Additional Thoughts on the 2022 Hugo Award Finalists

I was pretty damn excited about this year’s Hugo finalists and so, of course, I had to get my initial reaction out there as fast as possible. Now that I’ve had some time to think about certain aspects of the ballot, read other people’s reactions, and do a bit more research on those Best Series candidates, I have additional thoughts. I didn’t want to add them to my existing post because that beast is already way too long, but I do want to throw this out there anyway.

Works I Missed Among the Finalists

The finalists are really nothing to complain about and because of that, I didn’t even think about some of the works I nominated which didn’t make it. I am mostly happy about the finalists this year but I do want to mention a few books I think would have been equally as deserving.

Sarah Gailey’s The Echo Wife was one of my top reads of 2021 and Gailey is not unpopular with Hugo voters. I would be surprised if they didn’t show up on the longlist!
I believe (honestly can’t remember right now) that I also nominated A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske, plus Freya Marske for the Astounding Award, because that book surprised me in all the best ways. It is more of a romance than a fantasy – although there’s plenty of magic in it – so I’m not very surprised it didn’t make Best Novel but I also think I wasn’t alone in nominating it and the series as well as the author might make an appearance on future ballots with one of the sequels.
Noor by Nnedi Okorafor came out in November and there wasn’t a lot of buzz surrounding that book. What little I heard from other people led me to believe that most of them weren’t as impressed as I was. But I don’t care, I adored that short novel.

For the Lodestar I would have loved, loved, loved to see Little Thieves by Margaret Owen among the finalists, but that book came out rather late in 2021 (October) so it makes sense that, even though it’s well liked, not enough people read it before the nomination period was over. And Owen isn’t exactly a household name for the Hugos like, say, Charlie Jane Anders.
Another YA book I would have loved to be a finalist is The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. I think it garnered a lot of cover love when it came out but I guess many of the people who read and loved it aren’t Hugo voters. Joan He is one of the most exciting YA authors I’ve discovered in recent years so I hope she keeps up the brilliant work and if so, I’ll keep nominating her.

What I found a little surprising – although good surprising – was that it wasn’t Catherynne M. Valente’s Comfort Me With Apples that became a finalist but rather The Past is Red. Don’t get me wrong, I loved them both, but I much preferred The Past is Red. But from what I saw on the interwebs, I felt that more people flocked to her wonderfully creepy novella about the perfect neighborhood rather than her futuristic post-climate apocalypse one. I fully expect to see Apples on the nominations list, and not too far underneath the cutoff point. September will tell.

About the Best Novella category

In all my joy about Cat Valente’s brilliant novella being on this list, I missed that the entire category is dominated by Tordotcom yet again. And I also have to be honest with myself and admit that I am once more part of that problem. I nominated three novellas, all from Tordotcom, all on the final ballot.

It’s still quite rare that other publishers put out novellas, at least in the quality and quantity that the people at Tordotcom do. You’ll get a prequel novella to a successful YA trilogy or series every once in a while but I don’t think those are the usual Hugo candidates.

There are great publishers, like Subterranean Press, who sometimes do novellas, but their limited releases make it hard for a big enough audience to consume what they publish and thus for enough people to nominate it for a Hugo. I remember Tamsyn Muir published a fairy tale novella a few years ago and one would think that during the height of the Gideon the Ninth hype, she would have had an easy time getting nominated for Best Novella as well. But the overlap in Subterranean readers and Hugo voters seems to be just a bit smaller.

In my search for other publishers, I came across Neon Hemlock Press. Two of their 2021 novellas are nominated for a Nebula Award, so I am now vowing to read at least one of their novella publications of 2022 in order to make my own pool for nominating next year a little bit bigger. And if I pick a good book, I can just throw in a second one. 🙂

About that Naomi Novik Lodestar nomination (again!?)

When I wrote my initial reaction to the finalists, I must have been in a particularly gracious mood, giving Novik the benefit of the (still very much existing) doubt and just accepting that the Scholomance series is, apparently, YA. But the more I think about it, the more my original anger at last year’s finalist, A Deadly Education, and Novik’s handling of these nominations is coming back.

But before I start ranting, what we must all remember is that YA is not tangible, not objective, not something that can be classified easily. That’s why we keep returning to the same stupid discussions over and over again. A young protagonist doesn’t guarantee a book is YA (see The Poppy War), a school setting doesn’t mean it’s automatically YA (see Ninth House), even coming of age as a theme doesn’t mean it’s YA (see Mexican Gothic). So there is no real right or wrong when it comes to what falls under the mantle of YA fiction. With some books, you just know, with others, you rely on the only information you have which is one or more of the following:

  • the author says it’s YA
  • the publisher says it’s YA
  • booksellser and libraries say it’s YA
  • the marketing campaign tells us it’s YA
  • the book isn’t an Alex Award nominee

Here is the definition of books eligible for the Alex Award:

The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year’s publishing. 

Alex Award

Naomi Novik accepted the nomination for that award in 2021 and, by doing so, classified her book as written for adults. If it weren’t, she couldn’t have, in good conscience, accepted the Alex Award nomination, right? Right!
So what other info do we have that helps us classify whether A Deadly Education and the entire Scholomance series is YA or not?

  • To repeat the most important point: Naomi Novik, the author herself, agreed that it’s an adult novel by accepting an award nomination for adult novels
  • The publisher, Del Rey, marketed this series as adult from the very start
  • Booksellers list it as adult Fantasy/Horror/Genre Fiction
    • To be fair, the one single mention of “Childrens & YA” I have found was for the German edition of the audiobook, so German publishers are going a different way, it seems.

Okay, so even though this research isn’t super scientific and the results are not 100% conclusive, it still paints a rather clear picture of the Scholomance Trilogy having been written and intended for adults. The fact that they can be enjoyed by younger readers is meaningless when it comes to the Lodestar Award. The Lord of the Rings is also read and loved by teenagers all over the world, but that doesn’t make it a YA book by any means!

The Lodestar Award is meant specifically for Young Adult SFF books. Not adult books that young people enjoy, not non-SFF books that mention a UFO sighting once, not novelettes, not TV shows. It’s really very simple. If all things point to a book being YA and enough people nominate it, it should become a finalist. If people nominated a book that doesn’t qualify, it should not become a finalist. Would a YA movie have made the ballot if it had gotten enough votes? I should hope not! So why does an adult novel?

The problem, in my opinion, is threefold.

Number one: Nominators seem to be confused or not to care whether it’s YA or not. As a quick Google search will tell you, it was never meant to be YA but, having read the first book, I can see where the confusion comes from. It ticks a lot of the usual YA boxes. So I’ll assume most people nominated in good faith and chose the category they thought the book belonged in.

Number two: The Hugo administrators, both for 2021 and 2022, did not disqualify a book that was nominated in the wrong category. Please, future Hugo administrations, do better! Mistakes can happen and that’s okay, but making the same mistake a previous administration has already made is embarrassing. Doing it three times in a row is just incompetent.
Disqualify works if they are in the wrong category and – because the fans’ votes should still count, obviously! – count them in the correct category. So The Last Gradute should have its nominations transferred to the Best Novel category and if it manages to get among the top six choices, then it’s a well-deserved finalist in that category.

Number three: The failsafe for the previous two problems, and an option any author can take any time should they deem it advisable, is the fact that you do not have to accept a nomination. You can decline, for whatever reason. Many authors and creators do so after winning an award, recusing themselves in order to let other people shine next year (I don’t think anybody ever thought that this wasn’t a classy move). Others decline their earned spot on the finalist ballot for various reasons (Terry Pratchett said that he really doesn’t need a Hugo, he’s quite famous enough and wanted someone else to have a chance (man, I miss that man!). Ann Leckie declined for The Raven Tower after having garnered tons of nominations for her Imperial Radch books.)
Naomi Novik, now two years in a row, actively accepted nominations for the Lodestar award. Let’s not forget, she also accepted the Alex Award nomination last year. So no matter how you turn it, she is trying to have it both ways and wants to maximize her chances of winning an award, any award.
And even if she can’t bring herself to decline a nomination meant for other works, she should at least have the decency to clarify whether this series she’s writing is YA or adult. Her utter silence on the topic since ever last year’s nomination and the controversy that came with it has been pretty telling.

Look, none of us can see inside Naomi Novik’s head or heart, so we’ll never know her true reasons. But her behaviour does paint a certain picture and it is not exactly flattering. I have copious amounts of love for her novels Uprooted and Spinning Silver but my respect for her as a person has shrunk significantly since last year. This year just makes things worse. It’s no longer just in bad taste, it appears desperate and ruthless.

A fair and gracious person would have declined either the nomination for the Alex Award or the one for the Lodestar. Novik wanted to have both, no matter that her book is taking up a spot on the ballot meant for a qualified work of fiction.
Last year, it was Sarah Gailey‘s actual, meant-for-younger-audiences YA debut, When We Were Magic about queer teenage witches. I wonder whose book it will turn out to be this year? A newer, more unknow author whose career could change entirely due to a Lodestar nomination? A BIPOC author? We’ll find out in September but I fully expect to be outraged.

About the Charles Stross Best Series Finalist

I was super confused when I saw a series name I had never even heard of on the final ballot. Charlie Stross is a name I’m familiar with, I read his novella Equoid years ago and found it delightfully creepy. Never got into the Laundry Files, though. But his nomination for Best Series still came out of nowhere for me when I googled it, and now, after some additional research, I realize why.

The Hugo administration was a bit unclear when it comes to the exact series title. Because the series Merchant Princes (Goodreads) actually contains only six works, the latest of which came out in 2010.

I should have realized I was missing something when there was no recent work listed in that series. What is, in fact, nominated this year, is the Merchant Princes Universe (Goodreads) which contains the above mentioned series as well as a newer series, called Empire Games.

Once you’ve found the right series, familiar looking covers start popping up and the nomination doesn’t feel quite so out of the blue as it did. The newer sub-series which qualified the larger fictional universe, contains only three novels (so far):

Judging only from the covers, I’d say this will be quite different in setting from the older Merchant Princes series. I am a little bit torn on where to start reading the series now. As I doubt I’ll make it through all nine (!) volumes, I’ll probably go only with the newer trilogy because (a) fewer books to read and (b) I get the stuff that made people nominate the series, not books from almost 20 years ago. I also think my chances of liking this series/universe are much higher if I stick to the newer ones.

I still find it a very strange choice as there was very little buzz around these books in the last years and Stross is much more well-known for his Laundry Files series. It could either be his fans doing a Seanan McGuire (nominating whatever is eligible by their favorite author) or this series really is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition. I am curious and will, of course, report back once I’ve read the first, or technically seventh, book.

My Thoughts on the Hugo Award Finalists 2022

One of the best surprises is when the Hugo Award Finalists are announced much earlier than expected. It’s true, book people of the world, ChiCon have announced the finalists today and that means it’s time to share first impressions.


Same procedure as every year. 🙂 I’ll go through the categories one by one, see how many books I’ve already read and what I think about the finalists. I will leave out the categories about which I have little to say and/or which I don’t plan to vote in (like Best Editor Long Form) or which don’t really fit this blog (the Dramatic Presentation categories).

Warning: This is going to be a long post. Feel free to skip ahead to a certain category or to my general thoughts at the very end.


Five out of six is crazy! Then again, I felt that last year was filled with a lot of very, very good books but almost no standout ones that everyone could get on board with and cheer for. None of these finalists are surprising, as they were all talked about and praised quite a lot, but I also don’t have an immediate winner in mind, despite having read almost all of them already.

I have been looking forward to She Who Became the Sun since it came out and I even own a stunning hardback edition. Don’t know why I haven’t read it yet but I have high hopes. Maybe this is the one that will make me go “Here’s my winner!”

