Today’s blog post is the first in a potential new series – let’s round up some mini reviews for books I loved, but didn’t write full posts for! Let me know what you think about this new format I’m trying out!
Dreadnought by April Daniels
Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction.
If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.
tw: verbal abuse, transphobia, ableist language, violence, loss of limbs, murder, homophobia, transphobic and homophobic slurs
Okay, I knew I was excited for this one but I underestimated just how much I’d love it. Danny is a hell of a protagonist and if you think I’d lay down my life for a trans lesbian superhero you’d be ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I really liked the way transphobia and transmisogyny were handled in this book with a complicated perspective on how heroes might not be all they’re cracked up to be – and that being a ‘good’ person doesn’t excuse your belief system. I also really, really respected the fact that Danny didn’t back down. Despite her self-esteem and confidence struggles (and oh boy those are justified and well written), Danny wasn’t willing to compromise on herself, her identity or her happiness for other people and I love that New Port City has a hell of an inspirational hero in the new Dreadnought. Highly recommend, and I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Holt House by L.G. Vey
It’s a quiet house, sheltered, standing in a mass of tangled old trees called the Holtwood. Raymond watches it. He’s been watching it, through a gap in the fence at the bottom of the garden, for weeks. Thinking about the elderly owners, Mr and Mrs Latch, who took him in one night when he was a frightened boy caught up in an emergency. Mr Latch showed him something that was kept in a wardrobe in the spare room. He can’t remember what it was. He only knows how sick it made him feel. Raymond watches Holt House. He has to remember what he saw. He has to get inside.
Thanks to Whole Story QUEST for the review copy of this novella.
This is a short tale but a really interesting one. I listened to it in one sitting, and while it had a slow-ish start, it built into something fascinating. This was something I really wasn’t expecting, and I’m glad that a friend recommended it and that I was able to get ahold of a copy, There’s a huge amount of depth and interest packed into this little novella, and I’m super excited to hear more from the Eden Book Society – a fascinating concept that I’d never heard of before. Holt House covers tangled issues regarding memory, the reliability of the narrator, guilt and purgatory, all hidden behind a creepy story involving otters and wardrobes.
The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves. They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world. Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps. Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
A cover love impulse buy, The Hunting Party turned out well above my expectations. I do love thrillers but I tend to read YA thriller more so it took me a little while to get into this one – but once I was into it though, I was hooked. I loved the way this story was told with two timelines, before and after the body was found so that for most of the book I didn’t even know who’d been murdered let alone who the killer was. I didn’t guess any of the plot twists (this book made me feel a fool) and so I was creating wild theories with each piece of uncovered evidence. The Hunting Party is a smart and well written book that has be me eager to try more of Foley’s books.