Manic Monday: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

The Tiger’s Daughter (Their Bright Ascendency #1)

Paperback, 512 pages
Expected publication: October 3rd 2017 by Tor Books
 I fell in love with the description of this book as soon as I read it.  The teaser chapters just added to the intrigue and built up my excitement!  I was lucky enough to be approved for an eArc on NetGalley and then traded for a physical copy on #booksfortrade (I prefer to read physical copies when possible).  The first half of the book really captured my attention and left me always wanting more of this story and characters.  It reads similarly to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss in that the bulk of the story is told like a series of long flashbacks.  The difference between the two tellings being that Rothfuss had his narrator telling his own life story whereas Rivera has one of her main characters relating her life story in relation to the other main character in the form of a very, very long letter.
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1)
Like I said, I devoured the first half of the book.  But when I reached about page 300, I felt myself slowing down drastically.  The story was still fascinating, and the character growth was still great.  The issue I had was the wordiness and pacing.  I wanted to know more about the present story line, which was only briefly mentioned a handful of times.  I also wanted to know more about the magic, the idea of slaying gods, and why I was supposed to care about some of the side characters.
I fully expect that the next book in the series will see some of these things answered and some of the structural issues smoothed out.  I can’t wait to see what wonderful ideas this author has to share with us in the future.  Definitely an author to watch!

Summary:

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

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Manic Monday: Heathen Vol. 1 by Natasha Alterici

Heathen

Paperback, 115 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Vault Comics
First off, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I downloaded this title from NetGalley.  The cover art looked intriguing and it kept popping up all over the place.  So I decided to give it a shot.  And I’m very glad that I did because Heathen was a beautifully illustrated tale that weaves together Viking folklore, bisexuality, fighting for your dreams, and many other threads and themes in a way that appears seamless.

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Manic Monday: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

Hardcover, 176 pages
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Tor.com
Last year, Seanan McGuire made a splash with Every Heart a Doorway, introducing a world that puzzles an answer to the questions, “What comes after a portal adventure for the children who go through the door?”  And I loved every page, the only downside was the length, since it was only a novella.  Much to my delight, a second and third book was announced, and I awaited with greedy, grabby hands.  I was so excited to get my hands on an early copy through a friend!
Just as short as the first book, this story packs a punch.  Although we were given a brief sketch of Jack and Jill’s back story in book one, this provides so, so much more.  All the emotional turmoil and parental “guidance”.  The longing and desire for companionship and expression of self.  Seanan truly knows how to create depth and characterization while being economical with words.  Did I mention this world is an interesting mash-up of horror monster tropes?  I truly cannot wait for Beneath the Sugar Sky, and look forward to what else the Tor.com lineup will bring my way.

Summary:

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.