James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Project

Reviews in Project: Doing the WFC's Homework (116)

Tigers Eating People’s Faces

The Chosen and The Beautiful

By Nghi Vo  

18 Jun, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Nghi Vo’s 2021 The Chosen and The Beautiful is a standalone fantasy reimagining of The Great Gatsby.

Chic athlete Jordan Baker is one of the Louisville Bakers. She is also Vietnamese (or as Americans of Jazz Age America call it, Tonkinese”); she was saved from certain death by Miss Eliza Baker when Jordan was just a baby. Jordan’s social set see Jordan as delightfully exotic, a perfect China1 doll whom they certainly don’t mean when they discuss the need to expel Asians and other races from the US in a bid to keep America white. 

Despite the background anxiety of the impending Manchester Act2, which will both hinder immigration from unworthy nations and facilitate the return to said nations of persons no longer deemed suitable for the US by its white elites, Jordan’s life is a whirlwind of parties, booze, and casual lovers of both sexes. This giddy existence is going to be greatly complicated by close chum Daisy Buchanan.

Read more ➤

Of Sights To See


By Veronica G. Henry  

14 Jun, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Veronica G. Henry’s 2021 Bacchanal is a standalone historical fantasy novel. 

Baton Rogue in 1939 has very little to recommend itself to Eliza Meek. It’s too bad that having landed in Baton Rogue, Eliza has yet to find the means to escape it. Not only is Eliza on the wrong side of the colour line, but her unusual talents terrify the citizens of Baton Rouge. 

Salvation arrives in the form of the Bacchanal Carnival. 

Read more ➤

Our Little Trouble

Witches Steeped in Gold

By Ciannon Smart  

4 Jun, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Ciannon Smart’s 2021 Witches Steeped in Gold is a young-adult secondary-universe fantasy novel. It is Smart’s debut novel.

A decade before the novel opens, Judair Cariot, Witches Council Doyenne, deposed Empress Cordelia Adair. In the ten years since, Judair has ruled the island of Aiyca with an iron hand. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. Which could be a grave, as was true for more than one of the Adair clan. 

Judair’s despised daughter Jazmyne is as unhappy as anyone with her mother’s punitive rule. She has covertly joined the resistance. Which would be a death sentence in itself, were she to be found out, but … there’s another reason to be afraid. Judair is as ruthless to her family as she is to her subjects. Judair sacrificed her own daughter, Jazmyne’s sister Madisyn, after deciding that Madisyn wasn’t fit for purpose. Jazmyne might be next. 

Jazmyne is proceeding according to a cautious, methodical plan. This is about to be junked by a huge monkey-wrench of a development.

Read more ➤

Mystery to Me

The Forest of Stolen Girls

By June Hur  

26 May, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


June Hur’s 2021 The Forest of Stolen Girls is a standalone historical mystery. 

Disguised as a man, armed with her father Detective Min Jewoo’s half-burned notebook, Min Hwani returns to the island of Jeju, hoping to learn why her father vanished there. Hwani has not seen Jeju in five years, not since Jewoo accepted a promotion to a better position on the mainland and the family moved. Hwani doesn’t want to return, but she has a filial duty to find her father or at least find out what happened to him. Detecting isn’t proper female behavior, but filial duty trumps convention. 

Read more ➤

Magic Spell

Dr. Marvellus Djinn’s Odd Scholars

By B. Sharise Moore  

21 May, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

B. Sharise Moore’s 2021Dr. Marvellus Djinn’s Odd Scholars is a standalone young-adult historical fantasy.

1920: four lucky scholars will win a chance to tour Dr. Marvellus Djinn’s the Motherland, a theme park no doubt as wonderous as its creator. After all, how could the Scholar of Sorcery (widely known to have survived a white lynch mob) fail to create something unparalleled in theme park history? 

Read more ➤

In the Woods


By Rivers Solomon  

17 May, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Rivers Solomon’s 2021 Sorrowland is a standalone contemporary SF novel.

Vern finally escapes the Blessed Acres of Cain, the African-American separatist community in which she was raised. She leaves behind her mother and Reverend Sherman, the husband she did not want. She takes with her her two unborn children. 

The woods into which she flees are a refuge … but a forbidding one.

Read more ➤

Speak to Me in Riddles

In the Watchful City

By S. Qiouyi Lu  

7 May, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


S. Qiouyi Lu’s 2021 In the Watchful City is a speculative fiction novella. 

The city-state of Ora attracts exiles from all over the Skylands. They form a diverse population whose common element is past trauma. Consequently, Ora takes security very seriously. Key to Ora’s security: the watchful gaze of guardians like Anima. In one sense, æ never leaves ær room. In another sense, Anima is omnipresent, using the Gleaming to project consciousness into the animals of Ora. 

Read more ➤

Cut Me Loose

Pimp My Airship

By Maurice Broaddus  

30 Apr, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Maurice Broaddus’ 2019 Pimp My Airship: A Naptown by Airship Novel is a steampunk novel. Presumably it is an expanded version of the 2009 short story of the same name. It shares a setting with Buffalo Soldiersas well as with other Broaddus works. A setting in which the American Revolution failed and all of North America is still part of the British Empire. 

Sleepy has it all: a small Indianapolis apartment, an unrewarding, onerous job, and a desolate personal life. Despite all this prosperity, he feels the need to express his inner life through poetry. (Poetry doesn’t enrich the upper classes, but as long as it’s kept private …) This idyllic life ends when Sleepy makes a terrible mistake: existing while black.

Read more ➤

O Lucky Me

Black Water Sister

By Zen Cho  

23 Apr, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Zen Cho’s 2021 Black Water Sister is a standalone modern fantasy. 

In a bid to rebuild their lives and escape massive medical debts in the US, Jessamyn Teoh’s parents return to Penang. Jessamyn accompanies them to Malaysia, a nation she has not seen since she was a toddler. This means parting from her girlfriend Sharanya, at least for a time. Not that her parents are aware of the sacrifice. Being gay is just one of a number of subjects Jessamyn hesitates to mention to her conservative parents. 

Not can she even hint at her troubled relationship with her estranged grandmother. Her dead grandmother. 

Read more ➤