Sooooo I finished that book series by SL Huang that I talked about in my last entry. It is soooooooo gooood. I have a book hangover. And there are already two more in the series in the works!!!! Which is good, because I need them.
The series is called Russell's Attic (you can see more about them on the author's website), and if you need to pirate them, go ahead, because the author says so. It looks like you can try the first couple in the series here.
I can't even, like, write a reasonable review because I just want to yell in all caps I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THEM SO THERE!!!
Like, you guys know me and my fancasting, right? Usually when I'm reading a book or listening to a podcast, I can't help but slide an actor or two in there as a headcanon of what a character looks like. But the characters in these books are so unique and original, that was not the case. It's not just that the characters feel like real people, with their own contradictions and idiosyncrasies, it's that these are not characters we've already seen 10,000 times already. They don't fit into the expected same old tropes and stereotypes that are repeatedly trotted out.
I am also really enjoying the pacing of these -- each book is dynamic and has about 2 major plot lines in each story, so there are basically two climaxes in each book. I think it works really well this way because there are several ongoing mysteries within the series, so even though there are a lot of unanswered questions, you get the two denouements as well as the climaxes, so the stories still feel satisfying. There are also a lot of worldbuilding hints about things that have happened/are going to happen which serve as both callbacks to previous installments as well as foreshadowing future installments of the series. Often, I find this technique to be annoying and repetitive in any given novel series, but IMO the author handles it very deftly here, piquing interest without whacking the reader over the head with, "HEY HERE'S A CLUE YOU GUYS!!!"
Rec rec rec especially for people who like things like Veronica Mars, Netflix's Jessica Jones, Dollhouse, Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam series, and Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone series. (See also: SL Huang's essay On the Subject of Unlikable Women Protagonists.)
- Russell's Attic