Month: December 2017

What to Expect in 2018

Posted December 31, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Goals / 0 Comments

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Of course, as it’s time to start the new year, it’s also time to start looking at what said new year will bring. In short, like last year I don’t actually have the faintest clue what to expect of life itself. I do, however, have a much better idea of my plans and overall goals, so let’s just look at those.

Fiction-wise
  • DemiPrincess1 editing
  • DemiPrincess2 first draft writing
  • RibbonDancer drafting and polishing
  • 12 short stories/poems/vignettes for Patrons
  • Whatever else my brain decides to throw at me

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but 2018 doesn’t look set to be that diffferent from 2017, so I expect that my output will remain relatively low. (Thanks, depression and anxiety!) With that in mind, what I actually want to focus 2018 on is prepping for 2019. I will, undoubtedly, find some shorter project that I’ll complete in between everything else. That’s been a pattern since I started publishing, after all.

Tangentially related to fiction, I want to focus on creating new and better templates for my published works as well as tidying up the existing templates in order to keep them up to date. I also want to collect the 2017 Patreon supporter stories and poems into an ebooklet for everyone who’s supported me on Patreon.

Mostly, though, what I want to do is focus on creating more inventory and actually getting comfortable marketing what I’ve already got published. (I swear I actually passed Marketing 101.)

Nonfiction-wise

I have so, so many options when it comes to nonfiction. Here’s a list of what I know is coming. Largely because I’ve finished and scheduled most of these already.

  • A retrospective on my ace spec reads in 2017
  • A polished and finalised version of my essay regarding the ace rep in Every Heart a Doorway, available to everyone.
  • A polished and finalised version of my essay regarding the ace rep in Quicksilver, available to everyone.
  • Livetweets or reaction posts of Stargate: Atlantis Season 1. (I have not forgotten!)

Other things I’d like to work on include:

  • Restructuring and rebooting Grammar Geek. (First up: syntax and/or tenses!)
  • That essay on Chameleon Moon that I mentioned ages ago and never got around to writing.
  • Reworking the essay section on “You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay” to stand on its own.
  • Work out an essay on common tropes in ace fiction and discussing them with ample examples.
  • Continuing my ace rep reviews (Er, actually, I’m pretty sure this will happen)

Things I’m toying with and will undoubtedly put up to Patron votes once I’m a little more rested than I currently am and have more ideas so the voting is actually worth it:

  • A discussion of just why that joke in the B99 episode “Captain Peralta” is so harmful to aces. (I was going to do this but the thought of rewatching for screencaps was… Yeah, no.)
  • Reworking my reviews of Jo Walton’s Sulien books to be a more proper (personal) essay analysis of its ace rep.
  • I’ll take suggestions! (Do not suggest Clariel. I wash my hands off that book.)

Audio and video-wise

Who knows! I’m aiming to do more audio readings for Patrons. Most likely they’ll be from Feather by Feather. Videos will depend entirely on what, if anything, comes up. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a podcast, but… We’ll see? I’ve also still got that ace pride song idea in the very back of my head. One day, it may actually happen and you’ll get another song recorded for Patrons. Eep!

And… I think that about covers it, to be honest. I’ve been having some trouble sleeping (thank you, holidays and anxiety), so I may have forgotten a few things, but this should cover most of the important things I’ve got on my plate for 2018. It’s looking to be a fairly quiet year, but I guess we’ll see how it goes. Once I’m at least partway through DemiPrincess2, I’ll have to decide whether to pursue tradpub options or self-publish it.

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Ace Recs: 3 Realistic Books with Asexual Characters

Posted December 31, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Ace Recs: 3 Realistic Books with Asexual Characters

As is undoubtedly no surprise to anyone who’s heard of me, I really really love giving recommendations for books featuring asexual characters. As a reader and writer on the asexual spectrum, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen plenty of recommendations lists that are about asexual characters or that include asexual characters that repeat the same books over and over. Indeed, I’ve seen recommendations lists that explicitly stated that the handful of books the writer managed to find was all the asexual fiction out there. Considering it was missing several easy-to-find well-known and traditionally published books by respected authors… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

But it is true that, for many readers, books with asexual characters in them are difficult to find. Many aren’t readily available in bookstores even when they’re pretty popular and well-respected. When I was in Cambridge, I saw displays of several books nominated for the Hugo Awards because they were nominated for the Hugo Awards, but Every Heart a Doorway? Couldn’t find a single copy anywhere. Not on display and not on the shelves. They didn’t stock it. And I wish I could say it was just one bookstore, but it was every major chain I visited. Likewise, in libraries you’ll have more luck finding books featuring asexual characters if you already know the titles before you enter. In both cases, you’ll probably have to ask the staff to order a copy specifically, so venturing into bookshops or libraries and hoping to find books featuring asexual characters just isn’t likely to happen.

