Book Thoughts

Certain Dark Things Book Cover Certain Dark Things
Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Fiction
Macmillan
October 25, 2016
336

 

Who knew that vampires could feel fresh again? This novel follows Domingo, a teen aged garbage picker, who stumbles upon Atl, an inexperienced young vampire, fleeing enemies in Mexico City.

Mexico City itself feels like a character in the novel. I've never been there, but it felt rich and alive in a real way. You see the garbage and corruption.  Internet cafe's, and crumbling architecture are juxtaposed. Old and new feels coexists in chaos.

If you keep an eye out, you might notice the classic noir aesthetic layered into a modern world: complete with a chain-smoking detective, stylish gangsters, and a doomed romance. There's even a gramophone.

To me the end result was a bit cyberpunk: near future, close enough to recognize. A big city complete with grime, cigarettes, genetically modified pets, and Korean bars.

I also enjoyed how Aztec mythology was woven into the novel. The existence of Vampires would fit neatly into a world where blood sacrifices were offerings to the gods.

It's nice to read a standalone once in a while, and though Silvia mentioned she has no plans for a sequel, I could see a lot more potential for this world and would enjoy seeing how Atl finds her way through it.

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Book Thoughts

The Fifth Season Book Cover The Fifth Season
N. K. Jemisin
Fiction
Hachette UK
August 4, 2015
432

 

This is the first in a series highlighting diverse books, so expect at least one a month. Also, this was my first attempt at #bookstagram and well, it needs work, but the lighting was nice that day.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

This was a tough book for me to get through. It starts off with the death of a toddler, and terrible things happen to both children and adults all the way through. There's no holding back from the horrors of this imagined world, and that is part of the point.

Like all the Jemisin's books I've read so far, the world building feels wholly original. It doesn't fall into any expected stereotypes or nor does it evoke any one past civilization as its inspiration.

Craft wise, the construction of the narrative is something to marvel, with two alternating points of view, that turn out to be taking place at different points of time, that gradually converge. Each point of view adds depth to the other, and add richness to the ending.

But boy, is it heavy, a commentary on slavery and who holds the power in a crumbling world. Sexuality and gender expression are presented without comment. It pulls no punches.

The dedication reads: "For all those who have to fight for the respect that everyone else is given without question" 

And it's a fight all the way, but a worthwhile one.

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