I’m finally caught up with book logging!!! I did less pleasure reading last month because I was working on review books (which I don’t discuss here).
I was so satisfied with Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts, first in the Creature Court trilogy, that I moved on to the second book, The Shattered City. Things got worse all over the place, hooray. There are multiple intriguing female characters, and though it shouldn’t need saying, I will say that they interact with men but are not dominated by them, even when sex and power are involved. I’m taking a break before reading book three of the trilogy.
Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin has the same dedicated approach to worldbuilding as her historical romances. It’s steampunk set during that world’s version of the Opium Wars; the protagonist is the daughter of a scientist who was executed after a British invasion using iron steamships overwhelmed the Chinese imperials’ technology. I really love that she sees several sides of the social changes resulting not only from imported opium but from various technological advances and from political shifts in the imperium. The book had several of the most inventive steampunk devices I’ve seen, including prosthetic boots, operated with the use of acupuncture needles, for a woman with bound feet. The protagonist, Jin Soling, is trained as a physician and has some engineering skill; her love interest is an engineer, who was her father’s protege. There’s a sequel coming out December 1st, titled Clockwork Samurai. As you might guess from the title, they go to Japan. Via airship, of course.
I’m still thinking about this short poem in Strange Horizons: Lola By Gabby Reed.
My absolute favorite fanfiction story of the month was The Hero’s Journey; or: What Jasper Sitwell Did Last Summer by pagination, an unexpected AU take (or is it?!) on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. One, Jasper is not evil, yay! Well, only a little. Two, it’s hilarious. Three, there is Night Vale.
No Reservations: Narnia by Edonohana, is another odd yet terrific crossover, in which chef Anthony Bourdain visits Narnia and tries out its cuisine for his reality show. I really want to try toffee-apple brandy.
Thanks to a friend, I read a Coffee Shop AU (those are A Thing now) for Mad Max: Fury Road that is pretty excellent. Blood, Coffee, & Motor Oil by underwater_owl keeps a surprising amount of canon intact in a contemporary small town Australian setting. From the author’s note: “The lesbian separatist feminist motorcycle gang is literally just that.” There’s a Furiosa/Max romance that follows the movie’s dynamics pretty closely except with, you know, romance added.
Pour Back The Ocean by imperfectcircle was a really lovely and realistic Scarlet Witch story, all about grief and recovery. It’s set post-Age of Ultron.