Pandemic Mini-Reviews (Part 2)

the snow queen book cover

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Pandemic Mini-Reviews (Part 2)Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Series: The Shadow #1
Published: 2015 by Orbit
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Western
Pages: 342
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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I picked up an ARC of Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen at Book Expo many years ago and then just didn’t get around to reading it, despite it being totally up my alley. Then a few weeks ago I was in the mood to immerse myself in a good book, and it called to me. The book is set in the wild west, and stars a biracial girl named Nettie Lonesome. Nettie is the kind of character who dwells in in-between spaces and identities, including cultural, sexual, and gender identities. And when she encounters and kills a mythical creature who attacks her, she begins to see the fae-like creatures that inhabit our own world, and becomes a part of that world as well. Her adventures take her from being a cowboy on a ranch to joining the Texas Rangers in a magical mythical Wild West. It was a lot of fun from start to finish.

Pandemic Mini-Reviews (Part 2)The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
Series: Tiamat #1
Published: 1980 by Warner Books
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge had been on my TBR for years. I was drawn to the gorgeous cover art, and after some online friends started talking about it, I dusted it off and dove in. And I was of course blown away by the fantastic story and writing.

The Snow Queen is loosely based on the original fairy tale, but it’s a sci-fi interpretation set on a world called Tiamat. Tiamat is sometimes within range of interstellar travel, and sometimes not. When it’s in range of interstellar travel, the Winter Queen rules, and the Hegemony brings technology to Tiamat as trade flourishes. Then when the time comes that travel will no longer be possible, the Hegemony destroys all technology, the Winter queen is ritually executed, and the Summers rule until the route again reopens.

The Winter Queen Arienrhod is conniving and wants to break the cycle, and so she clones herself. A summer child named Moon (Arienrhod’s clone) is born, who grows up to become a wise sibyl. Moon’s lover goes on a journey to find out about his past and on the way is enraptured by the Winter Queen, and so Moon sets out on a journey to save him, in a parallel to the fairy tale. Her journey takes her to another world and teaches her things about herself and her own world that she never knew, and when she returns to Tiamat, the fate of the world is in her hands. Think Hans Christian Andersen meets the socio-political and thematic complexity of Dune. I particularly enjoy that even antagonistic characters like Arienrhod are not portrayed unsympathetically; those characters are shaped by the world in which they live and the facts of which they are aware, and the actions that they take make sense to them.

The Snow Queen was a delight, and I highly recommend it.

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