Fantasy

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Hattori Mariko was on the way to meet her betrothed when her carriage was attacked, leaving her the lone survivor thanks to a servant shielding her. Knowing that it was likely that she was the target, she disguised herself as a boy and tracked down the Black Clan, the group she suspected was responsible for the attack. She wanted to find out why someone would want to kill her, as well as exact her revenge. When she found herself one of them, however, she began to wonder if they were really the ones responsible for the attack. In the meantime, her twin brother Kenshin is convinced that she’s still alive, and is doing his best to find her.

I have to admit that this book isn’t as fantastical as I was led to believe. I wanted a magical feudal Japan, and I got… mentions of yokai and a little magic at the end. The scene with a Jubokko was great, but it happened halfway into the book – I stopped at said to my friend Kit (this was during lunch) “finally some yokai!” and she replied, “halfway through the book?” Continue reading “Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh”

Comics

Dreamin’ Sun Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano

Shimana Kameko felt like she no longer belonged at home – ever since her father remarried, he was utterly devoted to his new bride, and now that she had a new brother she felt more invisible than before. Deciding to run away from home, she skipped school to think about what to do next, when she met a strange man who claimed that he would let her rent out a room at his place for cheap if she fulfilled three conditions. And that was how Shimana ended up in an odd household with Taiga, Asahi and Zen. Continue reading “Dreamin’ Sun Vol. 1 by Ichigo Takano”

Fantasy

Huntress by Malinda Lo

I have to confess that while I remember enjoying Malinda Lo’s Ash, I remember so little of it now that it’s as if I’ve never read it. Because I remember enjoying it, I had included Huntress in my TBR, and because I couldn’t remember it, Huntress lingered in my stack… for a very long time. Until now, because (1) it’s about time I read it! and (2) it’s perfect for my Queer Asian MC square in the #AsianLitBingo, being one of the first YA books I encountered that featured characters that were both Asian and queer, with a story that didn’t revolve around either of these identities. That alone made this book quite an achievement, but I liked it for other reasons too.

Set a few hundred years before Ash, there isn’t much to connect the two other than the fact that they’re both stories from the same universe, where fairies and humans co-exist. After a war that happened long before the beginning of Huntress, humans and fairies had made a treaty and stuck mainly within their own borders. But strange, dark things are occurring on the human side, and when the king received an invitation to visit the Fairy Queen, the humans took it as a chance to save their world. Continue reading “Huntress by Malinda Lo”

Comics

#NCBD: Comics I Read Last Week (May 13th)

   

America #3 by Gabby Rivera & Joe Quinones

America… did not impress me. At least not the first two issues. I love America Chavez, and I liked the art as well as a lot of the ideas that the story was putting across, but the dialogue felt cheesy, and the story rather choppy. If America wasn’t one of my favourite characters I might not have continued, but I’m glad I did, because this third issue is SO MUCH BETTER. There are still things I might take issue with, and I still wish this series would give us more of who America is when she ISN’T superhero-ing, and is a just college student, but overall, I enjoyed this issue. I loved her interaction with mohawk!Storm most of all, and the bit about her childhood. Continue reading “#NCBD: Comics I Read Last Week (May 13th)”

Contemporary

That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim

I started this for the “Religious MC” square on my #AsianLitBingo, but now I’m not sure if it really counts, because the MC did not consider herself religious. In fact, I think most of the people I know IRL would consider this – and several other books I’ve read featuring American Muslim characters –  a “bad” representation of Muslims. I do not share this opinion. In fact, I found myself completely in love with this book, despite the fact that I think the cover’s kind of unfortunate. I don’t like real people on covers, and this particular cover makes this book look like it’s a depressing tragedy, rather than the amazing coming-of-age book that it is.

I love that this book shows that there are different kinds of Muslims, that some may be more religious than others, and that some may interpret things differently from others. Maybe it’s the fact that I spent most of my younger days feeling the way Shabnam did about religion. I live in a Muslim country, and while we have our share of liberals, the majority are the type to judge others on their decision not to wear the hijab, who think nothing of policies that discriminate against non-Muslims, who uphold cultural misogyny and racism and homophobia in the name of religion. Continue reading “That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim”

Comics · Malaysiana

Paradigma Guru 2 by Pokcik Fingernailz

TW: mention of suicide
Note: this title is published in Malay

Syasya is a high school teacher who doesn’t really love, or even particularly like, her job. Like many Malaysians I’ve met, she finished high school with no particular passion or goal in life, so when her father suggested teaching, she agreed, as it wasn’t as if there was anything she’d rather do. When faced with the reality of teaching, however, Syasya began to think twice.

High school students, after all, could be terrible. And faced with them day in and day out, forced to make them care about their classes when she never cared herself, Syasya wondered if it was too late to change her mind. “I never wanted to be a teacher anyway,” she thought to herself. The teenagers in her class might as well be aliens, they were so hard to understand… until she wakes up one day with the ability to read their thoughts. Continue reading “Paradigma Guru 2 by Pokcik Fingernailz”