As for the others, my favorite was probably Becky Chambers final Wayfarers novel The Galaxy and the Ground Within (review coming on Monday) because it’s just what I had hoped for, the audiobook version was absolutely wonderful yet again, and there’s just something about Chambers’ writing and characters that works for me.
A close second was a surprise for me because it’s Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I was expecting a bit of lighthearted, sciency fun. A space adventure with a dash of saving the world and great humor. And I got that, but I also got so much more. Granted, I listened to this book during the phase of my pregnancy when it was hardest to concentrate, so I think the audiobook narrator Ray Porter deserves extra praise. But the way the book kept my attention and made me feel for the characters was impressive to say the least.

Now I’d like to see P. Djèlí Clark’s career keep soaring the way it is and I did have fun with A Master of Djinn but I also preferred his shorter works. The novel, while great for many reasons, was lacking in other areas. The murder mystery part of the story fell flat for me, but I did continue to love the world building which was begun in Clark’s short story and novellas set in the same world. I also adored some of the character interactions. So it wasn’t love at first read, but I also wouldn’t begrudge this book a Hugo win.

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine had the tough job of following a big favorite of mine and Hugo Best Novel winner in its own right, A Memory Called Empire. I loved many things about this book and I thought Martine did a great job pushing her story further and giving her characters a satisfying plotline while also introducing new ones. But – as unfair as that may be – the novelty of said world is gone and so I didn’t quite love the book as much as its predecessor. I was also under the impression that it’s the middle book of a planned trilogy but I guess that’s wrong and the duology is finished.

Lastly, Light of Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki was another wonderful, not-a-boring-moment science-fantasy novel that stood out mostly for its characters, not so much for its science fictional ideas. It’s wacky and fun and deep, it asks important questions, and it puts a trans character center stage, describes lovely queer relationships, and it’s also a love letter to music! I really have no complaints about this book other than that it didn’t focus all that much on SFF world building/magic system things but rather on characters. That’s not a bad thing at all, but when having to decide between several excellent books, it’s one aspect I’m taking into consideration.


Well look at that, all three of my nominations made the final ballot! I am so proud. Mostly, I am overjoyed that Cat Valente’s beautiful, heartbreaking, eye-opening, lovely novella The Past is Red made it! Although I will read the other finalists, I doubt any of them is going to touch me the way this little book has. Honestly, I still pick up my copy and stroke the cover from time to time, thinking back lovingly to the moments spent with Tetley in Gargabetown. It may be short but this story packs a punch.

Seanan McGuire is back again with her latest Wayward Children novella, Across the Green Grass Fields. I’m not surprised because McGuire getting nominated is just a thing that happens, but I am a little surprised because even fans of the series said that they found this to be a particularly weak instalment and many people didn’t like it, despite being big McGuire fans. So I’ll go into this with very low expectations and hope it will be a happy surprise like the fourth volume in that rather middling series.

Becky Chambers’ A Psalm for the Wild-Built was just what I expected but also quite different. It was quieter and had less plot than I had anticipated, but that doesn’t mean I liked it any less. I felt so damn understood and I loved the philosophical questions the story posed. It wasn’t as much of an emotional gut punch as the Valente, but I’m glad it made the final ballot (I nominated it, after all).

Similarly, Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered was just my jam even though I think it’s not in the same league as my other two nominations. This was more of a fun exploration of fairy tales, a feminist kick in the trope-butt, a book that made me giggle at all its references. It has an emotional core and its premise isn’t funny at all, but I think despite Harrow being a Hugo favorite, she will have a hard time winning this category.

I generally like Aliette de Bodard and Fireheart Tiger has been on my TBR for a while. Adrian Tchaikovsky is an author I keep wanting to try but I haven’t found a good (read: non-threatening because 7-book epic saga) entry point yet. This Elder Race novella looks like my perfect opportunity.


There’s almost nothing new to see here. All of the finalist authors are well-established Hugo contenders, with the exception of Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, who is a Nommo and Otherwise winner and a Nebula finalist but hasn’t been on the Hugo ballot so far. I look forward to his novelette. In with the new stuff!

Obviously, I am thrilled to see Cat Valente‘s novelette on here. Her take on Orpheus and Eurydice and what comes after the aventure we all know felt like a slap in the face, but what a beautiful, gorgeously written slap it was.

As for the others, I look forward to reading all of them. Most of the authors I’ve read and liked before so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this category. Also, Uncanny magazine has such pretty covers. I could stare at them for hours.


It is not the Valente story that I’ve read but “Mr. Death” by Alix Harrow! I rarely read short fiction and I pretty much never actively look up short stories. I lean more toward novels and novellas, but this I couldn’t miss after reading Andreas’ review. I thought I knew where this story was going when I really didn’t, and then my heart got wrenched and my eyes somehow went glassy and the short story landed on my nomination ballot…

A Cat Valente short story is always a good thing, especially since I totally missed that she published one. Many heaps of shame upon my head but also yay for something to really, really look forward to. (Narrator voice: Later that day…) I have read the story now and, damn, it’s atmospheric and gut-punchy, alright. But! I didn’t love it as much as “Mr. Death”.

There’s a short story that has been entirely published on Twitter on here which is about as 2020ies as things can get. I have no idea what the story is about but I am intrigued. Also, more Uncanny Magazine. They’re just really good.

BEST SERIES (3ish/6)

  • Fonda Lee – The Geen Bone Saga
  • C. L. Polk – The Kingston ycle
  • Seanan McGuire – Wayward Children
  • Charles Stross – Merchant Princes
    • The Family Trade
    • The Hidden FAmily
    • The Clan Corporate
    • The Merchant’s War
    • The Revolution Business
    • The Trade of Queens
  • Ada Palmer – Terra Ignota
    • Too Like the Lightning
    • Seven Surrenders
    • The Will to Battle
    • Perhaps the Stars
  • T. Kingfisher – The World of the White Rat
    • Clocktaur War
      • Clockwork Boys
      • The Wonder Engine
    • Swordheart
    • The Saint of Steel
      • Paladin’s Grace
      • Paladin’s Strength
      • Paladin’s Hope

I was afraid last year that InCryptid would be back in 2022, so I am now counting myself lucky that it was McGuire’s Wayward Children series that once again made the ballot. I have to read the latest book for the Novella category anyway, so I’m glad I can get away with that one short book. That’s a definite win. I already know that series will at best make the middle of my ballot because, overall, I don’t find it partiularly strong, but we’ll see how I like this latest addition.

Why I haven’t already devoured Jade Legacy is anyone’s guess. Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga is one of those series that have made a real impact on SFF by doing something fresh and new even though she may be playing with well-known tropes and ideas. It doesn’t hurt that her writing is just brilliant. So yeah, can’t wait to finish the series and see if the Kaul family gets out of this mafia-esque clan war unscathed.

The Kingston Cycle by C.L. Polk started out very nicely with Witchmark. Unfortunately, I never continued the series (because I suck) but I very much look foward to reading the other stories set in that universe. I also like that this is more of a charming kind of story, very different in tone and setting from the other finalists.

Although my first thought upon looking up The World of the White Rat by the inimitable T. Kingfisher was “holy shit, this is a lot” I am super excited about this finalist. I mean, it’s not like all of these books aren’t on my TBR anyway, it’s just that this particular world has several series set in it and I’m not quite sure where to start. I suppose I’ll let my mood decide. There’s Steampunk, fantasy romance (yay), and there’s a standalone that sounds hilarious.

I am also happy that I will finally have to read Terra Ignota by Ada Palmer. I’ve had my eye on that series for ages but somehow it always slipped through the cracks. If this year is anything like last year, I am in for happy surprises and great new series discoveries.

The wild card on the ballot is Charles Stross’ Marchant Princes. I had honestly never even heard of this series before (Stross is more famous for his Laundry Files, I guess) and it sounds like a strange amalgamation of rather old-timey tropes. Modern woman, portal fantasy, scheming rival clans, knights on horseback… there seems to be a bit of everything here and it could go either way. I’ll be honest and say the covers aren’t encouraging, but I will definitely give it a try. It wouldn’t be the first time my fellow Hugo nominators lead me to discover unexpected favorites.


  • Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans – DIE, vol. 4: Bleed
  • N. K. Jemisin, Jamal Campbell – Far Sector
  • Rachel Smythe – Lore Olympus, vol. 1
  • Marjorie Liu, Sana Takeda – Monstress, vol. 6: The Vow
  • Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain – Once & Future vol. 3: The Parliament of Magpies
  • Tom King, Mitch Gerads, Evan “Doc” Shaner – Strange Adventures

Well, as per usual, I haven’t caught up on most of the series that are perennial Hugo favorites but I look forward to it. I have read some of Lore Olympus online (as this started as a webcomic before it was published traditionally) and I found it cute and all but I wasn’t hooked enough to continue. Maybe it was also reading on my phone that turned me off… We’ll see how I like it when I read it on the iPad.

DIE vol. 4, Once & Future vol. 3, and Monstress vol. 6 are all continuations of series that have previously been nominated. Some of them I find more promising than others but what’s interesting here is the speed with which Kieron Gillen seems to put out his work. Last year, we got volume 1 of Once & Future and volume 2 of DIE, this year we’ve “skipped” a volume each. I hope the missing volumes are included in the voter packet so we can form an opinion on the series as a whole so far as well as the latest instalment. I will also do a re-read of the first volumes because my bain is useless and remembers almost nothing.

Seeing N. K. Jemisin on a Hugo finalist list is no surprise, although I previously knew nothing about this comic Far Sector. It’s apparently a Green Lantern story and the synopsis honestly doesn’t sound that great to me. But it’s Jemisin, so I’m sure she turned a small idea into something amazing.

Strange Adventure seems to be a reinvention of old-timey pulpy superhero science fiction and I’m keeping an open mind. I guess I’ll end up either loving or hating it. If it’s funny and I like the art, yay. If the content reads like it’s from the 50ies, I will have to pass.


  • Jordan Ifueko – Redemptor
  • Naomi Kritzer – Chaos on CatNet
  • Xiran Jay Zaho – Iron Widow
  • Charlie Jane Anders – Victories Greater Than Death
  • Darcie Little Badger – A Snake Falls to Earth
  • Naomi Novik – The Last Graduate

Looks like we have a lot of sequels on our hands, as well as some returning Hugo or Lodestar finalist authors. The exception – and the book I’m most excited for – is Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow. As with many other finalists this year, I’ve owned the book for quite some time. It’s the actual reading that seems to take me forever. 🙂

I very much look forward to the second Naomi Kritzer book, Chaos on CatNet as the first one totally unexpectedly stole my heart! Darcie Little Badger’s A Snake Falls to Earth looks very pretty but sounds like it’s mostly a repeat of the themes and structure we got in Elatsoe which I liked fine, but which read much, much younger than I was led to believe from the synopsis and marketing. But I’m curious to see how the author has grown and developed and what this new story has to offer.

Apparently, Naomi Novik is writing YA after all. And there I was, thinking all those articles did her wrong, automatically classifying a work by a female fantasy writer as YA just because it happens to have a school setting. I am still not convinced this was meant to be YA, but it looks like declining an awards nomination is just a bit too hard – but okay, if this is how it is, I hope the author doesn’t complain when people call her books YA. You can’t have it both ways. I am not un-excited to read The Last Graduate but it will have to up the game in comparison to A Deadly Education.

Reading Charlie Jane Anders is always intriguing and her first foray into YA has me positively giddy with excitement. Victories Greater Than Death also got optioned for a TV series, so that makes me expect quite a bit of action and a compelling plot. Anders always has great ideas, diverse characters, and complicated world building. I cannot wait!

The one book I have read (and nominated) is Jordan Ifueko’s Redemptor. I didn’t love it quite as much as Raybearer but it was a fantastic ending to a duology, it wrapped the story up neatly, raised the stakes, offered some great twists, and I adored its complex romantic as well as found family relationships. It’s too early to say where it will land on my ballot, though. The competition is stiff!


