In the Grim Darkness of the Recent Past: May in Review


Weeeell May was a busy month here *collapses into a puddle of slime*. I somehow succeeded in my attempt to post a review every day during Wyrd and Wonder. Most of the reviews were grimdark novels, though towards the end it started feeling a bit too much like work so I shifted things up a bit and reviewed some comics volumes I’d been wanting to read for a while. I’m not gonna harp on about it too much, other than to send my warmest thanks to imyril, who blogs at There’s Always Room For One More, Lisa from Dear Geek Place and Jorie over at Jorie Loves a Story for all their hard work and dedication to our lovely little community. I’m not linking to all the posts I did cos I’m lazy and there’s too many of them, but you should definitely go read them all, just navigate to that home page homeslice. I’ll probs add in all the covers of the books I read cos they make a post look pretty don’t they.



One thing I will say about my Wyrd And Wonder reading list is it felt very monochrome. I think only one of the authors I read wasn’t white and that was R. F. Kuang, whose books I wasn’t all that hot on. I actually didn’t really vibe with any of the female grimdark writers I read actually and was very conscious of that. It was a very small selection mind; in addition to Kuang I read Anna Smith Spark, Anna Stephens and Sarah Chorn. Out of those I think Chorn was probably the one I liked the most, but even there I felt her flowery prose didn’t really align with my taste (and also if we’re gonna split hairs I don’t think Seraphina’s Lament is actually grimdark, despite how it was sold to me). I was hoping to read Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, but I’m annoyed at myself for not making the effort to actually get round to. I’m not sure how ‘grimdark’ it actually is, but I certainly caught some vibes when I was reading about it. So I ask you, my fellow bookwyrms, to please me recommend some grimdark that isn’t written by a white dude in that there comment box at the bottom.



Anyways, Wyrd and Wonder may be over, but there’s no rest for the wicked. Throughout June I’ll be finishing up my reading of the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards nominees; I have the honour of being on this year’s panel and I’m judging in the Fantasy, Science Fiction, Novella and Short Story Categories. I’ve managed to slip a few reads in here and there, but got a ton of books to read this month, so still expect a ton of reviews to go along with them. I’ve just started reading Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi and fuck me it’s a good read so far.

I feel like I’m in a very snippety-snappety writing mood today so this feels like I’m blasting through, where usually I linger for far too long and have to actively rein myself in. I do have a gaming session booked in with my pal at 8pm and need to make and eat some delicious hot dogs beforehand. I was gonna talk about some of the other stuff that I did in May – podcasts and TV shows and whatnot, but I might leave that til next month when I’m not feeling so snippety-snap.



One final thing! A mini announcement if you will. For a while now I’ve been wanting to pivot this blog to reviewing and celebrating a lot more small press books, I just haven’t had the time, what with my Wyrd and Wonder and Subjective Chaos commitments. However, once I’ve read and reviewed all my Subjective Chaos nominees this month I’m finally planning on doing that. I’ve been compiling a list of small presses to look into and buy some books from, and hopefully start spotlighting new small press releases and maybe doing some interviews of small press writers and publishers. I’m gonna do a proper announcement post, probably toward the end of June/beginning of July, but for you devoted and beloved readers you get the juicy gossip right here.

That’s all for now nerds, my girlfriend is pestering me to make the hot dawgs, so I shall take my leave and wish you all a happy reading 😀



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16 thoughts on “In the Grim Darkness of the Recent Past: May in Review

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  1. Micah Yongo’s Lost Gods is at least grimdark adjacent and by Angry Robot, so fits the pivot to boot. I read the second one – Pale Kings – and didn’t love it, but like it well enough to recommend if that’s what you’re looking for.

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    1. I’d not heard of this before actually, thanks for putting it on my radar. I also realise this reply is very late haha. I’ve been rubbish at replying and commenting on other blog posts this month, think I’ve been avoiding social media a bit in an attempt to recover from my flurry of May activity.

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    1. I nearly cracked a few times but I persevered 😄 I started Riot Baby the other day and read about a third of it, but haven’t felt much like reading these past few days so I’ve not gone back to it yet. Think that’s very much my mood and not the book though cos I was really enjoying it. Maybe I’m just a bit burned out from Wyrd and Wonder!

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  2. Yea, I’d call Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf grimdark. I’m fairly new to that subgenre, but James’s book struck me as such because it is very dark and gritty. For most folks, it’s hard to get into the story, and it was so for me too, but I think it really takes off after the first 100 pages. It’s a lot to get used to up front because the timeline isn’t linear.
    Hope it goes well for you if you try it.

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    1. I’m really hoping to read it in the next couple of months. I’ve heard good things from the few people I know have read it, and I do love a good non-linear timeline, so I have high hopes that I’ll enjoy it 🙂

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  3. Good luck with the Small Press project! We had a Small Press Friday AMA series this year on Reddit and it did things to my TBR, so many interesting sounding books, now I only have to get round to reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really looking forward to it. There’s a lot of great big five books get talked about round the blogosphere but def feel like as a community we’re missing out on some hidden gems that deserve more attention. I’m not much of a Redditor so I missed that, though I might try and dig it out for some small press recs ☺️

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        1. Amazing, thank you 😀 Love a good recommendation treasure trove, you’ll no doubt see me reading and reviewing some of the books mentioned in the next few months!

          Liked by 1 person

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  5. Congrats on reviewing something every day! I hope you posted your final review of the month and then went for a long sleep, because that sounds exhausting–and reading so much grimdark, too! U ok bro?

    I’m afraid I don’t have any recommendations – grimdark isn’t a subgenre I ever really reach for – but I’m pretty sure Black Leopard, Red Wolf counts as grimdark, which is actually one of the major reasons I haven’t read my copy yet! I really want to read more African-inspired fantasy, but I get a feeling that one’s going to be ROUGH when I get around to it.

    I’ve bookmarked some of your reviews, so I’ll be checking them out throughout the summer – maybe you’ll convince me to give something grimdark a try. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol I’m still recovering I think. Haven’t posted any reviews at all this month and seem to be on an informal twitter break after being ‘very online’ throughout a lot of May. My brain definitely needs the cleanse.

      Yeah I’ve heard on the grapevine that Black Leopard, Red Wolf gets pretty dark. I also really want to read more African SFF. I really loved Tade Thompson’s Rosewater books set in a near-future Nigeria, but I’ve not read much more than that. I’ve had a few Nnedi Okorafor on my radar for a good while but not got round to them yet, and I know Evan Winter’s books have been well-received so would like to read Rage of Dragons at some point. There’s a book you might be interested in actually that I also want to read called Everfair by Nisi Shawl, that’s a sort of steampunky alternate Victorian history of the Belgian colonisation of the Congo.

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    1. Yeah I’m not sure about Rage of Dragons. I’ve heard it describes as both epic fantasy and grimdark, which makes no sense to me but people have their own ideas of genre definitions haha, which is why they have their limitations and why people will be fighting about them forever. I do plan to read it, so will find out for myself one day.

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