Hello hello lovely people. It’s been a while since I stopped to look at all the kindle samples I’ve taken in the belief that maybe I’d read them one day. Well, that day has come a little close as I’ve been looking at the samples again. Here’s some first impressions from the samples I’ve been looking at most recently.
Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer – The first sentence takes 10 lines in kindle. I don’t know whether to celebrate or despair at such a sight, but it’s definitely not your regular thing. The sample also includes 18th century prose (which I knew about from my colleague in cursed, Para) and tiny army men dying. Which I hadn’t. Too Like the Lightning is 10/10 bonkers. I’m intrigued. I want to read. But. I probably won’t be reading soon, as some books need more brainpower with which to engage with than others. This is waiting for the brainpower.
Code of the Communer by Kai Greenwood – This one made it on my list due to Nils from the Fantasy Hive promoting it/despairing of the pro-Tom Bombadil beliefs of the author. It might have been the latter that made me take this. The book itself is pleasant in an 80s forest way and mildly intriguing but there’s no spark; there’s no killer lines or hook for me. I’m not sure the sample’s really helped me make a decision.
Dragon’s Reach by JA Andrews – Another Fantasy Hive rec; this was on their poll for their first readalong. At first glance I thought this would be my jam as a straight-up big fantasy adventure, particularly as the author reached for some interesting phrases. But after a few pages I thought it might be a bit too straight-up, too obviously Gygaxian, and I don’t think it really slowed down from the action enough for me to buy in. For some people, that will be a selling point though.
Under Ordshaw by Phil Williams – I forgot whose review inspired my interest in this, but it was someone’s review (in fact, every single book here is a blogger rec). They talked about how this was unlike urban fantasies they’ve read and I have to say I think I agree, but its difference isn’t in a way I think I loved. It had a very angular rhythm to the prose that doesn’t sit right me and was had a deliberately modern feeling that I tend to dodge. I think Under Ordshaw is well written and clearly offering something a little different, just not for me.
The Shimmering Prayer of Sûkiurâq by S.L. Dove Cooper – As you can see, one turn of phrase is often enough to get me into a book or put me off. Well, there was a buy-in phrase here: ‘It always looked so different during the Festival of Paths. Gone were the market stalls and gone was the sky.’ Something else that I think had pushed this book towards the heights of my list are that we get very deep in the lead character’s wants and fears quickly. Interesting phrases and characters; those are my joys people. This sample has them.
The Heretic Peacekeeper by Jeremy Bai – This Cyberpunk Cultivation book has a fairly stereotypical cyberpunk tone, but it’s well done. The most interesting hook in the opening pages is the idea this world has forgotten some of the stuff we know. A mild turnoff is that the first two women we hear of are dead; I’m not against tales of men being inspired by dead women, but I like to know there’s more there. Might read this one, might not.
Rebel Daughter by Lori Banov Kaufmann – I picked this one up from a blogger named Leah’s post on Jewish own voice books. I was intrigued by hearing it showed a bunch of historical research. The main thing the opening sample shows is the uneasiness and righteous anger the Jewish people would have felt at the Roman Empire; I think for some people that’ll be a selling point but for me, not so much.
Anna by Sammy HK Smith – So I actually found out about this one due to hearing about the author getting horrendous misogynistic reviews on Goodreads. I took a sample, unsure how I was going to feel about it as it’s clearly a bleak premise. This came right through in a blur of emotions. It made me feel a bit queasy. Which I think is mission accomplished. I think I want to read this at some point. Just maybe not now.