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Reviews from February 2020 (20)

Till You’re Home Again

The Orphans of Raspay  (Penric & Desdemona, volume 7)

By Lois McMaster Bujold  

29 Feb, 2020

1 comment

2019’s The Orphans of Raspay is the seventh entry in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric & Desdemona series of novellas.

The merchant ship on which Penric is sailing is captured by Carpagamon pirates. They don’t just take goods; they collect victims to be ransomed or sold as slaves. Penric passes himself off as a temple scribe. A scribe might rate a ransom; a temple sorcerer might be thrown overboard by superstitious sailors.

Even for a sorcerer, escaping from the pirates’ island stronghold would be challenging. When that sorcerer finds himself helping a pair of luckless orphans, it becomes even more difficult.

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Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro  (Annals of the Bitch Queen, volume 1)

By K. S. Villoso  

28 Feb, 2020


K. S. Villoso’s 20171 The Wolf of Oren-Yaro is the first volume in the Annals of the Bitch Queen secondary-universe fantasy series.

Civil war has reduced the once-great kingdom of Jin-Sayeng to a shadow of its former strength. The contending warlords finally agree to end the strife with an arranged marriage. Talyien and Rayyel will marry and serve as co-rulers. Their marriage will join the two strongest feuding clans. No one in the clans is all that enthused with the new rulers. They’re a compromise choice. The war will end and everything will work out. 

Or not.

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Perfect Life

Yona of the Dawn, volume 1

By Mizuho Kusanagi  

27 Feb, 2020


1 comment

Mizuho Kusanagi’s Yona of the Dawn (Akatsuki no Yona) is a Japanese fantasy manga; it has been serialized in Hakusensha’s shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume since August 2009. Volume 1 contains the first five issues.

Fortune has smiled on Princess Yona. Her father is King Il of the kingdom of Kouka. Yona is pretty, pampered, and carefully isolated from anything that could upset her. Nonetheless, being human, she has vexations: her bodyguard Hak is disrespectful and snarky, and her dreamy cousin Su-Won sees her only as a girl and not as a woman.

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A Neighborly Day

The Night Girl

By James Bow  

25 Feb, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews


James Bow’s 2019 The Night Girl is a standalone urban fantasy.

Perpetua Collins emigrates to Toronto with five hundred Canadian dollars in her pocket and high hopes. Her quest for work proves challenging; she is reduced to homelessness.

Then Toronto entrepreneur Earthenhouse offers the young woman a job. She has an edge over other applicants in that she did not run screaming from the office when she saw her potential employer. Few modern Torontonians are used to dealing with goblins like Earthenhouse.

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I See Fire


By David A. Trampier  

23 Feb, 2020

1 comment

David A. Trampier’s cartoon Wormy was serialized in TSR’s Dragon Magazine, running from issue 9 (in 1977) to issue 132 (in 1988). 1988 is long past the cut-off date for the My Tears are Delicious reviews, but enough of Wormys run falls within the Tears’ purview to warrant a look.

The eponymous Wormy is a dragon. 

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Give Me the Rainbow

Land of the Lustrous, volume 1

By Ichikawa Haruko  

22 Feb, 2020


Land of the Lustrous by Ichikawa Haruko (Japanese: Hōseki no Kuni, lit. Country of Jewels”) is an ongoing manga series. It has been serialized in Kodansha’s Monthly Afternoon magazine since October 25, 2012; there have been ten collected volumes thus far. Volume One collects the first six issues.

Six times meteors smashed the Earth. Most land was battered and submerged. Humans as we know them are long extinct. 

Humanity does have descendants. Of a sort.

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Way Out in the Country


By Malinda Lo  

21 Feb, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Malinda Lo’s 2011 secondary-world fantasy Huntress shares a setting with the author’s 2009 Ash.

The seasons are out of balance and the economy is suffering. Several of the Kingdom’s provinces are on the verge of rebellion. Keeping rebellious lords in line requires all the king’s attention. When the queen of the Xi (fairies) requests that he visit and confer, the king declines to go.

He sends an embassy in his place. The personnel: Kaede (the daughter of the king’s closest advisor), Taisin (a young sage), Con (the king’s son), and a host of expendable extras. 

Don’t get too attached to the extras.

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Ice is Slowly Melting

Look Into the Sun  (Messengers, volume 2)

By James Patrick Kelly  

20 Feb, 2020

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

1989’s Look Into the Sun was the second volume in James Patrick Kelly’s Messenger Chronicles.

Mid-twentieth century Earth was thrilled when the alien Messengers made contact. The Messengers appear to have been less thrilled to have contacted Earth. The Messengers shared none of their hinted-at technological miracles. They didn’t even invite a divided Earth to join their commonwealth. As far as humanity goes, first contact seems to be a bit of a bust.

Phillip Wing is another matter. The Messengers are very interested in Wing.

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All Safe Inside

Orlando: a Biography

By Virginia Woolf  

19 Feb, 2020

Special Requests


Virginia Woolf’s 1928 Orlando: A Biography is a standalone surrealist fantasy.

Orlando is attractive, creative, and well-born, a trio of qualities that wins the young man a place in Queen Elizabeth’s court. His ability to see beauty in his crushes is rivaled only by his capacity to see flaws in those of whom he has tired. His life at court is a whirlwind of passionate but short-lived affairs.

Until Sasha.

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