Life Update (of a sort)

I…*deep breath* am now in college.

*shrieks, falls off a cliff that symbolizes existential horror and despair*

I’m kidding, I’m kidding, it’s not THAT bad. Just…stressful. I haven’t been blogging that much this year, because of depression, and I think college is probably going to impact my ability to blog even more, so that’s not really fun.

Also, why!! am I able to write PERFECTLY until I have to do an assignment!! Why is that??

I’ve been writing way, way more lately. Unfortunately, I have not been organized enough to pick a specific project. So I’ve been randomly working on fanfics, some Arthurian stuff, and one Tam Lin retelling that may or may not be going anywhere?

Yeah, the Tam Lin retelling is like…I’m going for a Southern Gothic feel, so think Flannery O’Conner meets Twilight, lol. It’s a contemporary fantasy. Mostly. I mean, it’s as contemporary as the southern US can get. The south is kind of a timeless place. Sure, we have cars. We have internet. But nothing changes. It’s not…It’s not a good quality, actually.

Also, I’ve noticed my male characters tend to fit into two archetypes, which is either ‘evil bard’ or else ‘got high in the woods.’ Which one is Tam Lin going to fit into? I will see.

Getting off track, this is kind of personal, but I’ve kind of been questioning as far as my gender identity? I think I’m agender. Oops. I feel like that’s something that probably shouldn’t have surprised me, in retrospect.

I’ve been taking a dance appreciation course (save me), so I’ve been watching a lot of Bharatanatyam dance (am I spelling that right? I hope so). I should probably spend less time watching dances I like and more time actually doing my homework, but oh well!

Go on…Get lost in the rabbit hole of Indian classical dance. I promise you won’t regret it. (Unless you have homework to do.)

Also, why hasn’t Disney adapted an Indian folk tale yet? India has such a rich music and dance tradition, and I think an Indian director (or someone who was dedicated to faithful representation) could do a really good job with this.

I’ve also been listening to some Bollywood soundtracks!

The color scheme of this dance is so beautiful. As is the music. I’ve never watched the movie, but!! the dance!!

Also, just a rant because I feel like it: My sociology classmates are awful? We were talking about taboo foods and I mentioned dogs as a food that’s taboo in America (which in retrospect I REALLY should have known better than to do), and then suddenly my classmates started making ‘Chinese eat dogs’ jokes. I was really caught off guard, so I wasn’t able to really shut it down. :/ Anyway, I hate them now! Yay

On a different, more cheerful note, I’ve also been watching Flower of Evil? It’s great so far! The drama is about the son of a serial killer, and the son is suspected of being the accomplice, so he takes a fake identity and…marries a cop. And it’s funny because you think at first that he’s totally faking his love for her, he’s evil and is just manipulating her and all that–he isn’t. He’s absolutely in love with her, he just thinks he’s faking it because trauma

Anyway, that’s all, folks! Wish me luck in college, I guess.

The Grey Marshes – Becky

I did a thiiing

Go on, go read it

Radiate Literary

This short story, “The Grey Marshes” by Becky, showcases a fierce girl named Helga choosing her next step in life.


The marsh had always felt like Helga’s home, in all of its emptiness. The place was bare and open and alone. One lone tree stood out in the center of the marsh, its leaves fallen to the ground after the last frost. It was bleached grey like everything else out there, stripped of color. There would be no color out on the marsh for several months, not until the cold season was over.

Helga stood by the water, gripping an axe in her hand. Her dark hair was braided down her back, her ears almost pointed, her skin a deep copper brown. The icy water soaked through her shoes and soaked the hem of her finest blue dress, a dress she might have worn to a wedding. She was not…

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The Gold Vine–a short story

Hello! PLEASE ENJOY MY ABOMINATION. Thank you, and good night. *bows*

Okay, I guess this requires a bit more introduction than that. Jem created a flash fiction prompt linkup a couple of months ago, and I finally got in on the fun and wrote something for it. So please enjoy…whatever this story is.

I came up with something involving fairies, much talk of murder, and small children, as you do. Please enjoy (or don’t enjoy. It’s your business, after all, and no one else’s).

(Does anyone else ever get the urge to apologize for everything they write? I don’t know why, it’s not like a bad story is a crime against humanity. Usually, anyway.)

The little girl with the long red hair crept away from her birthday party. It was not really her party. Her mother had invited lots of children, a few she knew and many she didn’t. The party was too loud. Mary had almost cried at the noise when one of the girls popped a balloon, but she didn’t, because her mother would have called her whiny. Why were little kids so loud? Did she scream like that when she played?

Mary slumped to the ground underneath a tree. She could still see her house from where she sat on the hill, a tiny blue dollhouse of a thing. The hill smelled of grass and fresh rain.

The forest was directly behind her, dark and tangled. Ellie, one of the girls at the party, had tried to scare her with some story about her brother finding a monster in the woods. Mary sniffed. How stupid. She was careful not to look behind her, though, just in case. It wouldn’t make any difference if she saw the monster coming or not, but it felt better not to look.

A monster’s not what I need to worry about, Mary thought. The only thing I should be worried about is what Mother will say when she finds out I’ve run off from my own—from my own party— She should not have had to run off from her own party. She should have enjoyed herself. It should have been a day when her parents paid attention to her, not one where they invited a bunch of kids over and left her to do her own thing with people she didn’t know and was apparently supposed to like. Her eyes watered and she began to cry in earnest.

She sat like that for what felt like ten minutes. Her breaths came in gasps by the end of it, and her face was warm and sticky. Nothing made sense. She couldn’t untangle one feeling from another. The ground blurred as her eyes watered again.

“Crying doesn’t seem to do anything,” a lilting voice said from above her. “Except make your face blotchy. Why do you cry? It seems…” The voice paused. “Counter-intuitive.”

Mary jumped to her feet, her hands balled into fists. “I heard that,” she snapped. She didn’t know who this person was. How dare he come and interrupt her crying session? Couldn’t she even cry in peace on her birthday? And it was rude to call someone blotchy.

“You were supposed to!” His laughter sounded like the wind rustling the trees. She whirled to see a boy sitting on a tree branch, one knee pulled up to his chin. It looked like a precarious position, but he seemed comfortable. He had brown, curly hair that came down to his shoulders, and he wore a red tunic, a gold torc, and several bracelets. She almost thought he was a girl at first.

She couldn’t tell how old he was. Either a tall boy, or a short man. She blinked, puzzled. “You look like a Lord of the Rings character,” she said blankly. “Why are you dressed weird?”

“No one but my mother is allowed to comment on my fashion choices,” he answered smugly, crossing his arms. “And my mother’s dead. So why are you crying?”

Mary pursed her lips together, looking down. She thought about it for a few minutes, but wasn’t able to piece the answer apart. “I guess I don’t know why,” she answered. “I’m sorry your mother’s dead.”

He leaned his head back toward the sky, as if he were contemplating a great philosophical question. “So you do something that gets your face blotchy for no reason,” he said. He didn’t sound critical, but that didn’t stop her from glaring. “Fascinating. And you don’t need to be sorry about my mother. You didn’t kill her.”

The wind blew through her long hair. What an eejit, Mary decided. She crossed her arms. “I guess one could say crying makes me feel better,” she said stiffly.

He flashed a smile, showing sharp teeth. The smile sent shivers down Mary’s back. She couldn’t say why.

He was going to kill her. It felt like he was going to kill her. But that was stupid. How often did one stumble on murderers? So she ignored her prickling spine.

“So, perhaps a better response to distress than murder,” he replied, making her jump. “But maybe not as efficient.” His eyes were always laughing. “I should inform my brothers. They are always trying to kill things, but perhaps they should try crying instead.” He nearly fell out of the tree cackling. “I cannot imagine my brothers crying,” he explained in response to her raised eyebrow. That had not been what she wanted to ask.

