Double review – Tor.com novellas: Prosper’s Demon & Riot Baby

Just as I finally found my groove with reading, writing and posting regularly for the blog, my migraines decided to have a major comeback and I’ve just spent the past five days laid up in bed after about a week of denial. Which is why you have had to wait so long for fresh content from my end – but never worry, I have lots of reviews ready to write up from before I got ill, and now that I’m slowly back to human again I should hopefully be able to post them out quickly!

As the two books in today’s post are both tor.com novellas, I thought it would be fun to combine them into one post and try something new – let me know what you think of this shorter review style in the comments!

Prosper’s Demon – K. J. Parker

Publication Date: 28.01.20

Star Rating: 4 ⭐

An unnamed narrator who is an exorcist, a court physician and philosopher, reminiscent of a true renaissance man, and a possessed heir. A recipe for disaster. Clocking in at just over one hundred pages, this is a fun romp through a renaissance world, inspired by revenge plays of the time, full of Machiavellian energy and brimming with smart philosophical discourse. The novella format works very well here, ending on an unexpected but satisfying conclusion.

If you like dark and gloomy, intellectual and weird, give this one a go: add it on Goodreads here and order it from your retailer of choice, or Amazon here.

Thank you to Tor.com and Netgalley for the provision of an eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi

Publication Date: 21.01.20

Star Rating: not rating this book

Ella and Kev are brother and sister, growing up black in the aftermath of the 1992 LA riots. Their story is told through fragmentary visits both real and supernatural as Kev is incarcerated and Ella develops powers…

I struggled with this one. And I think that is because I’m too far removed from its intended audience. As a girl from rural Switzerland I lacked knowledge necessary to understand the impact of what was going on much of the time, and spending time looking up events and asking American friends for clarification kept pulling me out of the story. For example, I had no idea parts of the story took place in LA until I heard Tochi speak on a podcast halfway through reading the book, as I was not familiar with the neighbourhood names.

That is not to say that it is not likely a brilliant book. Tochi’s writing is excellent and lends itself to getting lost in. It is informal, immediate and urgent, and still beautiful. I now want to read everything he has written.

So I’m not rating Riot Baby. It feels wrong to leave a review so open, but it would also feel wrong to give judgement on a book I don’t feel like I fully understand. If this intrigues you, I highly suggest you check it out for yourself! You can find the Goodreads link here and order it here.

Thank you to Tor.com for gifting me an ARC at Bookcon and Tochi for being kind enough to sign it for me!

Leave a Reply