ARC Review – Untethered Sky

Hello, everyone! After my teaser of the first lines of Untethered Sky this morning, I had to also drop this review today. 🙂 Anyone following me for a while probably knows by now that I am OBSESSED with the Green Bone Saga by Fonda Lee. It is one of my favorite series ever. So, I was incredibly excited to be granted an advanced copy of this new novella set in a completely different world. Let’s get to my *totally unbiased* thoughts on Lee’s most recent work!

From World Fantasy Award-winning author Fonda Lee comes Untethered Sky, an epic fantasy fable about the pursuit of obsession at all costs.

A Most Anticipated in 2023 Pick for Polygon | Book Riot | Paste Magazine

Ester’s family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family.

Ester’s path leads her to the King’s Royal Mews, where the giant rocs of legend are flown to hunt manticores by their brave and dedicated ruhkers. Paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra, Ester finds purpose and acclaim by devoting herself to a calling that demands absolute sacrifice and a creature that will never return her love. The terrifying partnership between woman and roc leads Ester not only on the empire’s most dangerous manticore hunt, but on a journey of perseverance and acceptance.

***Thank you to tordotcom for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

I loved everything about this novella, the characters, the story, the setting, and the writing. All of it. My only complaint is that I wanted more than a novella’s length to explore these characters and their world. I rarely want to annotate while reading, but I found myself itching to highlight so much of the beautiful and insightful prose. There’s just something so special about Lee’s voice. Her writing is somehow both matter of fact and emotionally evocative, which shines here just as much as it did in the Green Bone Saga.

The premise of the story is fairly simple but really, really cool. Ester’s family was murdered by a manticore, and she becomes obsessed with being a ruhker so that she can dedicate her life to killing the horrid, man-eating beasts. The book follows her journey of training her roc and becoming a successful ruhker until tragedy strikes and changes everything. Of course, there were plenty of moments that completely ripped my heart out, which seems to be Lee’s specialty as this point, and I was surprised by how much I came to care about these characters so quickly.

The rocs were so interesting, and the relationship between roc and ruhker was a fascinating one to examine. It allowed for the exploration of obsessive, one-sided love, as well as the process of accepting the loss of something, possibly everything, important to you. I was torn between loving the relationship between Ester and Zahra and being horrified by the brutality of Zahra being ripped away from her natural habitat and manipulated into servitude by the person claiming to love her. I wasn’t expecting so much nuance to be packed into such a tight story, but somehow Lee managed it.

Overall, this was a beautiful, quick story that fantasy fans will most likely enjoy. I would have loved to get even more of it, especially the world-building, but I have no complaints about what we did get. Therefore, I rate this one 5 out of 5 stars, which should come as no shock to anyone who knows how much I love Lee’s work.

Mid-Month NetGalley Check-In – November 2021

This has been another busy month for NetGalley requests and approvals. I’ve read a few of the eARCs, but my requesting spree has far outweighed what I’ve been able to read. Check out where I was a month ago in my last check-in post. My feedback ratio has dropped a bit more to 63% as a result of my overindulging in requests. I’ve completed 22 ARC reviews out of the total 35 for which I have been approved. I now have 12 unread books available to read on my shelf, which is the most I’ve ever had at one time. The reviews I completed in the last month were The Magi Menagerie, A Marvellous Light, and The Bone Shard Emperor.

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Book Review – Jade War

Hello, everyone! I hope the weekend is going well for you all. Today I’m reviewing Jade War by Fonda Lee. I was very excited to read this book after loving the first one in this series. This has easily become one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, and it is so hard to wrap up all my thoughts and feelings concisely into one review. But I’m going to give it my best shot…

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Mid-Month NetGalley Check-In – October 2021

This has been a busy month so far for NetGalley requests and approvals. Luckily, I’ve also been able to read two NetGalley eARCs since my last check-in to try to even things out a bit. Check out where I was a month ago in my last check-in post. My feedback ratio has dropped a bit to 68%, though, because I’ve still gotten approval for more than I read. I’ve completed 19 ARC reviews out of the total 28 for which I have been approved. I now have eight unread books available to read on my shelf. The reviews I completed in the last month were Traitors of the Black Crown and Child of Light.

Since I’ve finished my Goodreads Challenge for the year already, I’ve decided to set another challenge for myself. I plan to get to 25 NetGalley eARC reviews by the end of the year. As mentioned above, I’ve completed 19 so far. So, I don’t think it is an impossible goal. Hopefully, it will also help my ratio enough to bump it over 80% for the first time, but we’ll see.

The books below are those currently needing to be read on my shelf. I plan to read and review the books in bold before the next check-in on November 15.

The Magi Menagerie by Kale Lawrence | Publication Date: September 7, 2021
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan | Publication Date: January 11, 2022
The Bone Shard Emperor by Andrea Stewart | Publication Date: November 23, 2021
The Beholden by Cassandra Rose Clarke | Publication Date: January 18, 2022
Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee | Publication Date: November 30, 2021
Veil by Dylan Farrow | Publication Date: April 26, 2022
Obsidian by Sarah J. Daley | Publication Date: January 25, 2022
Forging a Nightmare by Patricia A. Jackson | Publication Date: November 23, 2021

How do you stay on top of your NetGalley ARCs? Are you successful at staying above the coveted 80% ratio threshold? Let me know in the comments!

Mid-Month NetGalley Check-In – September 2021

How is it already the middle of September? I feel like this month just started and it is already halfway over?! I’ve been able to read two NetGalley ARCs since my last check-in. Check out where I was a month ago in my last check-in post. My feedback ratio is still at 71%, though, because I’ve gotten three new ARCs this month too. I’ve completed 17 ARC reviews out of the total 24 for which I have been approved. I now have six unread books available to read on my shelf. The reviews I completed in the last month were The All-Consuming World and Under the Whispering Door.

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