Late October Reviews (2021)


Welcome to the Books That Burn Fortnightly Roundup! Releasing every two weeks (one week early for Patrons). Remember to head to Transcripts That Burn for all available transcripts of the podcast.

Upcoming events

The monthly livestream is on the last Saturday of every month, which means this month it's on November 27th at 6PM Pacific / 8PM Central / 9PM Eastern. You can watch it on Twitch or Youtube. We'll stream games and answer your questions.


No DNFs this fortnight, thankfully. Hopefully that trend will continue, it was a close call with PARABLE OF THE SOWER.

Recent Reviews

I finally got my review together for THE UNINTENTIONAL TIME TRAVELER (2014) by Everett Maroon. I liked it, but it's obviously book one of an intended series that never materialized, so while I like the story I'm a bit disappointed that there isn't more.

THE JASMINE THRONE (2021) by Tasha Suri is a slow burn sapphic romance which uses a particular past event as a catalyst for several characters, culminating in a very cool way. It has rotating narrators, including a sampling of secondary and minor characters.

I wish more books were like HENCH (2020) by Natalie Zina Walschots. It's spreadsheets and schadenfreude as a henchperson wreaks data-driven revenge after a hero shatters her leg in a disproportionate response to a minor villain's fiendish ways. Features multifaceted and deep platonic relationships with people she'd literally kill for. This reminded me of FIREBREAK, which is a compliment to both books.

I wanted to like the superhero story DREADNOUGHT (2016) by April Daniels, I really did. But though it excels in trans rep it has some truly uncomfortable ableism that doesn't seem to be making a point, it just seems ableist. The only way it could seem purposeful is if this is actually a series about a hero's path to villainy, and it doesn't seem like that's the planned path. I might read on to see where the series goes, but currently I'm not very interested in more.

THE GRIMROSE GIRLS (2021) by Laura Pohl is a blended fairy tale retelling-slash-murder-mystery where pretty much all of the characters at this boarding school are playing a role from one or more fairy tales. The mystery is solid and the fairy tale angle gives me a sense of where the sequels can go. If you like retellings or AUs, then you'll probably love this.

I read ONE DARK THRONE (2017) by Kendare Blake, the sequel to THREE DARK CROWNS. It was a less stressful read but also a less interesting one. I liked the ending enough that I'll probably continue reading the series, but apparently this was originally planned as a duology and it shows. It could have easily and satisfyingly ended, but it left room for a further sequel in a way that I think weakens this particular book.

2021 Hugo Update

This year I'm going to vote in the 2021 Hugo Awards, so I'm trying to read as much as I can of the finalists. In case anyone else is voting (or just wants to join in), here's a reading challenge for Best Novel (it has some of the other awards as bonus prompts), and here's the reading challenge I made for Best Series (it has the novels in each series as required, and any short stories as bonus prompts).

I think at this point I've read everything I'll manage to before the voting closes on November 19th, so now I need to sit with my thoughts and vote. I read PARABLE OF THE SOWER (the graphic novel adaptation) by Octavia Butler, and it was stressful but pretty good.

Clear Your Shit

I'm participating in the ClearUrShit Readathon! It runs from November 1st, 2021 for 8 weeks and is designed to help clear out the shelves before the end of the year. I'll be reading a mix of books that a physically on my shelf and ebooks that I've been meaning to get from the library for a while.

Current Reads

My current nonfiction read is A COLONY IN A NATION by Chris Hayes. I'm working my way through it slowly.

I'm paused for now in REDEMPTOR because it went back to the library and it isn't back yet.

FIRE, the second Graceling book, is going okay, I took a bit of a break after starting it so I'll finish it soon.

I love WITHIN THESE WICKED WALLS so far. Reading JANE EYRE paired with Jasper Fforde's book THE EYRE AFFAIR is how I kind of got into retellings back in middle school, so I'm enjoying reading another take on that particular book.

In Case You Missed It

Last year around this time I read ROSEMARY AND RUE, book one of the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. She's my favorite author and it's nice to look back to when I began reading what I'm pretty sure is her longest-running series (it certainly has more books than Incryptid right now).

Pluggables and Podcast News

If you're looking for a place to buy any of the books I've reviewed, please consider our Bookshop page (if you use our links to purchase books we get a small commission). Let us know if there's a category you'd like to see curated and we'll see if we can get some titles together. As for the podcast, hopefully you're enjoying our most recent episode, THIRSTY by M.T. Anderson, as well as the first half of our interview with author Kevin Klehr, released this month. If you'd like to receive the second (spoiler-filled) half of the interview, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Patrons receive this newsletter one week early, as well as a list of upcoming podcast episodes for the next three months. Thanks for reading, the next roundup will be in two weeks!

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