“I’m sorry you have brothers who…try to kill everyone all the time?” she said slowly. She should be running away by now. She never ran away until it was too late.

He paused, looking genuinely puzzled. Why was he confused by her? He was the confusing one. “You didn’t cause them to kill anyone, either,” he pointed out. “Why do you keep apologizing for things you didn’t do?”

“Well…because—” It was her turn to flounder. “Sometimes people just say ‘sorry’ because they’re sorry for what you’re going through,” she explained.

“No one has ever said they felt sorry for me before,” he said, and she opened her mouth to tell him she was sorry again before she realized he said it with a bit of a sneer and an upward toss of the head.

“Well, there’s no need to sound so proud of that,” she retorted. “That just means you don’t have any friends.” He stared at her, his eyes round, and she almost wondered if she had gone too far. He tilted his head back and laughed so loudly he scared a nearby bird into flying away. She guessed she hadn’t gone too far, then.

“What about you? Do you have any friends?” The question felt so…impertinent. Her mother had used that word before.

She thought for a second. “I guess not,” she said, nudging a pinecone out of the way with her foot. “I used to have a friend, but she moved to Dublin. And she promised to write, and she didn’t. I haven’t seen her in months.” A bad idea came into her head. “Could we be friends?” she asked, gesturing first to him and then to her. She was pretty sure he was either a murderer or a monster.

“Well,” he yawned, stretching his long arms behind him. “Climb up here and we’ll see.” He raised his eyebrows at her in a challenge.

It was a stupid decision, something a character in a bad horror movie might decide to do. She grabbed one of the tree branches, the bark rough in her hand. “Only if you answer my questions,” she said, because she liked being in danger. It was exciting.

“Have I not been doing that already?” he asked, so she began to climb.

The wet bark slid and scraped against her hands, and the tree shed bark and leaves all over her dress. She grit her teeth and kept climbing. “Why did your brothers try to kill someone?”

“Oh,” he said, sliding onto a branch above him as easily as a cat. “Sometimes they kill for love, sometimes for honor, many times for nothing but a scrap of power. Now a question for you. What brought you to grief?”

“Stop climbing!” she snapped, but she laughed, too. It felt like a game. She was much clumsier than him, wriggling onto branches, sometimes slipping and catching herself in the nick of time. “I was upset because my parents never listen to me. And because the party was…” She bit her lip, unsure how to explain it. “Too much,” she decided. “Have you ever killed anyone?” She asked the question in nothing but curiosity.

“Not yet,” he said, sounding a bit bored. “A seer told me that I would kill my mother’s murderer, though. So now my sister Aoife keeps trying to kill me.” She gave him a puzzled look. “She murdered our mother,” he explained. “I don’t even want to kill her. I wish Aoife would stop and listen for five seconds.”

Mary didn’t exactly know what to say to that. She looked down as she found her footing. She had not meant to climb so high. The ground looked very far below. She felt a bit sick to her stomach, so she looked back up.

“So,” she said, her words coming in a bit of a rush, “my friend Ellie said her brother found a monster in the woods.” She stared up at him. He was just out of reach. She might be able to reach him if he bent down.

“Yes?” he asked, watching her. He tilted his head, reminding her strikingly of a cat.

“Are you a monster?” She was not careful as she stepped. She slipped on the branch. She reached out and grabbed nothing.

She screamed as he reached down and gripped her hand. Thorny vines grew between them, stretching over his arm and hers. Gold dust hung from the leaves. She winced at the thorns, but though they pricked her skin until she bled, it did not hurt. They stared at each other, their faces equally serious. “I think you know the answer to that,” he said. “Friends?”

She grabbed the monster’s arm with her other hand. The vines grew over that one, too. “Friends,” she said on mad impulse.

She did not go back home that evening.

Feel free to give me constructive criticism! I want to know what you think.

Also, I swear ‘he flashed a smile, revealing sharp teeth’ has to be one of my most overused sentences ever, but oh well.

(And! Needless to say! If you ever get a feeling that a person is going to harm you, please do not follow the bad examples of my characters. Always prioritize your safety first. 😉)

The Lightest, Heaviest Things; a review, in which I have found an actual good fantasy novel

Weez wrote a book! A children’s fantasy book about giants and healing rifts between two worlds! And it’s good! You should go read it!

I just…I loved it?!

There’s so much here. The way mental health and depression are portrayed, the WORLDBUILDING, the characters…Actually, hold on a second, let me organize this review into parts. (For some reason that made me think of dissecting something. Which, since I tend to think visually, is not a very pleasant image. But anyway.)

The mental health rep

While it’s never said on page, the heroine Peri really seems like she has depression? And it was so well done and I’d just been lamenting about how I have so much trouble finding mentally ill characters in fantasy? (Characters in fantasy all go through traumatizing things and by miracle of God come out completely psychologically healthy–BUT that’s a rant for another time.) Anyway! It was so good and I felt so seen 😳 What’s that phrase? The mortifying ordeal of being known or something like that? Anyway! I think it’s so important to write about mental health issues, especially in kids’ books. It’s something a lot of kids go through, and erasing that side of childhood is potentially erasing a deeper understanding of what they’re going through.

Anyway, I LOVED Peri and the way the story handles depression. It was realistic and heartbreaking.

The characters

Peri–an actual queen. I related so much to her? She’s confused, somewhat angry, and trying her best to be brave. She’s such a strong character, and she feels like a real person. She’s my favorite.

Ull–I LOVED HIM TOO. HE’S MY OTHER FAVORITE. He’s a troll child with silver skin who sometimes speaks in rhymes. I love the way he loves everything, and he’s just such a beautiful smol child and *hugs him* Ahem. Sorry.

Wink–I had a little trouble relating to her, but that’s probably more of a me problem. I do like her. She’s brave and a bit thoughtless. I do think her conflict could have been fleshed out a little more–because we don’t meet her family, it’s a bit hard for me to understand what her parents mean to her and why she’s worried her mother doesn’t like her. But I still do like her a lot! She’s sweet and I love her painted pinkie nail 😊

The writing/setting

The writing is so so good! I love the way Weez writes prose! Her writing style feels very cold when you first start (not that that’s a bad thing at all–I think my writing style can feel very cold at times), but as you keep reading, it’s so warm under the surface. If I had to pick a color range to describe the writing, it would definitely be pastels. I think lilacs and pale blues.

The setting was amazing too! It feels very hobbit-y and very much like a surreal animated kids’ movie. (I think this book would do very well as a surreal animated kids’ movie.) The giants are such sad creatures, and I really love how they’re written. My only problem is there was sometimes stuff I wanted to know more about. For example, I wanted to know more about what exactly it was the giants did to kick everything off in the first place, and I wanted to know what Wink went through during the trials. But I love the setting so much!

Things I didn’t like so much

I feel like the novel could have felt…I don’t know, maybe fuller? I don’t know if that makes sense. I definitely could have used more description, and more fleshed-out backstories for the characters. Also, while the story is very Roald Dahl-ish in feel and isn’t necessarily supposed to be realistic, I will say that what Peri’s parents are doing would definitely be considered neglect in the real world and, no spoilers, but I thought the ending was a bit pat? (Not the ending as far as the climax with Ull–that was beautiful–but as far as the denouement.) I think it would have been better if it could have ended with Peri finally going to Wink’s house and realizing that Wink’s family could become like a family to her. Or something like that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Quotes I like

My eyes go wide. “How deep is it?” I’m not a strong swimmer. I only learned to swim two summers ago when my parents were home. I can go to the bottom of the swimming pool in town–but I’m not sure I can go farther.

