I have made a beautiful mistake. I stayed up waaaaay past my bedtime to finish this and my middle-aged body is so mad rn, but this book was so very good.
[4 months later]
I’m REVIEW AMNESTYing a bunch of books right now, but I really want to write a review for this one, because a) I loved it so much, and b) I want more people to read it so I should say some stuff to convince them, and c) I think it will actually be pretty easy to churn out some thoughts because this book has really stuck with me, and will keep sticking with me.
I added this to my TBR when it was first announced because the cover was so pretty, but if I ever knew the premise, it quickly fell out of my head. So last December when I was putting together my annual Read Harder challenge TBR and one of the prompts was to pick a book by the cover alone, knowing absolutely nothing about the book, this immediately caught my eye. Again. Especially when I was visiting a bookstore one day and saw this on the endpapers:
neat article from Tor about this “map”
I am extremely happy to say that not only does the book live up to how beautiful the cover and those unique endpapers are, it actually exceeded my expectations. By a lot.
Okay, so this book is really hard to talk about, so bear with me. Nominally, this is a book about a pair of fugitive young men who are tasked with shepherding a dead god (who still talks) across a fantasy landscape filled with obstacles, and it is also a love story. But that very brief summary in no way conveys the actual *experience* of reading this one. The style it’s written in, aside from the actual prose, is pretty experimental and a little hard to get ahold of at first. But once you do, it is so incredibly effective at playing on your emotions and telling the story in a way that makes your brain light up in pleasure. Jimenez structures his story like a matryoshka doll, nesting one story in another, in another. And the way he navigates between them is like this fluid little magical dance. I don’t even know what that means, but it’s what came out as I was typing this, and it seems right.
This is not a book to rush through. Firstly because you can’t, really. And secondly because it deserves to be relished as you read. To really let the imagery and the characters, and the world roll through your mind at a leisurely pace, just so you can get the full effect. It is also a book that begs to be re-read. It’s definitely one of my favorite books of the year, and probably with time it might be one of my favorite books full stop. Seriously, if you like fantasy or beautiful writing, or queer stories, you should really check this one out.
Read Harder Challenge 2023: Read a book you know nothing about based solely on the cover.