I nominated Micaiah Johnson, just like last year, because The Space Between Worlds is one hell of a debut and makes me highly anticipate the author’s next work. (I also nominated Freya Marske who may not have been eligible due to some shorter work published earlier? Anyway, she’s great, just had to meantion this here!)

Everina Maxwell‘s debut was fun and well written but didn’t leave too much of an impression on me. I’m happy to see the author nominated and I’ll be on the lokout for her next work but it wasn’t an instant author crush for me.

Shelley Parker-Chan and Xiran Jay Zhao are nominated in two categories each, one Best Novel/Lodestar, the other the Astounding Award. So they both made quite an impact, it seems, which only makes me more excited to read their novels. Again, I find it very nice that I can cover several categories with a single book. Gives me more of a chance to catch up on those Best Series!

A.K. Larkwood is back from last year. I still haven’t read The Unspoken Name but I hope to get to it this year. By now, the second book in that series is also out.
Tracy Deonn‘s sequel to Legendborn only comes out in November which is too late for reading it within the voting period. But I’ve read and enjoyed her first book and will rank her in this list as best as I can.


Most of the categories are not surprising at all. There’s plenty of Hugo favorites, either authors who have been nominated or won before, or direct sequels to works that have been finalists.

Obviously, my biggest joy is seeing Catherynne M. Valente in three categories! My favorite of last year, The Past is Red, wasn’t all that surprising because lots of people liked it. But I didn’t expect her novelette “L’Esprit de L’Escalier” to make it (even though I nominated it because, obviously, it’s brilliant) and then to see her nominated for Best Short Story as well. Can you see me jumping up and down like a crazy person? Because I totally am.

I’m so, so happy that T. Kingfisher is becoming a Hugo fixture. I’ve been reading her indie works for years but seeing how fandom has caught on and is appreciating her genius is just wonderful. Plus, her acceptance speeches are THE BEST! I also hope this makes it easier for her to keep writing and publishing because I selfishly just want more T. Kingfisher books!

My Seanan McGuire rant is cancelled this year. Really, I’m fine with it. I don’t think this year’s novella contender will be good but hey, at least it’s only one novella and a short story. And I have loved some of McGuire’s short stories so there’s that.

Only a handful of works came out of left field for me and they are, first of all, the Charles Stross series that I’d never even heard mentioned before and, secondly, the Strange Adventures comic. Then again, I’m not as in the loop about graphic novels and comics as other people so that may just be my fault.

What do you think about the finalists? Did your nominees make it? Are you going to read the finalists and if yes, are you voting?

The State of SFF – February 2022

Well if this wasn’t the longest January of my life. It’s been super quiet on the blog because I have Life Stuff (TM) going on at the moment, I was sick for a week, and I haven’t been reading that much. But I hope to get back on track in February, finally catch up on some reviews and finish all those books I started in January.

Quickie News

  • One of my all-time favorite YA book series that I devoured several times as a kid is getting a reprint. Both Everworld and Remnants (co-written by Katherine A. Applegate and Michael Grant) are getting new covers and will be available as e-books as well as in print. I have my old paperback editions of the 12 Everworld books at home but I really hope this reaches a new generation of readers who want to discover the amazing worlds created by these writers.

Hugo Nominations Are Open

It’s a special year what with the Hugo Award ceremony having happened only a couple of months ago, but it’s true. The time has already arrived to nominate for the 2022 Hugo Awards. In the members/registration area of the Chicon 8 website, you can now enter up to five works or people that were your favorites of 2021. So get nominating, people!

Now I debate every year on whether to publish my nominating ballot or not and I never end up doing it, but here are some of my top books from 2021 which I will nominate in their respective categories. I might add more, I might leave some off if I discover new favorites, but I’m fairly certain that these will all make my ballot

The nominating stage is usually the one with the least participation, so if you nominate, your voice could really make the difference between your favorite book making it onto the final ballot or not. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t read ALL THE BOOKS of 2021 (none of us have). If you have a supporting or attending membership to Chicon 8 or if you have a membership to last year’s WorldCon Discon III, and you’ve loved at least one work published in 2021, go ahead and nominate it. You’re a fan, too, and your voice counts. You just have to make it heard!

Exciting February Publications

I’m really glad publishing slows down in December and we have a bit of time to catch up on all those books we bought throughout the year.


I adored Tess of the Road, even without having read the Seraphina duology before (which reminds me I should get on with that!). So I am super excited about the sequel ot Tess and what Rachel Hartman has in store for us this time.


At the bottom of the world lies a Serpent, the last of its kind.
Finding the Serpent will change lives.

Tess is a girl on a mission to save a friend.
Spira is a dragon seeking a new identity.
Marga is a woman staking her claim on a man’s world.
Jacomo is a priest searching for his soul.

There are those who would give their lives to keep it hidden.
And those who would destroy it.

But the only people who will truly find the Serpent are those who have awakened to the world around them—with eyes open to the wondrous, the terrible, and the just

They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harboring secrets and their own agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family–and their world–for good. 


I have never read this author but I also couln’t ignore this book. It just speaks to me. I like the cover, I like “capricious spirits” and “bards” and childhood enemies that have to work together.

Enchantments run deep on the magical Isle of Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armour, and the smallest cut of a knife can instil fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that live there find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home, but that mischief turns to malevolence as girls begin to go missing.

Adaira, heiress of the east, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, enticing them to return the missing girls. But there’s only one bard capable of drawing the spirits forth by song: her childhood enemy Jack Tamerlaine.

He hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university, but as Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than first thought and an older, darker secret lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.


It’s the 7th Wayward Children novella and this time, we’re going to focus on Cora, the character I like the very least out of everyone who has appeared in this series. I hope her story gets resolved in this one and we won’t have to read about her anymore after this. If it were for me, I wouldn’t read this book at all, but I’m sure it will be nominated for a Hugo next year because it’s by Seanan McGuire…

In Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Sogolon the Moon Witch proved a worthy adversary to Tracker as they clashed across a mythical African landscape in search of a mysterious boy who disappeared. In Moon Witch, Spider King, Sogolon takes center stage and gives her own account of what happened to the boy, and how she plotted and fought, triumphed and failed as she looked for him. It’s also the story of a century-long feud—seen through the eyes of a 177-year-old witch—that Sogolon had with the Aesi, chancellor to the king. It is said that Aesi works so closely with the king that together they are like the eight limbs of one spider. Aesi’s power is considerable—and deadly. It takes brains and courage to challenge him, which Sogolon does for reasons of her own.

Both a brilliant narrative device—seeing the story told in Black Leopard, Red Wolf from the perspective of an adversary and a woman—as well as a fascinating battle between different versions of empire, Moon Witch, Spider King delves into Sogolon’s world as she fights to tell her own story. Part adventure tale, part chronicle of an indomitable woman who bows to no man, it is a fascinating novel that explores power, personality, and the places where they overlap.

AKWEAKE EMEZI – BITTER (February 15th)

Reading Pet was quite the experience and a book unlike any I had read before. Now Akweake Emezi is coming out with a prequel about the prior generation and I cannot wait to see what this mostly utopian world was like before.

Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the town of Lucille. Bitter’s instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus . . . but her friends aren’t willing to settle for a world that the adults say is “just the way things are.

Pulled between old friendships, her creative passion, and a new romance, Bitter isn’t sure where she belongs – in the art studio or in the streets. And if she does find a way to help the revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: at what cost? 


Yet another new release that reminds me just how far behind I am on some older fantasy series. I really enjoyed Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead but never continued the series. Shame on me, but I still want this new book of his.

Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group’s heart.

Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart.

Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US.

When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts.

Zelda’s getting the band back together—plus Sal’s young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before.

As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It’s not going to be easy, but they’ve faced worse before.

But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone’s hearts.

Fresh from winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Max Gladstone weaves elements of American myth–the muscle car, the open road, the white-hatted cowboy–into a deeply emotional tale where his characters must find their own truths if they are to survive

G: R: MACALLISTER – SCORPICA (February 22nd)

I don’t know, this just sounded cool.

A centuries-long peace is shattered in a matriarchal society when a decade passes without a single girl being born in this sweeping epic fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Circe.

Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.

Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive


Claire Legrand is an author I have been meaning to read more because her Sawkill Girls was different (and better) than I had expected. Epic fantasy trilogies and fairy tale retellings on my TBR aside, this new book looks wonderfully creepy and I want it.

Her name is unimportant.

All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain—an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.

She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.

Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?

This searing and lyrically written novel by the critically acclaimed author of Sawkill Girls beckons readers to follow its fierce heroine into a world filled with secrets and blood—where the truth is buried in lies and a devastating power waits, seething, for someone brave enough to use it.


I have one of these books most months, where I’m not sure if I’m just falling for the hype again or if I am truly excited about it. This could be the exact kind of tropey book I hate or it could turn out to be just my jam. I’ll follow my own advice and wait for reviews by trusted people before I pounce on it.

It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.

But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.

As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .

. . . she is not the hero.


2022 is bringing us quite a few retellings of Asian myths and folklore and I am here for it. This not only looks stunning, it also mentions so many cool things in the synopsis that I’m sure I will like it.

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking… 

News from the blog

I was sick in January, so even though I didn’t work for a week, I also didn’t have much brain power for reading, let alone posting anything here on the blog. It was only a regular cold, but as happens so often in life, when something unexpected happens, something else tends to follow. I don’t want to go into any details (and it’s nothing bad!) but there’s just a lot of stuff I have to do at the moment. Organizing things, making plans, coordinating with others, plus regular fulltime work. So it’s just a lot right now and unfortunately, my reading and blogging has suffered because of that.

What I read last month:

  • Ryka Aoki – Light From Uncommon Stars (7.5/10)
  • R. F. Kuang – The Burning God (8.5/10)
  • C. S. E. Cooney – Dark Breakers (7.5/10) (review to come in February)
  • Katherine Arden – Dead Voices (7.5/10)
  • Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice (re-read) (8/10)
  • Tade Thompson – Far From the Light of Heaven (7/10)

I finished The Burning God and it destroyed me just as expected. As ratings go, January was absolutely brilliant! The books I read were vastly different but all of them were really good, so I can’t complain.

Currently reading:

  • Robert Jordan – The Dragon Reborn
  • Robert Jackson Bennett – City of Stairs
  • Ann Leckie – Ancillary Sword
  • Andy Weir – Project Hail Mary

Can you tell what I’m doing? I felt this strange motivational push at the beginning of the year to finally finish some book series I had started ages ago, so I did a re-read of Ancillary Justice and jumped right into the next book. I’m also finally reading City of Stairs, also with explicit plans to continue the trilogy right away. Wheel of Time is still there, although at this point, I can’t overlook the constant “braid tugging” and the very sluggish pace. I hope this picks up speed and the writing matures a little over the next few books. Maybe it was a mistake to watch the TV show as well… the characters are just soooo much more fleshed-out and believable in the show.

But for now, I hope to finish a book at all and also manage to write a review or two in the next weeks.

Until next month: Stay safe, stay kind, and keep reading. 🙂

The State of SFF – January 2022

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all celebrated safely and responsibly with people you love and are ready for a new year, full of fresh new SFF books, reading challenges, book awards, and readathons.

Quickie News

  • Anne Rice, the author of Interview With a Vampire, among many others, has died at the age of 80.
  • I think a collective cheer went through all sorts of readers when we found out that Madeline Miller, writer of the amazing Song of Achilles and Circe is writing a Persephone story Bring it on! I cannot wait to see this tale unfold in Miller’s capable hands.