Ull shrugs. “It’s magical,” he says, as though that should comfort me.

Wink shrugs. “No problem,” she says. “I’ve been swimming since I was four. I’m going to be a lifeguard when I’m older. I can handle this.”

Ull shrugs again. “It’s magical,” he says, as though that should frighten her.

Ull thinks back. “In regards to the symphony of the forest,” he says, “they did seem to have a new arrangement in which the tree frog section carried the melody more strongly.”

We decided to pretend there was nothing odd about that sentence.

Part of me, a small part, scoffs. A bad feeling–just the one? That’s nothing, of course. I have leagues of them, assailing on all sides, most of the time. Part of me wants to feel superior, somehow, for this–but of course, that doesn’t make any sense at all.

Anyway, I loved it so much. It feels wild knowing a real author 😳 I’m so proud. This gave me inspiration for what I want to write, as well! I’m glad I read this.

In Which I Admit That the Books I Hate Aren’t COMPLETELY Terrible (yes, it was hard)

So, I have a few books that one could call my arch-nemeses. There are books I strongly dislike, and then there are books that came into my house, punched me in the face, and stole my dog. (Actually, I’m just a drama queen.) I’m here to talk about the latter! In a strange way, I kind of love them. I mean, I hate them, but I love them, so why not talk about them? I just want to talk about the good things these books had going for them and why, ultimately, those good things weren’t enough to get me to like them. Poor books.

Sarah came up with this idea, and it was too good for me to pass up. So I stole it.

Six of Crows

That’s right! Because I like to start things off with a bit of spicy controversy, I’m here to bash the book community’s fave.

I mean, say good things. That’s what we’re here for.

I like that Inej was Romani-coded? It’s sad, but I’ve hardly ever seen Romani main characters. They’re usually relegated either to the MyStIcAl side characters or else to the eeeevil vagrant role. Sometimes both, for good measure! So yeah, I liked that this book actually gave Inej a real, major role.

I also liked…

Hold on. Let me think.

Okay, okay, I’ll be fair. I actually liked or at least didn’t mind most of the side characters. Inej, the deuteragonist, was underdeveloped with poorly written trauma, but her basic concept was good. I couldn’t connect with Jesper, but again, I think the basic concept was good, and he wouldn’t need nearly as much fleshing out in order to get me to like him as Inej. I actually genuinely liked Wylan and Matthias! I’ll always (sometimes) have a hankering for the cute, soft characters, so Wylan was nice, and Matthias was the one character I would say was genuinely fleshed-out and complex. I legit loved Matthias! He was cool! And yeah, he did a lot of stupid things and had kind of violent tendencies, but I think it definitely made sense in context with his backstory. I like characters who go through some kind of conflict. Especially characters who realize they’re on the wrong side and slowly realize they have to leave behind everything they were taught. Just…God, I will always love that kind of arc.

(As a side note, it’s been a while since I read this, but I cannot remember one personality trait Nina had? Did she have any??)

Anyway, I don’t think I’d hate this book at all if it weren’t for the fact that I wanted to punt the smirking edgelord of a hero across the Pacific the whole time I was reading. (Did Kaz smirk? He seems like the sort of guy who would smirk.) Now, I don’t think I would have liked it even without Kaz–I personally didn’t find a lot of depth to the story–but Kaz did a LOT to tip my feelings over the edge.

Also, I just love gratuitous glorified torture scenes!! 😍 We stan complex handlings of violence. (And the anti-Asian racism–I’m SORRY I know I’m supposed to be saying good things.)

In conclusion, I stan Matthias and kind-of Wylan and would ditch everyone else.

The Cruel Prince

Madoc. Madoc was the only good part of this book and I stand by what I said. The book kept trying to tell me he was sooo violent and unmanageable but he was actually the most reasonable and intelligent character in the book? I still agree with what I said in my review about how he should have been the protagonist of the story. Also, he’s the only character who actually, you know…does stuff?

I also like the premise of this story! Human girl takes over fairy kingdom is not a bad plot at all. I just wish there were more actually-taking-over-the-kingdom parts and less vaguely rapey parts.

Red Riding Hood

Actually, you know what, there were no good parts of this book. Throw the whole thing away.

I reviewed it, sort of

Snow Like Ashes

Oh God.

I hated this one for the girl-hate and the dissing of sewists. And also Meira was a brat and the soldiers fighting for the villain were demonized even though they were literally magically brainwashed?? Apparently? I guess? And the plot was the most cliche high-fantasy plot you can come across 😷

I read this when I was young, so it has been a while, but I thought the concept of dividing kingdoms into seasons was very cool. Like sure, it’s not actually possible if you apply logic to it, but fantasy doesn’t always work off of logical assumptions! Also, I liked how the people from Winter had white hair and were immune to the cold, especially because I would also like to be immune to the weather.

Also, THERON OR THEON OR WHATEVER HIGH-FANTASY NAME HE HAD. HE WAS THE BEST. I stan my poet prince! He literally was so unproblematic and just wanted to help people, and was so good at connecting with people on an individual level 💙 But of course Meira went for the cardboard one instead.

The Belles

The fat queer character got killed off in a really graphic and unnecessary way, but I mostly just disliked it because every character (aside from the fat queer character who died) was flat. And the worldbuilding wasn’t that developed, either?

But! I don’t really have strong feelings about this book one way or the other. I mean, I didn’t like it, but there wasn’t a lot I hated, either. I do think that, while the world was underdeveloped, the story definitely created a strong atmosphere? I liked that. Also, it was nice to have a black mc in a fantasy novel! (Do I capitalize the words black and white when referring to ethnicity? Google keeps giving me conflicting answers and I’m so confused.) Having a black main character in a fantasy shouldn’t be something that’s unusual, but unfortunately I feel like black mcs in fantasy can be a little hard to come across. (They’re definitely there, though!) Either that or else I’m looking in the wrong places.

I don’t even hate this book, I just dislike it. So it shouldn’t even be on this list, but I needed a way to pad out that word count somehow ❤

Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares

I said on Goodreads that this duology felt like a fever dream, and I stand by what I said! It was long-winded and just sooo problematic >.< The handling of slavery and sexual assault was low-key abysmal? I mean, Eril-Fane was okay, but Ruby being implied to assault slaves was not as quirky as the story thought it was! And Lazlo was such a Mary Sue, my God. Anyway, this and The Cruel Prince are my favorite books to hate! (I have favorite books to hate because I’m an incredibly hateful person.)

I think some of the concepts set up in this book were very, very cool. I still love the idea of the ghost bird, and I love the idea of someone who can manipulate dreams! I’d kind of like to write a character with dream powers myself someday. Also, I loved the library and I kind of wish the whole book could have taken place there!

Eril-Fane is the king of character development and you cannot tell me otherwise. He deserved a better book. He deserved to be the protagonist. I love him! (And frankly, I’m kind of salty over the fact that the narrative kept dragging him over the coals for killing those kids. Which sounds like an absolutely RIDICULOUS thing to say out of context, but seriously, he had no reason to believe that the kids wouldn’t be super-powered montrous spawns of Satan. His decision definitely made sense in context with both what Eril-Fane knew at the time and with everything he had been through, and he was just trying to prevent his country’s people from going through systematic mass rape and murder again. In fact, you know what? The kids we saw were spawns of Satan. I say Eril-Fane should have killed more kids and we should all respect his right to kill kids–is that a mob with pitchforks and torches I see outside my window?)

And the way science/alchemy (kind of the same thing in this world) was portrayed in this was beautiful and amazing and it should have!! been the focus of the book!! The science was waay more interesting than any magic systems the book had. But really, I think the author honestly got the magical, wonderful nature of science that a lot of people miss. (Including me. I FAILED at science.)

