Book Babble: The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion was a legit cover grab for me. I mean, look at it! It just looks so creepy, but in that “ooooo this is gonna be good” way.

It’s a super short book, 112 pages, and follows a woman named Danielle who’s looking into the sudden suicide of her best friend. Her search takes her to a Utopian squatter town in Iowa named Freedom where a spirit in the form a red-eyed three antlered deer has been summoned to serve as a judge and executioner in the town. However, the deer is beginning to turn on its summoners and it’s up to Danielle and her new friends to figure out how to save the town and themselves.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion was an insanely captivating mixture of fantasy and horror with an amazing element of commentary on police states and anarchism. I enjoyed Killjoy’s writing and found the majority of it to be well-paced and engaging. There were a few parts that I wish had been explored a bit more – such as how the summoning of the deer worked and how “magic” was discovered, but I’m hoping that since this is part of a series the magic system (or systems) will be explored in the next novella.

I would recommend this to people who want to read fantasy with a diverse cast of characters (PoC, queer, and trans), are interested in horror novels, and who are looking for a quick read that covers a lot ground in a realistic way.

If you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought about it! And if you haven’t, what are some of your favorite fantasy/horror novellas, books, or writers?

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!

Rae

Find “The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion” at a library near you | Purchase from Book Depository (I receive a 5% commission if you do!)

Book Babble: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone has been all over my life. Patrons have been constantly checking it out, I’ve been constantly processing it for holds, and it’s been all over my YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter feeds since it’s release. At first, I wasn’t going to read it because I have hipster tendencies and tend to avoid reading things that end up being repeatedly shoved in my face and because I usually don’t enjoy YA fantasy novels.

Buuuuuut, I do occasionally feel like I have to read things by black authors, especially black women authors who are writing fantasy. You know, support the people and all that ish. Aaaaaand, the synopsis didn’t sound too bad, aaaaaaand, I’ve heard decently good things about it.

So, did I love it?

Not exactly.

I liked it. I could definitely see a younger me being absolutely in love with this. If this book had came out when I was in elementary or middle school I would have been all over it, but alas, it fell into too many of the YA tropes for me.

The main character, Zélie, is your typical “Chosen One”. She fucks up, gets in trouble, is insanely beautiful along with being a talented fighter, oh, and has a tragic backstory. Zélie, and her older brother, along with a runaway princess named Amari, embark on a quest to bring back magic via some magical artifacts and a celestial event and then aim to bring down the ruthless king (who happens to Amari’s father). To add more to the mix, the ruthless king has tasked Amari’s older brother, Inan to halt their quest, kill Zélie, and destroy the artifacts. Inan has to make some decisions, figure out who he is and who he wants to be, etc. – it’s almost like everyone in this novel was going through two forms of puberty and it was driving me crazy.

However, Adeyemi is a fantastic writer. Which is probably the main reason as to why I managed to finish the book. The story is told through Zélie, Amari, and Inan’s POV and each one is so drastically different that it works out excellently and makes for a very smooth blend. The world-building was on point, the plot was on point, and just the general subtle changes in the characters was on point.  Everything was on point, but as stated previously, it just didn’t appeal to me as an adult reader.

I would definitely recommend this book to fantasy lovers, black kids who thought Harry Potter was semi-wack, and people who just want to read fantasy from the African/African-American perspective.

Have you read Children of Blood and Bone yet? Or are you like me and avoiding it for as long as possible due to all the hype surrounding it? What did you think of it if you did read it? And who are some of your favorite PoC fantasy writers?

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!

Rae

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Find “Children of Blood and Bone” at a library near you |Purchase from Book Depository (I receive a 5% commission if you do!)

The Parking Lot Attendant | Book Babble

Taking a break away from Batwing because honestly…I totally just remembered why I don’t do the superhero comic book thing, but that will be discussed later on!

I picked up The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat from work on Thursday and started reading it on Saturday and finished it roughly 20minutes ago. I enjoyed the first chunk of it. I found it interesting, a tad bit creepy, and almost relatable.

