0
7/10
Review: The Black Wolves of Boston by Wen Spencer
Reviews / February 15, 2017

The Black Wolves of Boston is the first book in what I hope will be a series.  I enjoyed this, it was different than I expected, in fact much more deep in terms of the set up.  Basically, this is urban fantasy, there are werewolves, vampires, Virtues and Wickers but none of them are quite as I’ve read about them before.  Definitely a thinking piece with plenty to ponder over.  In fact, to be honest, if I had a clearer reading schedule I might be tempted to read this again just because there is such a lot of material to think about. At the start of the story we meet Joshua. Not more than 24 hours earlier Joshua’s life was torn apart, literally torn apart.  Out at a prom committee event the entire group that Joshua was with were massacred in some sort of frenzied attack and Joshua was left wounded.  He’s not wounded for long though, attacked by not any old animal but a werewolf, Joshua seems to be recovering at a positively indecent rate and pretty soon has to make a dash out of town before any one figures out what he is – or more to the…

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9/10
Review: Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey
Reviews / February 14, 2017

Retellings are always tricky, because you’re dealing with the memories and emotions associated with reading the original source material, and they don’t always live up to readers’ expectations. But Jacqueline Carey did a bang-up job on this retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and I can’t wait for people to read this story. Even if you aren’t an expert on Shakespeare (I’m certainly not!), you’ll appreciate what the author has done: rather than rehash the story you may be familiar with, she’s set hers in the years leading up to the events of The Tempest. Carey’s writing closely mimics the style of Shakespeare, which some readers are going to love and others aren’t, but it was pure magic to me. What a lovely prose writer she is! Although the formal writing caught me off guard in the beginning, once I got into the rhythm of it, I couldn’t imagine this story being told any other way. Miranda is only six years old when the story begins. She and her father live alone in a crumbling castle on a deserted island, with only animals and elemental spirits to keep them company. Prospero is a magician and has called forth these spirits and…

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7/10
Review: Everything Belongs to the Future by Laurie Penny
Reviews / February 8, 2017

Everything Belongs to the Future is the debut fiction novella by renowned author and journalist, Laurie Penny. As well as her non-fiction books exploring gender, sexism and capitalism, she writes The Guardian, The Independent, Salon, The New Inquiry and many more. Penny crams a decent amount of plot into not so many pages. We’re almost 100 years hence and the rich can almost literally buy time. Or rather an extension of life from the moment they take the medicine; a kind of ‘Fountain of Youth’ wrapped up in a blue pill. We’re in a divided England. The gaps between the haves and have-nots is wider than ever. Specifically, we’re in Oxford. A group of activists are living in a co-op house and are plotting against those who’ve been ‘fixed’. You see, the scientist inventor of this remarkable technology has fallen in with our perfectly representative house-mates. Nina and Alex, Margo and Fidget are the kind of activists that you’d imagine Penny might know in real life. Scruffy, punky, gender fluid and sexually diverse. Which is a good thing in theory but a little obvious from Penny. I’d have liked a little more stereo-type mould-braking. Inventor Daisy, who is all but…

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8/10
Review: Firebrand by Kristen Britain
Reviews / February 7, 2017

Just a quick reminder that while my review is spoiler free for Firebrand, there are likely spoilers for the previous books. There is something about returning to read a new book the Green Rider series that just makes me happy. Maybe it is because I this is one of the first series I read in the fantasy genre, but I just find them to be very addictive, comfort reads that make me want to curl up with it until I finish. This one was no exception. With Firebrand, Karigan returns to her own time, so it includes many of our favorite characters from books past. I know not everyone was thrilled with the change in setting/characters/time period with the last book, though I personally really enjoyed it. For those that were less than thrilled, fear not, this book is much in line with the first 4 books in the series. Karigan is distraught and heartbroken over leaving Cade behind. She misses him deeply and feels guilt over leaving him, not knowing if he is still alive or not. In some ways, it was overwhelming, and impacted her personality a bit. But not so much that I felt it overdone or a…

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7/10
Review: The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land
Reviews / February 6, 2017

Heather Graham is such a prominent and prolific writer that these days it’s nearly impossible to walk into a bookstore or even the books section of your local grocery or department store without seeing her name on something. That said, even though Graham has been on my radar for a while, I must confess I’d been woefully unfamiliar with her work. Up until recently, I honestly thought she only wrote exclusively romances and contemporary mysteries, when in fact her novels actually run the full gamut of genres. So I was a little surprised when I got a pitch about The Rising, co-authored by her and Jon Land. As you can imagine, the tagline “Stranger Things meets X-Files and Independence Day” piqued my interest right away, for up until that moment I’d only been vaguely aware of this book, with absolutely no clue what it was about, let alone that it had any sci-fi or paranormal elements. Now that I’ve read it though, I want to add one more comparison to the list. Back in 2002 there was a miniseries on the Sci-Fi Channel called Taken, and without spoiling the plot too much, I have to say reading The Rising also…

