0
9/10
Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Reviews / January 20, 2016

Sometimes all your expectations go flying out the window when you actually sit down to read a book, and my experience with All the Birds in the Sky was just like that. This book isn’t so much about plot as it is about the relationships between the characters and how that relationship is constantly changing. I’m not sure everyone will love this book as much as I did, because it’s different from every other SFF book out there, and “different” is often misunderstood. But Anders’ fascinating ideas and lovable characters have earned her a place on my “must read” list. This is also a thoughtful story that explores themes such as preserving life on Earth no matter what the cost, nature versus technology, and the delicate balance of friendship. Throw in the fact that this was just so much fun to read, and I came to care about Patricia and Laurence so much that I was fully invested in how things would turn out for them. Patricia and Laurence meet in middle school, a bad time for both of them, as they are bullied terribly by their peers. They also have less than ideal home lives, but in different ways….

0
9/10
Review: City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
Reviews / January 19, 2016

As much as I came to see City of Stairs, the first book of The Divine Cities, as a remarkable multi-genre crossover success, it took me a while to warm up to it. In fact, at one point I put the book down with no intention of finishing it. What a mistake that would have been. I’m glad I decided to give it one more chance, because something just ‘clicked’ for me, bringing the whole jumbled mythological tapestry together. In the end, it turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year. Fortunately, there was no such hesitation or doubt involved with City of Blades. This is a book that hooked me from the first chapter and kept me reading at a frantic pace. I devoured the first 180 pages on a Friday night, and then binged my way through the rest over the weekend. While I’m sure familiarity with the world and the mythology helped (there was a steep learning curve with the first book), it was the shift in point-of-view that really made this second book so immediately accessible. Shara Thivani is kept largely off the page here, appearing only in a few scattered scenes, leaving General Turyin Mulaghesh to carry the tale. Mulaghesh…

1
8/10
Review: Medusas’s Web by Tim Powers
Reviews / January 18, 2016

Medusa’s Web is my first Tim Power’s book but given that he seems to have the ability to combine great writing with fantastic imagination I don’t think it will be my last. I really enjoyed  Medusa’s Web. It has a wonderfully gothic horror feel to it and the writing style helps to lend it the feeling of an older book which is an aspect that I really enjoyed. The story gets off to a great start with an almost movie feel to it. Picture this. Two people arrive at a decaying mansion in the Hollywood Hills while the storm clouds gather overhead. Up in the mansion, two cousins watch their approach. Only days ago the head of the family, Aunt Amity, committed suicide in the most unlikely fashion by climbing to the top of the building and detonating a hand grenade. The four are about to spend a week together as part of Amily’s wishes before her last will is revealed. It’s all a little sinister feeling. The house, dressed up in old Hollywood movie props is a strange place, dilapidated, falling apart, doors that lead to nowhere and it seems to be slowly sinking into it’s foundations. It put…

2
6/10
Review: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Reviews / January 13, 2016

Night Study is the 5th book in the Study series.  It continues right were Night Study left off, after Yelena’s big reveal to Valek  .  Yelena continues to deal with her loss of magic. This has a huge impact on her, as you can imagine and she realizes just how dependent on it she has been. Tensions between Ixia and Sitia are growing worse, and war seems to be imminent. The Commander is, well, not quite himself and Valek seems to have mysteriously lost his trust. I will admit, I do not read a lot of books labeled Young Adult, so I may be off base on some of my assumptions. One thing I do feel is unique about this series (at least from my experience with YA), is that the last two books in the series take place after a good amount of time has passed from the first three. What that means is that the main characters have aged and are more “adults” than they are “young adults”. I believe they are in their late 20s, Valek may actually be in his thirties. But, the overall tone of the book and content is very much in line with what I…

0
8/10
Review: The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan
Reviews / January 12, 2016

The boys are back! When I heard Michael J. Sullivan was going to take his next Hadrian and Royce adventure to Kickstarter in the summer of 2015, I happily forked over the cash to support this brilliant project by one of my favorite authors. I’ve read and loved every Riyria novel and I couldn’t have been more excited about The Death of Dulgath. As part of my backer rewards, I received an early digital copy of the book, but I later also picked up the audiobook version because of Tim Gerard Reynolds, the narrator who brings Sullivan’s wonderful characters and world to life. I was not disappointed. The Riyria Revelations ranks high among one of my favorite fantasy series, so naturally when Sullivan went on to write two more books in The Riyria Chronicles, I read those too. Chronicles is meant to be a prequel series, comprised of stand-alone tales featuring Hadrian and Royce before the events of Revelations, and The Death of Dulgath is the third of these. As thieves for hire, our protagonists are always getting into trouble involving daring heists and other shenanigans, which is another reason why these side stories about their “time before” have always…

