0
8/10
Review: The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Reviews / November 24, 2017

After reading and loving Certain Dark Things, I had no doubt I would read whatever Moreno-Garcia published next. That turned out to be The Beautiful Ones. Just from the synopsis I could tell it would be incredibly different from the vampire underground world created in Certain Dark Things, but I have to confess, I was hoping to still find a bit of that darkness in The Beautiful Ones. Well, I can’t say I found this to be dark like that, and will advise you that you can not read this book looking for world or tone similarities to Certain Dark Things. Moreno-Garcia did create great characters in both, that is the main similarities end. As opposed to most of the books I read, the romance aspect was the strongest plot point in this book. You can also find character growth, and a lesson to embrace who you are, etc. But ultimately, this book was about relationships and romance. I am not stating that as a negative, honestly, sometimes its nice to read a book like that. But I like to know ahead of time so I can save it for when the mood strikes, so keep that in mind if…

0
8/10
Review: Artemis by Andy Weir
Reviews / November 13, 2017

The Martian was a spectacular hit, and I’m sure the first question on everyone’s minds is “how does this compare”? Well, it had a very different feel. The type of humor was similar, but not quite the same. In The Martian, the humor all stemmed from surviving on Mars, and was self deprecating and a bit dark in the ways he might die, or how others might see ultimate demise. Jazz definitely has a bit darker sense of humor as well, but its not as life and death, and maybe doesn’t come across quite as nice. I don’t mean that as a negative, just that is how I compared the two styles. In this book, the moon has been colonized with a single city called Artemis. The city is a connected series of multi-level domes, where people under or above ground. The city has both permanent residents as well as many wealthy tourists, because really, who wouldn’t want to go visit the moon if they have the means. Because of the controlled atmosphere that allows humans to survive on the inhospitable moon, there are many restrictions on substances and items allowed in Artemis.  Anything that could pose a fire hazard…

1
8/10
Review: Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Reviews / October 23, 2017

Strange Weather is a collection of 4 short novels, each telling a unique story. They are all independent of one another, and could be read in any order. I may not rate this one quite as high as most of the works I’ve read by Hill, but I suspect most of that comes from my preference for longer works. The stories are quick and varied covering funny to horrifying to creepy and the main character in each are varied. One aspect of these that some readers will love, but some may not is the endings can ;eave the reader just on the edge of “what happens next”. You can probably guess, for good or for bad, how the cards will fall, but Hill will leave you right on the precipice, giving the reader something to think about and let their own imagination fill in the details. This is something I have always enjoyed, I feel like endings like this make a book last a bit longer for me because I find myself thinking about the ending more than if every last detail had been provided. That said, I know not all readers love this type of ending as much as…

0
9/10
Review: The Salt Line by Holly Goddard Jones
Reviews / October 20, 2017

I’ll cut straight to it: The Salt Line is one of my favorites for the year. The entire concept of killer ticks sounds like it could be campy or over the top. That is not at all the case. The ticks are described in such a realistic and terrifying way that it truly becomes plausible. Or at least feels plausible. The author is able to use enough facts grounded in science to create this terrifying epidemic. This book did remind me a bit of Joe Hill’s The Fireman in that way. It depicts a world that has been ravaged by some disease, where people’s ways of life are altered because of them. I suppose there are a number of books that could fit this, but the over all tone and presentation and just the quality of writing put me in mind of Hill. That is a huge compliment from me as Hill is one of my favorite, must read authors. Honestly, there is not much that I did not love about this book. This is a book that you can read at surface value for the compelling story and intriguing characters, both of which are  well developed. But you can…

0
8/10
Review: The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
Reviews / October 12, 2017

The Tethered Mage was a very enjoyable read with an interesting magic system. Individuals in this world develop a tell tale mage-mark (a ring on their iris) as they develop their magical ability. There are different types of abilities that may manifest and some display at a younger age than others. But regardless of ability, if a child displays the mage-mark, they must be enlisted as a Falcon. A “jess” is put on their arm to control their magic. The person who places the jess on the Falcon becomes their Falconer with the ability to turn on or suppress their magical abilities with a word. While the intent is to help the Falcons maintain control (because once they lose control, there is no turning back, they become consumed in their magic), it can also be seen as a way to control those with magical abilities and use them for the empire’s purposes. They become tools for the military. Naturally, this will create some dissent. The story focuses on a pair of women joined together in an unlikely Falconer/Falcon relationship, something neither of them wanted or expected in their life. Zaira is a fire warlock, one of the most dangerous and…

Guest Post: Shared Settings by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Guest Post / October 3, 2017

