Book Review: Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw

Bearly a Lady by Cassandra Khaw

It’s late, and the star-starved sky’s a shade of indigo-black.

So, I’ve mentioned this book before (link here). Bearly a Lady is, in a word, delightful. There are a lot of supernatural romance (or as I once saw them labeled in a bookshop, ‘fangbanger’) stories around; I don’t think I’ve ever read one quite like this. The main character is a werebear. A bisexual, WOC, fashonista werebear called Zelda. She is a brilliant protagonist: I felt immediate sympathy and investment. I really cared what happened to her, and I wanted her to be happy.

There’s a tendency for most fluffy fun romance to be very straight. And for a lot of queer romance to have angst of the “am I bi/gay/or so on?” or “Should I tell anyone that I’m bi/gay/a werebear?” type. This story, wonderfully, has neither. Zelda is bi, and precisely no-one makes a fuss. Zelda is a werebear, which is a bit more problematic (waxing. Lots of waxing), but similarly just a thing. Her roommate is a vampire. A wonderfully snarky vampire. And really, I just think you should read this book. It’s warm, it’s fluffy, the writing is excellent and it plays with all the supernatural romance tropes with great glee. Should Zelda go out with the sexy werewolf? Or the infuriating but yummy Fae prince? Or perhaps, someone else entirely…?

It has a lot of brilliant background characters, and the humour is spot on. Also, having a plus-sized main character who gets portrayed as attractive and awesome was great. (you may have noticed that I like this book). So, to sum up, this is definitely fluff, but it’s well written, diverse, queer friendly, intelligent fluff WHICH IS ANNOYINGLY RARE. I shall definitely be re-reading.

Rating: read this book. Release your inner beast, just not while wearing your favourite jeans…

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Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

SPOILER WARNING! Do not read this if you have not read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet!

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Node Identifier: 3323-2345-232-23, Lovelace Monitoring System

I love this boooooooooook!

Some of you may have read my very excited review of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: this book is the sequel and I am just as excited about it! I’m currently reading it for the third time, and I am more in love with it than the first time.

The worldbuilding is wonderful and detailed, building on the set-up established in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The story takes place in two different timelines, with two different POV characters: this certainly has the potential to be confusing, but in practice was handled very smoothly. The two characters were Pepper, who we met in the previous book, and Sidra, who is (sort of) new… In the present-day timeline, they live together, and it’s wonderful getting the interaction between their points of view: I love how Becky Chambers is able to present differing points of view and opinions in which there is no villain. It’s all just people trying to muddle through. I loved the perspective given by the different timelines.

And really, I’m hard pressed to know what else to say. I love this book, and I could just list all the things I enjoyed but that would involve a list of everything that happened in the whole book!

Some of my personal favourites were:

  • The POV of an artificial intelligence trying to cope with the “wrong” body.
  • Tak, wonderful Aeulon character who smoothly changes genders all the time!
  • Pepper Pepper Pepper I love Pepper.
  • This one line on a page near the beginning that reads “…looked like it had been pulled from the ‘Human’ example in an interspecies relations textbook: brown skin, black hair, brown eyes.” yes.
  • The character interactions are so brilliant.
  • Everything. Everything in this book!

So to conclude, reading this book sort of feels like sinking into a cuddle. Bad things happen, difficult stuff occurs, but it’s all handled with warmth and thoughtfulness and honesty.

Rating: read it, re-read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, drink hot chocolate.