Magical Realism Mondays

A popular new genre in YA fiction is that of Magical Realism.  There are various definitions, but it is essentially a literary genre in which the fantastic is presented as no more remarkable than the mundane.  Also referred to as fabulism or new fabulism, it generally consists one no more than a couple fantastic elements in an otherwise normal world, generally unexplained, though often with an alternative rationalist explanation not privileged over the fantastic by the author or even sometimes the characters.

 

As of this leap day, we will be instituting a new feature, Magical Realism Mondays, where on the first or second Monday of each month, Marisa will be reviewing, possibly with spoilers, a Magical Realist YA novel, beginning with  Moira Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season.  Spoiler alerts will be posted if necessary.

Regularly scheduled ARC and post-pub reviews will still be posted, just not on these day.

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We’re Back!

Due to a combination of personal and professional reasons, we’ve been MIA since the beginning of October. But as of the middle of July, we’ll be back to reading books and posting reviews here on the Dark Net. These will be a combination of previously scheduled reviews and new reviews, depending on whether we feel it’s still worth reviewing ARCs which are well past their release date, and whether a given ARC is still available to us. We apologize to our readers and the publishers who so kindly approved us for review copies. It’s mostly likely we will be posting a combined review per week, although depending on what ARCs we get, we might publish more or less in a given week. We really enjoyed our previous review period, despite a bit of stress from a busy review schedule, and we feel we’ve better organized our time this go around.

We will be following our traditional format for the most part, though a book review here and there might diverge a bit.

Please Welcome Atsiko Ureni, Our Speculative Fiction Reviewer

While both Marisa and I review YA fiction only to avoid confusion, we both also love various forms of speculative fiction. Sharing both of those loves with us is Atsiko Ureni, who also has his own blog a Atsiko’s Chimney, discussing spec fic, ya, and literature in general. And now I’ll let him introduce himself.

~Nick

Nick, Marisa, and I have actually known each other for quite awhile, but we’ve only recently come back into communication thanks to our shared love of literature. I’m very grateful that Nick has invited me to contribute to this blog. I’ve always wanted to get into book reviewing, but I’m afraid I’m not so great with the administrative side of things, such as networking with publishers and obtaining review copies. Especially being busy with the Chimney and my writing.

Much like Marisa, I think I’ll eventually find my own voice for reviewing, but until then, Nick has a fairly thorough review template for me to follow as I get used to the job. While I do love YA, my first love has always been speculative fiction, so I’ll be focusing on that and leaving the rest to Nick and Marisa.

Part of the reason I’m excited about doing this is that I think it will push me to read books I otherwise might not. For example, after my first review–Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, Nick has managed to snag a copy of Richard Morgan’s The Dark Defiles, the third book in his A Land Fit for Heroes series (forthcoming from Del Ray Spectra). Normally, this would be a bit dark for my tastes, but since he has it, I’ve been preparing by reading the rest of the books in the series. I’ve finished the first so far–The Steel Remains, and I enjoyed it more than I expected, although it’s nowhere near being one of my favorites.

The later books in a series tend be improve, so I’m hoping I’ll enjoy The Dark Defiles much more.

That review doesn’t come out for a few months, though.  MY first review on Notes will be Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.

I’ll probably be cross-posting these reviews to goodreads, but I’ll only be linking them over at the Chimney.

Please Welcome Marisa Greene to the Dark Net Team!

I’d like to welcome my friend Marisa Greene to Notes from the Dark Net. I think it will be nice to get some slightly different perspectives on here, especially for areas of YA I don’t read as much. All posts will now be categorized by reviewer name, and I’ll be crediting each reviewer just under the book information section that comes after the cover and quote. And without further ado!

My name is Marisa Greene, and Nick has graciously asked me to contribute some reviews to his site. Since I don’t hang around much online, I don’t get to talk about books as much as I’d like to. So I’m glad to have the chance to do formal book reviews on this blog. I think I’m going to enjoy it.

I’m also hoping this will provide me with a push to read more and more recent books. I haven’t read as much as I used to lately, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to change that. Posting here could be my solution.

I’m starting off with Nick’s format for reviews, but I won’t know how I like it until I’ve posted a few. I might change it up a little after awhile.

Anyway, glad to be here, and looking forward to the experience.

Thanks.

Coming Attractions

I’m going to be adding two new features to the blog over the next few weeks.

One of them is a complement to the current reviews. As a reviewer, my goals in writing reviews are twofold:

1. To share my opinion about the books I read, and especially to evangelize for the ones I love.

2. To help readers find new books to read.

Anyone who might be reading a review blog is probably looking for help in finding new books to read. It’s the nature of YA (and literature in general, of course), that certain themes are most prominent in a given book. But for spoiler reasons, I can’t express my full feelings on a book in a standard review. So, to that end, I’ll be posting companion posts for certain of my reviews on here. Mostly to discuss the major theme of the book and how I think it was handled in more detail. I’ll probably bring in other examples of books on those themes, and how YA in general has dealt with those themes as it’s evolved. Obviously these companion posts will have a smaller audience, and they’ll be identified clearly to avoid spoilers for people who dislike such things.

The second new addition has to do with the type of books being reviewed on this blog. I said in my initial post that I would be reviewing both YA of all genres, as well as some literary and speculative adult fiction. However, I don’t want to confuse readers who may only be interested in one or the other, and to keep up with my YA review schedule, especially considering the addition of companion posts/extended reviews, I can’t make the time commitment I believe would be necessary to faithfully meet my reading and review schedule all on my own.

So, I’ll be introducing two new reviewers on the blog:

First, I’ll be inviting my friend Atsiko Ureni from Atsiko’s Chimney to review speculative fiction of the adult variety. I’ll still be handling any that’s Young Adult.

Second, the lovely and charming Marisa Greene will be joining me in reviewing young adult, and also reviewing some New Adult titles.

They’ll both be posting introductions in the next few days.

Finally, my next review will be up tomorrow. I’ve just finished reading Saving June by Hannah Harrington. This will be the first review with a companion post, where I’ll be talking about suicide in YA and the YA road trip novel. Following that will be, of course, Dangerous Neighbors, as I said in my previous post.

Hello, World!

I find it best to have a firm foundation, so I’ll be sticking to tradition for the first few months.  This is primarily a book review blog, where I’ll be looking at Young Adult and Speculative Fiction (Science Fiction/Fantasy) from the past ten years, and perhaps some literary every now and then.

 

It’s a bit of an experiment, as I’ve always wanted to do book reviews, but  found enough useful ones between all the book review blogs out there to be content.  But I’ve finally gotten to the point where it’s too much effort to find decent reviews across the genres I enjoy, so I thought I’d do a bit of field research into why that might be.