The Hugo Award Winners Have Been Announced

Congratulations to the amazing winners (and the other finalists). There were a few surprises and a few, let’s say, rather obvious wins, but I for one am happy about each and every one of them even if my beloved Poppy War and Raybearer didn’t take home a Hugo. Here are some of the e winners. For all the categories as well as detailed voting and nominating statistics, go here.

  • Best Novel: Martha Wells – Network Effect
  • Best Novella: Nghi Vo – The Empress of Salt and Fortune
  • Best Novelette: Sarah Pinsker – Two Truths and a Lie
  • Best Short Story: T. Kingfisher – “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”
  • Best Professional Artist: Rovina Cai
  • Best Series: The Murderbot Diaries
  • Best Graphic Story: Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy – Parable of the Sower
  • Best Related Work: Maria Dahvana Headley – Beowulf: A New Translation
  • Lodestar for Best YA Fiction: T. Kingfisher – A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking

I am also super happy that nerds of a feather and The Coode Street Podcast finally won a Hugo. I’ve been nominating and voting for them for years and they were clearly very happy and gracious winners.

This also marked the first year with a Video Game category and, to my boyfriend’s delight, Hades won the inaugural Hugo award.

Reading Challenges for 2022

If, like me, you just can’t start a new year without at least one year-long reading challenge, here are a few that sound interesting to me and that might tickle you as well:

2022 Adult SFF Backlist Books Challenge

The title tells you what this is all about, but there are also 12 handy prompts – one for each month – plus some recommendations for books that fit each prompt. The prompts are pretty vague (like “Winter” or “Fire”) so you can make most books fit somehow.

Beat the Backlist 2022

It’s back! I did this challenge last year and had fun with it, but it was both a little overwheliming (52 prompts!) and didn’t have enough pressure for me. I know that sounds weird but I never claimed to be normal, so…

Worlds Without End Roll Your Own Reading Challenge

For everyone who wants to create their own challenge or join a bunch of mini-challenges (such as myself), there’s always Worlds Without End. AS I’m writin ghis, it’s still 2021 but you can create your own challenges with your own set of rules, track your books easily and join challenges other users have created. I usually do the LGBTQIA+ challenge, the Authors of Color challenge, the Read the Sequel cahllenge, and the Women of Genre Fiction challenge. You can set the amount of books you want to read for each of these yourself, so it’s not as much reading as it may sound. 🙂

Exciting January Publications

I’m really glad publishing slows down in December and we have a bit of time to catch up on all those books we bought throughout the year.


I am cautiously excited about this debut, part one of a duology based on Indian myths. The cover is certainly stunning.

Magic, a prized resource, is the only thing between peace and war. When magic runs out, four estranged royal siblings must find a new source before their country is swallowed by invading forces. The first in an Indian-inspired duology.

Vira is desperate to get out of her mother’s shadow and establish her legacy as a revered queen of Ashoka. But with the country’s only quarry running out of magic–a precious resource that has kept Ashoka safe from conflict–she can barely protect her citizens from the looming threat of war. And if her enemies discover this, they’ll stop at nothing to seize the last of the magic.

Vira’s only hope is to find a mysterious object of legend: the Ivory Key, rumored to unlock a new source of magic. But in order to infiltrate enemy territory and retrieve it, she must reunite with her siblings, torn apart by the different paths their lives have taken. Each of them has something to gain from finding the Ivory Key–and even more to lose if they fail. Ronak plans to sell it to the highest bidder in exchange for escape from his impending political marriage. Kaleb, falsely accused of assassinating the former maharani needs it to clear his name. And Riya, a runaway who cut all family ties, wants the Key to prove her loyalty to the rebels who want to strip the nobility of its power.

They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harboring secrets and their own agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family–and their world–for good. 


So, Dragon Pearl is no longer quite a standalone Middle Grade space adventure as it will get a companion novel/sequel in 2022. I liked but didn’t love the first book and, honestly, the plot of this new one sounds almost exactly the same, so I may just skip it. Or at least wait to see what other people say about it.

Sebin, a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan, wants nothing more than to join the Thousand World Space Forces and, like their Uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin’s acceptance letter finally arrives, it’s accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently, the captain abandoned his duty to steal a magical artifact, the Dragon Pearl, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero’s name and restore honour to the clan.

Nothing goes according to plan, however. As soon as Sebin arrives for orientation, they are met by a special investigator named Yi and his assistant, a girl named Min. Yi informs Sebin that they must immediately report to the ship Haetae and await further instructions. Sebin finds this highly unusual, but soon all protocol is forgotten when there’s an explosion on the ship, the crew is knocked out, and the communication system goes down. It’s up to Sebin, three other cadets, and Yi and Min to determine who is sabotaging the battlecruiser. When Sebin is suddenly accused of collaborating with the enemy, the cadet realizes that Min is the most dangerous foe of all…


It’s the 7th Wayward Children novella and this time, we’re going to focus on Cora, the character I like the very least out of everyone who has appeared in this series. I hope her story gets resolved in this one and we won’t have to read about her anymore after this. If it were for me, I wouldn’t read this book at all, but I’m sure it will be nominated for a Hugo next year because it’s by Seanan McGuire…

Welcome to the Whitethorn Institute. The first step is always admitting you need help, and you’ve already taken that step by requesting a transfer into our company.

There is another school for children who fall through doors and fall back out again.
It isn’t as friendly as Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.
And it isn’t as safe.

When Eleanor West decided to open her school, her sanctuary, her Home for Wayward Children, she knew from the beginning that there would be children she couldn’t save; when Cora decides she needs a different direction, a different fate, a different prophecy, Miss West reluctantly agrees to transfer her to the other school, where things are run very differently by Whitethorn, the Headmaster.

She will soon discover that not all doors are welcoming…


There are several books inspired by the story of the moon goddess coming out next year. This one happens to have two gorgeous covers, both the US and UK version, and I want to read it very much.

A captivating debut fantasy inspired by the legend of Chang’e, the Chinese moon goddess, in which a young woman’s quest to free her mother pits her against the most powerful immortal in the realm.

Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.

Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.

To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.

Daughter of the Moon Goddess begins an enchanting, romantic duology which weaves ancient Chinese mythology into a sweeping adventure of immortals and magic—where love vies with honor, dreams are fraught with betrayal, and hope emerges triumphant.


This sounds like something I should absolutely love but for some reason, I worry that I might just as likely end up hating this book. It’s just a feeling but I very much hope that this will end up being my jam. Linguistics and magic and a VR game named “Sparkle Dungeon” – how can I resist?

In modern day Los Angeles, a shadowy faction led by the Governor of California develops the arcane art of combat linguistics, planting the seeds of a future totalitarian empire in Scotto Moore’s Battle of the Linguist Mages.

Isobel is the Queen of the medieval rave-themed VR game Sparkle Dungeon. Her prowess in the game makes her an ideal candidate to learn the secrets of “power morphemes”—unnaturally dense units of meaning that warp perception when skilfully pronounced.

But Isobel’s reputation makes her the target of a strange resistance movement led by spellcasting anarchists, who may be the only thing stopping the cabal from toppling California over the edge of a terrible transformation, with forty million lives at stake.

Time is short for Isobel to level up and choose a side—because the cabal has attracted much bigger and weirder enemies than the anarchist resistance, emerging from dark and vicious dimensions of reality and heading straight for planet Earth!


I’ve only read one Kate Elliot book a long time ago and somehow, I feel like I should remedy that. Maybe with this slim novella from

Fellion is a Lamplighter, able to provide illumination through magic. A group of rebel Monarchists free her from indentured servitude and take her on a journey to rescue trapped compatriots from an underground complex of mines.

Along the way they get caught up in a conspiracy to kill the latest royal child and wipe out the Monarchist movement for good.

But Fellion has more than just her Lamplighting skills up her sleeve…

In Kate Elliott’s Servant Mage, a lowly fire mage finds herself entangled in an empire-spanning conspiracy on her way to discovering her true power.


This is my most anticipated release of January! I have read one Akata book, listened to the other and I’m very much thinking about re-listening to both books before diving in to this third volume in the Nsibidi Scripts series. I have adored almost everything Okorafor has written and I have a particularly soft spot in my heart for this series.

From the moment Sunny Nwazue discovered she had magic flowing in her blood, she sought to understand and control her powers. Throughout her adventures in Akata Witch and Akata Warrior, she had to navigate the balance between nearly everything in her life–America and Nigeria, the “normal” world and the one infused with juju, human and spirit, good daughter and powerful Leopard Person.

Now, those hard lessons and abilities are put to the test in a quest so dangerous and fantastical, it would be madness to go…but deadly not to. With the help of her friends, Sunny embarks on a mission to find a precious object hidden deep in a magical realm. Defeating the guardians of the prize will take more from Sunny than she has to give, and triumph will mean she will be forever changed.


Tochi Onyebuchi is an author to watch so I am watching and by watching I mean buying all his books as they come out. This one sounds like the depressing-but-with-a-sliver-of-hope kind of story that I like.

In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege have departed the great cities of the United States for the more comfortable confines of space colonies. Those left behind salvage what they can from the collapsing infrastructure. As they eke out an existence, their neighborhoods are being cannibalized. Brick by brick, their houses are sent to the colonies, what was once a home now a quaint reminder for the colonists of the world that they wrecked.

A primal biblical epic flung into the future, Goliath weaves together disparate narratives—a space-dweller looking at New Haven, Connecticut as a chance to reconnect with his spiraling lover; a group of laborers attempting to renew the promises of Earth’s crumbling cities; a journalist attempting to capture the violence of the streets; a marshal trying to solve a kidnapping—into a richly urgent mosaic about race, class, gentrification, and who is allowed to be the hero of any history.

News from the blog

My December was filled with comfort reads, catching up on new releases and finishing some big books that had accompanied me for a while. Until, at the end, Christmas celebrations, seeing family and friends and all that took over and I didn’t read much at all. And that’s okay.

My last Reading the Hugos post went live in December and that concludes this year’s Hugo reading project. I may be crazy but I’m already looking forward to doing it all over again this year. And if you’re still building your TBR for 2022, my very long list of expected publications is there to inspire you and make your wallet weep.
Also, check out my favorites of the year. Hugo nominating season is coming up again (wink wink, nudge nudge).

What I read last month:

This isn’t much but it was a pretty good month overall. I’m still not quite finished with The Burning God (I’m scared of the ending!!!) and The Wheel of Time continues to be my ever-so-slowly-moving companion. After having watched Season 1 of the TV show, it becomes all the more obvious how much better one could have told that story. Jordan went the most predictable and sometimes even boring route. But I’m going to keep reading to see if sparks will fly between me and these books eventually.

Currently reading:

  • Robert Jordan – The Dragon Reborn
  • R. F. Kuang – The Burning God
  • C. S. E. Cooney – Dark Breakers
  • Ryka Aoki – Light From Uncommon Stars

I’m just finishing one of my two C.S.E. Cooney ARCs and I can already recommend this one for fans of artists and faeries and beautiful prose. I’m listening to Light From Uncomon Stars, a pretty bonkers book that shouldn’t work but somehow does, and the rest is me not wanting to finish because then it will be over (Burning God) and not particularly wanting to continue because it takes ages for something to happen (Dragon Reborn).

Until next month: Stay safe, stay kind, and keep reading. 🙂

The 2021 Hugo Award Winners (And My Thoughts On Them)

The 2021 Hugo Award winners have been announced and there is reason to cheer! I actually managed to watch the livestream which was pushed back from 2am my timezone to 3am my timezone and thus took a lot of willpower on my part! My alarm went off and I had a very serious debate inside of my head on whether to get up and do this thing or just check out who won the next day on Twitter. I’m glad I decided to watch it live, because the ceremony was very nice and you kind of had to be there for the slime mould alone (more on that later). It didn’t all go without technical whoopsies but overall it was quite well done and inclusive.

For all the winners, nomination and voting details go here.

