Tuesday, December 28, 2021

REVIEW: Finna (audio novella) by Nino Cipri, read by Amanda Dolan

Finna is an LGBT science fiction novella. I checked it out via one of my OverDrive accounts.


Ava and Jules recently had a painful breakup, which is made worse by the fact that they both work at the same LitenVärld, an IKEA knockoff store. When a coworker calls in sick, Ava reluctantly agrees to come in only to discover that Jules is also working that day. Then a customer's grandmother goes missing, and Ava and Jules are suddenly forced to work together to find the woman, a task that will involve traveling through multiple wormholes to multiple LitenVärld variations. 

I checked this out for multiple reasons. First, I needed an audiobook that could get me through the ride to and from the airport, and this was almost exactly the length I needed. Second, the description made me think "Horrorstör but sci-fi." I still haven't been inside an actual IKEA, but I seem to be drawn to stories set in IKEA knockoffs.

Sadly, this didn't really work for me, and I might not have finished it if it hadn't been for the whole "captive audience in need of something to listen to" airport trip. It started off okay (I really liked Ava's names for the various LitenVärld display rooms, like the "Nihilist Bachelor cube"), but I felt like it wasted its parallel universe LitenVärld potential. Ava and Jules traveled to, if I remember correctly, maybe three different parallel universe LitenVärlds, but only one of them was recognizable as a store. I was really hoping for more skewed big-box store moments, although I did like the chair in the first one.

Ava and Jules' relationship issues were a drag to listen to. Ava was the one who'd initiated the breakup, in large part due to the strain her own anxiety plus Jules' more adventurous and risk-taking personality put her under. Jules (a nonbinary character) had their own baggage, and as a result the two of them never really sat down and talked any of it through, so it was hurt feelings and strain all around. Meanwhile, I just wanted freaky LitenVärld variations.

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