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8/10
Review: Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder
Reviews / February 1, 2017

Dawn Study is the conclusion of Maria V Snyder’s excellent series that started a number of years ago with Poison Study and brought to us the characters of Yelena and Valek.  I think it’s very fitting that this final series once again brought to the fore those two characters that we all came to love so much from the Study books.  Spoiler alert: if you haven’t read the previous books in the series you might want to look away about now as this review will undoubtedly contain spoilers.  You have been warned! So, we pick up virtually where the last book left off.  Yelena is pregnant and the baby seems to be drawing her magic in some unknown way, making her a magic free zone and  also leaving her incredibly vulnerable to any number of people who have come to hold a grudge over the years not to mention an assortment of assassins.  Yelena Is from Sitia and has (or at least had) very powerful magical abilities.  Valek, on the other hand is from Ixia.  Ixia lives in fear of those with magic and think all magic users should be eradicated.  The Commander of Ixia has very strong views on…

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10/10
Review: Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Reviews / January 31, 2017

I loved the premise for Six Wakes when it first made its way onto my radar, but I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading. This is one of those happy occurrences where the book was way better than I thought it would be. Mur Lafferty, welcome to my “must read” author list! I had so much fun with this story, and there were so many twists and turns, secrets and lies, and characters who didn’t even know whether they were lying or not. The entire story takes place on the generation spaceship Dormire, in very tight quarters, and revolves around seven key characters. Not only is this a top-notch science fiction story about cloning, space travel and a group of people forging their way into the future, but it’s a damn fine “locked room” murder mystery as well. This isn’t the first story I’ve read where a group of characters wakes up from some unknown event, only to discover they’ve lost their memories, but it’s definitely the best. Lafferty takes the idea of cloning in a new direction and adds a political layer to her story that deals with clones versus humans. In the…

1
9/10
Review: All our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Reviews / January 30, 2017

Elan Mastai opens his debut (and, in my view, awkwardly-titled) novel All Our Wrong Todays, with a great hook: the world that we are living in is a mistake, a dystopic alternate timeline that never should have happened. We’re supposed to live in a retro-future paradise of flying cars and instantly-generated clothing. Our should be a world without want or poverty, where no whim or desire goes unfulfilled. Food, clothes, employment, and even sexual partners (provided you don’t mind, say, an artificial construct made from the DNA of your ex) are all available in whatever form a person might choose. This paradise was made possible by the Goettreider Engine, which uses the earth’s motion to generate limitless clean energy. So profoundly has this invention changed the course of human history, that its inventor, Lionel Goettreider has become the most celebrated man of modern history. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be. Our narrator, Tom Barren, tells us pretty quickly that the world is dangerous and messy and violent because he has somehow messed it up. I’m a sucker for this kind of alternate-reality novel. I also happen to love witty first person narratives focusing on messed up or underachieving protagonists. Rarely…

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6/10
Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James
Reviews / January 24, 2017

In an atmosphere somewhat reminiscent of  Hunger Games and Red Rising (and many other dystopian novels), the world we encounter has a stark division between the classes. There are the elite Skilled, who though fewer in numbers, control Britain. The Skilled, as you may guess, have magical skills that allow them to do extraordinary things, such as heal themselves, repair broken objects and enforce the Silence (which ultimately means, messing with peoples brains to prevent them from speaking about things that the Skilled person does not want to be discussed). The general masses of normal people usually have little or no contact with Skilled, who are perceived as untouchable, unknowable things. People are not real sure how much of their fabled powers are truth versus exaggeration. I found in this book neither side sees a humanity in the other group.  Through one POV we get an inside look at Millmoor, a slavetown. We also get to see that some slaves are able to find ways to rebel, and I found this to be exciting and fun. These sections were hands down my favorite within the book. We also get perspectives from a family living within a Skilled household, serving their…

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8/10
Review: The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
Reviews / January 23, 2017

After two years of watching the release date hover in flux and getting pushed back time and time again, I must confess waiting for this book was its own special kind of agony. That was also when I realized I was irrevocably addicted to Peter Grant. The Hanging Tree is book six of the series which returns to London and places the main story arc back on track, following the short respite we took to the countryside with our protagonist in Foxglove Summer. The story begins with a drug-related death at a house party in one of the most exclusive residential areas in the city. Normally, the case wouldn’t have been within the purview of the Folly, which the Met’s investigative unit for all things magical and paranormal, except for the fact that one of the party goers turned out to be the daughter of Lady Ty, goddess of the river Tyburn. Suddenly, Peter is in a bind since he owes Lady Ty a favor, and as such he has reluctantly agreed to do all he can to keep her teenage daughter Olivia out of investigation. But as it turns out, his promise might be a moot point. After all,…