I hope you’re doing well and that youre enjoying some sunshine and some glorious adventures, and most importantly days doing little else than reading.
We’re getting prepared for our wedding here at P&P HQ – think endless lists, important dates to remember and not knowing the answer to ‘the last 4 digits for the card you paid on’ questions! We’ve got just over 2 months to go before we say ‘I Do’!
In the midst of all the excitement, I’ve been spending time outdoors as I prepare to climb the 3 Yorkshire Peaks with my work colleagues, and plenty of time sat with my books for a little R&R amidst all the planning I’m doing both at home and at work.
I’ve also recently been on my first Hen Do (one of two) which was so much fun, I got to experiment with Sober mixes and can highly recommend pink grapefruit soda with Clean Co’s Gin. We went to a cottage in the country and it had so much fun stuff to do. It even had a Rocking Horse! I mean it would have been a crime not to ride it…
However – not only are exciting things going in my life, there’s also some seriously exciting stuff going on in the Book World. I’m about to review a book which I guarantee you is going to become a marmite read, it’s going to be all over bookshop windows and if you manage to get through the year without hearing about this book somewhere, then I’ll eat my (pink cowboy) hat.
YELLOWFACE, BY REBECCA F KUANG
AD PR ITEM
If you’ve not heard of this book yet, and perhaps youre looking at the author, thinking ‘hmm.. ive heard that name somewhere?’.. then you’d be absolutely correct. Rebecca F Kuang is an Asian American, Award Winning Fantasy Author, but she usually goes by ‘R F Kuang’. If you’ve read the almighty Babel, or The Poppy War, it’s exactly the same author. Yellowface is her fifth novel at just 26 years old!
Here she’s doing what she does best, writing fantasy whilst never quite sticking to one style or specific genre.
The premise of the book is T O T A L L Y shocking and honestly I’m surprised (but mega mega pleased) that HC/The Borough Press have published it.
Why? It’s the full tea, the full exploration of all the micro-aggressions, the issues, the racial bias, the cancel culture and many other problems that operate within the Publishing Industry. To put that into real life perspective, Kuang has literally handed over a manuscript to the people that pay her and said ‘this is what’s wrong with you all’.
I mean, the sheer BOLDNESS of her. I AM HERE FOR ALL OF IT.
Lets drop the Synop:
Athena Liu is a literary darling and June Hayward is literally nobody.
When Athena dies in a freak accident, June steals her unpublished manuscript and publishes it as her own under the ambiguous name Juniper Song.
But as evidence threatens June’s stolen success, she will discover exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
What happens next is entirely everyone else’s fault.
Satirical, dark humour, juicy, gasps of ‘DID SHE JUST SAY THAT’?!?!?! It’s all here for you to gorge on with utter delight. It is T A N T A L I S I N G.
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 4.5/5
OMG. Bold, fast paced, eye opening, a huge two fingers up with a nod and a wink to the publishing industry and all the powerful people that dominate it. This is a work of fiction, but it’s like the book is playing with us, because we all know there’s elements here that are genuinely the experience of R F Kuang. It’s not outwardly expressed that way, but there’s too many timeline alignments. We’ll never know which ones for sure, but it makes you stop and think ‘NO…. Surely not?!’.
It’s literally like Athena Liu is RF Kuang, all I want to know is what manuscript was it that was stolen honey, SPILL!! It’s also totally meta, including things like thoughts on twitter dialogues, book signings and readings, and book blogger reviews… (I FEEL SEEN).
Now I’m going to say what people in the Book world aren’t ‘supposed to say’ but I DID NOT get on well with Babel. It started off solid, went waaaay too much into a rant, world history and the nuances of translation for me and it was SLOW. I felt like I was reading a story written around a dissertation on Translation and the exploitation of children from impoverished Asian and Indian homes over the last few centuries.
I didn’t really give a hoot about the characters by page 600 and I was glad when it finished. It took 2 weeks to read. All that being said, I admired the penmanship and the amount of research that clearly went into it. I received Yellowface from the publisher before I had read Babel, so honestly I was worried I’d hate this.
However she has transformed from historical ‘fiction’ to contemporary satire and it was just totally my jam. If I’d read this book without knowing the author and you’d told me it was RF Kuang , I wouldn’t have believed you. Wait a minute…😉😂
Barring a Babel Easter egg quote ‘an act of translation is an act of betrayal‘ there is nothing alike in the writing style between Babel or Yellowface. Compared to Babel which took weeks to read, I read Yellowface in less than a day. I was absolutely ADDICTED.
It’s grippy, thrilling, funny, it’s got a protagonist we’re meant to hate but cant help feeling empathy for. It’s a psychological thriller, it’s a nod and a wink to those in the know at every page.
It reads like an in joke to anyone who works in publishing, an author or anyone with a Bookstagram account or book blog. I absolutely cracked up at
“‘She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.’ Really?” 😂🤣 LOL.
My only 0.5 rating reduction is because although I hadn’t guessed the ending, I also wasn’t surprised by it and it was a little anticlimactic.
The book publishes on Thursday 25th May and if satire, allllll the tea and a page turner is your jam too, just go and PREORDER it/buy it this weekend already!
However what do I know? Don’t listen to me. I’m just a book reviewer. If I had anything good to say, I’d have written my own books. 😉
WASHED DOWN WITH:
Twinings Superbends Glow Tea.
This refreshing cucumber and strawberry green tea with added Aloe Vera and Biotin is one of my favourite fruit infusions. I’m not sure I exactly glow (I mean are we supposed to be radioactive after drinking this or…) but I feel good drinking it, its got aloe vera which is great for my insides and its just such a refreshing and tasty tea.
I recently shared an Instagram reel on it which you can watch Here (opens a new tab – please like, save and follow me!), its just so perfect for sunny days where you want something good for your soul but also refreshing and full of flavour. It’d also work pretty well as an iced tea. It’s available in most supermarkets in the UK for around £3.50/20 bags. Bargain!
Right, I’m off to get into that sunshine and read more. I hope youve really enjoyed this review, I’ll be super interested to hear your thoughts and if you’ll be reading this one too! See you next time for more book reviews!
Until the next Chapter,