art, writing, media reviews & criticism

Month: February 2021

Witchbane by Morgan Brice

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Rating: It's fine / ★★★
Genre: Paranormal M/M Romance
Release Date: February 28, 2018
Publisher: Darkwind Press
Series: Witchbane, #1
Content Includes: Character death, reference to homophobia, reference to car accidents, reference to stalking


Back when I believed I was ride-or-die for my main, Supernatural, I read Bone Key, official Supernatural profic written by Keith R.A. DeCandido. What that starry-eyed child learned was that she rode for no book without sufficient lyricism and that no, she can’t just have fun; a story must devastate my soul or it’s dead to me.

That’s anathema to most romances (that I’ve read); the point is usually to impart positive feelings, which I’m resistant to. That’s why I was attracted to this series. It works within a familiar framework and delivers upon its most basic promises, but its capital “S” Supernatural angle looked like it could potentially satisfy my particular need for high stakes inside of a considerable plot.

Dark Age by Pierce Brown

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Rating: *Ptreodactyl screech!!!* / ★★★★★
Genre: Science fiction / Space Opera
Release Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Del Rey
Series: Red Rising, #5
Content Includes: racism, xenophobia, classicism, poverty, imperialism, colonialism, capitalism, physical, mental, and emotional abuse, queerphobia, chronic illness, substance abuse and addiction, pedophilia, ephebophilia, incest, childbirth and pregnancy, infanticide, explicit violence, gore and body horror, torture, character death, animal death, implied and/or referenced sexual violence, cannibalism, ableism, explicit medical procedures, child death, and child prostitution


While Dark Age, published by an American author in 2018, cannot actively comment on the events of 2020 and 2021, reading this book during the final six months of Trump’s presidency was a fucking head trip whose horrific verisimilitude culminated in an act of domestic terrorism on the nation’s Capitol. Our dystopia is here and we don’t get to have the neon-soaked inventions of our narratives, rather, it’s the terror and confusion so well exemplified in the latest entrant in the Red Rising saga. 

Dark Age is the fifth installment in a series that has evolved in depth. The first trilogy, starting with Red Rising, is a fast, action-packed science fiction series following Darrow, a slave who infiltrates society’s elite to realize his wife’s dream of equality. Reflecting his age, Darrow is an idealist who struggles to nurture love and compassion in an inhospitable society in the first trilogy. Darrow is hardened by the second trilogy, his idealism still a delicate flame that drives him to incredible feats, but the questions he asks himself are those that come with maturation: what is his role in prepping the next generation of sons, can the democracy that he helped to established decades ago survive him, and can a democracy created from bloody revolution be sustained?

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