Category: Asia

Aug 24 2019

The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston

Boxer Rebellion

Distinguishing a warning that should be heeded from a host of false positives is a famously hard problem. The foreign community in Peking, as it was then generally called in the West, failed that test in the summer of 1900, costing many hundreds of lives. The Boxer Rebellion concentrates on the defense of the Legation …

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Aug 21 2019

Yikes

Son of Heaven

Sometimes speculative fiction is just a little too on the nose: The Republicans, coming to power …, wanted to do away with free trade. In a frenzy of nationalist rhetoric, they sought to replace globalization with protectionist tariffs. They wanted to pull up the economic drawbridge, just as their predecessors had after the Wall Street …

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Apr 17 2019

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

I finished this book in two compulsive sittings, and if I’m being perfectly honest, I think I would have liked it better if I hadn’t had to break concentration a little past the halfway mark to go do life stuff. Because The Weight Of Our Sky is the kind of book that grabs you by …

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Jan 16 2019

Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix (Rise of the Empress #2) by Julie C. Dao

Wow, that was fucking terrible. I mean, I’d been warned that this book would not be as brilliant as its predecessor Forest Of A Thousand Lanterns, a book so good that I put it in my Top 10 of 2018, but a lot of the (valid) criticism is that the main character, Jade, is extremely …

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Jan 04 2019

The Devourers by Indra Das

So there are some books where you finish them and you’re all “Well, I guess that wasn’t for me” such as, in my most recent experience prior to this, Marlon James’ A Brief History Of Seven Killings (and have you heard, he’s coming out with a fantasy novel! Despite my tepid response to prior book, …

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Sep 14 2018

From Page To Screen: Crazy Rich Asians

I’m not one of those snobs who always insists that the book was better than the movie adaptation. In my experience as a pop culture connoisseur, particularly in our modern era, book and movie are often on a similar level to one another. Gone Girl, for example, was excellent in both forms, though that likely …

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Apr 07 2018

Raven Stratagem (The Machineries of Empire #2) by Yoon Ha Lee

If you’re new to the Machineries Of Empire series, start with my review here. So when I first began reading this I thought, “Wait, what, my memory must really be going because this is totally different from what I remembered of the ending of Ninefox Gambit.” Then I got through over half of the book …

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Mar 31 2018

Brick Lane by Monica Ali

This powerful book about a woman discovering her own agency through the lens of the Bangladeshi immigrant experience surprised me at how timeless it felt even though it’s set at the turn of the 21st century. It’s very much in the tradition of classics by Thomas Hardy and Willa Cather, documenting with a fine eye …

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Feb 07 2018

Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1) by Yoon Ha Lee

Whoo, jeez, this was one hell of a read! So you know that bromide, that any scientific technology, advanced enough, is indistinguishable from magic? To a very large extent, one can apply that to science fiction, where if we follow theoretical math and physics to their natural conclusions, the results are indistinguishable from fantasy. Because, …

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Jan 26 2018

An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King

4.5 stars It feels a bit mean to criticize such a thoughtful book, but I did have very long stretches of not understanding how Wei Guo could possibly be as awesome as he is given his surroundings and upbringing. Then I remind myself that he’s 44 years old and has spent that time learning how …

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