0
9/10
The Geomancer by Clay and Susan Griffith
Reviews / October 29, 2015

The Geomancer by Clay and Susan Griffith is a further instalment that brings to us the strange and very readable world of The Greyfriar (Gareth) and the Empress of Equatoria.  This is the fourth story set in this unusual alternate world and whilst I will try to avoid spoilers for this particular novel this review may contain spoilers for the previous books.  To be honest – I wouldn’t advise reading this as a standalone.  I think in order to fully appreciate the strength of feeling between the two main characters you have to begin at the beginning. I’m not going to give a long description here about the past history – like I said above I think you need to read this series from the start and with that assumption in mind I’m thinking no backstory is necessary. At the conclusion of the Kingmaker’s Adele was manipulated into using a massive surge of geomancy which wiped out the British clans, freeing the land from vampire rule and creating a protective barrier to prevent their return.  Unfortunately, it also left huge scars on the natural rifts and badly drained Adele, ageing her somewhat in the process. Adele and Gareth now spend…

1
7/10
Review: The Builders by Daniel Polansky
Reviews / October 28, 2015

Funny how I’m generally not big on anthropomorphism but at the same time I do seem to love a lot of books featuring fluffy, furry adorable sentient animals (Redwall, Watership Down, Mouse Guard, etc.) Thus the draw of Daniel Polansky’s The Builders won out, and it was also perfect because I’ve been meaning to check out his work for a long time. The animals in this book are far from soft and cuddly, though. A mouse, a stoat, an opossum, a badger, a salamander, a mole, and an owl all walk into a bar. This however is not the beginning of a joke but a start of a Kill Bill-style tale of vengeance and bloody destruction. One upon a time, all of them stood united against a common enemy, until treachery destroyed the group from within. The last job they were all on together didn’t end so well, so now the battle-hardened mouse known as the Captain is rounding up his old pals again for one last hurrah. But alas, you know what they say about the best laid schemes of mice and men. Before long, both bullets and fur will fly in abundance, as the Captain and his ragtag…

0
8/10
Review: Mystic by Jason Denzel
Reviews / October 27, 2015

Mystic is very much a coming of age, perhaps somewhat standard fare for a young adult novel. And maybe you could say the story, in some ways, was predictable. But you know what? I don’t care. I found the characters refreshing, I wanted to read their experiences as they venture through this story. So, regardless of anything that felt familiar, I still really enjoyed it (remember, sometimes familiar is fun when the story is told well). Mystic is a book to immerse yourself in, in a way that makes you feel you can join the adventure as it unfolds on the page. It is very much a character driven story and the reader’s connection with Pomella is crucial to make this work. Luckily, I found Pomella very intriguing and wanted to root for her the entire time. Even though this is a character driven story, the magic in it is also very cool. The Myst is the magical force/entity/power in which “magic” lives. This type of magic feels natural, like part of the earth and environment, but only select people have the ability to access and manipulate it. Honestly, I loved the Myst and how those who could call on…

0
8/10
Review: A Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin
Reviews / October 26, 2015

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a compilation of the first three Dunk and Egg short stories by George R. R. Martin that have previously been available in separate anthologies. I have been wanting to read these for years, and have just not hunted down copies of the separate anthologies yet. Now that they are conveniently packaged together, I figured there was no excuse. And as an added bonus, the art work in it makes getting the physical copy of the book well worth it. A Knight of Seven Kingdoms tells three tales in the traveling adventures of Dunk and Egg. The first story, The Hedge Knight introduces us to both Dunk and Egg, as well as how they met and some their history prior to being brought together. We also learn about the life of a hedge knight. It was a fun story, and I quickly latched on to both Dunk and Egg. The second story and third stories each highlight a particular escapade in their travels. They are interesting and engaging, and Dunk and Egg are characters I want to read more about. Especially Egg (and Dunk)! I found these stories to be really fun and much…

0
7/10
Review: After Alice by Gregory Maguire
Reviews / October 22, 2015

Alice in Wonderland retellings seem to be everywhere these days, and they’re all over the map in terms of style and plot. This latest from Wicked author Gregory Maguire is something quite different from other Alice books I’ve read, and I quite enjoyed it. Would I recommend it to my readers, though? That’s the question. If you’ve read Maguire before—and seeing Wicked on Broadway doesn’t count!—then you will appreciate the author’s distinct writing style. I personally love his writing, although at times it’s a bit too much, as he tends to use words I’ve never heard of before. But in this case—a story set in Victorian England with all its social rules and society’s fear of a changing world—his style is perfectly suited to the tale. If you’re looking for a whimsical, lighthearted Wonderland story, however, you’ll need to look elsewhere. After Alice is a more contemplative examination of family and society in 1860s Oxford, with somber undertones. The story is made up of very short chapters that alternate between two groups of characters. First we have a ten-year old girl named Ada, Alice’s best friend, who has been sent to deliver a jar of marmalade to Alice’s family. She is…

