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Adelaide's Picks of 2017!
"On the dedication page is written, simply and starkly, 'TO ALL THE BRUTAL WOMEN.' And indeed, the two things most abundant in Kameron Hurley's non-stop space opera are women and brutality. In this story there are only women, and they are accustomed to an unforgiving life where survival is never a guarantee and friendship is rare and hard won. Hurley subverts the Hero's Journey in surprising and exciting ways, all set against the backdrop of an incredibly imagined, impossible region of space. Highly recommended for readers who don't need men in their fiction and also have strong stomachs. " -- Adelaide
"I finished Every Heart a Doorway (the first installment of The Wayward Children series) and was blown away by Seanan McGuire's inventiveness and story-telling ability. Needless to say I picked up the second book immediately and...and...IT IS EVEN BETTER! McGuire is a true master of her craft and shows it in the contrasting styles and tones of her two novellas. If you haven't read Every Heart a Doorway don't worry, Down Among the Sticks and Bones is a stand-alone and fully contained story. Highly recommended for fans of both the macabre and whimsical. This story has 'em in spades." -- Adelaide
"Perhaps this collection doesn't need my recommendation (it was nominated for the National Book Award and is one of our top 20 bestsellers of 2017), but I want to gush a little bit about the first story. If you were a kid or around them in the 80's/90's you may be familiar with the scary story "The Green Ribbon." It is a simply told, terrifying tale whose place in children's literature is highly questionable. As a third grader it rocked my world and was forever imprinted on my developing brain. I've found myself ruminating on it in the decades since. As I've grown older the subtext has become more and more powerful, the implicit indictment of patriarchy and women's lack of bodily autonomy in society more clear. Machado takes this story and these ideas, dissects and reassembles them with a perfected skill and magic until we are left breathless at the result. This story alone is worth the price of the entire book, not to mention the hours of contemplation and conversation it will provoke. Highly recommended but with a caution to those who are sensitive to reading horror, whether of the bloody or sexist variety. " -- Adelaide
"I recently reread the books in Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle, and was once again delighted at the contrast between the first two installments. A Wizard of Earthsea (Book One) is both a prototype for and stereotypical of contemporary young adult fantasy (ahem, Harry Potter). It features a young man going off on adventures, brazenly using his skill to crash about in a world he little understands but is trying hard to. The Tombs of Atuan on the other hand is much slower and more contemplative in its tone. We follow Tenar through her life as the High Priestess to the Nameless Ones. It is a quiet and lonely life yet still full of danger and rivalries. Even when the action picks up later in the book it is more a quickening of Tenar's growth as a young woman as her world expands, and less the clash of steel or wizard staff. Ursula Le Guin is my favorite author and this is one of my favorite of her books. Highly recommended for readers who want to see fantasy do things they didn't know it could." -- Adelaide
"Starting from the premise that the Civil War never ended in the United States and slavery has merely taken on new forms, The Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement proposes a direction and form of organizing with black liberation at its heart. Taking the revolution in Rojava as a primary example this book is both an education and inspiration for all who long for freedom. Highly recommended for people looking to expand their analysis of systems of domination at work in our world and then to turn it into action. " -- Adelaide