In April 2019 I was planning to post quarterly updates on this challenge, but after my first quarterly update in June 2019, I completely forgot about it. Anyway, now that the Bingo Challenge is finished , I decided to post this complete Wrap-up because late is better than never… Therefore, here is my final Wrap-up on this yearly challenge created by Lisa from WayTooFantasy
Like the last time I participated in 2018, I did not complete the 25 reading prompts for all bingo squares, since what happens is that I often read more than one book for the same prompt, and tend to procrastinate on a couple of prompts.
This time only three prompts weren’t completed, and they were:
1)Self Published SFF Novel
2)SFF Novel by an Australian Author and
but that doesn’t really matter much, since I’ll eventually get to read the books I had planned for them and post the review here on the blog. I might even swap one of the squares of the new bingo card for one of these last years’s squares, let’s see.
Lastly, to make this post shorter, I won’t repeat the reviews from my June update here, so please take a look in that post for the books where a link to the June quarterly update is provided.
Slice of Life / Small Scale Fantasy
I was setting aside the book I chose for this prompt, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater after a few pages. I can’t really explain what happened and I’ll eventually pick up this book again to give it a second chance. Instead, I read Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor.
Rating: 3 stars. This took long to unfold. It wasn’t so bad that I DNFed it but it was slow, really slow. It had the flaw of a couple of books I read recently, too much play-by-play, repetitions, and the pace drags. If 100 or more pages of filler had been cut out of it, it would have been a five star book.
A SFF Novel Featuring a Character With a Disability
Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman
Rating: 4 stars. This was a very suspenseful, and character-driven science fiction.
Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour #1) by Matt Wallace June. Please see my June 2019 Post with my first quarterly reviews.
Witches of Lychford (Lychford #1) by Paul Cornell
Rating 4 stars: This was a novella that could have been easily a novel, but perhaps the other books in the series will flesh out the very interesting characters a bit more. I heard this as part of the Tor.com collection Audiobook and the narrator was good too.
The Builders by Daniel Polansky
Rating 3 stars: This was very well written. With as much action and violence as a Quentin Tarantino movie and very interesting characters. Not exactly for me, but I could imagine fans of stories full of action enjoying it.
Novel Featuring Twins
I was reading The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate, #1) by J.Y. Yang for this bingo square and my review is in the June 2019 Post
Novel Featuring Vampires
Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris June
Tantalize (Tantalize #1) by Cynthia Leitich Smith
This was an entertaining, page-turner, first book of a series. Only the end was a bit rushed up.
On a second note, the end if this book was quite tragic too. To me the MC and her caretaker uncle seemed to be emotionally lost people. Especially the main character was a very lonely teen without proper guidance and support from anyone in her life, so she just started to lean on the seductive new chef which was slowly turning her into a vampire.
This fictional thing could be compared to real life problems of teen girls who get drug addicted or too attached to bad people due to lack of parental support.
I considered the end tragic for this reason, but I was intrigued by the plot thematic layers that turned a girl becoming a vampire not to a romantic thing, as many other YA books, but rather to a Machiavellian murder.
Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook / Audio drama
Audiobook: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis E. Taylor (Author), Ray Porter (Narrator)
I was hearing more Audiobooks last year. My plan is to make a blog post only featuring Audiobooks in the near future.
Graphic Novel: The Wicked + The Divine (Single Issues) by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Cover Art), Matt Wilson
Rating: 3,5 stars. I read most of the 45 single issues of this graphic novel. This was an entertaining, page-turner graphic novel that I could not put down, even if now and then things were not so well explained, or fleshed out.
SFF Novel by a Local to You Author
Dream a little dream (Silber #1) by Kerstin Gier
Rating: 4 stars. This was an entertaining page-turner, and a light, humorous book. I’ll be reading the next in the series for sure.
SFF Novel Featuring an Ocean Setting
Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland
Rating: 3 stars. Beautifully written even if slow-paced. The ending was nicely wrapped-up too.
Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1) by Richard K. Morgan
I chose Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa for this prompt because this was a second chance I was giving to books by this author after not really enjoying her Iron King series. I set this aside after a few pages. Call me heartless, but I don’t really like when the MC is a victim who has no resources against her oppressors. I think that this type of story might work better with a younger audience, so I’m probably not the target audience for her books.
The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death #0.5) by Nnedi Okorafor
Rating: 3,5 stars. I’m not really sure about how to review this book. It was very original, but its pacing was all over the place, sometimes dragging, sometimes rushed up.