So, on to the winners of my favorite categories, my hopes and predictions and what I think about who ended up with a rocket trophy. Before diving into it, let me say that I am filled with joy, I don’t begrudge anyone their win, I think every winner was absolutely worthy (even if they were not my personal top choice) and that this was a great Hugo Awards year!


I’m grouping these two because they both went to Martha Wells for Network Effect and the Murderbot Diaries respectively. Congratulations!

I adore Murderbot and I am thrilled that it took home an award. Would I have preferred these two awards went to two different works? Yes. Do I understand why Muderbot was such a success last year? Also yes. During a time when we were all dealing with negative feelings, with fear and anxiety, with grief and loss, with isolation and self-centered people, it comes as no surprise that a book and series about an AI with anxiety and social awakwardness that is as heartwarming as it is exciting has touched so many of our hearts. So I am more than happy that Muderbot was recognized in this way, even though I really wanted Best Series to go to The Poppy War which cannot be nominated again (the trilogy being finished), unlike the Murderbot Diaries. But as I will be forever grateful for Murderbot and its adventures, I congratulate Martha Wells. Her acceptance speech was particularly moving and I hope this acclaim convinces her to keep writing and make even more great art.


Hooray, my second favorite novella has won! Congratulations to Nghi Vo and The Empress of Salt and Fortune.

I was hoping so very hard Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark would win because that book was such a great ride with layers upon layers, but Vo’s book was a close second for me and I appreciate what it does in terms of storytelling. I am very happy that Vo won and I hope this finally gives me the push to read something else by this new and exciting author. What surprised me about this category’s final tally was that Riot Baby ended up in last place. That novella didn’t work for me but it seemed to be everyone else’s darling so I expected it to come in as a close second. Apparently, that impression was far off because, well, the votes don’t lie.


This new category gives me lots of joy. Not only did I (and my partner) discover two games through it that we otherwise wouldn’t have tried, but we ended up loving them so much that they got my top two votes. Congratulations to Hades for winning the inaugural Best Video Game Hugo Award!

I expected either Hades of Animal Cossing to win, the first because it is crazy beloved among all sorts of fans, the second because it was everyone’s go-to feelgood game when the pandemic really hit and we all needed something to pick us up and give us hope. I didn’t see my boyfriend much once he started playing Hades but that was okay because I was playing Spiritfarer on the PS4 at the same time. I admit I was unsure about this category but I thought it was handled very well (what with getting a code to try some of the finalist games as part of the voter packet) and being able to play most of them enough to rank them. We’ll see what Best Video Game brings in the future, but for now I am glad we have this category and I am super happy Hades was the first to win it.


I’m grouping these two again because they were won by the same author who proved yet again that she is a pure delight and makes any awards ceremony better simply by being there. Congratulations to T. Kingfisher for A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and “Metal Like Blood in the Dark”.

I had the pleasure of hearing Kingfisher’s acceptance speech in Helsinki in 2017 which was about whale fall. This time, she stayed true to herself and didn’t talk about the book and short story that won either, but rather about slime mould. Yes, that’s right! Everyone who attended or watched the Hugo Awards ceremony online now has some impressive knowlegde about this intriguing organism called slime mould and it makes me love T. Kingfisher all the more. Hers was my favorite short story so I have no complaints there. I did very much want Raybearer to win the Lodestar, especially because Defensive Baking has already won some other awards, but again – it’s understandable that many of us ranked this book high enough to win when sourdough starters gained interest during lockdown, when reading about a decent person trying to do the right thing even when it is hard and winning against the odds – when this book was just pure comfort during a dark time.

My beloved Raybearer sadly came in last and even though Jordan Ifueko will probably never read this, I want her to know that her books are among my favorites and have touched me deeply and given me so much hope during this terrible time.

Both surprising and a little disheartening is the fact that A Deadly Education came in second when it shouldn’t even have been in this category in the first place. It also received some nominations in the Best Novel category, but not nearly enough to make the final ballot. Let me reiterate: I really enjoyed this book! But I sincerely hope that, in the future, authors have the decency to refuse a nomination when it is in the wrong category. You can’t have it both ways. Either write YA and accept the unfortunate stigma that still comes with that (which, btw, we should really work on getting rid of) or write for adults but then remain unable to win awards for YA fiction.
If Naomi Novik had done that, a book that was actually written and published as a YA novel would have made the ballot, and that is When We Were Magic by the amazing Sarah Gailey. Now I adored that book but also find it quite problematic in some ways, but at least it is and always was meant for young readers and thus would have fit perfectly into this category.

The boundaries between YA and adult are blurry and arbitrary, I know. But we do need some kind of boundary to set this category apart from others. I hope that this kind of mishap will stay in the past, that readers and nominators and Hugo Awards administrators will learn from our/their mistakes and make sure this category honors the books and people it was meant to.


This was both a surprise and not a surprise at all. The winner of this category is Parable of the Sower, the Graphic Novel adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s novel by Damian Duffy with art by John Jennings. Congratulations!

Again, my number two spot has taken home the Hugo Award and I am both happy and positively surprised. On the one hand, it is a feat to win against an instalment of Marjorie Lu’s Monstress in any given year, on the other, the events of the past years have drawn more attention to Octavia E. Butler’s amazing body of work. This Graphic Novel adaptation is incredibly well done and it likely helped how pescient Butler’s story is. So considering all that, it isn’t surprising that this book won.
But what is surprising is that it differs so very much from other winners in tone. Where we went with hopeful, heartwarming, feelgood things in many categories, here we embraced the dystopian setting and chose a story that is gruesome and tough to read and where not very many good things happen to good people. But there is that tiny glimmer of hope and sometimes, that’s all it takes.


Yay, this Hugo Award went to the inimitable Rovina Cai and her stunningly beautiful art! Congratulations!

I don’t begrudge John Picacio his 386 Hugo Awards, but it has been getting rather boring, watching him win this category over and over again. You’d get the impression there are no other artists out there who do anything worth mentioning when, in fact, the very opposite is the case. I would have been happy with either Rovina Cai, Tommy Arnold, or Galen Dara winning this year, but Rovina Cai’s art has been more present, at least in my reading (chaper art for Elatsoe, covers for various books I bought, and so on) and I am overjoyed to see her win this one. Her art is beautiful, instantly recognizable and enriches any book that features it.

About Seanan McGuire’s many Hugo nominations

  • In Best Novella, she had the most 1st place votes but ended up in third place overall.
  • In Best Series, she had the second most 1st place votes (which were just a little over half of what Murderbot got so it was not a close race) and ended up in third place overall.
  • In Best Graphic Story, she had the most 1st place votes (albeit only 18 more than Parable of the Sower) and ended up in second place overall.

So the tradition of the past years seems to continue. McGuire has a loyal fan base that will always get her easily onto the final ballot and will just as loyally vote for her as their number one spot, but when all ballots are counted and all voices are heard, her work remains middle-of-the-ballot.

Maybe when the October Daye series ends in a few years, this will give readers a push to finally give the series a Hugo Award or maybe the sequel to her highly successful Middlegame will blow us all away and garner her another Best Novel nomination? Either way, I am sure we will keep seeing McGuire on the ballot in whichever category she has published things. My only hope is that some of those things will grab me enough to vote for them as my 1st choice as well. The McGuire burnout is already knocking on my doors…

Overall, this was a spectacular year of Hugo Awards and I can look back on the SFF works published in 2020 with a big happy smile. My own personal hopes weren’t met perfectly, but enough of my favorites or second-favorites won that I feel joyful, and the favorite works that didn’t win are by authors who are still writing and creating and publishing, so I have high hopes for the future – go Rebecca Kuang, go Jordan Ifueko, go P. Djèlí Clark, I believe in you!
Now, it’s time to catch up on some 2021 publications so we can do this all over next year. I’ll see you then. 🙂

Reading the Hugos 2021: Best Series

I love this category and I hate this category. This year, I was quite lucky in having read at least the first book each in five out of the six series but as we know, the first book isn’t enough to properly judge whether a series/trilogy as a whole should get a Hugo. But with WorldCon being moved to December, this was also the first year where I had enough time to properly catch up and even finish most of the finalists!

You can find my tentative ballots and thoughts on the other finalists here:

I am so glad this category exists even though it makes me gasp at the amount of pages it wants me to read every year. This year was also the first one where I thought a bit more about why this category exists and whether it’s fulfilling its original purpose. Cora Buhlert has some excellent thoughts on this (that’s why she is a finalist for Best Fan Writer) and I absolutely see where she’s coming from.

Best Series is meant for those books/series that usually wouldn’t have a shot at a Best Novel Hugo even though they might be deserving. If you loved the 10th Dresden Files book or the 14th in the October Daye series, it’s unlikely it will become a Best Novel finalist and, even if it did, how many voters unfamiliar with the series would read through the previous 9 (or 13 or however many) instalments to get to this particular one?
But in the Best Series category, you can nominate that series precisely because book 14 was so great. And other people might nominate it based on the instalment they’ve just read – whether that’s book 3 or book 8 – if they think that the series overall is worthy of a Hugo.

But what we’ve seen in the few years since the category has been around is, yes, some long-running series like the ones I described above, but also lots and lots of trilogies, many of which had volumes nominated for Best Novel as well. And look, I myself am guilty of this. I nominated The Winternight Trilogy and I nominated The Murderbot Diaries as series as well as some of their individual instalments for Best Novel. And on the one hand, that’s because I don’t have any super long-running series that I follow (unless you count The Stormlight Archive, which I suspect will unfold its true brilliance once the final book is out and that’s when I plan to nominate it (unless it starts sucking along the way, of course)). On the other hand, I nominated those trilogies because they didn’t manage to get their single volumes onto the Best Novel ballot, so I feel vindicated.

But however you look at this category, it’s an important one that makes the Hugos just a little bit better and more modern and more interesting than they used to be.

The Finalists for Best Series

This category grows on me more each year. Last year, it led me to discover two series (one trilogy, one quartet) that I have since continued because they are really damn good. This year, it forced me to continue lots of series I had already started AND introduced me to a trilogy I would’t have picked up at all if it weren’t for the Hugos but ended up loving.

I think my biggest difficulty in this category is the question whether I should be voting for the series I had most fun reading or the one I think is most accomplished or some mix of both. Maybe I should go for the one where I think it being a series makes it bettern than each of its instalment on its own? Because, let’s face it, the most accomplished is easily The Poppy War Trilogy. It’s ambitious, incredibly well written, and all the more impressive because Kuang is such a young writer. But it’s also super dark and not as easy to digest as, say, a John Scalzi trilogy or a Murderbot book.

I wasn’t that happy about Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Relentless Moon being nominated for both Best Novel and the series for Best Series at first, mostly because the first book already won a Hugo. But the Lady Astronaut series actually did what I wish every series would do. It got bigger and better and more fun along the way. The Calculating Stars deserved its Hugo win and I loved the book by itself, but it was also super uncomfortable to read because it shows just how unfair the world can be. The Fated Sky continues to show what it’s like belonging to a minority (or, you know, being a woman) and all the unpleasantness and injustice that comes with that, but it was also more fun to read. Not everything was always terrible and it focused on space travel and real-world science a bit more. It ended up being my favorite of the series so far. Then I picked up The Relentless Moon, and even though it took me a while to let go of Elma and Mars and instead follow Nicole Wargin on the Moon, I ended up falling completely in love with that book! So yeah, this is a series that gets better and bigger along the way and is thus a perfect finalist in this category.

