Our first official Book Club review post! Yes, we originally said we will be putting those up at the end of the month, but then realised people can take the whole month to read! So it only makes sense to talk about the book after said month is finished. Which is why we’re here in the middle of September.
As a reminder, our September Book is Orientation by Gregory Ashe & you can find the TWs for it on our twitter (there are a few, yeah). We also want to hold a little chat on twitter close to the end of September or maybe in the first days of October. Just some questions about the book, so we can all actually talk. Hopefully you guys will want to participate!
But anyway, here’s our reviews of last month’s book!
Sing the Four Quarters
Rep: bi mc, lesbian li
To call the kigh was the height of bard’s magic. Only those born with the gift could learn to Sing these spirits of earth, air, fire and water into doing their bidding, and even someone as gifted as the Princess Annice must spend years studying at the Bardic Hall to truly master the Art. And for Annice, one of those rare talents able to Sing the elemental spirits from each of the four quarters, the call of magic was too strong to be denied, even if it meant renouncing her royal blood and privileges.
But Annice might have made a different choice if she could have foreseen that ten years after she’d transferred her life and loyalties from the Royal Palace to the Bardic Hall, she’d find herself fleeing from the King’s Guards. For Annice was twice guilty of treason, first for imperiling the order of succession by becoming pregnant, and second for aiding the father of her unborn child, the Duc of Ohrid, to escape the palace dungeons and the sentence of death hanging over his head.
Now the fugitives’ only hope lay in tracking down and bringing to justice the enemy who’d masterminded the Duc’s downfall, a dangerous foe who had found a way to tie lies and truths together into a knot even the most powerful of Bardic spells could not unravel…
Rating: 4/5 🌈
There’s something to be said for the kind of understated fantasy that this book is. The conflict here primarily revolves around family. Yes, there is a subplot regarding a battle between two countries, but it’s mostly about family. And understated fantasy books about family like this are my favourites. Sure, big bombastic fantasies are great, but there’s something more you get with understatement.
And because it’s more understated, I guess I felt more of a connection with the characters. I don’t know how best to explain it really. I think it comes down to this: it’s a more character-driven fantasy, so I fell for the characters more. If you know me and my attention span, that’s a very rare statement (most of the time, I have neither the attention nor the patience to get through character-driven books). So that this one stuck? That’s a good sign.
It also helped that I already knew I enjoyed Tanya Huff’s books (The Fire’s Stone is another good one, just…FYI). So this, and it’s found family, was always going to be something I liked. It was a bit of a slow start, to be fair, but I got into it. And really liked it.
Rating: -/5 🌈
Let me get something straight first: this is in no way a bad or even mediocre book.
So if I say this, why haven’t I finished it? Well, see. I tried. I actually kept trying and trying. I got to like one third of the book, give or take. And all I have to say for myself is that I’m apparently not a fantasy fan any longer. Or at least, a fan of fantasy books that are focused on the world a lot & depict it in great detail but also just throw the reader into the high waters and don’t bother to explain stuff.
I used to take that as a compliment, as the author saying ‘you’re smart enough, you can figure it out yourself!’. That’s a great sentiment, sure, but I learned that what I’m here for in books are characters and their emotions. I can piece together the world for myself if I care deeply enough about the characters, if I want to know as much about them as possible. Which wasn’t really the case here. I don’t know, my guys! I just didn’t connect with them!
So here I am, kind of disappointed with myself for loosing interest in a genre I used to LOVE as a teen, kind of disappointed in the book for not holding my interest for longer, kind of disappointed with my attention span (as always).
Did you read along with us? What did you think? Did you enjoy it more than Anna, at least?