I loved Thyon, but I have no idea if I would have latched onto him if there were other good characters who had screen-time. (My king Eril-Fane deserved SO much more screen-time *cries*) There were…a lot of things that went wrong, to say the least, but his arc was so compelling! But yeah, I liked him because he was mentally ill and queer thank GOD I have Wei Wuxian to fill that need now he was a fairly unique take on a character type I love! Give me all the cold-hearted characters who realize they have feelings, okay? Some of his scenes were really emotional, especially in the second book? I wish the whole book could have been like the best Thyon scenes.

Anyway, there’s a lot I like about this book, which is why I hate it so much. There’s nothing I hate more than something I wish I could like. What was it Cardan said? ‘I hate you so much all I can think of is you?’ ‘I hate you so much I can barely breathe?’ Something like that? But I have a simple plan to fix this book, and all disaster can be averted! Except not, because it’s already published. But oh well!

anyway, I think the story should have been a trashy, problematic gay romance between Lazlo and Thyon. That, cutting most of the purple prose, and adding in some adventure would have made this one of my favorites. As well as cutting the weird parts with the sexual assault, the unhandled xenophobia and internalized homophobia (seriously, a word of advice to people out there, if you aren’t going to handle important topics and devote time to them please do not put them in your story), and the weirdly ableist bits. Then we would have the perfect story.

Or, you know, it could have just been a tasteful novel about Eril-Fane and Azareen and that would have been great.

Anyway, while you guys are absolutely not allowed to read my Strange the Dreamer review because it was my first review and it was TERRIBLE, here’s my Muse of Nightmares review

The Guinevere Deception

This isn’t a book I hate, more one that I have strongly mixed feelings about, but I put this here so I can say one thing:

MORDRED.

That is all.

Many thanks to Sarah for letting me borrow her idea! I literally had so much fun with this. I feel like this was more of a roast than actually saying good things about the stories, but oh well.

The Original Outstanding Blogging Award

So, yes, I’m doing another tag. But in my defense, I was actually tagged this time!

Heh.

I’m sorry for doing so many tags lately! It is what it is. 🙂 Thanks to the one and only Jenna for tagging me!

The rules

Provide the link to the creator’s original award post. (very important: see why in step 5) (Will do.)

Answer the questions provided.

Create 7 unique questions. (‘oh fun!’ I say sarcastically, because this is always the hardest part of tags for me)

Nominate 10 bloggers. Ensure that they are aware of their nomination. Neither the award’s creator nor the blogger that nominated you can be nominated. (I’ll try to tag as many people as I can, I guess.)

At the end of 2020, every blog that ping-backs the creator’s original post will be entered to win the 2020 Outstanding Blogger Award!

1. Would you rather be a vegetarian or only eat meat?

Okay. It’d be so hard for me to do either, but going vegetarian sounds MUCH more sustainable and healthy than eating only meat. Meat would get really tiring to eat after a while, while with vegetarian meals, you get a lot of choices to pick from! Also, I literally CANNOT GO WITHOUT PASTA. I WOULD DIE.

2. What’s a habit you’d like to break?

I don’t know. There are kind of several? But one I had to break recently was going on social media too often. Specifically, Tumblr. The takes are just so bad, everyone gets so angry all the time, and everyone makes stuff up. I did kind of manage to break the habit, though! So it doesn’t really count. i’m sorry i just can’t think of anything right now

(Okay, the REAL answer is that I would like to go on the internet less often but shh I absolutely do not have an internet addiction. That is nonsense.)

3. What’s your biggest unpopular opinion (about anything)?

Oh God! I have a lot, but I don’t know which unpopular opinion is the one I feel strongest about.

I don’t know if this is an unpopular opinion or something literally everyone agrees with, but Twitter should be deleted from existence. Everyone hates each other on there, it’s even worse than Tumblr. Why on earth would you give humans 140 characters to make points and clarify things and expect that to go well?

4. What’s something that encouraged and/or inspired you this year?

The Untamed! It’s literally the best TV show/drama in existence, y’all. (Okay saying ‘y’all’ was so weird I’m never doing that again.) Wei Wuxian’s arc is so affirming to me as a mentally ill queer person? It just…His arc really is all about healing and I’m here for it. The writing in this show was so good and really held up! And yeah, since it’s a Chinese drama and they have to deal with censorship laws, the two main characters never kiss or even say that they’re in love, but it was adapted from a BL novel and the show really put in the extra work to make it clear that these characters!! love each other!! It was beautiful.

Anyway, I want to do a full review but I suddenly forgot everything about how to review and just #help

5. If you could meet three fictional characters, who would they be and why?

Oh! I really like this question! I assume that I can’t answer with my own characters, which I absolutely would if I could. I wish I could answer more than three! Because, let’s be real, there are a LOT of characters I’d love to meet.

So, let’s see…(I will try not to only nominate emo guys)

  1. Wei Wuxian

He’s the best and he really reminds me of myself! I love him so much. He’s indescribable.

2. Either Zuko or Toph

I like both these characters equally. Everyone in Avatar was good, but these two really were on another level. I just…I LOVE THEM BOTH HELP. I can’t choose between them.

3. Oh heck…Guinevere

It might be a bit weird answering her, because she’s a character from a cycle of legends and she kind of has a lot of different versions and ways you can portray her. But I love her! I adore her! I don’t care.

But there really are so many characters I’d love to meet, though. Xie Lian. Kate Winslow. Seon-Ho Yeon. There’s just so MANY.

6. If you could get three authors to write a book together, who would they be and why?

Well, first of all, the question doesn’t specify whether the author has to be living or dead! So my first pick would be Jane Austen.

Frankly, this question is kind of hard because I have NO idea how well any authors would work together, but you know what? I’m just going to answer kind of randomly. I also really liked a book I read by Roshani Chokshi! Her prose is the best.

I read Hafsah Faizal’s book We Hunt the Flame this year and I liked it so MUCH?? It was really good? So yeah, definitely either her or Margaret Rogerson, because I’ve been loving her books too!

I have…no idea what this theoretical book would end up being like, but it’d be something, that’s for sure.

7. (hehe yes I’m asking this question again it’s important okay?) Are you #teamwaffles or #teampancakes?

TEAM PANCAKES TEAM PANCAKES. The superior breakfast food. 😊

So *long sigh* I guess it’s time for me to come up with seven unique questions. At five-thirty in the morning. Why do I do this to myself

  1. So…opinions on Morgan le Fey and Mordred (the more involved the better, in fact)
  2. Who is the one character to rule them all in Avatar: The Last Airbender
  3. Do you feel sorry for Azula because she’s a child soldier, or do you hate her because she’s, like…an actual monster
  4. Do authors behaving badly make you reconsider their work that you like, and if so, what’s the line for you
  5. Who’s your favorite mythological/folkloric female character who has historically been portrayed in a negative light
  6. What’s your favorite song not sung in English
  7. Rec your favorite diverse fantasy novels (yes this isn’t a question just go with it)

As for the people I tag (I really don’t know if I’m going to be able to get to ten but I’ll try):

Sarah

Vaishnavi

Megan

Kenzie

Sophie

Abi

Ash

Okay that’s it if I tag anyone more I will die. No pressure to do this tag, of course.

Anyway, I loved Jenna’s questions so much. Fangirl over Avatar with me in the comments because I’m currently watching it with my little sister (she hasn’t seen it yet and we had to rectify that as soon as possible)

Rating Mythological Queer Characters

Happy Pride Month, everyone!

