the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘read along

Last month,  Book Forager and I read Lauren Beukes’s Broken Monsters. This book came out a while ago, but we both realized it was a book we had been meaning to get to. . . and just needed a nudge to finally read.   As we each got through different portions of the books, we’d email back and forth our thoughts and questions for each other.  Our conversation morphed in a shared Google Doc for us to chat back and forth about our favorite characters, the weirdness of this book, the ending (holy crap that ending!!), and that a book that is ostensibly about a serial killer made me cry.


Below, is one half of our conversation,  head over to Book Forager this weekend to read the other half!



Who were your favorite characters?

Book Forager: I’m torn between Layla, TK and Clayton. Layla is such a badass and I still think she’s the hero of the book. Yes, she’s a teen who’s trying to sort everything out in her head and work out who she is, but she’s got some serious backbone. She takes on VelvetBoy and Travis (which was awesome!), and she seems to understand better than anyone else what’s going on in the factory at the end. She admires Cass without realising just how frigging awesome she is herself.


I loved TK from the moment he found those red shoes and handed them over to Ramón instead of keeping them for himself. Everything about his story breaks my heart. At the end of my copy of the book there was an interview with Beukes (was there in yours, Andrea?) and in both that and her acknowledgements she mentions James Harris from the NOAH project at the Central United Methodist Church in Detroit, who allowed her to use details from his personal history. I’m guessing that’s why TK feels so real. Real or not, he’s loyal and smart, an incredibly sympathetic character, and has an odd super power involving chairs.


And Clayton. He’s just so well written. I have a soft spot for characters who struggle to interact with the world in an acceptable way. He’s incredibly creepy, and deluded, and I’m not sure I can scrape up that much empathy for him, but I still have a little. At least I did at the beginning. I feel like he’s not quite fully formed, if that makes any sense? I’m guessing he may not be on your favourite characters list Andrea, but how did you feel about Clayton Broom?


Andrea:  You guessed right, Clayton totally creeped me out! And yes, I 100% get what you mean that he didn’t feel fully formed. Do you think that was on purpose?  That he’s looking for something that will make him feel (or literally be) fully formed? I’m such an idiot, I thought my book didn’t have the interview in the back. . . .  and I just looked again, just now, and of course it’s there. How did I miss that before??


At first I really liked Jonno, more on him in a bit.


It’s funny, at the beginning of the book, it looks like Gabrielle and Jonno are being presented as the main characters. And yes, they are both important, but I felt like as the book progressed, Layla, and by extension, Cas, become the main characters.  It is awful that this thriller about a freaky AF serial killer is really Layla’s coming of age book? She starts as this quiet “don’t look at me” kind of girl who is overshadowed by her boisterous best friend, and the tables kind of turn by the end, in a good way.   The crazy shit Layla and Cass do to Velvetboy? Holy crap! And like, I don’t think Layla figures out exactly who she is by the end, but she sure figures out who she isn’t. And wow, what a bonding experience between her and her mom!!!


Layla has a unique way of looking at the world,  and I think for teenagers, that unique way is totally normal.  But us adults, we’ve forgotten how to look at the world in such a unique way. If she hadn’t been at the warehouse at the end, the book would have had a much more gruesome ending, I think.  I wonder if Beukes sort of wrote the lead up to the end backwards? Like, she knew Layla had to be there . . . so how to engineer the scenes before to make sure Layla is there? I bet all authors do something like that, where they know certain characters need to be in certain places for certain things to happen, so how do to you make sure people have a legit reason to be where they are supposed to be at the right time?


Book Forager: Huh … this is going to sound dumb, but it never occurred to me that Clayton’s not-quite-fully-formed-ness was something deliberate. But that makes complete sense (I feel a real wally!) of what happens to him in the woods (even though I think Beukes is deliberately vague on that score, perhaps to keep the reader guessing about the supernatural elements until later on), and why.


Yeah, I felt like Gabrielle and Jonno were going to be the key players too, and I liked the way Layla and Cass slowly moved into the spotlight, how the whole book starts out feeling like a typical procedural and slowly twists into something much more.

Did your favorite character(s) change by the end of the book?

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In case you ever need to talk me into doing something, the magic words are Iain M. Banks.

Kamo over at This Is How She Fight Start is organizing a read along of Banks’ Inversions for later this month. Join Kamo, Two Dudes in an Attic, and myself, as we convince the rest of the universe that Iain M Banks was the best thing to ever happen to said universe.  Because you’ll be joining us, tweet Kamo or comment on his announcement and let him know you want the deets. Come on, it’ll be fun!

The first sentence of the Wikipedia for Inversions page states

Banks has said “Inversions was an attempt to write a Culture novel that wasn’t.”

I didn’t scroll down any further, didn’t want spoilers.