Especially in combination with the way recommendation lists for books with asexual representation are usually styled, this difficulty to find books if you don’t already know they exist feeds into a negative spiral where recommendations lists repeat the same books over and over with the same note that this is all there is or this is all the writer could find. Yet there is so much more available to readers…

This is a series that aims to present small lists of books featuring asexual characters with some brief personal commentary on the books. Each list consists of 3 books centred around a single, relatively broad theme. While, sadly, I have had to restrict my recommendations lists to 3 books instead of the more usual 5 found in recommendations lists, each list does consist of 3 unique books. There are no repeats of titles in this series of recommendation posts. This series consists of 10 posts for a total of 30 books featuring asexual characters in various roles.

Unless otherwise noted, assume that books mentioned either seem to assume all asexuals are aromantic or that they’ll erase aromanticism altogether.

I hope you’ll find something terrific to read in these lists! Most all categories have more than three books I could put there, but as I mentioned I only had space for a handful of books or stories. If you’d like to see even more of then, check out Claudie Arseneault’s database of aromantic and asexual (speculative) fiction, which features many more books starring asexual characters!

This week’s theme is…

3 Realistic Books with Asexual Characters

Read More

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Book Talk: Three Mini-Reviews and a small work update

Posted December 30, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Okay, so I have a few books that I’d like to take about before the end of the year and… I’m failing to write long and proper reviews for all of them, so I figured I’d write a few mini-reviews and bundle them.

These will likely be the final reviews of the year, but I may end up rested enough that I’ll actually write a few more. They may or may not be around this length and they may or may not end up grouped together.

Beyond that… Tiny work update! I’m still poking away at RibbonDancer now that I’ve finally found a direction it’ll move forward in. Yay! (Minor downside: apparently it requires the same song on repeat. This wouldn’t be such a bad thing if it wasn’t one of the distracting “I must sing along” ones that make for terrible writing music.)

DemiPrincess1 is still with its betareaders, so both it and DemiPrincess2 are on hold until I can revise (read: rip to shreds and rebuild from the ground up) DemiPrincess1.

I seem to be in the grips of writing all the nonfiction at the moment, as evidenced by the fact that my latest work has all been nonfiction. This week’s project? Starting to poke at a retrospective of my experiences prioritising books with characters on the asexual spectrum.

I now have, like, four essays in draft format? With nary a clue what to do with any of them because I still pretty much lack the confidence not to self-reject nonfiction?

Thankfully, I do know the overarching issue is that I’m perpetually insecure about how many sources you actually
need. That’s the one thing I wish university had taught us in better detail and more nuance than “Source everything!” and… Yeah. Anyway!

You’re likely here for those reviews I mentioned earlier, so I should probably get to them. In short, writing is slow and mostly focused on nonfiction and wrapping up the year. (I can’t believe it’s almost 2018 already.) These are the last of the reviews for books I read with ace-spec characters in them.

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic

Book Talk: Three Mini-Reviews and a small work updateThe Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic
Series: All for the Game #1
Pages: 262

Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He's short, he's fast, he's got a ton of potential—and he's the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn't need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil's not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil's new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can't walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he's finally found someone and something worth fighting for.

This book came to my attention because of its supposed demisexual representation. Well, because the series has demisexual representation, rather. It’s gotten rave reviews and was highly recommended and, basically, I feel like the book I read comes from another dimension because this is, hands-down, the worst book I’ve read this year. Nothing in it makes sense.

As for the demisexual representation? I didn’t like it personally. I thought the narrative made it extremely clear that Neil was interested in girls when he was a teenager and his mother abused him for it and doesn’t handle the link between Neil’s sexuality and trauma in a way that worked for me. Also I felt that the beginning of the romance we see here reads more like Stockholm Syndrome than demisexuality. (Fun fact: they’re not the same thing.)