Murderbot is a similar case but not quite, because this year is the first time that the series has an entry that is a full-length novel. I’d like to think that even if that novel hadn’t come out and Martha Wells had continued writing only novellas, Murderbot would have made the final ballot for Best Series anyway. Here my feelings are almost reversed to The Lady Astronaut series. I feel just slightly less inclined to vote for the Murderbot book in Best Novel because I think the series as a whole is better than the novel on its own. I wouldn’t have loved Network Effect as much if I hadn’t already known Murderbot and its backstory. So if I had my way, Martha Wells would not win the Best Novel category (which is incredibly strong this year) but would win Best Series. Except maybe not this year (I’ll explain why later) but definitely in a few years. We know that Murderbot is here to stay – at least for a few more years – and if the quality of Wells’ writing stays at this level, the series will definitely be nominated again. And I absolutely want it to win a Best Series Hugo because it is deserving and also a perfect example of what I think this Hugo category should be for.

It feels a little unfair for me to even rank the October Daye series at this point because, although I read another instalment this year, I am so far behind that I can’t possibly judge the current state of the series. I have read three out of fourteen (!) volumes and if the other voters nominated it based on the strength of its most current book and not just because they like the author, then I have no way of knowing whether I agree with them. I still enjoy the series – although the first book was the best and they got slightly weaker from there – and I want to continue reading it. I guess it will show up on the ballot again in two years and maybe by then I’ll have caught up a bit more. At the point I am right now, it’s a fun Urban Fantasy series that I enjoy but nowhere close to the other entries on the ballot in terms of originality, quality, or impact on the genre. Maybe that will change as I continue reading and that’s why I feel my ranking may not be very fair but I’m judging as honestly as I can given the books that I have read.

Thanks to this ballot, I finally finished The Daevabad Trilogy and mostly agree with other readers that it’s a great trilogy with a satisfying ending. S. A. Chakraborty is an author I will watch because not only did she write a story about djinn, bringing a refreshing perspective into the fantasy genre, but she also does politics and court intrigue really well. Her writing style is engaging and I enjoyed all three of these books, even if the middle one felt like a filler and the last one was too long and a bit slow for my taste. So here comes the hard part again. My esteem for this trilogy is pretty high and I will pounce on Chakraborty’s next book, whatever it is. But in comparison to some of the other finalists, it didn’t feel as innovative and doesn’t get me equally as excited, and so ends up in the lower area of my ballot.

Damn you, Scalzi, I thought it was a safe bet that I could put The Interdependence Trilogy safely in the lower half of my ballot. And then you go out and write three books that are fun, exciting, finished way too quickly, and make me want to read more of the same. This trilogy was the only one I hadn’t even tried prior to the finalists being announced and I didn’t have high expectations. And look, this may deal with a galaxy-spanning empire but it’s not exactly deep. Which doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, this may have been my favorite of the ballot when it comes to pure enjoyment. I can totally see myself re-reading it when I need something exciting that makes me laugh out loud, cheer on the good guys and cackle when the bad guys get what they have coming. Granted, it can’t keep up with some of the other finalists in terms of scope or ambition, but it has great ideas, highly engaging writing, and it gave me several hours of pure fun! Plus, Kiva Lagos and her filthy mouth are everything!

The last series I tackled for this year’s ballot was The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang. I had read the first book when it came out, was deeply impressed but not very hyped to read the next book – not because I didn’t like it but because it gets so very dark! So I did a re-read to refresh my memory this year and then went on to read the whole story in one swoop. It was both rewarding and terrible because my already very insecure ballot got mixed up even more. I mean, how could I not put this in my number one spot? The first book was even better on a re-read and that doesn’t happen often! The second book upped the stakes, didn’t feel like a middle book at all, and ripped out my heart several times over.
How can an author so young write a debut that is this brilliant? And as if it’s not enough that the writing is amazing, the characters multi-layered and difficult, but it’s also got rich world building, is inspired by real historical events, explores dark and important themes, and pushes the boundaries of the genre. I didn’t finish the third book before the voting period ended (I read it very slowly because (1) I was scared of the ending and (2) I didn’t want it to end), but I was certain that Kuang would deliver a bombastic end to her trilogy and deserves my top spot.

My ballot:

  1. The Poppy War
  2. The Lady Astronaut
  3. The Murderbot Diaries
  4. The Interdependency
  5. The Daevabad Trilogy
  6. The October Daye Series

Voting is now over but here are my thoughts from just before I finished up my ballot:

Okay, so a lot of this ballot is a mess and I have no idea how to rank these and not feel shitty about it. The Poppy War will stay on top, that much is certain. No matter how I twist and turn it, there is simply no way I can justify putting it any lower.
My bottom two series will stay where they are as well even though I might still swap them. Spots 2 through 4 are giving me a headache of epic proportions, however. I think I like Murderbot more than the Lady Astronaut, but here’s where my brain goes into strategic mode. I really, really, really want The Poppy War to win and I think Murderbot is its strongest contender, so by raking Murderbot one lower than I normally would, can I give The Poppy War a slight edge? I also want Murderbot to win but that series is still ongoing, unlike The Poppy War which has its last chance of winning this year. And since none of the individual novels won (which is a shame), I want it to win Best Series even more.

I realize that this approach may not be how other people vote (and that’s fine) but this ballot is so hard to rank that this is the only way I feel halfway comfortable with. All of that said, I will be more than happy if Murderbot or The Lady Astronaut series win this year. R. F. Kuang will likely write another masterpiece and let us shower her with Hugos sooner or later.

That’s it folks!
I didn’t get to the Astounding Award this year. I probably could have managed it but I honestly felt a little burned out on reading so many books because I “had to” (you know what I mean). I’m currently reading by mood and enjoying the hell out of it. But I’m not going to lie, I already look forward to doing this craziness all over again next year. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this series of posts. Now let’s all be excited for the awards ceremony and cheer on those finalists!

The State of SFF – December 2021

The end of the year approaches and that means, for the very first time, it’s Hugo Awards season in winter.

Some quick life news because Covid is hitting hard again this winter (mostly unvaccinated folks), I got my booster shot and my partner is getting his in early December. Austria is currently dealing with the most cases per capita in the world, hospitals are starting triage because there is no more space for all the patients and even fucking cancer operations had to be postponed to accomodate unvaccinated Covid-patients. 😦

If you’re reading this and haven’t been vaccinated yet, please, please do so. Nobody is going to be angry with you for changing your mind, nobody is going to look down on you! Please make sure to protect yourself and others from this deadly disease and, by extension, from dying from other, preventable causes. (/end covid talk)

Quickie News

  • The second season of The Witcher is coming to Netflix on December 17th and I’m preparing all the coins to toss at my TV.
  • Holy shit, episode 4 of The Wheel of Time kicked ass! This isn’t news, I just needed to express my love for the episode somewhere. Goosebumps, I tell you.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles are being adapted by Disney+ so we have yet another SFF series to look forward to. Bring them on, I say!
  • And there is talk that Amazon wants to make a Mass Effect TV show. If that happens, it will be a while, what with the Wheel of Time ongoing and Lord of the Rings coming next year. But it’s always good to have something to look forward to.

The World Fantasy Awards Have Been Announced

I am so happy that Alaya Dawn Johnson has won the award for Best Novel! Congratulations to all the winners in the various categories. Here are some of them:

  • Best Novel: Alaya Dawn Johnson – Trouble the Saints
  • Best Novella: Tochi Onyebuchi – Riot Baby
  • Best Short Fiction: Celeste Rita Baker – “Glass Bottle Dancer”
  • Best Artist: Rovina Cai
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm and Howard Waldrop

I have read quite a few Robin Hobb books and she remains one of my favorite fantasy authors to this day so I’m thrilled her work was honored this way. I have enjoyed Rovina Cai‘s covers and illustrations whenever I came across them (and I adore her style), I read Riot Baby and I have read Alaya Dawn Johnson before, although Trouble the Saints is still on my TBR. In fact, it’s on my still-to-read-in-2021 list. I had planned to read it during the Magical Readathon but you know how these things go. Now I’m all the more excited to dive into the book!

The Hugo Awards Ceremony Is Coming

I think this might be the most exciting year of Hugo Awards for me ever. Not only did I vote (again) but my favorite categories are particularly strong this year. It’s almost a guarantee that I’ll be happy with the winners because all of the finalists are so good! Additionally, with the Hugos having been pushed to December instead of August, there was a lot more time to read all those finalists.

It’s all going to happen on December 18th, at 8pm EST (that’s 2am for me) and if there is a livestream I will watch it as it happens and cheer on my favorites with as much enthusiasn as I can muster at that time of night.

It may not be the same as being in the same room with the finalists but, hey, at least I can wear pyjamas and nobody will judge me for it. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Is Over, Long Live NaNoWriMo

You guys, I did it! I participated in NaNoWriMo. Sat down on November 1st with a blank page and an equally blank mind and just started writing whatever the hell came to my mind. What I ended up with is an absolute mess with no structure, barely any plot, and a lot of notes to “add this later” but I have to admit, the experience was fun!

Don’t expect the Next Great Novel (or indeed any novel) from me, but despite it being super annoying at times, this experience was also quite rewarding. And who knows, maybe when I come back to this jumble of words I’ve created, I’ll actually be able to add a plot and then it might just grow up to be a proper book.

Exciting December Publications

I’m really glad publishing slows down in December and we have a bit of time to catch up on all those books we bought throughout the year.


Lalala, I’m not reading the synopsis because this is book 3 in the Dandelion Dynasty series by Ken Liu and I haven’t even started reading that one yet. But fans can rejoce, because this book is about 1000 pages thick.

With the invasion of Dara complete, and the Wall of Storms breached, the world has opened to new possibilities for the gods and peoples of both empires as the sweeping saga of the award-winning Dandelion Dynasty continues in this third book of the “magnificent fantasy epic” (NPR).

Princess Théra, once known as Empress Üna of Dara, entrusted the throne to her younger brother in order to journey to Ukyu-Gondé to war with the Lyucu. She has crossed the fabled Wall of Storms with a fleet of advanced warships and ten thousand people. Beset by adversity, Théra and her most trusted companions attempt to overcome every challenge by doing the most interesting thing. But is not letting the past dictate the present always possible or even desirable?

In Dara, the Lyucu leadership as well as the surviving Dandelion Court bristle with rivalries as currents of power surge and ebb and perspectives spin and shift. Here, parents and children, teachers and students, Empress and Pékyu, all nurture the seeds of plans that will take years to bloom. Will tradition yield to new justifications for power?

Everywhere, the spirit of innovation dances like dandelion seeds on the wind, and the commoners, the forgotten, the ignored begin to engineer new solutions for a new age.

Ken Liu returns to the series that draws from a tradition of the great epics of our history from the Aeneid to the Romance on the Three Kingdoms and builds a new tale unsurpassed in its scope and ambition


I stumbled across this striking cover, read the description and am now intrigued. Time travel, hard sci-fi and lots of physics? Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Plus, a Netflix adaptation already appears to be in the works.

If you had the chance to change your future, would you take it?

Perfect for fans of Neal Shusterman and Jason Reynolds, this powerhouse, mind-bending YA debut follows two teens, a generation apart, whose fates collide across time–and outside of it.


During arguably the worst week of Esso’s life, an accident knocks him into an incredible world–a place beyond space or time, where he can see glimpses of the past and future. But if what he sees there is true, he might not have much longer to live, unless he can use his new gift to change the course of history.


Rhia’s past is filled with questions, none of which she expects a new physics tutor to answer. But Dr. Esso’s not here to help Rhia. He’s here because he needs her help–to unravel a tragedy that happened fifteen years ago. One that holds the key not only to Rhia’s past, but to a future worth fighting for.

Soon to be a major Netflix movie starring Oscar-nominated Daniel Kaluuya!

M. A. CARRICK – THE LIAR’S KNOT (December 9th)

Another sequel to a book I haen’t read yet but am super excited for. I am determined to read The Mask of Mirrors, the first book in the Rook & Rose series, next year. It sounds like excellent fun.

Trust is the thread that binds us . . . and the rope that hangs us.