This post is mostly a joke, but is also inspired by the fact that I’ve heard people talk about being gay, trans, and other such things like they were invented in the 60’s or something?! Sometimes people speak of it like it’s a trend, and that is just weird. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to change anyone’s mind about queer rights, but at least learn your classical history. People talking like that says more about the state of their history classes than anything else.

(I say, like someone who paid attention in history class, which I did not. But at least I paid enough attention to know that everyone was REALLY FREAKING GAY IN ANCIENT GREECE.)

Anyway, this is not a comprehensive list of mythological and folkloric queers. Some characters are undeniably queer and others are queer because I say so. I also include various religious characters because I can! (Also, yes, I mostly included stories I like, so most of these characters get a high rating.)

You should definitely go watch this video as well! It’s much better than anything I could ever do.

Achilles

Ah, yes, the OG queer. I was forced to read the Iliad at a young age, so I am very bitter and biased, but he kind of spends a…a lot of time whining? I mean, fighting for Agamemnon is a pretty stupid way to go, so I understand being deeply frustrated, but why is the breaking point for him getting his slave girl taken away??? WHY IS THAT, ACHILLES. So, yeah, values dissonance ruined the book for me at age 13 and Briseis deserved better! Also, why on earth would you risk your boyfriend’s life like that, Achilles?

I award Achilles 3/10 points.

Patroclus

Patroclus gets a 10/10 for being a faithful boyfriend, and according to Wikipedia, he apparently tried to help Briseis! What a wonderful boy.

Fet-Fruners

A trans character from a Romanian folktale called ‘The Girl Who Pretended to be a Boy.’ Despite the name of the fairy tale, Fet-Fruners is decidedly not pretending to be a boy. He’s trans. He has a talking horse, he outwits the people who try to out him, he goes on several quests, and he gets the magical equivalent of gender reassignment surgery at the end!

This story is criminally underrated. Just take a look at this quote:

The sound of the flying hoofs aroused the nun, who understood instantly that the precious treasure was stolen, and her shrieks were so loud and piercing that all the rest came flying to see what was the matter. The hermit followed at their heels, but seeing it was impossible to overtake the thief, he fell on his knees and called his most deadly curse down on her head, praying that if the thief was a man, he might become a woman; and if she was a woman, that she might become a man. In either case he thought that the punishment would be severe.

But punishments are things about which people do not always agree, and when the princess suddenly felt she was really the man she had pretended to be, she was delighted, and if the hermit had only been within reach she would have thanked him from her heart.

When you try to curse someone but really you just give them free gender reassignment surgery 🙃

Anyway, 11/10 and this story deserves more retellings.

Inari

So, I only found out today, but apparently Inari is genderqueer! From Wikipedia: “Inari, the kami of agriculture and rice, is depicted as various genders, the most common representations being a young female food goddess, an old man carrying rice, and an androgynous bodhisattva.”

Anyway, 10/10 for this wonderful god! They’re associated with foxes, and I LOVE foxes.

St. Sergius and St. Bacchus

St. Sergius and St. Bacchus were described in an early Greek text as being lovers?! According to Wikipedia, at least. I only just now found that out. (I mean, the scholar who talked about that apparently also made a bunch of highly dubious claims as to the early Church’s stance on homosexuality, but if the Greek story really said that, then it said what it said. Tell me in the comments if you know more about this!)

Anyway, as a Christian, I’m legally obligated to give them 10/10 points!

St. Sebastian

Not gay but he has sexy paintings. We adopted him.

10/10 to the one true ally!

Ungud

An Australian aboriginal snake god who appears as both male and female and is associated with rainbows and fertility! Ungud is from the Wunambal people. I love the concept of a rainbow snake god!

10/10. I don’t know much about the god, but!!! Rainbows! Snakes! Those are pretty much the two ultimate queer things!

Apollo

I used to be pretty eh on him because I heard he hurt Cassandra, but I think that might have been a later myth. On the one hand, Cassandra. On the other hand, sunshine. Music. Bisexuality.

I don’t know, for some reason Apollo and I have just never clicked. I feel like I should like him? He’s really cool and all! But I just never really felt that much of a connection with him?

(Also, like…Daphne.)

5/10 highly personal points! I know a lot of you out there really love him, though, and I respect that.

(As a side note, Hyacinth gets 10/10 sympathy points for being yet another mortal caught in a deadly love triangle between two gods. Apparently he got resurrected later?? That’s so nice. I always liked Hyacinth.)

Dionysus

I can’t give him anything less than a positive rating. I’m not stupid. I’m not going to get stricken with dolphins and madness.

8/10! Not based on his actions or anything, he’s a Greek god after all, but…I don’t know, I just find him kind of cool.

Athena

She’s one of the virgin goddesses, so…aro-ace queen. She’s always been my favorite goddess. She’s relatively unproblematic as far as Greek goddesses go, and I’ve always loved that she’s a goddess of war and strategy. I looked up to her so much when I was little.

11/10 points!

Tiresias

He struck a pair of snakes and Hera turned him into a girl. Hera turned her back into a man seven years later. He’s also a blind prophet, and he made cameos in a couple Greek tragedies, including Oedipus Rex. I find Tiresias very cool, so 7/10.

Xōchipilli

Aztec god of art, dance, flowers, and song. Also a patron of homosexuals. I don’t know all that much about him, but 9/10 just because FLOWERS.

Emperor Ai

The first historical figure on this list! According to Wikipedia, he wasn’t a very good emperor, but he has this legend where his boyfriend, Dong Xian, fell asleep on his sleeve. Rather than wake Dong Xian up, the emperor told his servant to get him a pair of scissors and he cut off his own sleeve. And that’s beautiful. Also, before he died, he tried to pass the throne on to Dong Xian but no one else let him.

8/10! If you can’t be a good ruler, at least make sure to be a literally legendary boyfriend.

Kitsune

Fox spirits often disguise themselves as women, and stories about foxes tend to portray them as kind of gender-ambiguous, from everything I’ve read. I love fox spirits, they’re just…the best. I spent so much time finding stories about them when I was little. I’d definitely say fox spirits have strong enby vibes.

12/10!

Silence

A trans Arthuriana character! Or at least, Arthurian-adjacent. Merlin shows up in the story. Silence is a character from a story written during the 13th century. I haven’t read the story yet, but from what I’ve heard, Silence is raised as a boy and lives his life as a knight. I think Silence mentions in the poem that he thinks of himself as a boy and feels much more like a boy than a girl? I’m sorry I can’t find the original article with the quotes I read, though. Merlin outs him because Merlin is all kinds of a mess, and poor Silence is forced to live as a girl from then on. Someone needs to retell this story and give it a happy ending.

15/10 to this poor man who deserved better! Even though I haven’t read the story yet…but I’ll get around to it I swear

Dinadan

Everyone’s favorite aro-ace knight! He is living his best life while surrounded by idiots. Considering how his two best friends Lancelot and Tristram ended up, I’d say that not falling in love is pretty much the best thing you can do in Arthuriana?

Dinadan is the comic relief of the story, he doesn’t like fighting, and he’s just overall great. Mordred, in one of the few crimes he committed that make me genuinely angry at him, killed Dinadan during the Grail quest. WHY, Mordred.

I love Dinadan! I stan! 20/10 points.

Angels

In Christian tradition, angels are neither male nor female. They’re also very cool. 10/10. (I don’t know how Jewish tradition views them? I assume it’s the same way, but I honestly have no idea. I tried to google it, but I didn’t find anything conclusive. Sorry!)

Also, obligatory quote from Galations 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Mwari

The creator god in traditional Shona religion! According to Wikipedia, the god is both male and female (or alternatively, neither male nor female?). Anyway, reading their Wiki page, they sound very cool! 10/10.