Today we are happy to welcome Marshall Ryan Maresca to The Speculative Herald. His latest book, The Imposters of Aventil, releases today (October 3, 2017) and is the final book in the Maradaine trilogy, but also ties in with another one of his current series, which share a setting. Mr. Maresca was kind enough to share a blog post about what makes shared settings work. Also, if you have not yet started this series, don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY below! DAW was kind enough to offer up one copy of the first book, The Thorn of Dentonhill, for a giveaway! (Who doesn’t want to read about a vigilante magic student??) Shared Settings and The Imposters of Aventil  By Marshall Ryan Maresca   The Imposters of Aventil is the third Novel of Maradaine.  It’s also the sixth novel set in the city of Maradaine, because the “Novels of Maradaine” is just one of the three series set in that fantastical, magical clockpunk city.   Of late— by which I mean in the past decade— we’ve seen a lot more of the idea of several different series taking place in a shared universe.  It really is nothing new, but like many things in…

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7/10
Review: Imposters of Aventil by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Reviews / September 25, 2017

Imposters of Aventil carries forward with the fun and excitement I’ve come to expect from the Maradaine series. The Thorn has a habit of getting himself in compromising positions sometimes, and bending (OK, maybe breaking) the law to suit his end purpose fighting the drug trade. But in this, he finds himself the suspect in cases he has nothing to do with. There is an imposter who is using the guise of the Thorn while stirring up trouble with both the constabulary, but also the gangs. Effate also appears to have made its way onto campus. Both of these things make Veranix’s work as the Thorn considerably more dangerous, but also motivates him. Like he needed more motivation to fight the effate drug trade! Previously I have said that I think Maresca’s series could be read independently and in any order. I mean, I guess you still could, but with this book I would no longer recommend it. This may be the third book in the Maradaine series, but it prominently features Minox and Satrine from the Constabulary series and knowing their background makes this book feel more complete and satisfying. For example, the Constabulary series provides the reader with…

Cover Reveal: Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
Cover Reveal / September 19, 2017

Today we are excited to share the cover for an upcoming Tor Teen novel. DARK OF THE WEST by Joanna Hathaway sounds exciting with its promise of politics, war, murder and forbidden love. We may have to wait until May to read it, but you can check out the cover now! Also, be sure to check out the book details below!   I’m struck by what looks to be a castle in the background with fighter planes flying by! Putting a hint of violence on what is otherwise a pretty scene. An there’s the fallen crown in the grass. Quite intriguing!   About the Book He was raised in revolution. She was raised in a palace. Can their love stop a war? Code Name Verity meets The Winner’s Curse in Joanna Hathaway’s Dark of the West, a breathtaking YA fantasy debut. Aurelia Isendare is a princess of a small kingdom in the North, raised in privilege but shielded from politics as her brother prepares to step up to the throne. Halfway around the world, Athan Dakar, the youngest son of a ruthless general, is a fighter pilot longing for a life away from the front lines. When Athan’s mother is shot and…

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7/10
Review: Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham
Reviews / September 12, 2017

Magicians Impossible is a fun and exciting adventure that introduces magic to our world. I think this book should do well with readers that are fans of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It features an older protagonist than a typical coming into powers or magic school book, and with just one or two exceptions, he has been a loner for most of his life. After the death of his estranged father, Jason’s world turns upside down and he finds himself part of something quite unexpected. I liked Jason’s character. He definitely has some flaws and has managed to create very few personal connections in his life, particularly for someone that seems likable. He is resentful of his absentee father (who just died), and through some flashbacks, we can see some of his disappointments as a child. He grew up believing magic was just simple slight of hand as opposed to actual magic. After the death of his father, he learns there is such a thing as real magic as well as about the communities that are a part of that previously invisible and unknown part of the world. The Invisible Hand is a training institute that turns those found to…

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8/10
Review: The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
Reviews / September 6, 2017

One of the largest holes in my fantasy reading repertoire is older works. I’ve been reading the genre for only about 5 years, so I missing practically a lifetime of reading, and I have to confess to being easily distracted by all the new and shiny books as they are released. So when people talk about classics of fantasy, I’m ashamed to admit that I usually don’t have much to contribute. When Tachyon offered a copy of this for review, I jumped on it. I have heard McKillip recommended quite a bit, and this is supposed to be a great starting point to her books. I am glad I decided to go for it. And I have to confess to the extra incentive: I love their cover. I know, I shouldn’t judge, but a gorgeous cover is always a bonus for a book. I found The Forgotten Beasts of Eld to be a nice fairy tale type of story. It centers on a young sorceress who grew up rather isolated. She has had minimal human interaction, but she has a number of creatures to her occupied and provide companionship. But of course, no matter how heart felt her interactions are with…