In Nadezra, peace is as tenuous as a single thread. The ruthless House Indestor has been destroyed, but darkness still weaves through the city’s filthy back alleys and jewel-bright gardens, seen by those who know where to look.

Derossi Vargo has always known. He has sacrificed more than anyone imagines to carve himself a position of power among the nobility, hiding a will of steel behind a velvet smile. He’ll be damned if he lets anyone threaten what he’s built.

Grey Serrado knows all too well. Bent under the yoke of too many burdens, he fights to protect the city’s most vulnerable. Sooner or later, that fight will demand more than he can give.

And Ren, daughter of no clan, knows best of all. Caught in a knot of lies, torn between her heritage and her aristocratic masquerade, she relies on her gift for reading pattern to survive. And it shows her the web of corruption that traps her city.

But all three have yet to discover just how far that web stretches. And in the end, it will take more than knives to cut themselves free…


This is the third of Sanderson’s Skyward novellas which he co-wrote with Janci Patterson. The first two are supposed to be read before and this third one after Cytonic, the third full novel in Sanderson’s YA series. I’m saving them all up and shall read them in the author’s suggested order but probably only next year.

From #1 bestselling author Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson comes the final of three Skyward series novellas, each told from the perspective of a different member of the team back on Detritus. Listen to Jorgen’s story along with Cytonic.

With the government of Detritus in disarray because of Superiority treachery, and with Spensa still away on her mission in the Nowhere, Jorgen must work together with the alien Alanik to pick up the pieces. They intercept a strange transmission from the planet Evershore and its Kitsen inhabitants, who say they have some of Jorgen’s people and want to return them—but can the Kitsen be trusted? And can Jorgen learn to master his increasingly erratic cytonic powers before they spiral out of control and destroy all hope of forming an alliance against the Superiority?

News from the blog

I was so productive in November! Seriously, I have to pat myself on the back here because usually, when I start a project or set myself a goal, I tend to aim too high, lose steam and eventually it all just fizzles out. Not so this November. I participated in NaNoWriMo and actually sat down to write on most days, I continued my running training which means going for a run 3-4 times a week, regardless of the weather and my mood (spoiler: my mood always imrpoves dramatically after I went for a run). I got my Covid booster and a flu shot. And I kept reading through my planned TBR, albeit a bit more slowly than I had hoped.
As for this blog, thank the blogging gods for pre-scheduled posts because that’s the one aspect where I didn’t do much. But with my ARC reviews and Reading the Hugos posts already planned, I hope you didn’t notice my absence. You can find those here:

I’ll post one more Reading the Hugos post in December (Best Series is coming!) but then I’m calling it quits for the year. I had planned to read the Astounding finalists as well but I just don’t have the energy anymore. I’d like to spend the rest of the year reading without pressure, picking up whatever I feel like without thinking about awards or lists. And then in January, I can go into full list-making mode with fresh energy and motivation.

What I read last month:

I read a lot of BIG books in November and for a while it felt like I didn’t get on with my TBR at all. If you have only books between 600 and 1200 pages each on your currently reading pile, progress can feel slow and motivation can droop a bit. Especially when the latest Stormlight book doesn’t quite live up to expectations.

Currently reading:

  • Brandon Sanderson – Rhythm of War
  • R. F. Kuang – The Burning God
  • Robert Jordan – The Dragon Reborn
  • Margaret Owen – Little Thieves
  • Maggie Stiefvater – The Scorpio Races (re-read)

The big books won’t leave me alone, it appears. I’m getting close to the end of Rhythm of War and while it’s good (it’s Sanderson, after all), I’m nowhere near as into it as I was with the first Stormlight books. I’m drawing out The Burning God because I know it will break my heart and I’m scared.
The third Wheel of Time book offers an interesting start but my motivation mostly stems from the TV show and the way it depicts the characters much more interestingly. I’m still planning to continue reading the books.
Margaret Owen’s Little Thieves is the slightly less big (still 500+ pages) balm that my soul was yearning for. It’s fun and quirky, the protagonist is morally gray but sympathetic and the world feels rich and original without losing its fairy tale inspiration. A third of the way through, I am loving it!
Another comfort read, or in this case, comfort listen, is Maggie Stiefvater’s Scorpio Races which I’ve been wanting to revisit ever since I read it a few years ago. It’s wonderful to be back with those killer horses on the island of Thisby.

Until next year (!): Stay safe, stay kind, and keep reading. 🙂

Reading the Hugos 2021: Best Novel

Once again, we have reached the Big One. The Hugo Award for Best Novel.

You can find my tentative ballots and thoughts on the other finalists here:

This year, I had only read three out of the six finalists, although two of the unread ones were already on my TBR. The sixth was a book I wouldn’t have read if it hadn’t been nominated. And that just goes to show how valuable the Hugo Awards are because I ended up ranking that book pretty damn high for something I wasn’t even interested in…

2020 was an insanely good year for SFF publishing. The finalists could have included 15 additional novels and it would still have been a fantastic ballot. Seriously, this was the first time I felt bad because I had to leave several worthy books off my nominations ballot as only five works can be nominated. Now as for ranking the ones that made it… oh boy.

The Finalists for Best Novel

When the finalists came out, I thought I had them all figured out. I expected to hate Harrow the Ninth, I may have loved Piranesi but it doesn’t feel like a Hugo book to me, and Network Effect has now won both a Nebula and a Locus, so I could rank it a bit lower without feeling bad. Roanhorse and Kowal were the big unknowns for me. But then Harrow turned out to really get its hooks into me, Black Sun – although it can’t stand on its own and reads more like half a novel – impressed me enough to keep floating around in my mind and all of that just leaves me stumped. I can’t possible compare these books, much less rank them!

Nobody is more surprised than I am at Harrow the Ninth turning me into a fan. A reluctant one, sure, but a fan, nonetheless. I still don’t like Muir’s writing style, I don’t see its merit for the story and/or characters, and I simply don’t enjoy reading it. BUT. Pretty much everything else about Harrow the Ninth was super fun. The crazy magic system, the puzzling nature of everything in this book, how nothing makes sense until it suddenly does… I even got quite emotional at times and that’s something that was completely missing in Gideon for me. Reading this book felt like work a lot of the time and it made me shout “What the hell is going on?” many, many times, but I keep thinking about it, I keep making up theories, I keep wishing for the next book to come out soon because I have to know how it all ends. And that’s just amazing to me and pushed this book up on my ballot.

With Network Effect, I’m taking an approach that not everyone may agree on. I adore Murderbot as much as the next person and I was very fond of this full-length novel in a series otherwise comprised of novellas. I nominated it myself and it would originally have ended up as number 2 on my ballot. But – and here’s my controversial voting strategy – I would much rather see Murderbot win Best Series because I think the series as a whole is better than its individual instalments and also more than just the novel on its own. I mean, the novel won a Nebula and a Locus Award, both absolutely deserved, but it makes me kind of want the Hugo to go to another book. 2020 was such a great year for SFF and the awards scene shouldn’t make it look like Network Effect was the one and only great book we got. So yeah, these are the reasons why I’m ranking this brilliant, heartwarming, action-packed book that I loved, quite low on my ballot.

N. K. Jemisin may feel like a similar case. After doing what nobody has done before and taking home three consecutive Hugos for her Broken Earth Trilogy, it would feel a bit… repetitive to give her another Hugo. But then The City We Became is going in a completely different direction, showing her amazing genre-busting skill. It was the first 2020 publication I knew I would nominate and it feels like it should be number 1 on my ballot. My opinion of it is colored by the amazing audiobook version which turned the book into a proper event. Out of all the books on the ballot, I read this one the longest time ago, and yet I still remember certain scenes vividly, I still have the character voices in my head, and I still loved the story arc. So it has to go in my top three at least, but maybe not in the number one spot anymore?

Rebecca Roanhorse’s new series starter, Black Sun, didn’t impress me all that much while I read it. Most people unabashedly love this book and I found it fun to read as well. I liked the characters, I loved the world building and the set up, but I found the story quite predictable and derivative. You could tell where each story line would go from the very beginning, so, much like her Urban Fantasy, the only thing that set this apart from other stereotypical books of that sub-genre, was the setting and the character diversity. As these are two things I value greatly, I believe we can commend Roanhorse, but does that make her novel worthy of an award? Add to that the fact that Black Sun isn’t even the kind of trilogy opener that tells a full story and only leaves a handful of questions open, no no, it actually just stops mid-tale. If I didn’t know there were more books coming, I would be majorly pissed that this is how the book ends. Because it doesn’t, it just pauses. To me, this makes it a much more fitting contender for the Best Series category (depending on how good the sequels are, of course). I will be reading the next book and I look forward to it. But I don’t believe that Black Sun has enough to offer to merit a Hugo Award.

My last read was The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal because I first had to catch up on the second book in the Lady Astronaut series. In hindsight, I regret not reading it sooner because I would have nominated that for a Hugo last year! Now this third book took me a while to get into, mostly because of the change in protagonist, but then Kowal worked her magic again and I was caught in the world of scientists and astronauts, of a sabotage plot with a hint of spy mystery, of deeply human characters with believable relationship. And I ended up loving it so much! This book is making voting harder not just in this category but also in Best Series. Because the series is getting better and even though you can read the books as standalones, it’s so much more than the sum of its parts when you follow the series as a whole.

My ballot (probably)

  1. Mary Robinette Kowal – The Relentless Moon
  2. Tamsyn Muir – Harrow the Ninth
  3. N. K. Jemisin – The City We Became
  4. Susanna Clarke – Piranesi
  5. Martha Wells – Network Effect
  6. Rebecca Roanhorse – Black Sun

Maaaaaan, this is a difficult year! I don’t think I’ve ever had such trouble ranking the Best Novel finalists. The only book I’m sure about is Black Sun in my last spot (again, not because it was bad, but the other stuff is just better). I’ll probably also keep Network Effect at number five because it’s already won so much and I’m ranking Murderbot higher up on my Best Series ballot.

But 1-4 are a complete mess that I have changed about fifty times by now and I’m never quite happy with my ranking. I’ve been debating putting Harrow first but then Jemisin’s newest book was so much nicer to read and Kowal’s Relentless Moon hit me really hard emotionally… And Piranesi was brilliant even if I think it’s not a typical Hugo book. So you see, the ballot I’m posting here could stay the same or it could change a hundred more times before the voting period ends. Your guess is a good as mine.

The great thing about this is: I would be happy for any of my top 5 books to receive the Hugo Award. As much as I complain about difficult choices and rankings and blah blah blah, it’s a truly wonderful year when we can’t decide what should win because everything is so damn good.

Up next week: Best Series

Reading the Hugos 2021: Lodestar (Not-a-Hugo)

It has taken us way too long to finally create a (not-a-) Hugo Award for YA fiction! Sure, technically YA or MG novels could have been nominated in the Best Novel category but that has happened rarely with even fewer wins (one for Harry Potter, one for Gaiman’s Graveyard Book). Plus, there is so much great stuff being published that having six finalists just means more fun and reading goodness for everyone.

You can find my tentative ballots and thoughts on the other finalists here:

This may have been the category I was most excited for because although I had already read half of the finalists, the other three were all high up on my to read list. Hearing nothing but good things about them may have helped.

The Finalists for the Lodestar

First things first, this is a great ballot with not a single bad book on it. It’s also impressively diverse! Not only are authors of all sorts of different backgrounds represented, but the stories range from contemporary fantasy in a college setting to secondary world fantasy to a parallel Earth inspired by Lipan Apache myths… The characters are also vastly different from each other. I really appreciate this mix and the many perspectives I got to experience while reading through the ballot.