The main character is a young Ethiopian girl who is the daughter of two immigrants who came to America to make better lives for themselves. Straight up, they are lowkey horrible parents. The father isn’t present for the first 6 years of the girl’s life and the mother disappears as soon as the father is semi-present.  The girl remains nameless throughout the entire story, which I actually didn’t mind that much. She felt like the kind of character who would have rebelled against a name anyway and just changed it depending on who she thought she was; which I thought was super cool writing on Tamirat’s behalf.

The girl forms a close friendship/bond with a parking lot attendant named Ayale who’s the unspoken leader of the Ethiopian community in Boston. The relationship is…creepy, but almost understandable as the story unfolds.

However, I started losing interest in the story as it became more and more about the main character’s feelings toward Ayale. I’m always uncomfortable being in the mind of a teenage girl, especially when that teenage girl reminds me occasionally of teenage me. The desire to be loved, to be special, to be something more to someone who you know damn well is dangerous for some reason is something that hit a little bit too close to home for me.

I did finish it though. I stuck it out and when I got the end I was just confused. The whole story became so insanely confusing and slightly unrealistic and just…odd. This was one of those books where I loved the author’s writing, I loved the way how the characters unfolded, but I didn’t love the story because I felt like it just fell apart and was only being held together by words that fit perfectly with each other but didn’t actually mean anything.

If you’ve read this book before, let me know what you thought about it! And if you haven’t, have you ever read a book that finished simply on the strength of the writer’s way with words even though the story made absolutely no sense?

Hope you have a wonderful day & read a wonderful book!

Rae.

The “Old West” Trilogy by Beverly Jenkins

Thoughts On the Series As A Whole

First off, I loved the entire series. I never thought that I would seriously sit down and read a romance book and not scoff at every other word, much less an entire series. The Old West trilogy by Beverly Jenkins has caused me to completely look at romance novels in an entirely new light. The development of the stories, characters, and the general flow of the series was absolutely lovely.

The Old West Trilogy follows a family of motivated and headstrong black women in the late 19th century and showcases their struggles with being both black and women, along with their ~struggles~ with the men who they find As each book follows a different member of the Carmichael family in a different area of America the issues being showcased slightly change.

One of my absolute favorite things about the series were the covers. I thought it was so amazing to see black people happily in love (or lust) on the covers of a genre that is so dominated by white bodies and faces. It was amazing.

Thoughts on the Individual Novels

Forbidden (Old West, #1)In the first novel in the series, Forbidden, Eddy Carmichael, dreams of opening her own kitchen/restaurant in California but ends up stranded in Nevada where she meets businessman and real estate, mogul. Rhine Fontaine. Rhine has been passing as a white man in order to make his fortune but his attraction to Eddy causes him to reconsider passing. The book addresses topics such as white-passing, marital, business, and real estate laws, and what types of communities African-Americans formed after the Emancipation.

Breathless (Old West, #2)

The second novel, Breathless, follows Portia Carmichael, one of Eddy’s nieces as she fights to prove that she’s just as intelligent as any man, doesn’t need a man and that she’s completely capable of managing her uncle’s hotel. Temptation comes in the form of a man named Kent Randolph who’s a black rancher and occasionally reffered to as a “cat-house king”. The novel explores themes of racism toward Native America’s, further struggles of being black in the West (both on the side of men and woman), and woman’s suffrage rights. It wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I found it interesting enough to move me on to the third and final book.

Tempest (Old West, #3)

The last novel, Tempest, follows Regan Carmichael, (sister to Portia and Eddy’s other niece), as she follows her dream of becoming a mail-order bride. She travels to the Wyoming Territory to become the wife of the widower, Dr. Colton Lee, who is looking for a strong female figure to take care of his daughter. Regan however, might be a tad bit too strong of a female figure and Colton has his doubts. However, those are soon overridden and Colton starts to feel his heart melting for Regan. The novel explores themes of propriety, gender roles, and life in the territories. It even briefly touches on the treatment of Chinese-Americans and immigrants. This book definitely had the most “sexy time” out of the trilogy and was my favorite in the series (not for the sexy time, but just because Regan is such a dope ass female character!)

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So, there you have it! Those are my thoughts on The Old West trilogy as a whole by Beverly Jenkins and on the individual novels. Let me know if you have read these, and also, let me know what some of your favorite romance novels are! Especially let me know if they’re written by a PoC!!

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

Rae