hi hi hi – i miss you all and i hope you’re well! i have a bunch of these half written up mini review posts so i figured i would actually throw three together! i can’t wait to start reading all your mid year posts and statistics! and hopefully you will see one from me soon! i love you all so much, happy reading! 💕
✨ The Drowning Faith (The Poppy War, #2.5) by R.F. Kuang
1.) The Poppy War ★★★★
2.) The Dragon Republic ★★★★★
3.) The Burning God ★★★★★
“She’s the only divine thing he’s ever believed in. The only creature in this vast, cruel land who could kill him. And sometimes, in his loveliest dreams, he imagines she does.”
Well, those fifteen pages broke me and my heart completely. This was everything. This was perfection. These are my new favorite fifteen pages of all time. Be still, what is left of my heart.
The Drowning Faith is a collection of a few scenes, where we get to see Nezha’s perspective of many events from the first two books inThe Poppy War series. Nezha and Rin have one of the most complicated relationships throughout all three books, but these few pages really just made the impact of everything they’ve been through, fought for, and built together that much stronger.
“It doesn’t matter that he loves her. It doesn’t matter. It’s never mattered.”
Rin and Nezha were always stars from opposite sides in the celestial sphere, even if they always looked like they were formed from the same exact constellation. These scenes hurt to see from Nezha’s point of view so very badly. Yet, they both shined so brightly in a war that they were forced to be main players in just by being born.
But this short amount of pages still talks about colonization and how Petra and the hesperians are happily able to commit the most evil acts in the name of their god, while taking over everything to prove Rin and Nezha’s are lesser, even when they are the ones winning the battles.
Truly, I could write a thesis on these crumbs, but I have extensive reviews for all three books that I suggest you check out instead. But this truly was such a treat, and I feel so honored that Rebecca gave these scenes to us. Even if it allowed for a certain kiss scene to break me all over again in the best and worst ways, and even if page ten has now left me to become a ghost now inhabiting this husk of a human body.
“She’s everything he’s not: unbound, reckless, free. He’s never known anyone like her. She terrifies him, and he loves her so much it hurts.”
Content and Trigger Warnings: torture, violence, death, human experimentation, and war themes.
✨ The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
“…like some kind of sacrament that I had forgotten to take.”
a queer asian-american main character great gatsby? i knew i needed this in my life. i will be honest, i have never been the biggest fan of the great gatsby, so i do believe this impacted my enjoyment a little bit, because this book does very much still hold true to the original work! but i still thought this was a beautiful reimaging, with such lush prose and one liners, that left my heart beating so very quickly so many times. the magic was also so hauntingly perfect and i know it’s something i’m going to think about constantly for quite some time. the themes of identity within the story were also very important, and how no matter how much you feel like you fit in, people will always remind you that you will never truly be one of them. and the themes of identify outside the story, and how we deserve to carve out our own spaces, we deserve to be the main protagonists of beloved classics and modern day lit, and our voices deserve to not only be told, but to be amplified really was everything to me as a queer asian reader.
i can’t wait to read more by this author, and i’m very thankful that the chosen and the beautiful is a book that exists.
content and trigger warnings: a lot of talk of drinking, talk of war, talk of loss of loved ones, death, murder, racism, microaggressions, a lot of cheating, abuse / domestic abuse, mention of suicide, mention of slavery, mention of blood.
✨ Darling K. Ancrum
K. Ancrum is truly just a once in a lifetime author. Her prose and craft are so unique and so smart and every book by her feels like something of magic. Darling is a modern day thriller reimagining of Peter Pan with a very diverse cast; our main character is Black and we have a very full cast of side characters side characters of color (Black, Korean, and Ojibwe), who are queer (lesbian rep, ace rep, bi rep, and a really beautiful Chicago drag scene moment that I could gush about forever), and disabilities (hearing impairment & amputated hand).
Wendy has recently moved to Chicago, but when moving into her new bedroom she realizes the window is broken and unable to stay closed. And this story is told over the course of one night when she leaves through the window with Peter Pan himself because of a promise of a party, but she soon realizes that Peter did not walk out of the pages of a fairytale.
This is a very unsettling and uncomfortable story about the vulnerability of kids (especially bipoc queer kids) who feel like that don’t have a place to belong. Every book by this author is truly a love letter to found families, but this book also explores the importance of safety and how hard it can be to recognize abuse, especially when it it can be disguised as kindness when you are longing to find a place to belong. Again, this can be a bit of a terrifying read at times, but you will be swept alongside Wendy, becoming more and more enthralled, discovering all the things, and wanting to protect all the lost kids.
K. Ancrum is just an author that really means a lot to me, and I know her stories are touching and helping and healing so many kids who are able to find her words. She is such a bright light in this universe, and I’m forever thankful that I get the honor to read her books. Truly, once in a lifetime.
Content and Trigger Warnings: death (off page), murder (off page), police brutality, child abuse, manipulation, abduction, child abandonment, explosions, grooming, blood depiction, brief mention of disordered eating, and anxiety depiction.
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