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!
I wasn’t able to go to the library last week, so I went through the Kindle library for books to read. I was in a fantasy mood for no rhyme or reason for most of the week, and That Dark Infinity presented itself. My expectations were average, but this book turned out to be one of the most creative fantasies that I’ve read in a long time!
The Ankou is an infamous, immortal monster hunter, but few know his true secret: while he’s still immortal, a curse made it so that during the day, he’s nothing more than a pile of bones. All he wants is to break the curse—and be able to die.
Flora is the former handmaiden of the princess of Kaer-Ise, but after her kingdom is sacked and she’s left for dead, she goes on the run. Looking for work, she seeks the Ankou to become a monster hunter like him. His only condition is that she help break his curse that’s kept him immortal. But the price of breaking the curse may be greater than she ever could have imagined.
TW/CW: off-page rape, rape/sexual assault-related trauma, violence, murder, body horror, suicidal ideation, descriptions of illness
I remember liking Kate Pentecost’s previous novel, Elysium Girls, but I didn’t have any expectations for That Dark Infinity. But to my surprise, it blew me away—one of the most inventive YA fantasy standalones that I’ve read in ages!
Let’s start off with the worldbuilding, which was a good portion of what made That Dark Infinity so unique! Pentecost doesn’t shy away from pushing the boundaries of the genre, and it really shows. Not only do we have classic fantasy settings filled with strange monsters, but there are also more industrializing parts of the kingdom, with buildings made of copper and automatons! There are tons of interesting creatures, from the hydra-like monster in the water system to giant eagles large enough to ride like horses. It all felt so imaginative, and even amidst the darker themes of the book, pure fun.
The main characters were so incredibly endearing as well! I haven’t come across a character quite like the Ankou/Lazarus in a while; his curse is so unique, and the way that Pentecost handles how it affects both his physical and mental health was so well-thought-out and detailed. He’s both caustically sarcastic and incredibly thoughtful and tender, which is a refreshing combination after years of male YA fantasy characters who were all aloofness. (Plus, can’t deny that he’s got a 10/10 wardrobe) Flora was also a lovely protagonist, so authentically written and wonderfully determined! I love the bisexual rep, and I also love the fact that Pentecost didn’t take the easy way out and automatically throw her into a romance with the Ankou; giving them a platonic relationship was a much wiser (and sweeter) decision, and romance would’ve been weird with him. (Still scarred by many years of authors pairing up their teenage protagonists with love interests who are 100+ years old…)
That Dark Infinity‘s depiction of trauma was also incredibly respectful, which was, again, very refreshing. It’s implied off-page that Flora is raped, but instead of that being a plot point just to amp up the drama in the book and give her a Tragic Backstory™️, her trauma and healing journey is a consistent part of the book. Her healing journey is one that I rarely see in fantasy books, and I’m so glad Pentecost included it as more than an afterthought. And another addition to why I love the Ankou—he was also incredibly considerate when her triggers resurfaced, making their friendship all the more strong. Again—I’d be hard-pressed to find a male protagonist written quite like this, and I’m grateful for both Flora and the Ankou as characters.
My only major gripe with That Dark Infinity was the ending. It was a…weird way to resolve the book, to say the least? Without spoiling it, I’ll say that it felt rather rushed, but in the end, the very last twist made me like it a little more. Even though it took a roundabout way to get there, I liked that Flora and the Ankou got their hopeful endings.
Also—the Ankou/Lazarus was such a fun character design-wise that I decided to draw him! I haven’t shared any art of mine on my blog since middle school (we don’t talk about how this blog was in middle school ), but I figured it would be an artistic challenge (since I’ve never really drawn skulls without a reference) and a fun addition to the review. So here we are—my interpretation of the Ankou!
and here’s my sketch/practice page, just for fun:
All in all, an inventive standalone fantasy that was tender, inventive, and truly one of a kind. 4.5 stars!
That Dark Infinity is a standalone, but Kate Pentecost is also the author of Elysium Girls.
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.
It’s been another quiet week, and college is looming closer and closer still…don’t wanna think about that…I haven’t been busy, though, so that’s always nice. I’ve had a lot of time to read and draw, so that’s always good to be able to collect my thoughts like that. It’s been rather hot, though, so that’s…not ideal.
I finished up Camp NaNoWriMo last Sunday night, and I got to 45,000 words! I’ve been continuing with the first draft of this WIP ever since, and it’s at around 52,000 words right now, and I’d say it’s getting pretty close to being finished! Whew…
I wasn’t able to go to the library last week, so I ended up trawling the Kindle library for books to read last week. I was in a major fantasy mood this week for no particular reason, so that’s what I ended up reading. It was a hit-or-miss batch, but there were a couple of great books I discovered! (I also unintentionally read a bunch of autumnal/wintry books…in 80+ degree weather) I got a promising batch from the library this week too.
Other than that, I’ve just been playing guitar, continuing with What We Do in the Shadows, rewatching Severance, and finally getting around to Ms. Marvel (it’s one of my favorite marvel comics, so you can definitely expect a review of the show soon!), and seeing Nope in theaters (my first Jordan Peele movie—loved all the detail and the creature design!!). My other cat, Anakin, also celebrates his 15th birthday today, so everybody say happy birthday to our little crotchety old man 💗
I was in the mood for some sci-fi, and this one was available on the Kindle library and seemed fun, so it was perfect. I originally found out about it from a review by Kate @ Feathered Turtle Press (thanks, Kate!)
How much time do you think you will take to finish your current read?
August Kitko is on the longer side (465 pages on the Kindle edition), so maybe one or two more days.
What genre would you like to read next?
I was in a fantasy mood for the first half of the week, but I think I’m leaning more towards sci-fi now (hence August Kitko). I think I’ll pick up some more sci-fi before my library books come in.
What would you like to pick: a long read or a short read?
It doesn’t matter much to me, but I think I’d prefer something in the middle—something that’ll keep me going for a while, but not something overly long.
Mention some books you’re eyeing!
I just got a notification that the copy of Alone Out Herethat I put on hold at the library came in! This will be my second Riley Redgate book—I thought Final Draftwas alright, but this sounds like a very different book, so I’m excited.