Tag Archives: female author

Guest Post by Stephanie Burgis: Alternate History: Taking a New Path

15 Sep

I love historical fantasy, both as a reader and a writer – which won’t surprise anyone who’s read any of my first five novels. Three of them (forming the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy) were frothy, fun MG adventures set in Regency England; two of them (Masks and Shadows and Congress of Secrets) were dark, romantic adult fantasies set at different historical points in the Habsburgs’ Austro-Hungarian empire.

My first three MG novels and my first two adult novels have been very different in tone from each other, but there was one thing all five of those novels had in common: They all approached historical fantasy as a secret history, in which magic worked discreetly behind the scenes of our real history books. (For instance, the opera house at Eszterháza Palace really did burn down in the historical year I wrote about in Masks and Shadows – but in reality, I very much doubt it was burned down by an act of dark alchemy! Or at least…that certainly wasn’t the official explanation that landed in any of the history books I read. 😉 )
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Book Review: Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

30 Aug


All good things must come to an end, and with Buried Heart, author Kate Elliott brings to a conclusion the YA Court of Fives trilogy.

Talking about plot developments in the third and final volume of a trilogy is difficult and perhaps foolish to try, so I will instead discuss the essential theme of this volume, one that has been slowly surfacing through Court of Fives and Poisoned Blade, but here gets its full fulminating flowering: Revolution. In Buried Heart, Efea’s oppressed status, something that the author has been delineating from the very first chapter of Court of Fives, comes out in full force. Of course within the potential revolution of Efea against the tyranny that holds it is the struggle of powers around it, and the struggles of the current royal occupants to hold the throne against kin and family. The first two novels, which suggested that Jessamy, the Spider, would be subsumed into that dynamic entirely, prove to have been a false flag. In the third volume, Jess finds herself caught between father and mother, her lover and her land, and must make often difficult choices as the people of Efea struggle to reclaim their freedom. Continue reading

Book Reviews: Martian Girls, Home and Abroad

25 Aug

Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn & Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo

Two young adult (YA) novels featuring feisty teen heroines from Mars recently landed in my to-be-read pile. Beyond the surface similarity between their protagonists, the two novels diverge completely, each with unique focus and drive, and different kinds of success. Continue reading

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: STEEL VICTORY and STEEL MAGIC by J.L. Gribble

28 Jul

This Sunday I featured Steel Blood for my first offering in the ‘A Book By Its Cover’ series of humorous fake reviews. I haven’t yet read this third volume in J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series, but I have read the first two novels, Steel Victory and Steel Magic. Seems the perfect time to write real reviews on them. Continue reading

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