Mini reviews: Every Heart a Doorway, Milk and Honey, The Leopard King

every heart a doorwayEleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Guests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost.

Rating: 3/5

“I think the rules where different there. It was all about science, but the science was magical. It didn’t care about whether something could be done. It was about whether it should be done, and the answer was always, always yes.”

I really, really did want to love this one more than I did, but unfortunately, the chemistry was lacking. And I think this mainly has to do with the short length of the story, so that I simply wasn’t able to connect with the characters. You only really get a surface-level insight into their psyche, and the multiple perspectives near the end dilutes this further.

It is, however, deliciously and disturbingly weird. Just utterly bizarre. Seanan McGuire has a crazy-good imagination, and I can only wonder what it must be like to live in her head.

“I don’t wear these because I want to remember where I’ve been. I wear them because the Master liked it when I dressed in pale colours. They showed the blood better.”

The representation is, as many people have mentioned, excellent. An asexual main character, a transgender supporting character, and a cast of different ethnicities and origins.

And while this is a novella, the author still manages to pack a punch with a number of poignant and political passages.

Call it irony, if you like, but we spend so much time waiting for our boys to stray that they never have the opportunity. We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.

***

milk and honeymilk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

Rating: 3/5

I discovered this poet’s work on Tumblr, and was intrigued by what I read. Unfortunately, I think I encountered the highlights of this collection on the web, and the rest of it failed to impress.

I will admit to having a rather fraught relationship with poetry. I am fairly useless at trying to interpret it, and I hated the fact that at school, we were forced to pick it apart in search of interpretations instead of simply being able to appreciate it. Apparently, I’m still bitter.

There also appears to be a pushback against this style of poetry – sentence fragments dispersed over a few lines. However, I think poetry is one of the few written mediums that has prospered precisely because it’s experimental, and doesn’t have to adhere to the same kind of technical rules that prose does.

Overall, there were a couple of gems, interspersed with a few ‘meh’ offerings. But the tone is fierce, impassioned and feminist, which is right up my alley.

***

the leopard kingProud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

Rating: 3/5

Not ashamed to say I enjoy me some paranormal romance. And having enjoyed some of Aguirre’s previous series, I was interested to see what she’d do in this genre. I gotta be honest though, she doesn’t bring anything new to the standard set-up.

However, one thing that did stand out for me was the honest communication between the love interests. It’s pretty rare to find, since drama in romance generally depends on miscommunications. While there are certainly personal obstacles for both hero and heroine to overcome, they really do make an effort to talk about things before they become a big issue, which I think is incredibly refreshing.

“Is there anything else I should know? So I don’t hurt you again with good intentions.”

“Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything. I appreciate that your heart was in the right place…I’m sorry I started out scolding you.”

“Don’t apologise. If you don’t tell me, how will I learn?”

Furthermore, while the standard trope is for the alpha he-man to put his nice delicate lady friend in a safe place while the fighting is going on, here our protagonist says “You can’t live in a cage, just to ease my mind.”

***

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful start to 2017, barring the global political sense of doom. Goodreads is reassuring me that I’m on track for my reading goal, so let’s hope I complete my challenge this year!

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Mini reviews: Every Heart a Doorway, Milk and Honey, The Leopard King

  1. Yea man, that Seanan McGuire book left me wanting more. I loved it, but I totally understand your reasons for not liking it as much as you wanted to. The characters are so interesting and it’s obvious there’s much more to the story that it would be good for it to be longer.

    Like

  2. I still need to read Every Heart a Doorway. Your review is probably one of the few I’ve seen that aren’t completely glowing, but to be honest, it makes me feel relieved. Also, “weirdness” has not always worked for me, and your description of bizarre and disturbingly weird makes me think I probably won’t love this one as much as others either, but I’m still looking forward to trying it 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s