I’m only about 50 pages in so far, and at least twice I have already audibly exclaimed “damn I love you Banks” while reading.  If I don’t respond to tweets or e-mails for the next 24 hours, this book is why.


Well my friends, this is it.  We’ve come to the end of our read along for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  Make sure to watch Dab of Darkness for announcements about a continuing read along in N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.

Will someone please make a time machine for me, so I can go back to 2010 and read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms back when it first came out? Calling this book amazing just doesn’t cut it, because it’s also innovative, ground breaking, gorgeously written,  and I could talk for hours and hours about the characters.  Ehh, maybe I should actually write a formal review?  But before that, I better get to this week’s questions, which were provided by Lauren from Violin in a Void.  Head over to her site to see what everyone else said.

btw, let it be known: I’m an idiot. Because many of us had finished the book early, Lauren so kindly sent out questions early so we could write up our responses while it was fresh in our minds.  Was it fresh in my mind when I got her e-mail? you bet!  is it still fresh in my mind 5 days later? not so much. Lauren = brilliant, me = idiot.

Questions, answers, and buckets and buckets of spoilers (and me rambling) is after the jump!

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Hi Everyone,  we’re up to week three  of our Hundred Thousand Kingdoms read along!  The book hit incredible around page ten, so I bet everyone had as tough a time as I did stopping at the end of this week’s section.   I’m our host this week, so leave your link in the comments, and everyone can hop around and read everyone’s answers.

What everyone else said:

Violin in a Void

All I Am, A Redhead

Books Without Any Pictures

On Starships and Dragonwings

Dab of Darkness

(I will add more as I find them)

Here’s this week’s discussion questions. . .   spoilers abound!

1. T’vril takes Yeine to the servant’s party. What did you think of that party, and of Sieh’s part in it?

Well, we find out a little later how the high nobles amuse themselves, so I’m happy T’vril took her to a more fun type of party. And what a great magic trick by Sieh! It’s sobering that Sieh’s attitude is “we’re all slaves”, but it was neat to see him in a different physical body. I’d like to get more of Sieh’s point of view, he seems so confused by Yeine, he has to constantly remind himself that she’s not Enefa. I think this is the first time Yeine has seen him in anything but his child’s body? I wish Yeine had been able to have more fun at the party.

2. Yeine presents herself as such a nice, compassionate person. Did your feelings about her change after the meeting she and Nahadoth had with Gemd? Read the rest of this entry »

Hi Everyone! We’re getting into the nitty gritty of the holy-shit-WHAT that’s happening in N.K. Jeminin’s incredible The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. This week’s discussion questions were provided by Anya of On Starships and Dragonwings. Head over to her blog to link around to everyone who is participating!

As you’re reading this, I’m enroute to a work thing involving layovers in snowy cities, hotel bars, training sessions, and really long meetings. Internet access and free time will be severely limited, so I’ll catch up with everyone on Thursday morning. Apologies in advance if your comment gets stuck in moderation.

We’re in the spoilerific sections of the book already, so I’ve blotted out the spoilery bits before the jump. and then I just was having way too much fun blotting stuff out. 😉

1) We’ve started to learn about a side of Yeine’s mother that Yeine can barely believe existed. No one in this story seems all that capable of telling the objective truth, however, so who do you think Kinneth really was? A devoted mother? A traitorous schemer? Evil and cruel?

2) Wow major plot reveal Batman! Finding out about Yeine’s second soul was not something I saw coming at all. Did you suspect? Have any other theories? What do you think of this major plot development? What do you think Yeine should do?

3) We’ve gotten to know a lot more about Darr in this section and their traditions have both good and bad sides it seems to me. What do you think of their coming-of-age ritual for the women? What about women soldiers and men being left to protect the children? Any other traditions that struck you?

4) The Walking Death played a pretty big role in the past given none of this would have happened if Yeine’s father hadn’t gotten sick. There was discussion in the previous section about how the Death only infects commoners and those of high-birth aren’t affected. What do you think the Death really is? Any theories on why it infects only certain people?

5) Finally, we’ve learned a lot more about our enslaved gods between getting to know Nahadoth better, finding out what is up with Sieh, and seeing a rather bitter side of Kurue. What do you think of all these revelations? Has your favorite god changed?

Ready for some spoilers?  LET’S DO IT.

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Welcome to the first part of our read along of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, part 1!  This week’s discussion questions were provided by Susan from Dab of Darkness, so head over to her blog for links to everyone who is participating.

Wow is that some gorgeous cover art!

Wow is that some gorgeous cover art!

This week’s discussion covers chapters 1 through 9. Just joining us?  Click here for the schedule, and if you’d like to be added to the discussion e-mail list, let me know in the comments. 😀

Let’s get started with our first conversation!

1) We’ve met our narrator, Yeine. What are your first impressions? Do you like the chosen form of story telling so far?