CW: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, ableism, stereotypical depictions of mental illness, racism

Yep. That’s all I’ve got. Anything else is just a rant.

Far From Home by Lorelie Brown

Book Talk: Three Mini-Reviews and a small work updateFar From Home by Lorelie Brown
Series: Belladonna Ink #1
Pages: 205

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calm rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess—anorexia is not a pretty word—and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

Again, this is a contemporary romance that came to my attention both because it has demisexual representation and also because it’s an f/f romance. It is explicit, so if graphic sex isn’t your thing and skimming doesn’t work for you, this book probably isn’t. It also comes with warnings for eating disorders as Rachel is a relapsing anorexic. The Indian representation also relies on stereotypes according to other reviewers.

I actually have a lot of misgivings about the demisexual representation in this book. Not only does Far From Home feature the Allo Saviour trope variant of introducing an allosexual character for the explicit purpose of introducing the MC to asexuality (or, in this case, demisexuality, because Rachel has already researched asexuality and… somehow has never heard of demisexuality.) and because I’m not convinced that it handles the combination and the intersectionality between eating disorders and asexuality. It comes very close, imo, to suggesting that Rachel’s asexuality/demisexuality is a result of her eating disorder and presented as an element of her recovery process, especially combined with the fact that Rachel decides to marry Pari for a green card without ever having met Pari until the party she says that in.

As such, I can’t say that I really liked the book. I would’ve liked it far more of Brown had presented it as an allosexual f/f romance. Pari is an absolute sweetheart and Rachel is quite sweet as well. They stumble, but they work things out and watching these two women call forth aspects of the other that they didn’t know they had in them is lovely. If you like the premise (and ignore the demisexual rep), you might find it a really sweet and fun f/f romance.

Stake Sauce: Arc 1 by RoAnna Sylver

Book Talk: Three Mini-Reviews and a small work updateStake Sauce: Arc 1 The Secret Ingredient Is Love. No, Really by RoAnna Sylver
Series: Stake Sauce #1
Pages: 204

Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.

But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.

It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.

His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.

Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.

Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)

Also by this author: Chameleon Moon, Stake Sauce Arc 1, But Not Up Here (Poems About Remembering In Neon)

Disclaimer: The author is a friend. I’ve done my best to write an unbiased review.

Stake Sauce is, in a lot of ways, not the kind of story I normally read. It’s a contemporary novel(la?) about vampires. They don’t sparkle, though one of them is pink and adorable and stole my heart just a little. Pixie is the adorablest, sweetest creature and well-worth reading this book for.

But, in addition, there’s Jude – a transgender, disabled, greyace, greyro mall cop turned vampire hunter – who deals with chronic pain and PTSD. Like all of RoAnna’s books, it centres disability and community, as well as recovery and hope. It’s absolutely, delightfully queer.

My main issue with the story is that it moved way too fast for my tastes, which resulted in feeling like I kept missing bits of context and details and that kept the whole story from shining as brightly as I could imagine it doing.

The main villain never really had a chance to become terribly scary to me and I don’t think Jude and Pixie’s relationship really got the space it needed to breathe. T_T That said, they are adorable together and I look forward to seeing more of them in later arcs. Plus, I was always going to whinge about there not being enough Pixie, so you may want to take that with a grain of salt in general. RoAnna also manages to walk a really fine line between her depiction of vampires as well.

That said, this is the first episode in an ongoing serial, so the overarching narrative isn’t finished yet at all. While Stake Sauce is a complete story arc in and of itself, it’s very obvious that there’s more to come. If you enjoy vampire stories, I’d definitely recommend it. Not only does it offer you a really intriguing urban fantasy setting that will, I suspect, be expanded on in later installments and the extras RoAnna offers except with more diversity, it also offers you a great mixture of familiar and unfamiliar vampire lore and tons of sympathetic and positive marginalised representation.

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My Favourite Reads of the Year

Posted December 29, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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It is that time again! The end of the year is nigh (OMG how did that happen it was February, like, last week!) and with the end of the year also comes the time to start wrapping things up.

