Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.
The temperatures are dropping big time on campus, and I’ve been making plenty of hot chocolate and tea for the occasion. Luckily, I haven’t had an awful lot to do this week, save for a project for comics class. (We also talked about Ms. Marvel this week in that class, which was SO FUN) It’s so strange to think that there’s only about a month left in the semester—I feel like there should still be several months left, with the way that it’s flown by. Jeez.
I’ve had a little more time to read. I snagged a few books from various sections of the library last week, and I went through them, along with a few re-reads for comics class. I went home for the weekend and I was able to reunite with my beloved Kindle, so now I have that to get me through next week.
Other than that, I’ve just been catching up on The Great British Bakeoff (FINALS NEXT WEEK AAAAAAAA), drawing, playing guitar when I can, listening to Lush and Suede, and seeing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (pretty solid!). VERY glad that Thanksgiving Break starts next week…
I’m having a nice, relaxing weekend at home (seeing the new Black Panther tonight too!!), so I figured I’d do another tag! I found this one over at Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog, and I haven’t been able to find the original creator, so if you know who it is, please let me know so I can credit them.
At this point, all of these authors—Amie Kaufman, Becky Chambers, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and Rainbow Rowell—are ones that I immediately preorder from (or at least put on hold at the library) if they’re coming out with anything new. (anybody else excited for Isles of the Gods???)
3 FAVORITE GENRES
Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while knows that I’m a complete sci-fi fan to the bone. Absolute favorite genre!! After that, I’d say fantasy and magical realism; fantasy was my favorite genre before I got really into sci-fi, but I still love it. I’ve gotten into magical realism more recently, but I’ve read some incredibly memorable books in the genre.
2 PLACES YOU READ
During the day, I tend to read on the couch, and at night, I love to read while cozy in bed.
1 BOOK YOU PROMISE TO READ SOON
I’ve been meaning to read Viciousfor a while after loving the Shades of Magic trilogy, and I just downloaded it on my Kindle, so I’ll be reading this as soon as I can!
Ever since I read The Sound of Stars back in 2020, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Alechia Dow’s next book. I preordered The Kindred last year knowing that I’d love it, and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Sound of Stars, it was a wonderfully sweet and rollicking novel.
After a violent, class-based revolution ravaged the Monchuri system, the Kindred program is introduced to quell the chaos; in order to ensure equal representation within the kingdom, mind pairings between citizens from all over the system.
Felix and Joy are paired by the Kindred, but their backgrounds couldn’t be more different; Felix is the Duke of the Monchuri system, while Joy is a commoner in the poorest planet in the system. But when the rest of the royal family is assassinated and Felix is put under suspicion, they escape together—only to crash-land on Earth. With the galaxy hunting for them and targets on their backs on Earth, the two must find a way to return home and prove Felix’s innocence.
The Kindred wasn’t quite as potent as The Sound of Stars was for me, but in no way does that mean that I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, it’s solid proof that if I see Alechia Dow’s name on a book, I’ll probably read it.
Despite the trigger warnings I listed, The Kindred is fairly light-hearted; even with all of these topics discussed (all with aplomb), it still manages to be a feel-good, tender read throughout. The themes of racism and fatphobia (mostly with regards to Joy) are handled in a sensitive way that doesn’t dull their importance, but the book is consistently light-hearted and warm. It hits the perfect balance of not diminishing these themes and keeping levity within the book, and it’s the perfect book if you want sci-fi that will cheer you up!
Everything I loved about The Sound of Stars was in The Kindred in spades! Felix and Joy were such endearing characters, and their chemistry together was perfect. They had conflicting personalities on the surface level (with Felix being the more reckless one and Joy being more sensible and reserved), but as they bonded, their relationship became the textbook example of “opposites attract” done well! Plus, it’s always wonderful to have queer couples like them front and center. Joy is demisexual/asexual, and I believe Felix is pansexual or queer? (Felix’s sexuality wasn’t specified, but it’s mentioned that he’s been in romantic relationships regardless of gender so I’ll say queer for now.) Alechia Dow never fails to give us the diverse stories we need.
As far as the plot goes, I wasn’t invested in it as much as I was the characters. Most of it was a bit predictable—not much subtext, surface-level political intrigue, a neat and tidy end to the conflict, and all that. But I didn’t mind this time; the focus was supposed to be on Felix and Joy’s romance, after all. The Earth part of the story was funny most of the time; I didn’t get as many of the music references this time, unlike with The Sound of Stars (definitely not a Swiftie here haha), but the fact that there’s a black cat named Chadwick sold me. BEYOND CUTE.
My other main problem with The Kindred was the aliens themselves. It’s one of my main pet peeves in sci-fi in general: aliens that look like humans, but with a few very minor differences. Although there were some side aliens that were described as non-human, Joy and Felix and their species were just…humans with better technology? Eh…I will say though, at least they’re not white this time. In particular, Joy is plus-size and Black-coded, which was a vast improvement from the white-coded aliens that usually end up in the aforementioned trope. I’m willing to let it slide this time (sort of) because a) Alechia Dow is a great writer and b) diversity.
All in all, a romantic, diverse, and all-around feel-good sci-fi from an author that I’ll be sure to watch in the future. 4 stars!
TheKindred is a standalone, but it is set in the same universe as The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow’s debut novel. You don’t have to read one to understand the other, but there are nods to The Sound of Stars throughout The Kindred. Alechia Dow is also the author of the forthcoming Sweet Stakes (expected to be released in 2023), and contributed to the anthology Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Before I begin, I was saddened to hear the news that Chadwick Boseman had passed away. He was an inspiration to so many, and leaves behind such a beautiful legacy. Thank you for everything, sir. You will be missed. 💔
Time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is detective books. I don’t read much mystery, but I’ve read a lot of solid middle grade and YA detective books that would be perfect for today!
How could I not include this series? This one’s very dear to me; my mom read the first book to me as a bedtime story, and I finished the rest on my own. Definitely a literary role model for me. Who else is so excited for the Netflix adaptation? (Or, “in which Millie Bobby Brown brings my childhood to life”)
The past 2 or so years have both been dumpster fires, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Mostly 2016, but you know what I mean.
And this year?
Weeeell…I wouldn’t quite go so far to say that it was good, but it was less of a dumpster fire. You get my drift?
I’d be lying if I said that 2018 was easy. I had to face many daunting obstacles, make some difficult transitions, and come to terms with some truths about myself. But you know what? I managed to overcome those challenges, and I bet that you were able to do the same with yours. But if we look past all that we’d like to forget about this year, parts have been pretty awesome. I got to have so many new and wonderful experiences (Chicago, Sequoia National Park), discovered LOADS of new and spectacular books (some notable 2018 releases included Heart of Iron, Thunderhead, Honor Among Thieves, A Conspiracy of Stars, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and a few others), some amazing films (Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Antman and the Wasp, and I haven’t seen Aquaman but I’ve heard that it’s great), incredible music (Lush, Twin Fantasy, etc.) and much more. Of course, we’ve had some not-so-great moments in those respects (The Light Between Worlds, Venom, etc.), but overall, it’s been alright. And regardless of what kind of year we had in 2018, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2019.
I saw a meme the other day that was kind of hopeful, however silly it was.
And I’m really hoping that this will be the way things are. If it gets too bad, I’ll just remember that Dark Phoenix, Avengers: Endgame, Soul of Stars, Honor Bound, King of Scars, and An Anatomy of Beasts are in our futures. So let’s try to make 2019 the inverse of 2016, everyone. Make it good. 🙂