Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (6/1/21) – The Infinity Courts

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, happy happy pride month! 🏳️‍🌈 My review for today sadly isn’t queer, but you can be certain of lots of queer reviews soon. (I mean, I usually read/review queer books, but…)

Regardless, this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. I got a free copy from a library program, and I’m so glad that I’m able to add it to my bookshelf! And it was 100% worth it – a truly inventive dystopia that takes the typical YA formula and inverts it in every possible way.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1) – Akemi Dawn Bowman

My copy feat. a cool filter and a bit of my bookshelf

On her way to a graduation party, Nami Miyamoto is unexpectedly murdered, sending her into the afterlife. But the afterlife she enters isn’t the kind that she expected. Here, four princedoms rule over a court of humans, now turned into mindless puppets, and ruling over them is Queen Ophelia, an Alexa-like AI who forces them into submission as revenge for her treatment in the world of the living. Nami escapes to a community of humans who have escaped the pull of Ophelia, hoping to destroy it from the inside. With Nami as their new spy, they may have a chance at freeing the deceased – but the glittering princedom may hold secrets that could tear humanity down…

it's not inception weird it's just mindless weird gifs | WiffleGif

TW/CW: murder, frightening situations, torture

WOW. WOW! The Infinity Courts marks Akemi Dawn Bowman’s first foray into science fiction/dystopia, and I must say, it’s a complete success!

There’s been a lot of comparisons drawn for this one, but for me, it felt like equal parts Tenet, Ex Machina, and Inception, but YA and minus all the convoluted timelines of the first. (Have I seen Tenet twice? Yes. Do I understand any of it? Nope. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely.) It’s a fascinating blend of all sorts of sci-fi tropes and subgenres – dystopian tyranny, AI, spies, and a grim afterlife in which the only choices are to become a mindless drone or to run.

On the surface level, once we reach Bowman’s afterlife in The Infinity Courts, it’s set up like a typical YA dystopia – you’ve got your reluctant Chosen One, a love triangle, rebellion, and struggling to maintain faith to the cause after one member of said love triangle pulls them to the dark side. But with every single one, it’s subverted in truly inventive ways – I won’t spoil anything, but the fate of the love triangle had me REELING. This novel boasts some of the most inventive plot twists I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s hard to see them coming.

I also loved the concept of Ophelia; the frequent trips into her mind were chilling, and I imagined her as almost a Raised by Wolves-like AI. It’s all a fascinating exploration of not only the role of AI in our lives, but what might happen if it gets smart enough to perceive itself as being mistreated. Again, Ex Machina, but having Ophelia rule over her own afterlife was such an inventive concept, and executed so well!

The lower point for me was the characters; I thought they were all okay, but I didn’t get attached to any of them. Bowman did do a great job with handling an ensemble cast, though – there were several different characters all living and playing their parts in the rebellion, but I didn’t lose track of any of them, and they all at least had somewhat distinct personalities. I liked Shura though.

All in all, a twisty and original YA dystopia with no shortage of intrigue and action. 4 stars!

gif mine chris movie hands mine:gif scifi ai alex garland alicia vikander  movieedit mine:movie ex machina exmachinaedit ex_machina this movie is  amazing!! I want to gif the whole movie aside from

The Infinity Courts is the first in a trilogy, with the untitled sequels slated for release in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Bowman is also the author of Summer Bird Blue, Starfish, and Harley in the Sky.

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: December 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope these first few days of 2021 have treated you all well.

My last reading week of the year was definitely a surprisingly good one–almost all of what I read, I ended up rating in the 4-5 star range! I never really plan out my monthly TBRs, but I have some great reads in my cart from the gift card I got to my local bookstore, as well as a bunch of holds from the library that have started to trickle in. I don’t want to jinx it, but January seems like it’ll be great for reading.

Fox Tv Good Luck GIF by MasterChef Junior - Find & Share on GIPHY

I also finished my 2020 reading challenge with 279 books! I put my goal at 275 this year, so we’ll see how it goes.

And I forgot to mention this in my 2020 post (linked below under “posts and such”), but I have one more resolution: Read more books from marginalized voices! I feel like I’ve tried to do that for a few years, at least, but this year, I definitely want to make more of an effort.