Loki

He gives off very strong genderqueer vibes, I think. It’s good enough for me! I loved him so much as a kid. He was my role model! (Heh…whoops.) I love chaotic characters. He doesn’t always act in morally good ways, but he’s just such an entertaining person. 10/10!

Fairies

You can’t tell me that Celtic fairies aren’t super queer, because you’d be wrong. 20/10 for nostalgia (fairies were literally my childhood).

Mizi Xia

Mizi Xia is a man who lived during the Zhou dynasty in China (if he even existed at all. We don’t really know). He forged a letter from his lover the duke so he could borrow the duke’s carriage in order to go see his ill mother. Instead of punishing him, the duke praised him for his filial piety. Later, Mizi Xia was eating a peach, and when he found it was especially sweet, he gave it to the duke to eat. But later, when Mizi Xia grew older and his beauty faded, the duke accused him of stealing the carriage and of insulting him by giving him a half-eaten peach. So, the story is a parable about trusting powerful, fickle people.

It’s a sad story, but I still like it. 9/10.

Gawain

A bi icon!! He had a whole quest where he made out with the Green Knight, the story with him and Ragnelle was the best thing ever, and I’ve heard there are some stories where he and Lancelot have really homoerotic undertones? I love him so much. He’s the actual best. 100/10.

Thank God for Wikipedia, as always. I couldn’t find very many articles about queer fairy tales, but Wikipedia came through! Also, thanks to my younger self for obsessively reading fairy tales and finding some of the obscure stuff.

While researching for this post, I found two articles on false homophobic and transphobic beliefs that get spread around, so if you’re someone who has been exposed that sort of talk, they might be worth a read. If you’re looking for something to read for Pride month, Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation and Heaven Official’s Blessing are both really, really good! The author’s books do have adult content, although Heaven Official’s Blessing doesn’t have any smut. Both the books are so well-written and I love them so much!

If you know of any other queer folktales or religious stories, tell me in the comments! I always enjoy learning more.

So, Yes, Black Lives Matter and It’s Not Up For Debate

I am really not the right person to write this post and I feel so ineloquent in the face of everything that’s been going on, but it also doesn’t sit right with me to say nothing in the face of everything that’s happening and go right on with the usual schedule of cheerful, happy posts. But here, don’t read this, you should go and read Jo’s post because I promise you it’s better than anything I have to say.

I guess sometimes it’s hard to tell right from wrong. Sometimes there are situations where it depends on the angle you look at it, a situation where it looks different depending on where the light hits. There are difficult, complex situations that cannot be parsed completely. But this? George Floyd’s murder? This is not one of them.

A police officer murdered an innocent man. A police officer, someone who was supposed to protect people from lawbreakers, broke the law in one of the worst ways possible. He choked George Floyd, a black man, in broad daylight. The sheer brazenness of it all almost gets me. And the police force hasn’t even stopped there! As if to prove to everyone that this is not a one-off incident (not that anyone needed proof–the sheer number of innocent black men shot by the police is a fucking list), the police have also been caught attacking peaceful protesters and even reporters. Just to throw out a few examples, a Vice reporter was maced, a black protester got his mask ripped off and, yet again, was maced, and a reporter is now blind in one eye after being shot at with rubber bullets. And more has happened, as well.

So, yeah? The police aren’t always the great heroes they think they are. America isn’t nearly as heroic as it thinks it is. And some people, when confronted with something that shakes up their worldview, would rather lie to everyone else and themselves then admit that something is wrong. They’d rather lie than admit that they’ve made the same mistakes and sins as their ancestors.

At least, I guess. I don’t really know what goes on in the heads of the ‘all lives matter’ people. But it’s kind of spitting on people’s graves and I would like them to stop. Besides, ignoring morality for a second, what even is the logic in saying that? Saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ does not mean that you think that white lives don’t matter. What’s that logical fallacy even called?

Black lives matter because George Floyd was choked by a police officer. Black lives matter because Tamir Rice, a twelve-year-old child, was shot by a police officer and given no first aid as he lay dying. Black lives matter because Ahmaud Arbery was shot by two civilians who almost weren’t arrested. Black lives matter because there are certain people who evidently don’t think they do.

Anyway, there’s been a lot of discussion about riots and how far it’s okay to go in protesting that I am NOT going to get into, but let’s not forget–or obfuscate–the actual issue. Let’s remember that state-sanctioned murder is everyone’s problem. Let’s protest if we can, donate if we can, speak out if we can. At the very least, let’s educate ourselves as much as possible and try to parse out the truth of things. Truth is a slippery thing, and I can’t say how to make America better, but I promise you it won’t happen without anyone trying. If we love America, we have to examine it and criticize it when it does wrong. If the kind of love we have makes us want to cover our ears and eyes to the truth, than that is a horrible kind of love. Loving a country is something like loving a person. We can love a person, but we have no right to enable them in their abuse.

Anyway, I would like to apologize to everyone for rambling so much. As I said, I’m really not the right person to talk about this, and it’s been kind of a rough week with everything that’s been going on. I’ll probably go back to my regular, stupid posts after this, but this issue has been really bothering me and I wanted to say something.

So, racism is the worst! May compiled a list of places you can donate at the beginning of this post, so definitely check that out if you can.

I’m so sorry this is going on, and I wish it weren’t. That’s all I have to say for today.

The Identity Crisis Book Tag

Sophie (I love her name, btw) did a book tag this week, and while she didn’t tag anyone, I loved the tag so much? I had to do it. 🙂 It’s not like I have anything better to do then take a lot of quizzes, anyway. A plague is happening! I might as well have a bit of fun.

So, basically, I have to take a bunch of book quizzes and find out which characters I’m most like! I’m excited.

The Rules

  1. Take all the quizzes down below and record your answers somehow. I decided to just copy the text from each quiz and paste it into my post, but screenshots work too! Whatever floats your goat (Yes goat. I SAID WHAT I SAID).
  2. NO CHEATING. You get one shot to take each quiz my friends. I’m watching you. ∗Suspicious squinty eyes∗
  3. Use this post to give credit to the creator Loretta @ The Laughing Listener or tag me on twitter @LaughnListener so I can see everyone’s answers!!
  4. Tag some friends to spread the fun

(Sophie added a couple of quizzes and changed some of them, I think, so it’s a little different then how it was originally. Also, the quiz answers are in italics)

Shadowhunters

I barely remember this book. I think I read it when I was like…eleven? I thought it was dumb, but I was like eleven, lol. I’m not rereading it to find out, though!

(I chose Riverdale for the tv show and spite as my motivation lmao) (I don’t watch Riverdale but the clips I’ve seen of it were hilarious in the worst way possible and I loved them)

Jem Carstairs and Alec Lightwood!

You’re selfless yet guarded, protective and romantic. You value those around you more than yourself, and sometimes you need to be reminded to take a moment for yourself! You’re the friend that everyone loves to have around, even if you doubt it sometimes.

JEM?? I haven’t read the book he’s in. From what I heard, isn’t he the cute, sweet guy who’s always picking up the pieces after Tessa and Will’s toxic relationship? And he’s like, been poisoned or something? And Alec is the queer character, right?

I’ve never read the Infernal Devices and it’s been a really long time since I’ve read City of Bones, so I apologize if I got something wrong, but anyway, I couldn’t be happier with this result! Jem sounded like the best character in the book.

Throne of Glass

I know nothing about this book!

Chaol Westfall

You’re Chaol Westfall, Captain of the Guard: you’re loyal and dependable to the death, with a mind as sharp as the swords you wield. But watch that your sardonic sense of humour doesn’t come across as plain old sarcastic, and lighten up from time to time – who wants to be seen as a grump?

I…I guess? I don’t know who this is. Fun quiz though!

