May 2021 + Asian Readathon | Wrap-Up

So May was supposed to be the ARC hell month, where I had exactly a week between reading an ARC and writing its review to not overwhelm myself with reviews. And uh…well. I think I overcompensated a little too hard? Because instead of reading at a pace of 1 book/week, I did about 3 books/week. I read 13 whole books in the month of May (and also 90% of audiobook that I ended up finished 1 June, but that’s okay, I’ll let that one go). Now my calendar has gone from, ‘omg I have to finish so many ARCs!!!’ to “wait, can I actually start making a dent in my TBR??”. An interesting place to be in, I assure you.

The month of May is also AAPI Heritage month, and to celebrate, I participated in the yearly Asian Readathon! My planned TBR is as follows:

  • Book by an Asian Author – The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie Liu
  • Book With an Asian Protagonist – The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri
  • Favorite Genre by an Asian Author – Faraway Wanderers/天涯客 by Priest
  • Non-fiction by an Asian Author – Understanding Chinese Fantasy Genres: A primer for wuxia, xianxia, and xuanhuan by Jeremy Bai
  • Non-US Centric Book by an Asian Author – In the Watchful City by S Qiouyi Lu

Now, if you look below, you’ll actually notice that I ended up failing this readathon. For some reason, my brain just wasn’t in the mood for wuxia webnovels (sorry Priest)> I will finish Faraway Wanderers, I swear it. It just might take a while. That being said, the spirig of this readathon is to encourage people to read more books with Asian authors, and if you look below, 8/13 books I read this month were by Asian authors. So in my mind, I’m still going to call this a success ^^

Books Read:

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri – 4/5

  • Morally gray sapphic lesbians topple an empire in a Indian-inspired epic fantasy, full of characters in unsuspecting roles. A slow burn with a fiery climax

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – 4/5

  • A unique programming-like magic system, very cute mascots and, East Asian inspired worldbuilding. I can’t wait for book 2 to dive more into the history

Understanding Chinese Fantasy Genres: A primer for wuxia, xianxia, and xuanhuan by Jeremy Bai – 5/5

  • A solid primer to the wuxia/xianxia genres for those unfamiliar with the cultural aspects

Come Drink With Me by Michelle Kan – 5/5

  • A lovely shorts story of two aroace Chinese immortals living out their best lives in an opera house

The Tangleroot Palace: Stores by Marjorie M Liu – 3.5/5

  • Anthologies can be a mixed bag and this was more miss than hit, but there was a delightful ‘SadGay^TM Lex Luthor discovers he too has human emotions’ story

What We Devour by Linsey Miller – 2/5

  • I was hyped for the ace rep, but god this was just a mess all around. Flat, hypocritical characters, awful worldbuilding, and a nonsensical plot

In the Watchful City by S Qiouyi Lu – 4/5

  • I’m still not sure I’m smart enough to understand what I read, but I did enjoy it. Futuristic, all-AI-encompassing Singapore, stories within stories, and a very experimental structure

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune – 4.5/5

  • I thought it was slow and a little boring at first, but the characters grow on you and suddenly 70% of the way through you’re sobbing on your couch for no good reason

The Unbroken by CL Clark – 4/5

  • A fantastic debut taking a deep dive into colonialism and being a “good” colonist with sapphic pining and excellent North African-inspired worldbuilding!

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 4/5

  • I love body horror and gothic tales and Mexican Gothic executes that perfectly, but making part of the main horror elements directly linked to faces of discrimination faced by women and POCs hit a little too close

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho – 4.5/5

  • If the Chinese-diaspora experience could be bottled into one book, this would be that book. Just amazing

A Radical Act of Free Magic by HG Parry – 4/5

  • An amazing sequel to A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians! Love getting to see Pitt and Wilberforce again. I wish there was more Napoleon, but I’m guessing the timelines didn’t match up in real life

Burning Roses by SL Huang – 3/5

  • Like many novellas, this suffered from not being longer, not giving the audience more time with the characters and the world. A ‘dark’ and sapphic take on fairy tales, with added Chinese elements in Hou YI/Chang’E was neat but I wish it was more fleshed out

Books in Progress:

A Marvelous Light by Freya Markse – 25%

  • Only a quarter of the way in but oh man Robin and Edwin are v cute already. So excited to see this relationship bloom

Faraway Wanderers/天涯客 by Priest – ch 25

  • I’ve been a pretty bad with continuing this ever since I finished the drama version, Word of Honor, but i will push myself to finish!

Reviews Written:

Reviews written for books read this month found above

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