0
6/10
Review: Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
Reviews / October 21, 2015

Larry Correia is an author best known for his guns-and-monsters, no-holds barred, testosterone-soaked urban fantasy sagas, Monster Hunter International and the Grimnoir Chronicles. For those who were curious as to how he’d make the transition from guns to swords, Son of the Black Sword is pretty much everything you’d expect, with his macho sense of almost superhuman bravado slipping well into a pulpy heroic fantasy world. It’s not great literature, and lacks a certain polish in the narrative, but it’s an engaging bit of fantasy fiction. The world building and mythology encompass a very South Asian flavored world, which is a nice change of pace from mostly European fantasy, but there’s an important twist – instead of the seas providing prosperity and purpose, they are something to be feared, dotting the coasts and the beaches with the cobbled together hovels of the lowest of non-people. You see, due to an age old supernatural pact, man commands the land, demons command the seas . . . and the Law states that any who trespass must die. Lok is a bland, bureaucratic world, full of rigid caste systems, where faith and superstition are forbidden. It’s so deliberately constructed that if you don’t see the threat of rebellion coming in the first few chapters, and don’t anticipate the rise of a…

0
8/10
Review: Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Reviews / October 20, 2015

Last year, I became a big fan of Cassandra Rose Clarke after reading her adult novel debut The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, an emotional tale about love, loss and androids that shattered my heart to pieces and left me pining for more. So ever since I learned about her new book Our Lady of the Ice, I have been counting the days. Its premise sounded captivating too, a mystery drama unfolding inside a city encapsulated by a glass dome, the only protection against the frigid darkness of an Antarctic winter raging outside. The novel also features an intriguing cast. Eliana Gomez is a female PI, taking on as many jobs as she can in the hopes of scraping together enough money to get out of Hope City and head for the mainland. Her boyfriend Diego Amitrano is the adopted son of and right-hand man of Ignacio Cabrera, the city’s most notorious crime boss. Lady Marianella Luna is an Argentinian aristocrat and the celebrity face of an independence movement to build agricultural domes, a project which would help free Antarctica from the control of the mainland. Last but not least is Sofia, an android fighting for a different kind of freedom, envisioning Antarctica as…

0
8/10
Review: Planetfall by Emma Newman
Reviews / October 19, 2015

Planetfall is tense and addictive. It is the story of a colony of humans who fled earth in pursuit of God’s city on a faraway planet. This was supposed to be an answer for humans from earth, where things are not going so well. Since this is not simply the exploration of a new planet, but also a pilgrimage, religion and faith both factor heavily into this society. For me it was an interesting dynamic to have a people so technologically advanced, and also so faithful to this God and city they journeyed to. I honestly kept waiting for more of a scientific approach to explain some of their religious beliefs, perhaps because that is my personal inclination. So as a reader, some of the things that the society referred to as religious fact, I couldn’t help but want to know more, I almost craved an alternative explanation and wondered how the characters could accept things so blindly. Honestly, this aspect of the book fascinated me in a good way. Planetfall also examines the relationships between people as it shows how even surrounded by people, how easy it is to feel isolated and alone. The idyllic community the settlers tried to create sounds…

1
9/10
Review: Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
Reviews / October 15, 2015

Wake of Vultures is a western fantasy doused with folklore, and complete with vampires, werewolves and shape-shifters. Just don’t go into this expecting the sparkling variety of vampires or the happy, hunky type of werewolves. This is a darker book that left me mesmerized by the world and characters. Nettie has an incredibly hard life. She is the only non-white person around and was raised by a couple who told her that when no one else would have her, they showed her mercy by taking her in as a baby. But they show her no love, give her no support, and they certainly never took any steps to try and educate her. She may call them Pap and Mam as if they were her parents, but they treat her as a servant, without the pay. It really is a loveless and thankless life she has been living. But, she has found a passion, a love in her life. And that’s the animals. Nettie loves the horses that she is told to break. She uses patience and understanding to get the animal to submit to her will rather than force. This is the one part of her life that really makes…

2
10/10
Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Barduga
Reviews / October 14, 2015

I loved this book. It’s an absolutely perfect combination of superb characters, dark world with intriguing magic and wonderfully clever and twisted plot. A winning package nicely wrapped up in this author’s lovely writing style with great dialogue topping the lot. To cut a long story short, and if you want the speedy version, read this book. If you want to find out a little more and read some gushing then continue on. Firstly, I haven’t read the previous trilogy by Bardugo and can firmly say that I don’t think it’s necessary to have done so in order to enjoy this story. I’ll also mention that not having read the first I have no idea if this review will contain spoilers so please be aware of that before reading on. I won’t elaborate too much on the plot. We find ourselves in the busy city of Ketterdam and in particular focus on the Barrell where the seedy underworld thrives and gangs jostle for superiority. The Dregs are a gang ran by Kaz Brekker. He ultimately answers to a crime lord but in practice he has put the Dregs on the map, so to speak, and made them a force to…