Archive by Author

Book Review: Blackthorne by Stina Leicht

2 Aug


Eledore has fallen! In the wake of the near-genocidal attack on the already plague-ridden kingdom, the remnants and survivors of the attack by the Acrasian Empire have several pressing problems. First, the Acrasians, now that they have smashed the Kingdom, consider the flinders to be easy pickings. Kainen hunted for sport, territory conquered, a proud kingdom ruined. Worse, the remaining Kainen polities, like the Waterborne Nations, and Ytlain, have to deal with this new political reality, and Eledore’s fallen status means that its people must often go cap in hand to their brethren, and suffer and bargain for what they once could ask for freely. Even more of a problem is the problem that Eledore has stood athwart for centuries and no longer can: The otherdimensional, eldritch problem of the malorum. Now that the gates are opening and malorum are coming through, the survivors of Eledore are under literal siege from this threat.

Not that the Acrasians are as well off as they might be. Yes, the great victory against the Eledorean menace has occurred. But in the wake of that victory, the local and resident nonhuman population, overt and covert, have been restive. Some have even been seeking escape from the Regnum, to get beyond the borders of a state slowly and inexorably tightening into Caesarism. Besides the high level political problems, seen only at a distance and remove, the street-level problems of life in the Regnum are multiplying. The malorum are now a looming threat on the streets of Novus Salernum itself. Continue reading

Book Review: Cold-Forged Flame and Lightning in the Blood by Marie Brennan

26 Jul



A woman appears out of nowhere, with no memory of who she is.  She is bound to a task by a spell she cannot escape, as if she were a summoned demon (and perhaps she IS, she doesn’t know). The woman, even her name eluding her, makes her way on a perilous journey to obtain what is needed for a band of rebels to overthrow a tyranny. The woman remembers skills, certain very useful skills, even if things like her name and what she is elude her memory. She may not know who she is, but she can climb, travel through wilderness, and fight. Her story to find out what she is, who she is and what she was are intertwined with the quests she has been set, and later, undertakes on her own.

Cold-Forged Flame and Lightning in the Blood, novellas, begin to tell the story of a summoned spirit, an Archon, an Archon who learns that her name, or at least part of it, is Ree. Continue reading

Book Review: The Guns Above by Robyn Bennis

19 Jul


A pair of intriguing, antagonistic characters, steampunk airships, a dry sense of humor, and feats of derring-do are at the heart of The Guns Above, a debut novel by Robyn Bennis. The novel’s strong focus on the action beats as well as the main characters marry a sense of character along with large helpings of crunchy detail to a finely honed level. Continue reading

Book Review: Substrate Phantoms by Jessica Reisman

5 Jul

Mysterious doings on Termagenti station, and the story of a tortured survivor of an exploration gone wrong, both external and internal, are at the heart of Substrate Phantoms, a debut space opera novel from Jessica Reisman. Substrate Phantoms features a strong character-based focus for the novel, playing firmly in the more literary side of the genre as it explores a story of what only slowly and painstakingly is revealed to be one of a first contact with the Other. The novel primarily follows a pair of characters whose stories touch and eventually converge. Continue reading

Book Review: The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley

24 May

I came to Kameron Hurley’s work early, getting a copy of God’s War back at the beginning of her career, and following her work and worlds since. Sometimes I’ve had questions or issues with her work, but throughout, the “blood, bugs, and brutal women” that have been a hallmark of all of her worlds and characters have sustained my reading interest and been a welcome expenditure of my reading time. It was thus with great anticipation that I picked up The Stars Are Legion, the new Space Opera from Hurley.

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