My May and June Reading Log

Wonder City Stories by Jude McLaughlin went along well with my recent comics reading. Wonder City is full of superheroes, and they all have stories: young superheroes just starting out, old superheroes who aren’t sure what timeline they’re in, legacy superheroes avoiding superheroism for all they’re worth. I particularly liked that the interweaving storylines of the various pov characters gave the effect of an actual comic in prose form. Bonus: a range of genders and sexualities as well.

Kingfisher by Patricia McKillip is her newest, and I really liked it a lot. It’s a contemporary setting this time, in a fantasy world that has cars as well as a king and knights and magic. As usual, her prose style gives magic to the most ordinary things, and though the story focuses on the young pov characters, there are a host of older characters as well, with their own stories. Fans of Arthurian mythology definitely want to give this a look.

Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson was more upbeat than I had been expecting. The narrator is a twin – a former conjoined twin – and her twin has all the magic. I particularly loved how the various gods/godlings (their relatives) were portrayed, distinct personalities that fit their spiritual roles but were never too human, despite having once been human. Also, the sister relationship was deep and complex, and really rewarding to read about.

I’d been saving Madensky Square by Eva Ibbotson for a really long time. I started reading it while doing laundry and stayed up way too late to finish it because I was worried about everyone having happy endings, though they pretty much got them (Warning: except for a sad animal death). There’s a low-key romance throughout that I loved. The book takes place in Vienna shortly before World War One, and that was at the back of my mind the whole time, though the characters were mostly unaware, save one career army man. Like other Ibbotson I’ve read, if I had to come up with one adjective to describe it, I’d choose poignant.

I meant to save League of Dragons by Naomi Novik, the last Temeraire book, for vacation, but couldn’t wait. I found it a satisfying end to the series; I will miss these characters.

Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe by clio_jlh is a Reboot!Trek AU set in contemporary Hollywood. As in, McCoy is a script doctor, Kirk is a director…I really enjoyed this. It has a Kirk/McCoy romantic pairing as well as Spock/Uhura (mostly offstage). It also contains bonus Joanna McCoy and Carol Marcus, who plays the star of a series of action spy movies.

Coach Z by thistidalwave is a”Check, Please!” story. Rather than an AU, it fills in the post-breakdown, pre-comic life of Jack Zimmermann as he coaches a PeeWee hockey team, which I found utterly fascinating. If you like stories where the main character is in therapy, this story might be for you. Also, it has a few odd self-aware meta moments scattered throughout.

Awesomest fanfiction story of the month: Assets Out of Containment by follow_the_sun. Bucky Barnes fights dinosaurs. Really, do you need any further recommendation? It’s a Jurassic World AU/crossover. I haven’t been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I could follow the minor crossover elements with no problem.

Walking Each Other Home by Xela is an absolutely adorable The Force Awakens Finn/Poe story that is exactly what I wanted. Finn, Poe, and Rey are like a cuddly pile of puppies, aren’t they?

Eyes Wide Open by archea2 for Mildredandbobbin and NurseDarry is a Sherlock story with excellent snappy dialogue, featuring Sherlock/Lestrade, John and Mary, and relationship counseling.

Status Quo Ante by Domenika Marzione is a post-Captain America: Civil War story. It’s Sam Wilson POV, and set on The Raft and in Wakanda.

Everything Old is New Again by Siria is a short Agent Carter AU which I would love to see more of: Steve comes out of the ice fairly early, but he’s lost his super-strength, and is working for the SSR as a clerk, and convincing himself Peggy can’t love a guy who looks like him.

I also re-read a whole passel of fanfiction favorites which I will not detail here.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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