The one book I nominated in this category and still my absolute dear-to-my-heart favorite is Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. Man, did I fall for that book. I didn’t even expect to love it so much when I picked it up, I just thought it would be a nice story with an enemies to lovers trope in an African-inspired fantasy world. But once I started reading, it turned into an all-the-feels kind of novel that offered impressive characters and world building and had a lot of fun playing with tropes and turning them on their head. None of the tropey things I was expecting came to pass exactly as I expected them. Either they didn’t happen at all or they were twisted around to form something completely new and beautiful. I adored Tarisai, I adored many of the side characters, the found family, the super high save-the-world stakes and that ending! I actually re-read it before finishing the duology with Redemptor and it holds up on a second read as well.

T. Kingfisher‘s books are always, always fun and A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking was no exception. In fact, I felt that it was even better than last year’s finalist Minor Mage. Kingfisher’s humor really works for me and if a sourdough starter named Bob or a teenage girl whose magical abilities only work on bread don’t make you giggle, then I don’t know what to tell you. Young magical baker Mona discovers a dead body in her aunt’s bakery and then stumbles into an adventure that grows bigger the more you read. It is a super funny book that has serious moments as well. Mona is a great protagonist who knows what’s right and important and who I fell in love with so much I wanted to hug her. And then Kingfisher managed to deliver a pretty epic ending that got me all choked up.

A big surprise for me was Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Not that the book didn’t sound interesting – it did! – but I liked it despite the fact that the mystery was super obvious and I had it completely figured out by the middle of the book. Normally, that takes out a lot of fun for me, but in this case, I didn’t mind. Because while the murder mystery is interesting, it’s not what makes this book great. With a trans boy as a protagonist, a dead gay ghost, a vegan witch with pink hair, and a lot of heart, this story was great even without the twist being in any way shocking or surprising. Yadriel’s everyday life was fun enough to follow. His family doesn’t quite understand how to handle him being trans, his Latinx grandmother cooks way too much (oh, that food sounded so delicious!), the other brujxs don’t treat him like he really belongs… and then there’s this boy that makes him feel all warm inside. Aiden Thomas definitely did something right in this book because I adored every page and it made me immediately want to pick up another book by this author.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn I was very unsure about. It has a cool cover, but King Arthur was never something I particularly gravitated toward and so I didn’t think a modern twist on Arthurian Legend could interest me. But again, this book has a lot more to offer than just that. In fact, some of the most interesting aspects didn’t have to do with King Arthur at all. This is about dealing with grief, trusting people, making new friends in a strange and new environment (in this case: college) and, of course, fighting monsters and doing magic, because that’s how we roll at the Hugo Awards.
I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with the magic system or the way Arthurian Legend was incorporated into the story but I just had so much fun reading it. I even liked the romance and how some side characters could surprise me after I had made my mind up about them. It wasn’t my favorite book but I liked it well enough and I will read more by Tracy Deonn. Probably even the sequel to this book.

The one book I expected to love but ended up feeling mostly indifferent about was Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. This promised to have everything I love. An Earth that is almost but not quite like ours because it has magic, mythology that is real, Lipan Apache myths (which are new to me so I was excited), and a murder mystery. Add to that illustrations by the amazing Rovina Cai and you have a recipe for a new Dina’s favorite. But just like some books can positively surprise you, the opposite can also happen.
Not that I hated this book, not at all. It was nice enough, but it never really touched me. It started with the protagonists reading like 12-year-olds instead of the 17-year-olds they were supposed to be. There was such a disconnect between what I was told and what I actually saw happening on the page that I couldn’t properly connect with Ellie. I also really liked the myths that were woven into the story but the way it was done felt clumsy in retrospect. My favorite part was the murder mystery, the way it gets solved, and especially how clever the killer is (nobody likes a stupid villain, the smart ones are way more interesting). However, as it was all written in this cutesy, rather childish way, this book simply can’t keep up with the competition.

Lastly, A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik was a book I probably enjoyed more than many other people, at least judging from reviews I’ve read. Although this book has many flaws, it was kind of fun. I still don’t know how to explain it. There is very little plot, the world building is done in strange ways – too many info dumps at first but leaving out many super important bits – and the characters aren’t exactly perfect. I feel like I shouldn’t have liked this book but for some reason I just did. I plan to read the sequel and hope that this gives me more clarity. However, I won’t consider this book for the Lodestar ballot. You can find my reasons below.

My ballot (probably)

  1. Raybearer
  2. A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking
  3. Cemetery Boys
  4. Legendborn
  5. Elatsoe
  6. A Deadly Education

A Deadly Education was not the least enjoyable book of this bunch and it isn’t unworthy of an award in general. It is, however, unworthy of an award for YA/MG fiction, especially when it was on the shortlist for the Alex Award which specifically awards adult books with a crossover appeal to a younger audience. ADULT books. Those are not what this category is for, those go in Best Novel if they get enough nominations or Best Series if they’re part of a well-loved series.
And the thing is, Naomi Novik is well-established, she has previously been nominated in Best Novel, she won a Nebula. She’s the only really big name on this ballot and doesn’t need the awards boost. Her books sell just fine.
Whether you think it’s in bad taste that she even accepted the nomination or the Hugo administrators should have caught the fact that this is an adult book in a YA category, I definitely feel that it shouldn’t win a Lodestar. That’s just not the right award for this book. So while I technically enjoyed reading it and would have ranked it differently had it been in the correct category, I am leaving it off my ballot completely.

I love the Lodestar and I’m so happy we finally have a YA/MG category in the Hugo Awards, so I really, really don’t want to see adult books take up the space meant for those books just because they technically can be read by a younger audience. This category was hard won and I mean to defend it!

When it comes to my ballot, I am firm on my first and last places. After T. Kingfisher’s Andre Norton AND Locus YA win for Defensive Baking I am debating ranking her book a bit lower. While I am super happy for her and have wanted her to win for years, I just loved Raybearer so much! Now that Kingfisher already has two awards for her book, I feel like Jordan Ifueko or someone else should get this one. At least in my head, that’s the dream outcome.
That said, I would be happy for either of my top books to take home the Lodestar. Sure, my hope is All The Awards for Raybearer but the Hugos are a democracy after all and we’ll see how my fellow voters decide.

Up next week: Best Novel

Reading the Hugos 2021: Best Graphic Story

I love Graphic Novels but I rarely know where to discover cool new ones to follow. Enter the Hugo Awards and the wonderful WorldCon members who are more knowledgeable in the field than I am and nominate great stuff every year.

You can find my tentative ballots and thoughts on the other finalists here:

I have to say I felt pretty caught up this year. With two series ending last year, it was time for something new to show up on the ballot. And as expected, we have two sequels to previous finalists, a sequel to a graphic novel I’ve actually discovered all by myself and loved, volume 1 of something new (but written by a previous Hugo finalist) and an adaptation of a novel that I had previously read.

I was super excited to start reading this category. Not only was I looking forward to the sequels to stories I already liked, but the mixture of different styles, stories, and artists makes this a wonderful and varied ballot.

The Finalists for Best Graphic Story

  • Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans – DIE Volume 2: Split the Party
  • Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda – Monstress vol. 5: Warchild
  • G. Willow Wilson, Christian Ward – Invisible Kingdom vol. 2: Edge of Everything
  • Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora – Once & Future vol. 1: The King is Undead
  • Octavia Butler, Damian Duffy, John Jennings – Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation
  • Seanan McGuire, Takeshi Miyazawa – Ghost-Spider vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over

What an exciting ballot with a lot of newer series rather than just the next instalment in the ones that always get nominated. Of course the ones that always get nominated are there for a reason – they happen to be really good – but it does get a bit boring, reading the newest volume in the same series every year. With The Wicked + the Divine and Paper Girls finished, the only longer running series on the ballot is Monstress and I suspect it will keep coming back until it is finished as well.

Kind of a series starter but also not really is Ghost-Spider vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over by Seanan McGuire. Because on the one hand, this is volume 1 of the Ghost-Spider series but it heavily references events that happened in the comics that came before. Those were named Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider... It’s all quite confusing but you don’t need to read those in order to understand and enjoy Ghost-Spider vol. 1. It’s about Gwen Stacey and her inter-dimensional academic pursuits. Her identity as Ghost-Spider is well known in her own universe, but thank the multiverse, there are others where she can live and study in blissful anonymity. There’s even a Peter Parker over there, although quite a bit older than her Peter Parker. Gwen goes to college, makes some friends, there’s an evil scientist dude trying to catch her and so the adventure begins. And that’s really all there is to it. The dialogue is snappy, I loved the artwork, but storywise, this was a generic beginning for a generic comic book adventure. I had a lot of fun reading it, but I don’t think there’s anything special about it.

I liked the first volume of DIE last year except for some pacing and character development issues. Those issues remain for volume 2: Split the Party and the pacing problems actually get worse. I didn’t re-read the first volume and that may have been my mistake (although other comic series manage catching readers up on what happened previously just fine so I shouldn’t have to re-read). I remembered very little of who everyone was, except for Ash, and simply dove into the story. Gillen tried to show more of each character in this volume but that only means that each issue sort of focuses on one of them without ever really letting us get to know or care about them. I appreciated some of their stories, I loved the artwork, but just like last time, I didn’t really feel close to any character and I wasn’t invested in their fates. Add to that the wonky pacing and even Charlotte Bronte can’t save you. It was okay but not great.

The other Kieron Gillen comic on the ballot marks the beginning of a new series and the graphic novel entry for what seems to be a current Arthuriana hype in SFF. Once and Future Volume 1: The King is Undead is clearly written by the same guy who wrote DIE, not because it’s in any way similar in plot or characters but because the pacing is all over the place. A slow intro (which I enjoyed) then leads to events overtaking each other, up to the point where it becomes ridiculous.
The idea itself is a cool one – resurrecting King Arthur but as a zombie and with all sorts of crazy magic – and I really liked the characters. Shy, single protagonist dude, the accidentally-dragged-into-the-story love interest, and most of all, the grandma. 🙂 As you can tell, I don’t actually remember anyone’s names but that grandma kicked serious butt and I would gladly follow her story for longer.

Just as expected, Parable of the Sower was phenomenal. It’s not that hard when you consider the novel it’s adapted from was brilliant. But adapting into a graphic novel takes more than just picking out the most important plot beats and having someone draw pictures. Damian Duffy got things incredibly right in this adaptation with the very rare jarring pacing jump. Mostly, the novel flows well, creates an immersive and terrifying world, and characters you’ll remember for a long time. I was stunned at how absorbed I got reading this, seeing as I had read the novel not that long ago and thus knew all the twists and turns this story would take. The artwork is not beautiful as such, if you want pictures that look pretty, but it works so well in conveying the tone and the raw world of this story. It shouldn’t look pretty!

This fifth volume of Monstress was probably my favorite so far. I’m still not as hyped about this series as many other people seem to be but it is consistently good, the artwork is always stunning, and the story is full of darkness but always with glimpses of hope. In this part, we live through a siege, and watch our protagonsit pretend not to care about individual people but then totally go out of her way to make sure those individual people survive. It’s heartwarming, if you can say that about a story set during a brutal war…

Invisible Kingdom is the book I was happiest to see on the short list. I had read the first part last year and liked it so much that I decided I had to continue the series and now the middle volume of only three (that’s right, folks, this trilogy is concluded) is nominated for a Hugo. As I adored every single page, the way the characters grew and developed, the romance I had been hoping for, the world building that became even better, and the gorgeous art with its rather unique and bright colors, this goes easily to my number one spot. It may not be as important a work as Octavia Butler’s story but damn if it didn’t get me the most invested and excited for the third volume.

My ballot (probably)

  1. Invisible Kingdom Volume 2: Edge of Everything
  2. Parable of the Sower
  3. Monstress Volume 5: Warchild
  4. Once and Future Volume 1: The King is Undead
  5. Ghost-Spider Volume 1: Dog Days Are Over
  6. Die Volume 2: Split the Party

Up next week: The Lodestar