I’m usually a fan of first person POV, so I’m enjoying the way the story is presented.  Sometimes I feel like Yeine is whispering to the reader, breaking the fourth wall a little bit, especially when she seems so concerned about her own method of storytelling.  This whole thing is a giant flashback, isn’t it? She seems so sad, like this is the last story she’ll ever tell.  I know i’m reading way more into her “voice” than I should be, but I like it when authors give me those tendrils of characterization, that i can’t help but follow them, even if I’m going in the wrong direction.

That was a really long winded way of saying I really really like the chosen form of storytelling!

And I like Yeine.  This scene gave her some major brownie points:

He stared at me for a moment. “Your mother did not tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Of the Enefadeh”

“The Enewhat?”

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hundred thousand

Who wants to follow one incredible fantasy novel with another incredible fantasy novel?  I DO!   This time, we’re picking up the much lauded The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin.  this book has been on my radar since it came out, and it just never made it to the top of my mount TBR.  Thankfully Susan over at Dab of Darkness insisted that this be my next read along novel. THANK YOU SUSAN!!!!

Interested in joining?  Here’s the schedule and the who’s who:

Chapters 1-9, 106 pages Dab of Darkness, post goes up Dec. 2nd
Chapters 10-16, 100 pages On Starships & Dragonwings, post goes up Dec. 9th
Chapters 17-22, 96 pages Little Red Reviewer post goes up Dec. 16th
Chapters 23-End, 96 pages Violin in a Void, post goes up Dec. 23rd

Wanna read along and get discussion questions early?  Let me know in the comments. 😀

Welcome friends!   This is the final post in our Republic of Thieves read along. I hope everyone had a good time? It was one helluva book, wasn’t it?  This week’s questions come courtesy of Allie of Tethyan Books. Head on over to her blog for the link list of everyone who is participating, and you’re welcome to leave your link in the comments here as well.

So many, and i do mean SO MANY spoilers abound, so questions and answers are after the jump. I can’t help but tease though. . . .

In Espara…

1. The Republic of Thieves:  It’s the first and final performance!  What did you think of the play?  Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story?  Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?

2. The Other Performance:  Of course, the GB and company had another important performance to get through—the one that ensures none of them end up hanged!  What was your favorite part of this scheme?  Do you agree with their plan for dealing with Moncraine’s treachery?

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republic of thieves cover 1

You guys.

I have been waiting since like August to for THIS POST. All the stuff I couldn’t talk about the in the review? I can talk about it now! with all of you!  Why can’t all Mondays be this awesome?

We’re nearly to the end, and the reveals have been coming fast and furious.  Just, holy shit, WOW.   Now I remember why I used the phrase brick shitting in my review.  We’re not even done with the book yet, which means there’s MORE for next week!

Leave me your link in the comments, and I’ll update the post as often as I can with a list of everyone’s links.

thar be spoilers, matey, (epic, earth shattering spoilers), so questions and answers are after the jump.

Speaking of everyone else’s links, here they be:

Over the Effing Rainbow

Dab of Darkness

Tethyan Books

Lynn’s Book Blog

All I am – A Redhead

Genkinahito’s Blog

Theft and Sorcery

Joma’s Fantasy Books

Violin In A Void

Many a True Nerd

Coffee Cookies and Chili Peppers

Books Without Any Pictures

(I’ll add more links as people post, so keep checking back!)

Read the rest of this entry »

republic of thieves cover 1Welcome back to the Republic of Thieves read along! This week’s section covers Chapter 6 thru Interlude “Aurin and Amadine” and is hosted by the lovely Lynn of Lynn’s Book Blog.  If you’re just joining us, click HERE for the full reading schedule.  If you’ve been following along on twitter (#lynchmob) you may have noticed there’s some team loyalties happening. all in good fun!

Instead of torturing you with an overly long thesis on Sabetha Belacoros, I shall torture you with the world’s shittiest poetry (Lucarno I ain’t!), in a spoilery summary of where we are:

liquor license saved at last,
but for a woman from their past,
That Vordratha is a cranky git,
and Locke sees Sabetha for a bit.

The boys wake on a luxurious ship,
headed to sea at quite the clip.
Funny how Locke and Jean completely forget
they can speak Vadran.

Elsewhen. . .

Five young Camorri bastards will succeed,
as soon as they can get Moncraine freed
The find the Duke and Sabetha talks,
his crush on her is as bad as Locke’s!

It’s now the Boulidazi-Moncraine company,
and acting lessons are had for free.
The Sanza boys find their niche
and Locke may finally get his wish.

(said quickly, all in one breath) and then he completely wrecks it by complimenting something Sabetha doesn’t like about herself. Great job, assmunch. Also, Boulidazi is PISSED.

This week’s spoilery questions and spoilery-er answers are after the jump!

Head over to Lynn’s Book Blog for links to everyone else’s responses.
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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.