September is THE month for publishing. It must be the idea that kids are back to school or something. Still, every year, I find myself inundated by review copies of highly anticipated sequels, the buzziest of buzzed books, and other new releases that make me drool. It also means that no matter how hard I try and how often I read, I always end up behind with not just my reviewing but also my reading. Because I am so hopelessly behind in both, here are the books I have read that had a September 6th release date.
Blood of Troy is the sequel to Claire Andrew’s Daughter of Sparta series, and it is everything I want in a sequel. Not only do I continue to adore Daphne and her determination to prove herself as not just equal to but better than her fellow male soldiers, but I ship her relationship with Apollo. In this case, I also appreciate Ms. Andrews’ take on the Helen of Troy story. No longer is it about Helen’s beauty starting a war but rather about two war-mongering leaders who only care about combat and the loot they could obtain from war. It is a modern and feminist take on a classic story, complete with a relook at the Trojan Horse and the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus involved in the war. With the introduction of yet more players within Daphne’s life, I can’t wait to see where Ms. Andrews takes Daphne’s story next.
Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah takes the idea of heroes and heroines and turns it on its head. Koral is so bitter, angry, and traumatized that you find her slightly abhorrent even as she tugs at your heartstrings. At the same time, Ms. Berwah shows the insidious nature of power in a world that is nothing like current-day America but certainly has many similarities regarding the haves and the have-nots. Monsters Born and Made is a difficult read because of the raging emotions swirling within Koral and fueling her actions and also because it is bloody and raw, violently brutal, and ruthless. I loved every minute of it.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson may seem like a Carrie knock-off, but trust me when I say it makes Carrie look like a children’s story. Not only is Maddy’s story bloody and brutal, but how Ms. Jackson reveals her story is brilliant. Throughout the reveal, we get a first-hand glimpse of not just the everyday, overt racism non-whites face but also the millions of microaggressions they also must overcome. Ms. Jackson does this with no apology or filter, forcing you to review your words and behaviors and cringe. This aspect of the story can be a brutal reminder that even the most well-intentioned white person is guilty of some form of racism. But everything Maddy faces when her classmates discover her true heritage is nothing compared to the everyday abuse she meets at the hands of loved ones. It is this, alongside the cruelty of teenagers, where the horror resides. By the time you get the whole picture and understand exactly what went down on prom night and why Ms. Jackson blows your mind at not just the depth of Maddy’s story but the nuances of it as well. It is a brilliant story that is perfect for horror lovers working to become anti-racist.