’t know how much of that is Claire Cottrill and how much is Jack Antonoff (who my feeling are still divided on—he produced the betrayal that was MASSEDUCTION and then the masterpiece that was Daddy’s Home right after…?), but whatever the case, it’s a lovely, gentle pop song.

“Worrywort” – Radiohead

This song might as well be an endangered species. A hopeful Radiohead song? I almost don’t believe it…

I still have plenty of Radiohead’s discography left to trudge through, even after 4 years of them being second only to David Bowie for me, but the joy of that is that, for now, there’s always something new to discover. I’m just hoping that it’ll stay that way for longer—every cell in me is hoping that A Moon-Shaped Pool was their last project, but…hurgh, that’s a story for another day. Thom Yorke and Stanley Donwood’s Fear Stalks the Land!: A Commonplace Book, a collection of lyrics, poetry, and art from the Kid A/Amnesiac era turned me onto this one, snugly tucked away on Knives Out – EP. Amidst…well, everything else that came from that period—a mass airing-out of early 2000’s paranoia and fear—”Worrywort” feels like the only light of hope that was produced at that time in Yorke’s life. Aside from how much I love the spelling of “Worrywort,” like it’s some sort of medicinal plant, there are so many delicate parts to this song, much like the tiny fibers inside of a leaf. All of the synths layered on top of each other feel like a visual representation of if you hooked up guitar pedals to plants and heard what tiny, thin sounds they made while photosynthesizing or spreading their roots. With that making up all of the instrumentations, Thom Yorke’s plaintive murmur stays shadowy, only resorting to his signature keening in tiny parts of the background. And as I said before, it’s one of the only Radiohead songs that I can think of that seems, at least on the surface, to feel lyrically optimistic (no pun intended); “There’s no use dwelling on/What might have been/Just think of all the fun/You could be having.” What? Who are you, and what have you done with Thom Yorke? Not that I’m complaining. Glad he was at least fleetingly cheery for a brief moment sometime in 2001.

Against the backdrop of…well, everything else that Radiohead has put out there, lyrics like these almost feel like a ruse, like there’s some sly, cynical commentary hidden in there. But there really doesn’t seem to be—if anything, it feels like Yorke confronting his own demons, a battle between the voice of depression and the reassurance that he’s trying to bring to the surface. But either way, it’s strangely comforting—there’s something of a beautiful mantra in the song’s outro: a repetition of “it’s such a beautiful day.” Sure is.

“Bath County” – Wednesday

Nothing heals the soul quite like an excess of crunchy guitars.

Getting through my album list is proving to be a Herculean (but still enriching) task, so who knows if or when I’ll end up listening to Wednesday’s new album, Rat Saw God, but I’ve heard it’s been getting good reviews? Pitchfork, like Rotten Tomatoes, is always something I take with a grain of salt (JUSTICE FOR DADDY’S HOME), but an 8.8 from them is still pretty impressive. Laced with urban legends, Southern heat, and abandoned houses, the atmosphere of “Bath County” shines through, pioneered by Karly Hartzman’s mercurial voice—capable of being all at once smooth and soothing, but cracking and abrasive at other times. The guitars are an extension, screaming when the time is right (and even when it isn’t), making the whole song feel like watching a bonfire tower into the sky. I’ve seen Wednesday be compared to everything from grunge (makes sense) to shoegaze (…nah, I don’t see it), but either way, from my limited experience with the band, they’re very 90’s—but still very them.

Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s songs.

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in TV

Shadow and Bone, season 2 – Netflix review 🐉

they really just hand the Mal reveal to you right there, huh

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Season 2 of Shadow and Bone has finally come out, and with it came so much potential—new and beloved characters were finally being introduced, and with the melding of the original Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows storylines, we were finally getting material that was actually from the latter books. But although it was entertaining overall, it’s clear that a few things have started to get lost in translation in this new season. Still a fun watch, for the most part, but I have more gripes than I did than for season 1.

Now, tread lightly! This review contains spoilers for seasons 1 & 2 of Shadow and Bone, so if you haven’t yet watched it, read this at your own risk!

for my review of season 1, click here!

