Reading Wednesday: March 15, 2023

Two finished books this week and a couple more on the go!

I was gifted a reader’s copy of RJ Penney’s The Ancient Gate by the publisher for a review. This book is set in the same world as the author’s previous books but is the first in a new series. The main character, Desa Kincaid, is featured in prior books but in this one, she has retired from bounty hunting and settled down with her wife and their child in a well-earned retirement. However, Desa is pulled out of retirement as her world is threatened by an alien attack – one that threatens to enslave Desa and the elite group who can control the Ether. She’s forced to make the jump to another world in search of a child seer who is the hope for the future of Desa’s world and others now under attack. A fast-paced adventure with lots of diverse kick-butt characters and interesting world-building, so if sci-fi westerns are your thing, you’d likely enjoy this one. It had some Guardians of the Galaxy vibes with strong characters and interesting details. (But I will fully admit that I’m not much of a true sci-fi fan and probably would have enjoyed this one more if it was more fantasy-ish.)

Additionally, I finished listening to VE Schwab’s The Near Witch. This was Schwab’s debut novel which actually went out of print, but with the growth in popularity of her other works, was reissued and I’m very glad I had the change to read it. Not as polished as her current writing, all the things I love about how Schwab writes can be found in this one – beautiful wordsmithing, great atmosphere, wonderful characters, and a new story that feels old. The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. There are no strangers in the town of Near. These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy. I loved this one – rating it a strong 4-star read – and loved not only the Near Witch story but also the included short story that tells how the boy came to be wandering on the moor. If you’re a VE Schwab fan, I’ll recommend this one as a great read as part of her larger catalog.

I’m currently reading Varina, a novel about Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, written by Charles Frazier (who is the author of Cold Mountain) and enjoying this one very much. In addition, I’m listening to The Reading List, by Sara Nisha Adams, a book about libraries and books and the things that bring us together.

3 thoughts on “Reading Wednesday: March 15, 2023

    1. It was quite good! Oddly, it felt 100% YA to me but apparently had been categorized as adult fantasy so maybe that’s why it didn’t have much traction originally? (The heroine is 16-17, which definitely doesn’t feel adult focused.)

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