Top Ten Tuesday: My Winter TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is my Winter TBR, which is pretty self explanatory.  As of right now the plan is to be buried by ARCs in January, but I also have a few buddy reads scheduled.  Send all the positive luck, wishes, thoughts and karma my way.  I’m going to need it!

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes

Zoo City by Lauren Beukes – I read Beukes’s Shining Girls earlier this year and didn’t love it.  But a few of my regular buddy reading friends offered this one up and I couldn’t say no.  I’ve just started the first few pages, but I’m loving it so far!

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee The Machineries of Empire

Raven Stratagem (Machineries of the Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee – I can count what I’m currently reading in my TBR right?  I have to.  Because the number of books I haven’t started yet is terrifying.  Anyway- enjoying it, but some of the magic from Ninefox Gambit isn’t quite there.

Empire Ascendant Worldbreaker Saga 2 by Kameron Hurley

Empire Ascendant (The Worldbreaker Saga #2) by Kameron Hurley – Also planned buddy reads!  I’m super excited for these even if The Mirror Empire was a slow start for me.  At the end of book one, we were given a glimpse of a character than I’m really, really hoping we can get to know a little better.

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen – I’m hoping to get to this after Zoo City and before January.  (Fingers crossed my friends!)  I’m looking forward to it!  Some trusted readers weren’t too excited about Chen’s last book, but I’m hoping his sophomore effort will be a little more polished.

The God Game by Danny Tobey

The God Game by Danny Tobey – Like a darker version of Ready Player One, minus the 80s trivia, I’m super excited for this one too!  (Though if I’m being honest, I’m dreading the length…)

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones

The Better Liar by Tanen Jones – I’m going to need this to break up the SFF heavy beginning of January.  I’m hoping for super twisty turny thriller I can read in a day because I can’t put it down.

Followers by Megan Angelo

Followers by Megan Angelo – This is going to be my PopSugar prompt: Book with a Pink Cover.  Because it’s really just about the only pink cover I’ve got on my TBR.  I’m super excited for it regardless.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel – I am thrilled about this one!  In addition to being excited about reading Mandel’s backlist, I’m excited to read her new one too.  She’s got a meandering sort of style, but her characters are so full of life I can’t complain.

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley – First – I’m in love with this cover.  Second.  I’m so happy to get back to Thaniel and Mori and their pet mechanical octopus, Katsu.  Early reviews report good things and I can’t wait to see where Pulley goes with it.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by KS Villoso

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso – Looking at this cover reminds me of this:

Maybe It's Maybelline Lagertha

Please, please, please.  Let it live up to that.  I feel like I’ve been waiting too long to find a fictional female book character as bad ass as Lagertha.

This covers, like most of it.  Right?!  Be strong blogger buddies.  I know I’m not the only one with an overwhelming January ahead.

What have you got on your TBR this winter?

Book Review: Ninefox Gambit (Machineries of the Empire #1) by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee The Machineries of Empire

Rating:  ★★★★★

I bought this one awhile ago and kept putting it off because I was so intimidated by it.  After the confusion the was Gamechanger, and the debacle that was Dead Astronauts, the density of The Mirror Empire, I thought, what the heck, might as well throw another mind bender on the pile.

I don’t know if this one just felt simpler in comparison to those, or if it’s just not as difficult as reviews depicted it to be (it’s probably the first one).  Just keep this in mind: formations and equations = magic.  That’s it.  It’s difficult to picture sometimes, and I think part of the difficulty is in accepting something so very hard science as magic.  If you can accept that, you’ll be fine.

What I loved about this, in addition to the crazy new world and complex societal structure, was the characters.  Cheris is a young captain for the Kel (like the army/infantry division) of the Hexarchate (an Empire with six distinct divisions or schools of thought).  She finds herself promoted to Brevet General after a particularly difficult mission.  She’s very smart, with an eye for strategy, and an ability to compute complex mathematical equations under extreme stress.

But the true star here is Jedao.  I won’t spoil how he factors into it all (just remember- magic).  He is an 800 years dead general, that everyone agrees is incredibly brilliant, not to mention dangerous, and once suffered some sort of mental breakdown which resulted in him killing over a million of his own soldiers.  No one knows why he did it.  I should mention – Jedao is Shuos.  Another school of thought within the Hexarchate, that consists of assassins and infiltrators, people trained in mind games and trickery.

Jedao is playing the long game.   You never know where he stands.  You never know if he’s leading his team into disaster or victory.  You don’t know why he’s doing it.  You want to believe him – he seems to have noble intentions.  But you won’t.

I also loved the way this story was told.  The main character is Cheris, but Lee writes in little vignettes from soldiers in the heat of the action.  I thought it was a brilliant way to keep the pace and the suspense up since a lot of Cheris’s story is removed from the action as the acting General, overseeing things from the ship.

There are a lot of little details to remember regarding the different factions and terminology.  There isn’t a glossary included that I saw, but Lee made it easy to absorb by sliding little details in at appropriate moments, tying it into character histories or plot points.  He doesn’t beat you over the head with it, but slowly builds fuller and fuller pictures of each faction.  I still haven’t seen much of the Rahal, Vidona, or Andan, but I’m expecting them to come into play in later books.

All in all – a creative, unique story with complex world building and some wonderful characters.  If, like me, you’ve been putting it off because it felt intimidating, just go for it.  I had a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to reading the next two installments.