Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
5 Stars , Reviews / November 29, 2013

  Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is a very well crafted debut novel. I think the major component that sets it apart is the truly alien feel that you get from Breq’s perspective. Who is Breq? Well, that is immediately where the story gets interesting. Breq is not used to being an individual as we think of individuals. Rather she is just one component, called an ancillary, of a larger functioning ship that serves the Radchaai Empire. The ancillaries have implants that allow thought communication with each other and the ship’s AI, which is so advanced it seems almost sentient. This essentially creates a hive mind where ancillaries share thoughts, memories, motivations, commands and pretty much anything else you can think of with each other and the AI. They are not individuals, but rather components of the larger whole, the ship they serve. The story follows two timelines. In the current one Breq is alone, no longer a part of her ship. And because of that she must cope with having just one pair of eyes and just one body and mind. It’s as if she is adjusting to a missing limb, or rather becoming a detached limb that must somehow find…

The Prince of Lies by Anne Lyle
4 Stars , Reviews / November 20, 2013

The Prince of Lies is the concluding book of Anne Lyle’s Night’s Masque trilogy. Merchant of Dreams left us with an almost picturesque ending, Mal and Coby married, headed off to start a new life with Kit, their adopted infant son who is also host to Kiiren. As you can imagine, it wouldn’t be much of a book if things stayed that happy and settled, so they don’t. Not even close. Once again, I find Anne Lyle’s prose to be an enjoyable read. Her stories are not the action packed, read as fast as you can style, but rather, sit back take in the setting and time period and enjoy. It’s a book where the story flows rather races. In this book, the guisers have set their sights on the throne and are getting disturbingly close. Enter Mal, who must unravel their plan and find a way to put a stop to it. The book covers a large time frame, rightfully skipping over years where nothing relevant happens. We find Coby has a much more back seat and domestic role in this. I always really enjoy Coby’s character, so it was strange seeing her adjust to the life of a lady….

What new books have caught my eye?
Lists / November 15, 2013

I am always hearing about new books, adding them to my exponentially growing TBR list. So today I thought I would share a few of my most recent discoveries that I am excited about. I am limiting this to books by authors I have not read yet and, at least for now, either very new or upcoming books. Pretty much books that I think other people should hear about if they haven’t already. So, here it is, I’m sharing the joy and maybe adding to someone else’s list of books to read. Title: The Moon’s Artifice Author: Tom Lloyd Publisher: Gollancz Publication Date: November 21, 2013 Blurb: Tom Lloyd kicks off a spectacular new fantasy series, perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Joe Abercrombie and, of course, Tom Lloyd! In a quiet corner of the Imperial City, Investigator Narin discovers the result of his first potentially lethal mistake. Minutes later he makes a second. After an unremarkable career Narin finally has the chance of promotion to the hallowed ranks of the Lawbringers – guardians of the Emperor’s laws and bastions for justice in a world of brutal expediency. Joining that honoured body would be the culmination of a lifelong…

The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
5 Stars , Reviews / November 14, 2013

Miriam Black is back. Irreverent and sardonic as ever. I don’t know how Chuck Wendig manages to find that balance of brash irreverence without taking it too far, but he is a master. I’ll also be honest, while still good, I did have a couple issues with Mockingbird, the second Miram Black book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one. I loved Blackbirds and really liked Mockingbird, but this third one blew away my expectations, or rather maybe Miriam put them in their place with a good dose of foul language and bad assery. In other words, I absolutely loved it. Miriam’s character, once again is wonderfully complex. And wonderfully blunt. I think part of the reason I love reading her so much is she gets to do and say all the things that I wish could. Well, I guess technically I could, but I like to function in society, so that holds me back a bit more than Miriam. But she is more than just her attitude. She is given a very morose ability, power or curse, depending on how you choose to label it. To see death before it happens, to always associate a person’s…

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
3 Stars , Reviews / November 11, 2013

In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately. Snow Crash is my first book by Neal Stephenson and I absolutely loved the opening. Unfortunately, I also felt like the book was never as much fun to read after that first chapter.  It is a different experience with this book. I found much to love, but also much to dislike and that left me feeling less and less engaged as I read. I did like both Hiro and Y. T, our protaginists. However, the parts I didn’t like started to drag me out of the story and therefor care less about what happened to the characters and reading on. One aspect of the book that didn’t quite work for me is that there is a lot of separation/delineation of the different races/sects of society in this book,…

Joyland by Stephen King
4.5 Stars , Reviews / November 9, 2013

I have to admit, the cover for Joyland by Stephen King definitely helped lure me in. It is absolutely stunning. It also helps set the reader’s expectations for the retro amusement park setting that this book creates. I suppose other covers may do that, but this one really jumps out at me. And this one really sticks with me. Now, as much as I love the cover, I should probably talk about the book. Joyland is many things in a short novel. It is the story of first love, and the first heartbreak that inevitably goes with it. It is the story of finding your way and place in life. It is the story of recognizing and valuing everyday friends and people. It’s the story of life, love and death and whatever falls in between and possibly after. Pretty much, it is the story of growing up. The supernatural aspect to this book, while haunting, is in the background. As is the murder mystery that this story is told around. When it comes down to it, this is the story of Devin Jones as he finds himself and his way in life. He leaves school and his broken heart to…

Very American or Very British? Can you tell the difference?
Polls / November 8, 2013

I started a discussion over on the Fantasy Faction forum about people referring to works as “very American” or “very British”. I   can tell vocabulary and spelling difference and obviously geographic or cultural references. But beyond that, I personally haven’t noticed any particular trends or styles that would make me say “aha! This author is  from Britain!” or “This is a very American novel”. Maybe it’s because I read predominantly fantasies that have settings reminiscent of medieval England. I’m not sure. But I am curious. From the discussion on the forum, many people have noticed trends that they can’t quite define but can recognize. So, I want to see how many people feel they can tell the difference. I’d also love to see an experiment using sample pieces from authors from different countries to let readers guess their nationalities (much like Teresa Frohock’s Gender Bending contest).