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Book Review

Book Reviews

9/1/2021

By Shelley Parker-Chan
7/20/21
416 pages
$27.99
Tor Books

‘She Who Became the Sun’ 

Some stories are so old and so human that they feel like a part of our DNA. Fables, faerie tales, myths. Reading this book felt like recalling a story I’d always known. I must warn you, though, this one hurts — an ache so profound it broke me in all the best ways. 

The story opens with a boy and girl struggling to stay alive in a famine and war-broken village. After receiving a prophecy that she will become nothing, the girl is faced with a choice — one that will define not only her life but that of her entire world. The story follows Zhu as she both fights for and flees from a destiny so strong that it nearly drowns her. Both brutal reality and threads of magic drive this story of war, yearning, revolution and fate, making for the kind of character-driven epic that feels both ancient and immediate. It’s just so damn good.

Grab some tissues before reading and maybe a strong drink. This book will break your heart and leave you asking for more. This is easily my favorite book of the year. It’s worth every tear, I promise. ♦

— Review by Julie Goodrich

Prep Iowa

By Catriona Ward
9/28/21
352 pages
$27.99
Tor Nightfire

‘The Last House on Needless Street’ 

Gothic horror is having a moment in the sun right now, much to my delight. There have been some gorgeous modern takes on the genre from many excellent writers, but this one took my breath away. It’s dazzling and dark and achingly beautiful — everything my goth heart longs for. 

Ted Bannerman is a strange recluse living in a dilapidated house and haunted by alcoholism and fractured memories. Those may not be the only things Ted has been keeping secret. Dee is a woman on a mission to find out who kidnapped her little sister more than a decade ago, eventually deciding that Ted Bannerman is the one, and, in the process, ripped Dee’s life into nothing but loss and obsession. These two sad, broken lives erupt when Dee moves next door, hoping to find proof. 

This story is a twisting nest of ghosts and gut-wrenching revelations. The writing is sparse and poetic with an ethereal quality that fits the gothic nature of the book perfectly. I am already tracking down Ward’s other novels with glee. ♦

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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