This year, partially due to timing constrains and largely because my emotional state is complete mush, I’m tackling things a little differently and sticking to a simple list of ten of my favourite/best reads of the year and, later on, a couple of posts looking back on the year and forward to 2018.

In no particular order, though, let’s go take a look at the books I’ve enjoyed most this year!

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Book Talk: Winter Tide

Posted December 29, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: Winter TideWinter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
Series: Innsmouth Legacy #1
Pages: 384

The last daughter of Innsmouth returns to Miskatonic University in this bold and compassionate new take on the Cthulhu mythos.

After attacking Devil's Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra's life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.

Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys is a book that I would never have picked up had it not been on lists of asexual representation because Emrys has said Aphra is asexual in interviews. That is to say: I am not the target audience for this book by a very large margin. I’m not a horror reader and pretty much all I know about Lovecraft’s mythos is what a then-friend who loves it told me about it. Oh, and the two Lovecraftian Hugo-nominated novellas. But that’s it.

So, before I go any further, please bear that in mind: I’m keenly aware of the fact that there are a lot of details and strokes that I’ve missed just because I don’t know what the narrative is doing with certain aspects of Lovecraft’s concepts and ideas. (If it helps: imagine trying to discuss how Marillier’s Heart’s Blood deconstructs Beauty and the Beast without ever having read the fairytale before.) I mean, I can tell you that the book is addressing the misogyny in Lovecraft’s work, but that’s as far as it goes.

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Ace Recs: 3 Thriller/Horror Books with Asexual Characters

Posted December 24, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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Ace Recs: 3 Thriller/Horror Books with Asexual Characters

As is undoubtedly no surprise to anyone who’s heard of me, I really really love giving recommendations for books featuring asexual characters. As a reader and writer on the asexual spectrum, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen plenty of recommendations lists that are about asexual characters or that include asexual characters that repeat the same books over and over. Indeed, I’ve seen recommendations lists that explicitly stated that the handful of books the writer managed to find was all the asexual fiction out there. Considering it was missing several easy-to-find well-known and traditionally published books by respected authors… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

But it is true that, for many readers, books with asexual characters in them are difficult to find. Many aren’t readily available in bookstores even when they’re pretty popular and well-respected. When I was in Cambridge, I saw displays of several books nominated for the Hugo Awards because they were nominated for the Hugo Awards, but Every Heart a Doorway? Couldn’t find a single copy anywhere. Not on display and not on the shelves. They didn’t stock it. And I wish I could say it was just one bookstore, but it was every major chain I visited. Likewise, in libraries you’ll have more luck finding books featuring asexual characters if you already know the titles before you enter. In both cases, you’ll probably have to ask the staff to order a copy specifically, so venturing into bookshops or libraries and hoping to find books featuring asexual characters just isn’t likely to happen.

Especially in combination with the way recommendation lists for books with asexual representation are usually styled, this difficulty to find books if you don’t already know they exist feeds into a negative spiral where recommendations lists repeat the same books over and over with the same note that this is all there is or this is all the writer could find. Yet there is so much more available to readers…

This is a series that aims to present small lists of books featuring asexual characters with some brief personal commentary on the books. Each list consists of 3 books centred around a single, relatively broad theme. While, sadly, I have had to restrict my recommendations lists to 3 books instead of the more usual 5 found in recommendations lists, each list does consist of 3 unique books. There are no repeats of titles in this series of recommendation posts. This series consists of 10 posts for a total of 30 books featuring asexual characters in various roles.

Unless otherwise noted, assume that books mentioned either seem to assume all asexuals are aromantic or that they’ll erase aromanticism altogether.

I hope you’ll find something terrific to read in these lists! Most all categories have more than three books I could put there, but as I mentioned I only had space for a handful of books or stories. If you’d like to see even more of then, check out Claudie Arseneault’s database of aromantic and asexual (speculative) fiction, which features many more books starring asexual characters!

This week’s theme is…

3 Thriller/Horror Books with Asexual Characters

Read More

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Book Talk: The Faerie Godmother’s Apprentice Wore Green

Posted December 22, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The Faerie Godmother’s Apprentice Wore GreenThe Faerie Godmother's Apprentice Wore Green by Nicky Kyle
Pages: 54

The village of Styesville has a dragon problem, and is in sore need of a knight in shining armor to solve it for them. Instead, they get a strange traveler in a ragged cloak they barely even notice at first. Worse still, it soon becomes clear the problem setting fire to their village isn't as simple as a dragon...

