Flawed in Strange, and Sometimes Beautiful, Ways – A Review of The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso

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This review was based on an ARC given to me for free by the author, K.S. Villoso. This does not in any way affect my review.

The book is due for release on January 29, 2018.

I may have mentioned elsewhere that I like flawed characters – not because I think they are good people, but because I think they make interesting characters to read about. I understand that not all readers are capable of drawing the distinction between a good person and a good character and insist that they mean one and the same thing, but I am well aware that that is not the case. It is possible for a character to be great while still being flawed – while being evil, even, if their reasons for being evil are more nuanced and complex than those of the average Scooby Doo villain. Had I not learned this difference my professors at university would have kicked me out of the Literature program, and they would have been very right to do so.

But I have learned the difference, and moreover, I appreciate it wholeheartedly. While I do not always ask for verisimilitude in the things I read (there is much pleasure to be derived from stereotypes after all – they would not exist otherwise), I do insist on a certain amount of complexity in the novels I read, regardless of genre. It does not always have to be very high, but it has to be there, and it has to be employed well.

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Functional, But Could Be Much Better – A Review of Red Right Hand by Levi Black

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Trigger warnings for this book can be found at the very bottom of this review.

Of all the things Neil Gaiman has ever written, I think that American Gods is the best. not everyone will agree with me, of course; there are those who firmly believe the Sandman graphic novel series is his best creation, while others are going to say Neverwhere, or Stardust (which trades places sometimes with American Gods in my personal list of Neil Gaiman’s Greatest Hits). Yet others might point to his young adult books like Coraline and The Graveyard Book, while others might say that his short story collections like Smoke and Mirrors and Trigger Warning are the best. And while all of those works have their own individual merits, I still think that American Gods is the best.

It’s rather hard to explain why, though. A lot of it has to do with personal bias (which might come from the fact that I picked up American Gods at just the right moment in my life when I was most open to it and when it most appealed to me), but I also think I just like the idea of gods walking among humanity, unseen and unacknowledged, waging a war of their own and with nobody the wiser. The idea of the divine, the supernatural, coexisting invisibly with the mundane is something that thoroughly appeals to me as a reader, which is why American Gods was my gateway drug the genre of urban fantasy.

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My Top 10 Reads of 2017

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2017 has been a very good year of reading for me, which means this list was very hard to come up with. I didn’t even try to put them in any sort of order, either, because making lists like this is like trying to choose your favourite child from a whole host of favourite children, and I am simply incapable of doing that.

So here it is: my best reads of 2017 – in no particular order.

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Revolutions are Ignited With Blood – A Review of The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

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This review is based on an ARC given to me for free by the publisher, Tor.Com Publishing. This does not, in any way, affect my review. The Armored Saint is slated for release on February 20, 2018.

Trigger warnings for this book can be found at the very bottom of this review.

Coincidences are a fascinating aspect of life. When they are positive, they can be thrilling; when they are negative, they can be outright horrifying. Some people think they are a sign of divine guidance, that some great being has their hand upon the universe and is guiding it towards some unknown destiny. Those who believe in no such thing just shrug their shoulders and insist that it’s just the human brain making connections where no such connections exist, adding that “correlation does not imply causation.”

Whether or not one takes coincidences as a divine message, they are still fascinating, and still powerful. For instance: this book, The Armored Saint by Myke Cole, is scheduled for release on February 20, 2018. Two days later, on February 22 to 25, my country will be celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the People Power Revolution, which ousted Ferdinand Marcos and his family from power. Despite being peaceful in nature, however, the EDSA Revolution (as it is more commonly called here in the Philippines) was ignited by blood: specifically, that of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., who was assassinated on August 21, 1983. Though the People Power Revolution has been lauded as one of the greatest nonviolent protests in history, and has provided the inspiration for many other, similar protests since, denying its violent roots would be disingenuous.

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