The Hunger Games

Katniss Everdeen

You are strong-willed, enduring, determined, and sacrificing. You are not afraid to speak your mind and there is no use in trying to change it, because you’re here to get down to business and to protect your loved ones, no matter who stands in the way.

As surprised as I am by this–I kind of thought I’d get Peeta–this makes a lot of sense. I think I am the most like Katniss. We’re both pretty guarded and we have a sharp, sarcastic sense of humor, I think.

Harry Potter

I legitimately have no idea which Harry Potter character I’m most like. Buzzfeed, inform me!

Neville Longbottom!!!

You’re awkward and clumsy and hate being the center of attention. But you’re brave and big-hearted and people can always trust you to help them out in a bad situation.

I mean, this does not describe me at all and Buzzfeed is wrong, but I still feel so lucky! I love Neville.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

I know nothing about this book other than what Cindy said about it! (From the youtube channel Read with Cindy. She’s hilarious. I feel like I have a good idea of what the book is about just from her.)

Amren

You are Amren. You can come of as vain, cunning, and temperamental, but under all that you can be caring. You prefer being by yourself. Nearly everyone is terrified of you and don’t want to get on your bad side, because you would make there life worse than hell. You only have a small group of friends and you would do anything for them, and them for you.

Okay, I have no idea who this is, but I feel like I’m getting a lot of the mean characters here and it’s starting to be kind of funny. In case you’re wondering, yes, most online quizzes have told me I’m a Slytherin.

The Raven Cycle

If I don’t get Gansey the quiz is wrong

Update: I got Richard Gansey!!

Ah, Gansey. You really know how to get people together and you probably have no idea how important that skill is. You’re likely invested in one particular subject or task, or you have a great interest in finding what someone might call “the meaning of your life”. Like Gansey, you’re a natural mediator. You have an almost supernatural trait which allows you to easily communicate with different kinds of people. A trait that makes you very likable amongst your peers and surroundings. Though, be careful not to hide your feelings under all that politeness. People are not made of plastic.

So, I’m not sure if the description fits me, because I’m not sure if I’m good at talking to people or not, but I definitely am a lot like Gansey in general. I love history and folklore, and I would drag my friends off on a silly quest to wake a sleeping, centuries-old king regardless of the consequences! (If I had friends, that is. XD ) But seriously, I’ve always really related to Gansey. I’m probably a mixture of Gansey and Ronan, because I like learning things but I’m also really angry a lot

Twilight

This book is such a guilty pleasure for me.

Jasper…Hale?!!!

Hey, Jasper. Howdy there! You’re quite reserved, but we know there’s a whole lot of personality underneath that icy undead skin of yours. People look to you for leadership in times of conflict — no one’s better at strategizing than you. Just remember: It’s OK to smile every once in a while.

So I am, apparently, the Confederate soldier who wants to eat people. Yay!

I’m even from the South. The quiz knew. *sobs* I’m so sorry, everyone. Is it bad that I find this hilarious?

The Cruel Prince

I hated this book lmao

I’m going to say I’m most like Madoc, though! I related to him most, at least

Jude.

You are strong and once you make a decision, you won’t back down. Your resilience is both admirable and terrifying at the same time.

Oh.

Whatever. I’m most like Madoc.

Lunar Chronicles

Fun fact! I have never read any of these books.

Winter

Step-daughter of Queen Levana. She regarded as the most beautiful person on Luna, even with three scars across her face, which are rumored to have been caused by a jealous Levana. She refuses to use her Lunar gift of glamouring and manipulation and has slowly been driven crazy as a result.

She sounds cool!

Percy Jackson

If I don’t get Nico it’s the quiz’s fault, not mine! I have related to that kid since I was a wee eleven-year-old.

Magnus Chase

You’re super resourceful and self-reliant, although this can encourage your loner instincts. But when you make friends, you stick up for them. You just do this in your own clever, funny way, avoiding conflict unless absolutely necessary. But hey, we know you’re not averse to mixing it up if you have to. The fact that you can make it all look so easy, all while focusing on diet and fitness? Teach us your ways, Einherji.

What? I don’t even know who this is. Whatever.

An Ember in the Ashes

I loved this book a lot

Elias

Like Elias, who doesn’t want the violent life of a soldier that’s been carved out for him and is fighting for his soul, you value freedom above all else.

I knew I’d get this cinnamon bun! I love this boy.

Six of Crows

I didn’t really like this book either…*hides* *I’m sorry it’s my fault* I hope I get Wylan or Inej, though. They were both really cool.

Kaz…

Okay, before I post the description, I have to say, WHAT? I’m so mad.

You are most like Kaz, a criminal prodigy and rising star among Ketterdam’s gangs. Cunning, quick-witted, and a born leader, you are a planner who leaves nothing to chance. But beware: though you excel at trickery, you’re dangerously good at fooling yourself.

Okay, okay, maybe the ‘dangerously good at fooling yourself’ part MIGHT be true, under certain circumstances. I’ll be right back, I have to become a seventeen-year-old Gary Stu mob boss and pull off a heist. (I’m eighteen, though. This is already going to be hard.)

I would like to apologize to everyone’s problematic faves I insulted! I love YA, but I love bashing YA more. This was such a hilarious and fun thing to do (I still can’t believe I got JASPER of all people, that was probably the funniest one to me).

Okay, and before I forget (because I’ve been forgetting for about a month), I am now on Goodreads! Or something. I still can’t figure out how Goodreads works, and I’ve accidentally posted a review before I was ready twice now, so that’s fun!

Anyway, I’m not tagging anyone, but if you want to do this, feel free. 😉

Liebster Award!

Sarah sort-of tagged me back for the Liebster award, after I tagged her, except she didn’t tag me, but you could say she technically did. (Yes I’m confusing.) Her questions were great! I wanted to answer them. That is all.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this, and that’s what matters.

The Rules

Acknowledge the blogger(s) who nominated you. (Thank you, Sarah!)

Answer the 11 questions you’ve been asked. (That’s why I’m here, after all)

Give 11 random facts about yourself. (…Fine.)

Nominate 11 bloggers and notify them that they’ve been nominated. (I’m not tagging anyone this time!)

Give your nominees 11 questions to answer. (Again, nope!)

1. What is your dearest possession?

I–

I guess I could answer something like my books, maybe my computer (or my dolls that I still kind of love despite the fact that I’m like a thousand years old or something heh heh), but I don’t know. I feel like I don’t…I don’t need them? I love them, but all I need to keep myself happy is myself. I’m not a minimalist at all, though, and will absolutely buy some random stupid thing if I feel like it just because it looks cute. I guess I have a complicated relationship with my possessions.

2. What is a book (that you’ve read all the way through) that you consider simply Not Worth Reading?

Now this one is easier to answer! I wrote two excessively long reviews on both The Cruel Prince and Muse of Nightmares, precisely with this sentiment. But I’m going to go on about them a little more!

Jude and Cardan’s relationship is basically just fetishized abuse. I, personally? I do not find it cute. At all. I’ve liked some glorified abusive relationships (IN FICTION) before, but there was something about Jude and Cardan that was just…joyless. It’s not really that they love each other and are incapable of showing it in healthy ways, they just hate each other but also find each other hot. There’s a big difference between the two for me, but unfortunately, YA tends to go for the second one a lot.

Then Muse of Nightmares was just a mess. There were a lot of problems I had that I went into in my review, but let me just say this now. I swear to God, if someone ever saw the nightmares I have because of anxiety and decided there was some kind of darkness in me based off of that, I would–I don’t know. Yell at them. Curse their name. Turn them into a swan and enchant them to wander the earth until they learn the value of empathy.

