Itinerary for the Autumnal Equinox

Autumn is hands-down my favorite season. I used to delude myself into thinking it was spring (it was easy, I just looked back at winter), but for years know I’ve known autumn is my one true love. The colorful and crackly leaves, the cooler temperatures and flirty breezes, even the occasional thunderstorm. There’s something magical about every season, but I never look forward to the beginning of a season the way I look forward to autumn. (It’s different when the main reason I look forward to spring is to be done with winter).

Speaking of looking forward to things, here are the books I can’t wait to dig into, with a wool blanket, a corner of the couch, and a mug of hot tea.

Joint Review: “Uprooted” Exceeds Expectations

22544764Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Del Rey: May 19, 2015 (Fantasy Romance; Retellings)*

The Book…

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

The Outstanding Adventure…

Uprooted was a wonderful read, in fact, both Stacey and I rated this one an outstanding adventure! Of course, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t love different things about the book. (more…)

“Lagoon”: Aliens, shapeshifters, and revolution in Lagos, Nigeria

lagoonLagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Hodder & Stoughton Ltd., April 10th, 2014 (Urban Fantasy / Contemporary Fantasy / Science Fiction)*

My rating: It’s complicated (but probably I’d go there again) (3-4 stars)

Lagoon takes place in contemporary Lagos, Nigeria. Three main protagonists, one a marine biologist, one a soldier, and one a famous Ghanaian musician, come together when aliens land in the Lagos Lagoon. Called by a mysterious force to Bar Beach, Adaora, Agu, and Anthony are briefly kidnapped by the aliens and subsequently become the alien ambassador’s main contacts with the human world. They navigate the human, geographical, and alien consequences of the disruption of Lagos by the alien spaceship.

Nnedi Okorafor weaves dozens of perspectives (including those of bats and spiders!) into an intricate tapestry that depicts the story of a city turned upside down and inside out by a peaceful-ish alien invasion. Although Adaora, Anthony, and Agu are the three major narrators in this novel, it is arguably the city itself that is the main protagonist. We, as readers, never really become deeply involved with any of the characters – the most important character development takes place as the city changes under the influence of the alien invasion. Although the aliens come relatively peacefully (but not without their own determination to thrive on Earth, mingling with humans), chaos ensues when the lagoon level rises, flooding the Beach, when sea creatures grow enormous and more threatening, and when the news that aliens would settle in Nigeria reaches the citizens through inexplicable uses of human technologies.