Archive by Author

Book Review: Of Sand and Malice Made by Bradley Beaulieu

10 May

 

Before she started her quest for vengeance against the Twelve Kings of Sharakhai, Ceda had a different encounter with the supernatural otherness that infuses the world of the Shattered Sands. Early in her career as a pit fighter, her exploits, and a chance encounter, brought her to the attention of Rümayesh. Rümayesh is an ehrekh, a creature of fire and chaos living in Sharakhai under the guise of humanity. Her interest and fascination with Ceda, however, as with all who attracted her attention, is a corrosive, sadistic and destructive one, as befits her nature. Ceda found herself having to protect much more than just herself in order to ward against the creature’s manipulations.

This is the story told in Of Sand and Malice Made, by Bradley Beaulieu. Continue reading

Book Review: All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

3 May

 

A SecUnit assigned to the exploratory group PreservationAux has a problem. Two in fact. As an android, it’s supposed to serve the small exploratory mission to which it has been assigned. The SecUnit’s entire function is to support the exploratory mission’s investigation of a local planetary environment that it has placed a bid on to look at. Androids like SecUnit are a safety precaution from the Company because, well, alien planets can be rather hostile. And of course, they are handy recording devices, too, for the Company that is. A mandatory helper and a spy for anyone looking to explore the wild frontier in space.

Given that planets are not monolithic single-biome worlds, having multiple teams from competing groups spread out across a newly found world is a pretty regular thing. Who knows what you will find over in the next valley, down the river a bit, from another team. One team can’t find everything on a planet.  So when a neighboring team to SecUnit’s goes dark, that’s a bad sign for its team, a major concern.  What disaster befell them? Environmental? Natural? Something else? Given the proximity, is it a threat to PreservationAux, and to SecUnit itself?

The other problem is a more personal one. The SecUnit has managed to hack its own governor module, make itself independent, autonomous and capable of disobeying orders. It’s not going to reveal this of course, for fear of termination and worse, but this SecUnit is new to the idea of being able to make decisions for itself. New to the concept of being able to do what it wants to do. New to trying to come to terms with its own identity.

Like for example, a designation for itself. A name. Inside, secretly, the self-hacked SecUnit calls itself … Murderbot. Continue reading

Book Review: The House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard

26 Apr

 

In the aftermath of the fall of Morningstar of House Silverspires, just as it was seeking to become ascendant over the other Fallen Angel led Houses, the focus turns to House Hawthorn, part architect of Morningstar’s fall. Lord Asmodeus knows that each and every position and rank is under threat, and his attempts to shore up the power of his House, and himself, will lead him to send an embassy to the Dragon Kingdom underneath the surface of the Seine. In the meantime, even as Asmodeus schemes, an alchemist and an immortal try and survive schemes within Hawthorn, the Dragon Kingdom, and across Paris itself. Two broken and desperate protagonists in a world that is equally broken, but perhaps still salvageable. And perhaps the protagonists are salvageable themselves.  

House of Binding Thorns is the second full novel by Aliette de Bodard set in her post-apocalyptic early 20th century Paris. Continue reading

Book Review: Wothwood by Natania Barron

20 Apr

A mysterious ruin in a dangerous wood. A fateful expedition. A strained relationship, ancient secrets & tensions. Wothwood by Natania Barron, part of the Broken Cities series of stories, brings a lean and mean novella sensibility to a secondary world quest fantasy with a lot of character and worldbuilding on offer. Continue reading

Guest Post by Aliette de Bodard: Beyond the Cliché Shelf: Making Characters Vibrant and Unexpected

13 Apr

Today instead of a review from me, we have a guest post by Aliette de Bodard. Her second Dominion of the Fallen novel, The House of Binding Thorns, is now out, and you will see a review of it from me here soon. In the meantime, Aliette has some words to say about Characters: Continue reading

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