0
8/10
Review: Steal the Sky by Megan E O’Keefe
Reviews / January 11, 2016

I’m going to be totally honest here and just come out and say that Steal the Sky was a book that I very nearly decided to skip.  I don’t know why. On the face of it this book has everything that I would normally jump at so I guess at the time I was maybe just having a ‘moment’.  I’m so glad it was a fleeting moment because I did pick up a copy (clearly) and it was a really enjoyable read. At the start of the story we have two conmen arriving in the City of Aransa.  Honding and Tibs are about to undertake their most ambitious heist yet – they’re planing on stealing a brand new and sparkly airship, however, all their planning isn’t going to prevent this heist from going to hell in a handcart. First things first.  A bit about the setting.  I was really impressed with the world building and the way that you find out little by little what you need to know.  In fact I thought that O’Keefe showed great ability with establishing the scene and the characters.   The world seems to be split between the green and pleasant parts and the…

0
8/10
Review: City of Light by Keri Arthur
Reviews / January 7, 2016

This was my first book by Keri Arthur, and I was completely unprepared for how good it was. I don’t even know why I was caught so flat-footed! After all, I know friends who have been fans of the author’s for years and they all absolutely adore her work, which is what convinced me to give City of Light a try in the first place. I’ve been curious about her books for a long time, and this being the first book of a new series seemed like the perfect place to start, so I went in with pretty high expectations. It ended up exceeding all of them. Of course, I was skeptical at first, especially right after I opened the book and was almost immediately overwhelmed by a huge solid wave of info-dumps. To be fair, I understood the reasons for this, especially after I finished the book. There’s a tremendous amount of world building and a lot of amazing wonders and mysteries to discover, but the fun can’t start until after we’ve all taken the crash course, so to speak. After the story gets moving though, things really heat up. This series opener introduces us to Tiger, a genetically…

0
10/10
Review: The Just City by Jo Walton
Reviews / January 6, 2016

A very thought provoking and insightful book that makes you question the way things are in the world, as well as how they could be (and if that “other way” would really be better or worse). The Just City is an experiment carried out with by a Goddess. Her goal was to create perfectly balanced society where its citizens are judged solely on their own merits and abilities. There is to be no preferential treatment, people there should want to be their best selves and strive to do right by the city. If everyone lives by this code, then the city should thrive. The adults (or “masters”) in the city were all prayed to Pallas Athene for exactly this opportunity. They expressed a desire and interest to come to this. Many of them are people famous for their ideas and efforts during their times in history. The children however, were brought to the city under different circumstances. The city needed children for the experiment to work, but there was controversy over how to best do this. How can you best populate a new city with over ten thousand 10 year olds? It makes for an interesting dynamic. Since the masters…

0
8/10
Review: The Drowning Eyes by Emily Foster
Reviews / January 4, 2016

I was immediately drawn to this novella by the cover: a beautiful and fierce-looking woman in the middle of a stormy sea. What was happening to her? It is book covers like this that make me want to read a book, and I dove in, hoping to find adventure, danger and an answer to my question. And I was not disappointed. The Drowning Eyes packs a lot of story into such a small page count, and introduces readers to some very unique characters. Foster takes the idea of a group of women who can control the wind and bring forth storms through magic, and tells the story of a girl who has been given a difficult task to complete before she is considered a full-fledged “Windspeaker.” Tazir is the captain of the Giggling Goat, and along with her small crew, she sails among the Tahiri Islands, transporting travelers from island to island, assuring them safe passage through choppy waves and storm-prone skies. As they wait in a port, looking for their next customer, they are approached by a young girl named Shina, who offers them a huge amount of money to get to a distant island. She says her parents…

0
9/10
Review: Skyborn by David Dalglish
Reviews / December 31, 2015

Look at me. This is my stunned face. As in, I could not believe how good this book turned out. Granted, the story was a little slow to take off (sorry, unavoidable pun), but the momentum gradually built up so that everything culminated into one of the most incredible and jaw-droppingly explosive endings I’ve ever read. In fact, if I had to rate this book based on just its second half alone, it would have been an easy 5 stars. But the first half, despite not having the same level of excitement and energy of the second half, was no slouch either. In the first two hundred pages or so, David Dalglish made sure we got plenty of time to familiarize ourselves with the fascinating world of Skyborn. We also got to know our two protagonists, twins Bree and Kael. Readers take to the skies in this opening to a new series set in a richly imaginative world. Hundreds of years have passed since a disaster wiped out much of humanity, and survivors have established a new society on six floating island kingdoms which are constantly warring with each other. Aerial battles are fought by Seraphim, elite winged soldiers who command…