Top Ten Tuesday: all vowels

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week we’re talking about books that were simply too good to review – or as I like to say, that reduced me to all vowels: AAAAAAAAAAAAA or EEEEEEEEEE. You get the idea.

The main reason I get cold feet about writing a review (which is quite separate to my regular procrastination) is simple nervousness about my ability to do a book justice. An ALL VOWELS read was simply superb, and I want to persuade as many people as possible to read it rather than put them off with poorly-articulated enthusiasm.

I’ll start with a selection of books I adored so much they intimidated me – although I turned in reviews that I’m pretty proud of, in retrospect (yes, distance is a fine thing).

I was very late to the party on The Fifth Season: initially because I had mixed feelings about the Dreamblood duology and then because well you know what TBRs are like. The Fifth Season is magnificent and complex and an overwhelming prospect to try and review – but I knuckled down and edited ruthlessly and eventually managed to convey my appreciation. Reviewing the sequel was even harder.

Book cover: The Fifth Season - NK Jemisin
Book cover: The Traitor Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson (a fractured mask of a woman's face floating on a field of black)

The Traitor Baru Cormorant was a one-two of knowing I’d just read a new all-time favourite and that half my review would be content warnings. I struggled to get started for ages, until I edged into it sideways with confrontational cheek and unlocked my ability to talk about this remarkable debut. And then I had to edit my review down from novella length.

Speaking of remarkable debuts, it took me over six months to pull myself together to talk about The Unbroken. I was sorely tempted to simply post vowels and animated gifs (I resisted. I even managed grammar and punctuation). The only commitment I can make after all that is this one: I won’t leave it so long to review The Faithless (although stars above that title alone, I’m already in bits).

Book cover: The Unbroken - CL Clark
Book cover: The Jasmine Throne - Tasha Suri

Sometimes the answer is to recognise the potential to psych yourself out and just dive right in. I put down The Jasmine Throne and picked up my laptop before I could be intimidated by the notion. I’m terribly glad I did; I’d hate for this glorious trilogy opener to still be on my To Review pile.

There was a big gap between my reading sixth book of The Expanse and reviewing it – largely because I wrote weekly read-along posts and then prioritised other reviews. I eventually pulled together a review for Babylon’s Ashes that perfectly collates all my feelings… and still makes my eyes prickle. Naomi Nagata. Every. Damn. Time.

Book cover: Babylon's Ashes - James S A Corey (spaceship exterior. As usual)
Book cover: These Lifeless Things - Premee Mohamed

Novella reviews are always challenging: how to say enough without saying too much (I hate trailers that give you the whole movie in 2 minutes). These Lifeless Things was doubly challenging because it packs so much in, with its split timelines and mysteries and conspiracies.

And yes, I’m ashamed to admit I’ve got several currently on my To Review pile!

I finished Lorraine Wilson’s remarkable debut This Is Our Undoing just this morning, and I’m already psyched out about reviewing it. It’s so good. It’s so deeply felt. It has such strong convictions. It’s tense and mysterious and full of gorgeous juxtapositions and I just want to scream READ IT READ IT NOW (seriously – the hardback is on offer in both UK and US. Treat yourself!)

Book cover: This Is Our Undoing - Lorraine Wilson
Book cover: She Who Became The Sun - Shelley Parker-Chan

She Who Became The Sun has been psyching me out since before I finished it. I’ve left it so long to review that I’m not sure I can without rereading it (oh no, what a shame). I have only vowels and whimpering and an urge to watch wuxia so I can see something like the gloriously evoked visuals in my mind’s eye.

I didn’t expect The Space Between Worlds to be a review I sat on, but circumstances kept pushing it down my review priorities until I don’t think I can remember it well enough to do it justice. And that is an absolute shocker, because this parallel-worlds-hopping Subjective Chaos Kind of Award winner is bloody brilliant.

Book cover: The Space Between Worlds - Micaiah Johnson

There are of course many other books I’ve loved until I had only vowels, but I’m less conscious of having deferred reviewing them so I’ll save them for another day!

Have you loved any books so much you were scared to review them?