SFF Novel Published in 2019
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi
Rating: 3,5 stars. Kind of the same uncertainty on this review. I liked the characters in this book a lot, but perhaps I’m the wrong audience for too much action? This isn’t the first time a book full of action made me tired of it.
Middle Grade SFF Novel
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand (Author), Sarah Watts (Illustrator)
Rating: 2 stars. This was interesting, not much is explained and I’m not sure I would read this for young kids. (It seemed more directed towards young adults than middle-grade.)
A Personal Recommendation from r/fantasy
I read two books for this prompt. Elantris and The Emperor’s Soul, a Novella, by Brandon Sanderson. Both were 5 stars reads for me, since I really enjoy this author’s books and plan to read more on them in the future.
Any r/fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR r/fantasy Read-along Book
Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
Rating: 3 stars. This was long and full of action. I somehow could not really get immersed in this book.
Media Tie-In Novel
I read three books that fit this prompt, and the reviews are in my June blog post.
1)Children of the Nameless (Magic:The Gathering) by Brandon Sanderson
2)Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet #1) by Philip Reeve
3) The Circle by Dave Eggers
Novel Featuring an AI Character
Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente.
Rating: 4 stars. This novella’s writing style was towards stream of consciousness, and this was in any case food-for-thought.
SFF Novel That Has a Title of Four or More Words
An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians #1) by Kat Howard – June blog post.
A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine
Audiobook Rating: 5 stars. It did take me a while to hear this because I didn’t want to loose any detail of this book full of political intrigue and twists. I will be following this series for sure. The Audiobook narration, by Amy Landon, was five stars too.
I set aside my first choice for this prompt, which was Deathless (Leningrad Diptych #1) by Catherynne M. Valente, because I didn’t feel immersed enough in the story and I didn’t want to repeat authors in the reading prompts. So, instead I read:
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Audiobook Rating: 5 stars. A magnificent retelling of Frankenstein, and the Audiobook Performance of Katharine McEwan was five stars too.
The Final Book of a Series
Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews
Rating: 5 stars. This was amazing, a great final book for this awesome series. I could not put it down.
Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse.
Rating: 4 stars. This was very interesting, I don’t consider it YA due to the amount of violence tough. The heroine is not at first sight likable, mainly because I have not seen enough layers to understand her well enough but I hope that the next book in the series shows more of her journey. The love interests are also shown superficially, but hopefully I’ll get deeper arcs in the next book too. Since the character’s presentations mainly skipped the surface in this first book, I hope we get deeper developments in the next book of the series.
I’ll give it 4 and not 5 stars due to the reasons I already stated and because I missed more depth in the story world, a lot of things I would have gladly know more about went unexplained or were shown in a superficial way. The plot also moved in all directions, as if the story was starting anew at every chapter.
Perhaps my impressions of the story world were like this because I am not familiar with Native American Culture. I would have gladly read a glossary with explanations about the Native American cultural references used in the story.
In any case, this book was a very original page-turner that I could not put down.
Five SFF Short Stories
Now in 2020, I am making a Short-Story Challenge where I plan to read at least 52 short stories from different anthologies/collections. And the resulting Wrap-up blog will be posted in December this year.
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964 (Science Fiction Hall of Fame #1).
This anthology has been a mixed bag for me so far.
A couple of stories were awesome and extremely original, and a few had lines filled up with misogyny. I don’t enjoy reading such stuff at all, and my tolerance for an author’s horrible attitude towards women is really low, to the point that more than one book with that kind of flaw by the same author is reason enough for me to avoid the works of such author in the future.
I am even tough planning to read the whole anthology and take note of the authors who positively impress me to read more by them in the near future.
Nightfall • (1941) • novelette by Isaac Asimov – 5 stars! Isaac Asimov shows again why he is one of my favorite authors!
The Weapon Shop • [Weapon Shops of Isher] • (1942) • novelette by A. E. van Vogt– I didn’t like this so much due to a couple of misogynistic lines.
Mimsy Were the Borogoves • (1943) • novelette by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as by Lewis Padgett ] –Very interesting story- 5 stars!
Huddling Place • [City] • (1944) • shortstory by Clifford D. Simak
Don’t get to attached to your comfort zone…
Arena • (1944) • novelette by Fredric Brown – There is an episode of Star Trek that reminds me of this story a lot.
I’ll soon post a TBR for the R/Fantasy Bingo Challenge of 2020. Stay Tuned!