Wow, what happened to June? How are we at the end of the month already?
Most of my reads this month have been about catching up with ongoing and TBR series. I’ve finished the Percy Jackson series, but also discovered that there’s a secondary series which is now added to the list I was supposed to be paring down. After reading and absolutely loving P. Djèlí Clark’s, The Master of Djinn last month, I’ve devoured two of the three related novellas/shorts, plus an antebellum steampunk novella set in New Orleans (The Black God’s Drums) – I think I’ve added another to my ‘favourite authors’ list. There’s been a bit of creature feature action, plus Caimh McDonnell’s fantastic fifth intallment (yes, I know) in his Dublin trilogy. Dead Man’s Sin’s had me crying with laughter under the duvet at 2.00 am, desperately trying not to wake Mr Book Dragon.
My first choice this month is from Becky Chambers, who exploded onto the sci-fi scene with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet back in 2014, which I promptly fell in love with. A Psalm for the Wild-Built begins a new series, and I can’t wait to meet the characters. The AI in her debut was one of the most fully fleshed out (so to speak) artificial persons I’ve come across in fiction, so I have high hopes for the robot characters in her new novel.
The Final Girl Support Group is the latest from Grady Hendrix, he of Horrorstör and The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. We should all know the slasher film rules by now, but do we ever wonder what happens to the Final Girls once the killer is unmasked and slain? Hendrix develops this idea, and I’ll be reviewing the book in Julys.
The Doll is the fifth book in Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s Children’s House series, set in Iceland. I made the extremely basic error of not reading the description properly when I requested a review copy and was expecting a horror with a killer doll. In actual fact it’s a police/children’s services procedural, but it’s good, nonetheless. Review due in July
Reading update for the month (as of June 28th): 35 ebooks, 1 audiobook.
Best reads of the month: The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark; Dead Man’s Sins, by Caimh McDonnell
Worst read of the month: Scar, by Michael Cole
A Psalm for the Wild-Built [Monk & Robot #1]
Hugo Award-winner Becky Chambers’s delightful new series gives us hope for the future.
It’s been centuries since the robots of Earth gained self-awareness and laid down their tools.
Centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again.
Centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.
One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of “what do people need?” is answered.
But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how.
They’re going to need to ask it a lot.
Becky Chambers’ new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?
Released 13th July 2021
The Final Girl Support Group
In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?
Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized—someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.
But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.
Released13th July 2021
The Doll [Children’s House #5]
It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever.
They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll a terrifying sight and the mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared.
Several years later and Detective Huldar is in his least favourite place – on a boat in rough waters, searching for possible human remains. However, identifying the skeleton they find on the seabed proves harder than initially thought, and Huldar must draw on psychologist Freyja’s experience to help him. As the mystery of the unidentified body deepens, Huldar is also drawn into an investigation of a homeless drug addict’s murder, and Freyja investigates a suspected case of child abuse at a foster care home.
What swiftly becomes clear is that the cases are linked through a single, missing, vulnerable witness: the young girl who wanted the doll all those years ago.
Taut, terrifying and impossible to put down, The Doll cements Yrsa Sigurdardottir’s reputation as a master of storytelling tension and surprise.
Released 15th July 2021