Book Review: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland – An Unforgettable Genre-Bending Story that Explores the Beauty and Power of Love, Loss and the Violence of Deportation

Blurb:

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Roswell by way of Laurie Halse Anderson in this astonishing, genre-bending novel about a Mexican American teen who discovers profound connections between immigration, folklore, and alien life.

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

I was provided an Audiobook Listening Copy by Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.

When I picked up Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything on a whim, I had absolutely no idea that this magnificent book would take me on this incredible emotional genre-bending rollercoaster. I had no idea, because I often don’t read the synopsis of books before I read them. A leap of faith, I know, but with Sia Martinez? The surprise and whiplash that I felt was absolutely worth it.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Aliette de Bodard, Author of the Dominion of the Fallen Series; On Writing Her French & Vietnamese Identities and Lunar New Year

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition; Author Interview with Aliette de Bodard, author of the dominion of the fallen series, on writing her french and vietnamese identities and lunar new year

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

If you, like me, are always on the lookout for science-fiction/fantasy stories where the universe is not always white and Western, then you can understand the delight of finding stories where the worldbuilding envisions something a little more diverse. Specifically, I love books where people of colour, disabled people, and queer people (or a mix of these!) are included in such universes and stories. In the vein of Asian Heritage Month, I love reading stories where the writers explore a future or a universe where Asian culture is something that is distinct and present, rather than extinct or absent.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Sangu Mandanna, Author of A Spark of White Fire; On Retelling Mahābhārata, Free Will versus Fate, and the Stories Behind Her Books

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month. Author Interview with Sangu Mandanna; author of A Spark of White Fire, on retelling mahabharata, free will versus fate, and the stores behind her books. illustration of xiaolong the axolotl, her arms out wide as if showing off something, with sangu as a deer wearing a green jumper and brown pants, waving whole holding a Nintendo Switch.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

One of the best things that a reader can do for themselves is to read with curiosity and openness. When I started to diversify my reading and explore books by Asian authors that portrayed experiences outside my own, I was blown away by the beauty and wonder of their stories. In particular, I started to fall in love with retellings of Asian folklore and mythology. My first introduction to Asian mythology in young adult literature was A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, which only made me crave even more retellings.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Xiran Jay Zhao, Author of Iron Widow; On Feminist Fantasy, Giant Robots, & Diaspora Worldbuilding

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition: Author Interview with Xiran Jay Zhao, author of Iron Widow, on feminist fantasy, giant robots, and diaspora worldbuilding. illustration is of sprout the sparrow, their wings wide like they are showing off something, with xiran as a yellow cat, wearing a black dress with red lace, and wearing a cow hoodie.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

When I saw the pitch for Xiran Jay Zhao’s upcoming book Iron Widow, I was immediately taken aback by how unabashedly anime-inspired it felt, from its fundamental premise (hello, giant mechas) to its hints at deeper underlying themes—themes like teenage angst, sexuality, and the messy reality of coming of age. I think some of the most moving stories today are best told through—have been told through—the medium of animation, and I’m beyond excited to be able to talk to a writer today on the blog who also harbors the same fondness I do for stories that use grand worldbuilding to tell stories that hit close to the heart.

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Five Reasons To Read: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon – A Brilliant and Unforgiving SFF Portrayal of Systemic Oppression Aboard a Generation Ship

An Unkindness of Ghosts, River Solomon.

I’m going to be frank with you. An Unkindness of Ghosts is stellar, hard-hitting, but absolutely brutal, honest in its depictions of systemic oppression and its machinations. Second, despite the importance of what this book explores and its insightful storytelling and worldbuilding, this book is not for everyone – or, requires some emotional and mental preparation before delving into this rich and dark story.

The story follows Aster, a lower-class healer that lives abroad the HSS Matilda, a colossal generation ship that is carrying the remnants of humanity to the ‘Promised Land’ after Earth’s decimations centuries ago. Following the mysterious death of their leader, Aster finds herself the key to this mystery – and may be the tinder that will ignite revolution within the spacecraft.

Before I tell you all why you should read this book, I also think it’s important for me to start with the caveats. Read More »