Book Review | Food of the Gods by Cassandra Khaw

Food of the Gods (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1-2)
By Cassandra Khaw | Published by Abaddon, 2017 | 240 pages | ISBN: 9781781085196

Food of the Gods (Gods and Monsters: Rupert Wong #1-2)Synopsis:
Paying off a debt to the gods is never easy.
It’s not unusual to work two jobs in this day and age, but sorcerer and former triad soldier Rupert Wong’s life is more complicated than most. By day, he makes human hors d’oeuvres for a dynasty of ghouls; by night, he pushes pencils for the Ten Chinese Hells. Of course, it never seems to be enough to buy him a new car—or his restless, flesh-eating-ghost girlfriend passage from the reincarnation cycle—until opportunity comes smashing through his window.
In Kuala Lumpur, where deities from a handful of major faiths tip-toe around each other and damned souls number in the millions, it’s important to tread carefully. Now the Dragon King of the South wants to throw Rupert right in it. The ocean god’s daughter and her once-mortal husband have been murdered, leaving a single clue: bloodied feathers from the Greek furies. It’s a clue that could start a war between pantheons, and Rupert’s stuck in the middle. Success promises wealth, power and freedom, and failure… doesn’t.

Why I Picked This Up

I honestly do not remember how I came across this book. I want to say it was via Goodreads, buuuuut I really don’t know. However, I definitely found the premise to be super interesting, the little dedication in the front made me smile and it just sounded like a good read overall.IMG_2521

Review

★★★★
Writing Style ★  | Character Development  | Plot | World Building / Setting ★ | Uniqueness ★

The Super Good

First off, this book was definitely unique and I really can’t think of anything I can personally compare it to. The whole “chief of human flesh” and “pencil pusher for the Ten Chinese Hells” was an interesting background for Rupert to have and just the whole way how his character is structured is unique. He’s not exactly a bad dude but he’s also definitely not a good dude, he’s a bit of a chaotic neutral which I loved. Also, the idea of warring pantheons (Chinese and Greek) was something that I haven’t read too often and I loved how it played out.

Khaw has an awesome writing style. This novel was super quick paced, filled with witticisms, and just had an excellent flow to it that I absolutely devoured. The world that Rupert inhabits is filled with ghouls, demons, magical folk and various gods and goddess from multiple pantheons and Khaw does an excellent job at defining what their role is within the “real” world and where they fit in their own sphere of existence. Khaw’s descriptions of settings in the real world was also beautifully done. She spent just enough time describing sounds, colors, and the overall feel of places that my desire for wordy descriptions was well satisfied.

The “I’m Not Exactly Sure” Stuff

As much as I loved the story of this book, there was just something that felt off about the plot. I wanted to love it, but there were just some plotlines that were either never addressed, flat out didn’t make any sense, or just left me hanging. However, I did enjoy the pacing and the overall resolution of the story.

The same feeling of something being off also goes towards character development. The characters definitely change in response to their situations, but sometimes it was just really confusing trying to figure out the why and how the change came about. However, as with the plot, I enjoyed the overall end result and felt that everything made sense by the time I hit the end of the novel.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations

I really, really, really enjoyed this book. It was super funny and I’m definitely going to hunt down some more of Cassandra Khaw’s work.

I would recommend this book to people who are;

  • fans of horror
  • interested in urban fantasy
    &
  • trying to read more diversely

 BORROW | BUY

 

#ReadSoulLit 2018 TBR

Whoohoo Black History Month!

I love Black History Month for a multitude of reasons – the display of black excellence, seeing black folk being proud of other black folks accomplishments, the festivities, the food (ugh, yes, the foooooood), and the fact that I was born in this fine month.

Anywho, Didi from @BrownGirlReading hosts this super amazing and awesome photo challenge and YouTube video lineup called #ReadSoulLit and this year I’m actually participating! My video is scheduled for February 10th and I’ll be talking about how I’ve stumbled into reading graphic novels/comics created by primarily black authors/illustrators!

In the meantime however, these are the books that I plan on tackling this month!

GRAPHIC NOVELS

Prince of Cats | story by Ron Wimberly | Publisher: Vertigo, 2012 | 152 pages | ISBN: 9781632159267

Prince of CatsSynopsis:
So, I’m your DJ tonight. My name is dπ and, boys and girls, have I got a treat for you. I’ll be cutting from the B-Side of Romeo and Juliet from Shakespeare’s greatest hits with a hot little piece of wax called “Gratuitous Ninja.” The outcome is Ninjaupera, post-modern absurdity for the critically pretentious or the laughably subversive.
Either way, enjoy.

Why I Picked This Up:

I was shelving in the stacks one day and was instantly drawn to the super bright colors on the cover. When I read the synopsis on the back I knew I had to read it, I mean, who can resist a hip-hop styled re-telling of Romeo and Juliet? Not me, that’s for sure.