The Faerie Godmother’s Apprentice Wore Green by Nicky Kyle is a delightful aromantic fairytale. It just squeaks past being a novella, but the story it delivers in these words is a lot of fun, especially if you enjoy fairytale retellings and stories that play on existing tropes and narratives.

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Ace Recs: 3 Fantasy Books with Asexual Characters

Posted December 17, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

Tags:

Ace Recs: 3 Fantasy Books with Asexual Characters

As is undoubtedly no surprise to anyone who’s heard of me, I really really love giving recommendations for books featuring asexual characters. As a reader and writer on the asexual spectrum, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen plenty of recommendations lists that are about asexual characters or that include asexual characters that repeat the same books over and over. Indeed, I’ve seen recommendations lists that explicitly stated that the handful of books the writer managed to find was all the asexual fiction out there. Considering it was missing several easy-to-find well-known and traditionally published books by respected authors… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

But it is true that, for many readers, books with asexual characters in them are difficult to find. Many aren’t readily available in bookstores even when they’re pretty popular and well-respected. When I was in Cambridge, I saw displays of several books nominated for the Hugo Awards because they were nominated for the Hugo Awards, but Every Heart a Doorway? Couldn’t find a single copy anywhere. Not on display and not on the shelves. They didn’t stock it. And I wish I could say it was just one bookstore, but it was every major chain I visited. Likewise, in libraries you’ll have more luck finding books featuring asexual characters if you already know the titles before you enter. In both cases, you’ll probably have to ask the staff to order a copy specifically, so venturing into bookshops or libraries and hoping to find books featuring asexual characters just isn’t likely to happen.

Especially in combination with the way recommendation lists for books with asexual representation are usually styled, this difficulty to find books if you don’t already know they exist feeds into a negative spiral where recommendations lists repeat the same books over and over with the same note that this is all there is or this is all the writer could find. Yet there is so much more available to readers…

This is a series that aims to present small lists of books featuring asexual characters with some brief personal commentary on the books. Each list consists of 3 books centred around a single, relatively broad theme. While, sadly, I have had to restrict my recommendations lists to 3 books instead of the more usual 5 found in recommendations lists, each list does consist of 3 unique books. There are no repeats of titles in this series of recommendation posts. This series consists of 10 posts for a total of 30 books featuring asexual characters in various roles.

Unless otherwise noted, assume that books mentioned either seem to assume all asexuals are aromantic or that they’ll erase aromanticism altogether.

I hope you’ll find something terrific to read in these lists! Most all categories have more than three books I could put there, but as I mentioned I only had space for a handful of books or stories. If you’d like to see even more of then, check out Claudie Arseneault’s database of aromantic and asexual (speculative) fiction, which features many more books starring asexual characters!

This week’s theme is…

3 Fantasy Books with Asexual Characters

Read More

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Book Talk: The King’s Name

Posted December 16, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Books, Other People's Creations / 0 Comments

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Book Talk: The King’s NameThe King's Name by Jo Walton
Series: Tir Tanagiri #2
Pages: 347

Years have passed since the Jarnish invasion, and Sulien ap Gwien has worked tirelessly alongside her lord, King Urdo, to restore the King's Peace to Tir Tanagiri. But the man Sulien believes to be the greatest of his time is seen by others as a potential tyrant. Urdo's vision of a nation of citizens bound by a single code of law is viewed with increasing mistrust, and this soon gives way to civil war.

Sulien must take up arms again. But where once her enemies were barbarian invaders, now they are former comrades and loved ones. As the conflict tears her country and her family apart, Sulien must fight harder and harder to hold onto Urdo's vision of the future.

Also in this series: The King's Peace
Also by this author: The King's Peace

The King’s Name is set several years after the ending of The King’s Peace and starts with the first suggestions of civil war. The last time I read The King’s Peace I sadly didn’t have access to this sequel and time and my already massive TBR let it slip from my mind. Not so this time as I picked it up immediately after finishing The King’s Peace and I’m terribly glad I did.

CW: Suggestions of mind control. Also mentions of mass murders and attempted terrorist attacks.

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