Actually, I wouldn’t do any of that. I would just swear a vow of undying hatred that they would never know about and then I would complain loudly to my family as soon as they were gone. Because #ConflictManagement! (I’m terrible.)

Also, the gay characters just felt kind of…fetishized, I guess?

Anyway, this got longer than I expected it too. I like talking about things I hate.

3. What is a book you adore that you also realize is Not For Most?

Ooh, I love this question! It’s a little hard to say, because a lot of books have at least something in them that isn’t for everybody. So, while the real answer is probably some Problematic ™ Classic that I can’t think of right now, I’m going to answer The Hollow Kingdom. The horror elements in that book are SO good, and the characters are incredibly well-developed. I love the book. I grew up reading it. But it also features a captor/captive romance (like Beauty and the Beast or Persephone and Hades), and while a lot of people do like that kind of thing or at least don’t mind it, a lot of people also hate it. So maybe it’s not that it ‘isn’t for most,’ but I do realize it isn’t for everybody.

4. Would you prefer the earth to be flat?

No. Even though C.S. Lewis did a nice job of selling it aesthetically, spheres are much more pleasing. I just love circular things, okay? They’re just. So beautiful.

Now, there are historical theories that I do wish were true. Aether! Alchemy! Especially alchemy. Alchemy is incredibly cool.

5. Do you prefer pencil or pen for writing?

If you asked me to write a story with a pen, I would LITERALLY DIE. Have you seen my typos?

I’m fine with writing notes with a pen, though.

6. What’s an out-of-your-comfort-zone book that you unexpectedly loved?

I guess Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation was my first time reading an Adult book that wasn’t over fifty years old, so I’ll count that. It was also my first time reading BL, so it was definitely a new genre for me and I didn’t really know what to expect.

I love this book so much! The characterization is really something else, and the relationship between the two heroes is so sweet. 😭 They really love each other so much. And I actually relate to Wei Wuxian a ton. Also, Wuxian and Lan Zhan just have so MUCH chemistry?? I swear they have to be one of the best romantic couples I’ve ever read.

7. If you could live in any time period in any country (by which I do mean you’d be stuck there), which?

Hmm, this is a hard one. They all have their drawbacks. I love the Joseon dynasty (a pretty broad time period, I know), because the clothes and art are so beautiful (and possibly because I have watched way too many dramas, lol). I also like 1920s England and America. And also the Regency period, because even though I’m not sure if I’d fit into the society, I still love the aesthetics!

8. What historical character do you want to see in a novel, that you haven’t?

Ooh, I really like this. I assume this is asking about retellings of historical figures, and not my dream Historical Fiction novel?

I’d love a novel about Wu Zetian. She was an empress during the Tang dynasty, and the first empress to rule the empire in her own right! She is kind of a controversial figure because she was accused of certain stuff that she…probably didn’t do? I don’t know a whole lot about her, I’ve only read a couple articles and her Wikipedia page, but she sounds REALLY cool and I’d love a historical retelling!

Uh…and also Boudicca. The Celts were (are) very cool and Boudicca is a wonderful woman who fought against a corrupt imperial force that was in the process of subjugating the local people. My only fear is that someone would make it tacky. Sometimes ancient Celtic cultures get portrayed as this angelic, pure, and wonderful matriarchal culture that got wiped out by an evuuul patriarchal society, or else they get portrayed as uncivilised and brutish. Or both at the same time, for extra annoyance! Also, the Romans were horrible a lot of times and conquering did not bring out the best in them, so maybe don’t glorify them so much. Rome did a lot of good things, to be sure, but they also did a lot of bad. (Random Mists of Avalon hate coming through, but fun fact! The druids in England were wiped out by the Roman pagans, not Christians! There is legitimate religious persecution Christians took part in, but that was not it and maybe creating historical conflict that didn’t exist low-key annoys me!) But anyway, getting off of that tangent, I think you could tell a really interesting story about Boudicca.

Also, you may have guessed this from my smol rant, but I personally am very…ambivalent on Rome. I love the Byzantine Empire, though. It definitely had MAJOR flaws, but I find it amazing anyway.

And, on that note, Empress Theodora!! She’s so amazing, you guys. She started out as a (15 year-old! 🤢) prostitute, and then she married the future emperor, and the rest was history! Literally. Look her up!

(Also, some historian from her time period wrote some absolutely perverted account about her that was–probably, from what I know?–very biased, and then my history book just put an excerpt from that down and portrayed it as probably true. Gah I hate sexism in history books that doesn’t come from the actual people from the time period. Leave sexism in the 500s, guys! Anyway, /rant)

9. WWI or WWII?

OH GOD WORLD WAR ONE PLEASE BUT BOTH WERE TERRIBLE AND SCREWED EVERYONE UP SO BAD. World War II was basically everyone competing to dig themselves so deep they’d be tens of thousands of miles below the Mariana Trench by the time it was over.

Anyway, I don’t want to share a time period with Nazis (*sobs in 2020*).

Also, on a much lighter note, Edwardian dresses are just…beautiful? I love the silhouettes and the colors and everything!

10. If you were a pirate captain, what would you name your ship?

Easy. The USS Enterprise. I’ve never felt more of a closet nerd than this moment, I’m sorry, I grew up on Star Trek okay

11. What’s the first fictional character you remember relating to as a child?

Hmm. It’s honestly a little hard to say. It’s probably one of the characters in the media I consume when I was eleven to twelve. It might have been Loki (I’m sorry). It might have been over-dramatic and very loud Tamaki–or it possibly could have been Haruhi? Or it might have been Gu Yong-Ha. I know Gu Yong-Ha was the first kind of life-changing character I came across. He taught me that you can be feminine and love fashion and still be super cool and wily and fun. Which is good, because I had just entered into my ~not like other girls~ phase, and thank God he kept me from becoming that insufferable person.

So, uh…Does anyone want eleven random facts about myself?!

  1. ‘Historically accurate’ Arthuriana bugs me. I’m used to the story in a High Medieval setting, and the retellings are never actually historically accurate anyway, because the stories they adapt it from are completely ahistorical (and also because there is a LOT people Just Don’t Know about the time period, including whether or not Arthur actually existed). It’s not like there’s anything wrong with ‘historically accurate’ retellings, but they aren’t usually my cup of tea (I say, as if I regularly read Arthurian retellings in the first place).
  2. We have four baby geese! Their names are Nimue, Emu, Zebu, and Minnow. Emu keeps biting her friends.
  3. Hans from Frozen deserved better. Also, that twist made no sense. Yes, I’m still complaining about it years later.
  4. I don’t tend to read a lot of retellings anymore, and that makes me sad.
  5. I have been trying to find history books and articles and something, anything about medieval Egypt, and I just…cannot find anything. I hate it when this happens to me. Wikipedia always fails me in my darkest hour
  6. I also would love to learn more about medieval Scotland, but I don’t know where to start. (rec me your favorite documentaries and history books, if you want!)
  7. I am extremely pretentious, but I’m sure you’ve never noticed
  8. I never know anything about grammar or what you’re supposed to do with English. Sometimes I read my mangled documents I wrote late at night and marvel.
  9. I just finished The Untamed and now I’m on a show hangover. IT WAS SO GOOD YOU GUYS (and yes, that was the screen adaptation of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, in case you didn’t know). I’m currently trying to write a review, but getting my thoughts in order is hard.
  10. I tend to think of a lot of things as overrated, and yes, I am exactly as horrid as I sound
  11. Mulan is my favorite Disney movie.

I wrote all this at around five in the morning. I’m sure you couldn’t tell 💀 I have a feeling there are typos, but I didn’t look too hard. This was incredibly fun, though, and I enjoyed ranting about stuff I know nothing about (isn’t that what this whole blog is for?). Tell me your favorite historical period in the comments!