 

Blokheadz Vol. 1 | story + art by Mark and Mike Davis | Publisher: Pocket | 112 pages | ISBN: 9781416540731

Synopsis:
This is the story of young Blak, an aspiring rapper who is blessed with the mystical gift of turning his rhymes into reality. Living in the Monarch Projects of Empire City, Blak must struggle to survive the violence and temptation of the streets — no small feat when he must contend with personal tragedy as well as his own hot-headed temper…both of which threaten to get the best of him. With the support of his crew, the G-Pak, Blak makes life’s toughest decisions while dodging the notorious underworld boss Bloko, his arch-nemesis Vulture, and bitter gang rivalries. Can Blak remain true to himself and his gift? The fate of Empire City hangs in the balance….

Why I Picked This Up:

I’ve been slightly on the hunt for alternative superhero comics (not Marvel / DC) and this one sounded like it would fit into that category perfectly.

 

Daddy Cool by Donald Goines | story adapted by Don Glut | art by Alfredo Alcala | Publisher: Holloway House, 2006 | 224 pages | ISBN:  9780870679292

Daddy Cool (Graphic)

Synopsis:
To his clients, Larry Jackson is known as “Daddy Cool.” Nobody’s better at what he does. Nothing knocks him off his game. With ice in his veins, he’ll pull the trigger or stick a knife deep. All that matters is he gets paid–and that his teenage daughter, Janet, stays clear of the streets. But when Janet is lured into the stable of a young, smooth-talking pimp, Daddy Cool sees red–and goes into action deadly cold and unstoppable. . .

Why I Picked This Up:

This one came to be via “The Blacker The Ink”  and it sounded like an interesting graphic novel to get into. I’ve never read an urban-fiction book’s graphic novel adaption before so this seemed like a pretty decent first.

 

 

FICTION

Daddy Cool | by Donald Goines | Publisher: Holloway House, 2014 | 240 pages | ISBN: 9780758294647

Daddy Cool

Synopsis:
To his clients, Larry Jackson is known as “Daddy Cool.” Nobody’s better at what he does. Nothing knocks him off his game. With ice in his veins, he’ll pull the trigger or stick a knife deep. All that matters is he gets paid–and that his teenage daughter, Janet, stays clear of the streets. But when Janet is lured into the stable of a young, smooth-talking pimp, Daddy Cool sees red–and goes into action deadly cold and unstoppable. . .

Why I Picked This Up:

As you can see above, I’m reading the graphic novel adaptation of this book. I’m deeply curious as to how the graphic novel compares to the novel so I figured I might as well read both. I’ll keep y’all posted.

 

Binti (Binti #1) | by Nnedi Okorafor | Publisher: Tor, 2015 | 90 pages | ISBN: 9780765385253

Binti (Binti, #1)Synopsis:
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.
Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.
If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive

Why I Picked This Up (along with the rest of the series):

The entire series is finally out and I want to read it from beginning to end in one smooth go!!! I’m super juiced!

 

Home (Binti #2) | by Nnedi Okorafor | Publisher: Tor, 2017 | 164 pages | ISBN: 9780765393111

Home (Binti, #2)Synopsis:
It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she abandoned her family in the dawn of a new day.
And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.
But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.
After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?

 

 

 

 

The Night Masquerade (Binti #3) | by Nnedi Okorofor | Publisher: Tor, 2018 | 208 pages | ISBN: 9780765393135

The Night Masquerade (Binti, #3)Synopsis:
The concluding part of the highly-acclaimed science fiction trilogy that began with Nnedi Okorafor’s Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning BINTI.
Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.
Far from her village when the conflicts start, Binti hurries home, but anger and resentment has already claimed the lives of many close to her.
Once again it is up to Binti, and her intriguing new friend Mwinyi, to intervene–though the elders of her people do not entirely trust her motives–and try to prevent a war that could wipe out her people, once and for all.

 

Falling in Love with Hominids | by Nalo Hopkinson | Publisher: Tachyon Publications, 2015 | 222 pages |ISBN: 9781616961985

Falling in Love with HominidsSynopsis:
Falling in Love with Hominids presents over a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Caribbean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.

Why I Picked This Up:

Who can resist a short story collection that promises a tale about chickens that breath fire?

 

 

NON FICTION

If You Can’t Be Free, Be A Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday | by Farah Jasmine Griffith | Publisher: One Word/Ballantine, 2002 | 256 pages | ISBN: 9780345449733

Synopsis:
More than four decades after her death, Billie Holiday remains one of the most gifted artists of our time–and also one of the most elusive. Because of who she was and how she chose to live her life, Lady Day has been the subject of both intense adoration and wildly distorted legends. Now at last, Farah Jasmine Griffin, a writer of intellectual authority and superb literary gifts, liberates Billie Holiday from the mythology that has obscured both her life and her art.
An intimate meditation on Holiday’s place in American culture and history, If You Can’t Be Free, Be A Mystery reveals Lady Day in all her complexity, humor and pain–a true jazz virtuoso whose passion and originality made every song she sang hers forever. Celebrated by poets, revered by recording artists from Frank Sinatra to Macy Gray, Billie Holiday is more popular and influential today than ever before. Now, thanks to this marvelous book, Holiday’s many fans can finally understand the singer and the woman they love.

Why I Picked This Up:

Super, duper simple: my Dad actually recommended this to me.

THAT’S ALL FOLKS!

Let me know what you plan on reading this month, if you’re particapting in #ReadSoulLit, or if you’re also super duper hyped about Black Panther hitting the big screen!

Hope you all have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book,
Rae