*Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for the ARC.*
Tell Me I'm Worthless, at its core, is a story about trauma, identity, bigotry, and fascism. The novel follows two women and centers around transgender rights and the politics and ideologies that inevitably come along with it.
While I can only attempt to understand the difficulties in being a trans woman, I found the internal conflicts Alice faced compelling and wrought with emotion. Her raw, and often ugly, truth and unflinching self-awareness gave me insight that I never would have known if it weren't for this book.
My only complaint is that I didn't find the novel scary, at least not in a traditional sense. There is a tone which this novel hits about politics and identity that I can grapple with and understand as a real threat, but the House and its terrors felt alien to me, even if they were strange and grotesque and dripping with body horror. I ultimately finished the novel unsure what truly happened within the House's dilapidated walls.
While it wasn't what I expected, I enjoyed the read and would absolutely pick up another of Rumfitt's books down the line.
The Mimicking of Known Successes is a mystery novella set on a platform constructed around Jupiter. While the world-building is great, there isn't enough of it. I loved the descriptions of the platforms and how sections and railways are set around the uninhabitable gas giant—not to mention the university's large role in the future reintroduction to life on Earth through meticulously planned ecosystem building. Unfortunately, that was the only thing I really enjoyed about this book and there wasn't enough of it to paint a full picture.
The main plot centers around a mystery regarding a missing person and what could have become of him. Though there are numerous snippets of information thrown at Mossa and Pleiti, most of it seems disconnected, and the ending proves unsatisfying because there aren't breadcrumbs sprinkled throughout the story for the reader to pick up on. If I'm reading a mystery, I don't want to come to the end without having seen it coming. I should at least be able to look back, knowing everything that led up to that point, and stitch clues together. This story did not offer that, and for that reason the ending fell flat.
I also disliked the overstated romance. Mossa and Pleiti's relationship is paper thin, yet the narrator (Pleiti) never lets up about how she wishes Mossa will give her a sign that their relationship—which Pleiti broke off—might be rekindled.
All in all, I believe there was too much going on in this 176-page novella. If it had been novel length, there would have been time to flesh out the world, mystery, and romance.
*Thanks to Tordotcom for the physical ARC.*
Feed Them Silence is a sci-fi/horror novella that begs the question: What would happen if we linked a human brain with a wolf's?
Lee Mandelo's story is gripping and rife with political commentary and moral qualms about conservation and what we do to help animals nearing extinction. While the premise was intriguing, and I found the tech and science-based plot beats fascinating and well done, Sean's relationship with her wife took up almost a third of the book. Though Sean's "connection" with her wolf, Kate, highlights the disconnect she feels with everyone around her, the story would have benefitted from a trim where Sean's relationship issues were concerned. Apart from the relationship drama, I loved it.
If you've ever wondered what it would be like to inhabit another animal's mind, or find near-future technology fascinating, I recommend giving this 113-page novella a read.