Review of The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1), by J. Y. Yang

I borrowed a copy of J. Y. Yang‘s The Black Tides of Heaven (The Tensorate Series) from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of the Protector, were sold to the Grand Monastery as children. While Mokoya developed her strange prophetic gift, Akeha was always the one who could see the strings that moved adults to action. While his sister received visions of what would be, Akeha realized what could be. What’s more, he saw the sickness at the heart of his mother’s Protectorate.

A rebellion is growing. The Machinists discover new levers to move the world every day, while the Tensors fight to put them down and preserve the power of the state. Unwilling to continue to play a pawn in his mother’s twisted schemes, Akeha leaves the Tensorate behind and falls in with the rebels. But every step Akeha takes towards the Machinists is a step away from his sister Mokoya. Can Akeha find peace without shattering the bond he shares with his twin sister?

I so wanted to love this more than I did. I liked it, ok, but I didn’t love it. In fact, I checked out book one and two from the library and, though I enjoyed book one, I still returned book two (The Red Threads of Fortune) unread. I liked the non-western fantasy setting. I liked the genderless children (even it the singular use of they clashed with the plural they on occasion, since there were two main characters). The writing is lyrical and I liked that too. But when it comes right down to it, I’m not a fan of that sparse writing style common in Chinese writing. This book covers 30+ years in a novella. As a result I never felt I really got to know the characters or was invested in the building rebellion. I’m claiming no lack of quality. I can sense that it’s well-written. This just isn’t a style I personally like very much.

Review of Cotton & Indigo from Japan, by Teresa Duryea Wong

I received a copy of Cotton & Indigo from Japan, by Teresa Duryea Wong for review.

Description from Goodreads:
More than 300 colorful photos and behind-the-scenes details reveal the fascinating story of Japan’s cotton and indigo, and their enormous contribution to fiber arts worldwide. Learn how Japan and its top fabric designers, quilters, scientists, and artists combinetradition and high tech to weave the thread, fabrics, and stunningdesigns that are so coveted in today’s fiber art world. Take a tour of Japan’s elite textile printing mills to understand why Japan is considered the world’s finest producer of quilting cotton. Learn where all this cotton comes from, and its close connection to another prized plant, indigo. Dozens of beautiful fabric designs and quilts by Shizuko Kuroha, Keiko Goke, Yoshiko Jinzenji, Yoko Saito, and others are featured, as well as cotton and indigo folk textiles through the ages. This journey gives a deeper understanding of the connection between contemporary textile art and Japan’s cotton, indigo, and traditions.

I initially wrote a review that said, “Very cool book with gorgeous pictures and a lot of interesting history. This is worth picking up if the subject interests you. I appreciate it as both an informative book and simply as a pretty coffee table book.” But last night I got the chance to go through the book with my aunt, who is a big quilter and worked many years in a fabric shop, largely for the love of it. Hearing her ooh-and ahh, lovingly touch some of the photos, and tell me, “This is a great book, really thorough about the terminology and regionality.” confirmed what I already knew. This is a book worth having. It has two Forsythe seals of approval.

Review of Wanted and Wired (Wanted and Wired #1), by Vivien Jackson

I picked up a copy of Vivien Jackson‘s Wanted and Wired from Amazon, when it was free.

Description from Goodreads:

Rogue scientist • technologically enhanced • deliciously attractive
Heron Farad should be dead. But technology has made him the man he is today. Now he heads a crew of uniquely skilled outsiders who fight to salvage what’s left of humanity: art, artifacts, books, ideas-sometimes even people. People like Mari Vallejo.

Gun for hire • Texan rebel • always hits her mark
Mari has been lusting after her mysterious handler for months. But when a by-the-book hit goes horribly sideways, she and Heron land on the universal most wanted list. Someone set them up. Desperate and on the run, they must trust each other to survive, while hiding devastating secrets. As their explosive chemistry heats up, it’s the perfect storm…

I quite enjoyed this. There were several points I especially liked and a few that irked me, but the average definitely fell on the positive side.

The things I enjoyed were the snark, the high quality of writing, the world, the woman with sexual agency, the fact that there were incidentally gay characters and that the main characters were other than white.

On the negative side was the rape-as-backstory, the fact that the sexual agency I appreciated eventually became distracting as Heron and Mari just never let up.

All in all, I can’t wait for more of Jackson’s Tether series.