Enjoy this review!



what’s with Tolya’s expression there 💀

Most of what I liked from season 1 ended up carrying over (CGI, casting, etc.), so, again: see my original review for most of that. But here’s what I liked about season 1 in particular:

  • Nikolai and Wylan: Nikolai and Wylan were my favorite characters from Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows respectively, so I was nervous going into this season. Nothing lives up to how we picture characters in our imaginations, but I’d say that Patrick Gibson and Jack Wolfe both did a good job at bringing these characters to life! Gibson definitely captured Nikolai’s lovably over-the-top swagger and charm, and his outfits were stellar as well. Similarly, Wolfe played Wylan’s shy and sensitive personality wonderfully, and as in the books, he had some solid chemistry with Jesper (Kit Young).
  • We’re actually getting some of the Six of Crows plot now? It had to happen eventually, given that the showrunners were combining both series and the fact that the audience largely liked the Crows more than the Shadow and Bone plot (understandable). Even with the tweaks that happened to make it work into the main storyline, it was still super fun (and also harrowing—the Jordie flashbacks, anyone?) to see some of the more iconic events from the book come to life. And the band’s finally all together! Almost…
  • More screen time for David!! DAVID! MY BOY! He was one of my favorite side characters in the books, and I’m so glad that he got to have more attention in this season. Luke Pasqualino played his gentle, awkward personality so well, and his newfound chemistry with Genya…getting all of the old Shadow and Bone feels from back in the day…🥲 love those two
  • We don’t have to deal with the Darkling anymore…for the time being: The decision to smush the plots of Siege and Storm and Ruin and Rising was certainly interesting one; again, it’s easy to see that it happened after the overwhelming audience preference for the Crows, and it definitely expedited some of the less interesting parts from those novels. Unlike the new Six of Crows stuff from seasons 1 and 2, this felt a bit more seamless, and even though I’m sad that we won’t quite get everything, it still makes sense. It’s messy, but it…kind of worked. And, as the title suggests, I’m glad that we won’t have to put up with hipster Darkling for a while. I say “for a while” because from the “”twist”” ending, it looks like they might be going the King of Scars route if they continue the Shadow and Bone plot…I wouldn’t be surprised if they brought him back. Ugh. They handled him super uncomfortably (see my s1 post for my issues), so I hope they keep him dead in the Netflix series. I can dream.


Again, most of my gripes from season 1 carry over. I’m staying mad about Nina not being plus-sized. Do better, Netflix.

  • Tamar and Tolya: Other than Nikolai and Wylan, a lot of the newly introduced characters in this season felt especially gimmicky, and these two fell right into that. I remember thinking that they were mildly interesting in the book, but they were sort of forgettable in my experience. And Netflix somehow made them…worse? Had it not been for the “teehee Tolya will take any opportunity to recite poetry, silly goofy man,” and their genders, these two would’ve been indistinguishable. And both of them ended up being annoying—again, Tolya just had the poetry gag, and Tamar was just there to deliver slick one-liners and look cool. Not really a highlight. Eh.
  • Why are they making some of the characters so gimmicky all of the sudden? I know. This is a show based off of a YA book, and a lot of these characters are meant to be over-the-top. In the case of Kaz Brekker, for instance, it still works. But it feels like they’ve just taken qualities of existing characters and amped them up for no reason? I saw it most prominently with Jesper; there’s so much more nuance to his character than just being a charming gunslinger, but that’s…the only thing season 2 ever did with him. They just reduced him to being the comic relief character and erased all of his other characters, which is a massive disservice to him and Six of Crows as a whole. And don’t even get me started on that ridiculous attempt to break the fourth wall and then cut away. WHY.
my boy deserves better
  • The New Six of Crows plotline. Again. The initial Six of Crows plot in season 1 was somewhat entertaining, but it was pretty obvious that it was shoehorned in just so that they could try and fix up the timeline. And somehow, by some horrific miracle, they managed to make another new plot that was EVEN WORSE. WHAT WAS THAT. They weren’t even trying to hide the fact that they needed some time to stall before getting to the more climactic parts of the series. They just went on a sloppily-written heist and then got trapped in a room with a poisonous gas that somehow made them all relive their tragic backstories? How much more hackneyed can you get? Some of the laziest writing I’ve seen in ages…
  • The Darkling’s henchmen: Again: gimmicks. Ridiculous. No wonder they were so disposable.
  • THIS ONCAT ERASURE WILL NOT STAND: self-explanatory. You thought you could tide us over by throwing a goat in season 1 for comic relief? THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN, AND WE WANT THE CAT.

(it’s me, I want the cat)


  • Why is Freddie Carter constantly making that face? You know the one. Does the role of Kaz Brekker somehow have a prerequisite for being in a constant state of sucking in your cheeks?

Inej: I will have you without armor, or I will not have you—


Overall, I have much more mixed feelings about this season; a lot of the issues I had initially were exacerbated much more this time around, but it was still entertaining to watch and somewhat well-acted. As a longtime fan of the books, it’s been interesting to see how they’ve been adapting these two series, and although they were less faithful this season, I’ve still been compelled to see how it all plays out. So I’d give it a solid 3.5 stars since it was still fun, if not frustrating.

TW/CW: graphic violence, war themes, animal death, depictions of illness, child death, loss of loved ones, body horror, blood

Today’s song:

what a great album

That’s it for this TV review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!