Other than that, New Year’s Eve/Day were both fun; my family always does a movie marathon for NYE, and we did some Christopher Nolan movies this year. Of course, since both of them were pretty lengthy, we only ended up watching two movies. Interstellar was depressing but beautiful, and it was a lot of fun to rewatch Tenet. Even if the latter still confuses me to no end. We also watched Wonder Woman 1984 on New Year’s Day, which was…disappointing, to say the least. It’s honestly shocking to me that it’s the same director that made the triumph of a movie that Wonder Woman (2017) was. Sigh…

I’ve also been listening to a bunch of music–I downloaded Julien Baker’s Turn Out the Lights and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds; I haven’t listened to the latter in full yet, but the former was decent. Not as good as Sprained Ankle for me, but still good. And then there’s the matter of the Fargo and Legion scores…[cries]

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA–edited by Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA: Suma,  Nova Ren, Pan, Emily X.R.: 9781643750798: Amazon.com: Books

Under Falling Skies (The Travels of Scout Shannon, #1)–Kate MacLeod (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Under Falling Skies by Kate MacLeod

Among the Beasts & Briars–Ashley Poston (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Among the Beasts & Briars eBook by Ashley Poston | Rakuten Kobo

Wilder Girls–Rory Power (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Wilder Girls (9780525645580): Power, Rory: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them–Junauda Petrus

Amazon.com: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them (9780525555483): Petrus,  Junauda: Books

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/2/20)–The Infinity Courts

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Now that spooky season is over [sad harmonica music], I’m back on my regular schedule of books of all genres for this meme. I saw this one pop up as an ARC on Edelweiss a few months back, and I’m fascinated so see how Bowman tackles sci-fi after a stint of contemporary YA!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/2/20)–THE INFINITY COURTS by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Blurb from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.

So why do I want to read this?

Tenet GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Anybody else getting some slight Tenet vibes from this one? I’m pretty sure this one will be a lot less confusing, but hey…

I don’t think I’ll end up requesting an eARC of this one (the publisher has declined me a few times), but The Infinity Courts sounds fascinating! So far, I’ve only read Bowman’s Starfish, which was incredibly powerful, and I have Harley in the Sky and Summer Bird Blue on my TBR. Since she’s written so much contemporary fiction, I can’t wait to see how her prose translate to a sci-fi/thriller story.

Plus, I love the implications of the plot! There’s a clear theme about the role of AI in our lives, and Ophelia sounds…a lot like our Alexas, so I have a feeling that The Infinity Courts will have some much-needed commentary on the subject.

Oh, and THAT COVER…the pink moon and everything…

We’ll have to wait until April 2021 for this one, but in the meantime, let’s hope it’ll be the mind-bending sci-fi thriller that it looks to be!

pink moon | Tumblr

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! And if you’re in the U.S. and are of voting age, PLEASE VOTE if you haven’t already, because our democracy definitely depends on it this time!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (9/7/20)–The Athena Protocol

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

My pick for today’s Goodreads Monday is a semi-earlier pick; I put it on the list almost a year ago, but it’s only about a third of the way through my (massive) TBR. I don’t read many mysteries or thrillers, but this one sounds like a lot of fun–with a feminist twist!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/7/20)–THE ATHENA PROTOCOL by Shamim Sarif

Amazon.com: The Athena Protocol (9780062849601): Sarif, Shamim: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Jessie Archer is a member of the Athena Protocol, an elite organization of female spies who enact vigilante justice around the world.

Athena operatives are never supposed to shoot to kill—so when Jessie can’t stop herself from pulling the trigger, she gets kicked out of the organization, right before a huge mission to take down a human trafficker in Belgrade.

Jessie needs to right her wrong and prove herself, so she starts her own investigation into the trafficking. But going rogue means she has no one to watch her back as she delves into the horrors she uncovers. Meanwhile, her former teammates have been ordered to bring her down. Jessie must face danger from all sides if she’s to complete her mission—and survive.

So why do I want to read this?

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BLACK WIDOW VIBES, I REPEAT, BLACK WIDOW VIBES–

[ahem] besides that, the first comparison that I thought of after re-reading the blurb was The Black Coatsanother feminist mystery that deals with morally gray themes and vigilante justice. The Athena Protocol seems more spy-oriented while The Black Coats is more contemporary, but I have a feeling that the former might be just as good.

As a (very) infrequent consumer of mysteries and thrillers in general, I’m always looking for books that put twists on it. I’m excited to see how Sarif deals with some of the morally gray themes that seem to be lurking about the plot. Plus, I’m all for a super-team of female spies putting misogynists and creeps in their places, so of course I’m on board. And having just come out of seeing Tenet (which was amazing, by the way), I could definitely use this twist on the traditional thriller.

And according to Goodreads, there’s some LGBTQ+ representation too! Sarif said that Jessie is “a young woman who is LGBT,” and some of the reviews have said that she’s definitely sapphic, so I’m so excited!

All in all, maybe I need to read more thrillers. But mostly the feminist ones.

gal gadot gifs | WiffleGif

Today’s song:

That’s it for today’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!