Review: In the Shadow of the Gods by Rachel Dunne
Reviews / June 13, 2016

Many months back, I saw the cover of this book and read the description; I then sent out a request for a review copy a minute later. The Parents must have been smiling down on me, for I was granted that request, and In the Shadows of the Gods proved to be among the best books I’ve read this year. Multiple POVs and compelling characters; intertwining plots, and a story with a large scope; great prose, and a vast world with wonderful and creative world building. All the ingredient you need to make a epic fantasy trilogy that fans will devour. It has been almost 800 years  since The Fall – when the Parents exiled the Twins, burying them deep within the Earth. Since then, two religions have formed: those who follow the Parents, and those who follow the Twins. Followers of the Parents, believe the Parents were right in their punishment of the Twins. Because of their faith, twins are actively hunted down and persecuted; anytime twins are born, they are instantly drowned, or if there is no water around, they are burned to death. Followers of the Twins believe the Parents were motivated by their jealously of the Twins to exile them. Their goal is find and release the Twins…

Review: Spear of Light by Brenda Cooper
Reviews / May 26, 2016

Edge of Dark was one of the best books I read in 2015, and one of the novels I included in my 2016 Hugo nomination’s ballot. The reason I loved that story so much and kept thinking about and recommending it to other readers a full year after I finished it, was because of Cooper’s futurist ideas about transhumanism that brought the question”what does it mean to be a human?” to the focus. I was deeply hoping that Spear of Light would be a continuation of that and other futurist ideas, and it was, but this time, it took a back seat to the plot. A few weeks have passed since events at the end of Edge of Dark. Charlie has negotiated the treaty with Next, and while the Next are keeping to themselves, the people of Lym are none too happy that the Next are there at all, regardless if they are keeping to their promise. And with this giant wall the Next are building around all of their territory, the people are close to revolting. The people of Lym aren’t the only ones upset with the Next. While they are angry because they are on their planet, the people of the Shinning Revolution hate that Next even exist at all….

Review: The Jewel and Her Lapidary by Fran Wilde
Reviews / May 5, 2016

This book is marketed as “an epic fantasy, in miniature” and I agree with that statement – to a certain extent. A great deal of time and effort goes in to the magic and world-building, and it pays off, but to my disappointment, outside of the magic gems, there was not much else. Jewel Lin is daughter to the King of the Jewel Valley. Lin’s Lapidary is Sima, and her father is the King’s Lapidary. Lapidaries have the power to talk to gems and they serve the Jewels. In order to become a Lapidary, you must first have the ability to hear gems talking, and then, you must take your vows; two of which are: a lapidary obeys their Jewel, and a lapidary must protect their Jewel. Those are two of the vows that Sima’s father broke, who went gem-mad, and turned over the Valley Kingdom to the Mountain Kingdom, destroying most of the Jewel’s gems and murdering all of the Jewels – except for Lin. It is just Lin and Sima alive now in the Court, and the general of the Mountain army is coming through the gates to try to claim her new kingdom and gems. Two of the…

The Wolf in the Attic by Paul Kearney
Reviews / April 28, 2016

Next time someone asks me what a “beautiful story” is, I will tell them to read this. From the warm and smooth prose style, to the main character’s personality, and her narrative voice, to  the plot – nearly everything about this story, made me feel like I was reading a fairytale. Anna is a twelve year old girl who has recently escape to Oxford from Greece, when the Great War broke. She lost everything leaving Greece behind, including her mother, and now all she has left is her father and her doll, Pin, her only friend. Anna is home schooled, and her father often has meetings with other Greek refuges at their house every week. During these meetings, Anna will at times go outside, and explore around the town to play. On one such night she travels a bit too far in the woods and witnesses the murder of a man. From that moment on, her whole world changes. I found it a little difficult to give a brief plot outline for this story for two reason: first, because it was unclear at the beginning what the actual plot was, and second, because as this book is broken up into…

Review: The Emperor’s Railroad by Guy Haley
Reviews / April 13, 2016

Zombies, machines relics, prehistoric beasts, angels and heaven, and knights. These things may not seem like they would belong together, but for this story they do. Guy Haley has taken these seemingly unrelated items, and put them together to create a truly fantastic world and history. Abney and his mother are leaving their home of New Karsville to join their cousin in Winfort. After the war, the angels set a plague of the unliving loose in Virginia, and that destroyed their home. On their way off, they are picked up by a mail-carrier to escort them – to help protect them on the road – but he soon suffers an accident which brings his death. Abney and his mother, now alone on the road, with a broken carriage, seem to be doomed to wait for either zombies or other humans to end their life. Lucky for them, their first wanderer is a knight from a Dreaming City. It is a steep price to pay for his services – half of Mrs. Collin’s bridal price she’d saved – but it is a price they must pay if they wish to survive the unliving, the road, and the other half of the Emperor’s Punishment:…

Review: Arena by Holly Jennings
Reviews / March 24, 2016

Arena was not the story I was expecting; it was a little less video games and little more love than I would have preferred, but it also had a several things I was impressed by. In the story, Holly Jennings dives into the troubles females face daily, the pressures that athletes of all sexes deal with in their sports, the prejudices that minorities encounter their whole life, and the use and battle with drug addiction to overcome all these issue in life and more. Kali Ling, know as “The Warrior”, is one of the top RAGE tournament players in the world. Being both a female pro-gamer, and of part-Asian descent, has made her path not an easy one, but now that she is in the pros, life is not any easier. Forced to pose for adds in gaming magazines that highlight her female and Asian qualities, and being forced to go out at night to clubs by her team’s manager, are things that are now frequent for Kali. The escape she needs, and craves, to get away from this life, is the virtual gaming world – RAGE. It is in virtual reality that things feel real to Kali and she…