Everything Magical

Silver in the Wood (The Greenhollow Duology, #1)Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There has never been a more Marisa book in all of existence.

This book is so magical and mystical, and I adore it.

I deeply love how Tobias’s voice is characterized in this. A paragraph may run with a tangent that builds in emotional intensity as he considers how fairies feels emotions vs. how mortals feels emotions, and then all of sudden, the paragraph will just cut off as Tobias realizes why he’s obsessing about this and forces himself to stop being a “fool.”

On that note, too, I quite like how Bramble’s friendship with Tobias is written. She may not be human, but she loves Tobias very much in her own way, and their ride-or-die friendship is great.

Fabian was this scary-slick charming villain who sauntered onto the page, and Tesh did a great job of making me feel just as afraid of him as Tobias was. I was afraid of his possessiveness, especially because Fabian considers so many things to be his — the woods, Tobias, the beautiful young men who walk near his forest. Everything is his to claim, and that is terrifying.

The romance in here is incredibly sweet. Tobias’s longing for Henry Silver hovers between every line, and all his despair at the reasons this fondness is impossible. It heightened the tension when both of them are inevitably put in fairy danger.

Silver’s mother is an absolute gem, and the constellation of relationships between Tobias, Henry, and Mrs. Silver is my favorite aspect of this novella. There’s something so warm and cozy about how they all relate to each other. Everything that was so impossible earlier in the story becomes possible and becomes a family once all three of them have space in the story.

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More and More Fairy Tales

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday HorrorThe Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I’d had read this all in one sitting as opposed 2 sittings with many months between, but this was a lovely book regardless. The stories manage to capture the vagueness and peculiarity of classic fairy tales while still turning the narrative on its head. It’s fascinating to see the varied sources that inspired each story.

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “remixes”, especially as it relates to visual media, and reading this book while keeping remixes in mind made for a different, more critically engaging experience. I would say this is an example of a high art remix vs. the kind of remixes I’m used to thinking of like fanvids and fanfiction.

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War Story, Glazed with Glitter

A History of Glitter and BloodA History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished this book not even five minutes ago, and already I’m writing a review. My reviews are never written so quickly, and sometimes they never get written at all, which should tell you something about the depth of my feelings toward this book.

One review here on Goodreads described this book as a gorgeous mess, and you know, that’s totally accurate. Reading this was an incredible amount of work; I wrote in the margins, highlighted bits, and left sticky notes all over this thing. In short, I treated this book pretty much the way I treat the books that get read for my lit classes, and that’s mostly because a book filled with this much attention to detail deserves to get reviewed by someone who loved it so very very much, at the very least. This was not the book I expected. This takes the whole fairy-fantasy genre thing, runs with it for a little bit, and then immediately creates something that feels really new.

Two quotes from the jacket feel super relevant — “this is not a love story” and “this isn’t a fairy tale; this is war.” I am not a fan of romance in books, really, but this book was not about ships or true love or any other tropes that dozens of other books have used and re-used. Don’t let the glittery cover fool you, because this is a violent book. We follow a band of magical teenage creatures who have survived a brutal war, and who now have to navigate the complex politics of a city that is still anything but peaceful. Online, I’ve seen this listed as being for teens 14 and up, and that just blows my mind, because this was such a heavy book. It didn’t shy away from the realities of war — violence, prostitution, grief, PTSD, and racism (there was the whole ethnic cleansing subtext (or maybe it was just text)).

The whole thing was just phenomenal. The unreliable narrator, the way it moves throughout time, even the prose. Just read this: “Another smile from him, this one a little sad, and a word, not for the first time, flashed in Beckan’s mind: disarmed… This, not the bomb site, was where the war first affected Beckan. She was a little fairy who could barely read and the war wormed its way into her words.” This book was just astonishing.

(Also, the epilogue is hilarious and amazing.) (Especially that moment where Beckan speaks for herself at the end.) (Oh, and there is LGBTQIA+ rep in here, and it’s adorable.)

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