2-FOR-1 DRUNK REVIEWS: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones and The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Hiiiiiiiieeeeeee, it’s Linz!

The hardest part about doing drunk book reviews is getting the appropriate level of drunk to write. Too sober, it just doesn’t hit the right note. Too drunk, well, you pass out. And I was REAL proud of myself because I got the right level of drunk over the weekend to finally knock these reviews out, but I was so tired from neck and shoulder pain issues, I just passed out. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

SO, to get these reviews handled, I give to you, TWO reviews in ONE. Not because they are related at all in topic matter, they just both come out today <3. Fair warning that both are a touch spoilery, but not too bad.


The Bone Houses

REVIEW 1: The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
We received a copy of this from Bookcon; thanks to Lloyd-Jones and Little, Brown & Co./Hachette for the opportunity to read and review! As I mentioned, this is out today, and can be bought here or at your local independent bookstore.

What it’s about: In every generation there is a Chosen One…but instead of vampires, Ryn is a slayer of “bone houses” (vampires are so 2000 and late). As the bone houses’ attacks on her village get worse, the mysterious mapmaker Ellis arrives, and Ryn and Ellis journey together to find out if the alleged curse that created the bone houses is true, and whether it can be broken.

What I drank: A whole lotta ginger lemon seltzer from Trader Joe’s

Slightly spoilery thoughts:

  • THOROUGHLY enjoyable kind of epic-y fantasy. Like, I like it enough that I have an ARC, but I’m getting a hardcover copy real soon
  • There’s great worldbuilding with the bone houses’ origin story, and the general mythology is pretty good,
  • BUT, I wish the nuances of why some bone houses have more…personality was explained a little better. And while magic and magical beings are firmly established as A Thing (references to protective iron fences, offerings to the fairies), the only magical thing we really encounter is the bone houses. No fairies, no other magical woodland creatures. I’m not saying the book NEEDED them, but it was a little odd
  • SHIP Ryn and Ellis. Ryn is a realist ass-kicker, and Ellis is a man on a journey of self-discovery who should not be allowed to go anywhere without protection, and there is great character development for both of them
  • Super satisfying resolution to the storylines and I really enjoyed the ending- The idea of a bone house pet was both terrifying and adorable and I love that that made it in

What I gave it: 4 stars. It was just an overall very solid fantasy read. Highly recommend.

What I’d pair it with: Something about their tromping through the woods and battling bone houses makes me crave a mulled wine.


The Water Dancer

REVIEW 2: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

We received a copy of this, for which I battled many people, from ALA. Thanks to Coates and Penguin for the opportunity to read and review! This also came out today, and can be bought here or at your local independent bookstore.

What it’s about: Hiram Walker is a slave in pre-Civil War Virginia. When his mother’s sold, young Hiram loses all of his memories about her, but was gifted with a mysterious power. As a young man, that same power saves his life and makes Hiram realize how much he needs to escape the plantation, no matter what the cost.

What I drank: The aforementioned ginger lemon seltzer. I’m already anxious about the day TJ might stop carrying it, because I will have the mother of all nervous breakdowns. I’m full-on hooked on to these drinks.

Slightly spoilery thoughts:

This was the first thing I’ve ever read by Coates, but it’s also his first novel, so I think I’m safe not having his other works to compare it to?

  • Holy crap it was beautifully written. So poetic and vivid and just wow. It’s 400+ pages but it just FLIES it’s so good
  •  Hiram’s personal journey is pretty epic, and it’s interesting to compare it to the many different narratives and dilemmas of each slave, former slave, and free man Hiram comes into contact with
  • I already fear this is gonna be so important to the American literary cannon that schools will start teaching it, thereby ruining it for scores of students (RIP, love of Vonnegut and The Namesake)
  • Here is where I get stuck – an actual historical figure is introduced, and woven into the magical realism element, and it’s like…I get *why* it was done that way, I just don’t think the payoff was there. You could have done the same thing without introducing a real person and it would have worked
  • I mean, still read it though. Obviously.

What I gave it: 4 stars

What I’d pair it with: Is there a drink that has honey and bourbon and something a little bitter because that. That is what I’d pair it with.

FBGM,

linz

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