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Space Opera Sunday: The State of the Art

1970s Earth. The political situation is fraught, the music scene is humming, and out in space hangs the GCU Arbitrary and its motley crew of humans. Diziet Sma wants to make contact. Linter has gone native and is trying to escape the Arbitrary entirely. And Li wants to blow the place up…

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A Gathering of Shadows: an excess of squee

Book cover: A Gathering of Shadows - V E Schwab (a woman with thigh boots and two knives silhouetted above a street map against a red background)Kell Maresh and Lila Bard saved the worlds and went their separate ways. Kell has been confined to keep his royal brother safe; Lila has finally gone to sea to find herself (and scare sensible men witless). But the triennial Essen Tasch lures the world’s best sorcerers back to London – and a girl from Grey London has a few tricks up her sleeve she’d like to try…  Continue reading “A Gathering of Shadows: an excess of squee”

Redux: February

February is short and my reading was constrained by a blogging backlog and a surge in real life commitments. However, I found time to sort out my library membership, which predictably means a HUGE tower of books by my bedside – and it was my birthday, so any chances of keeping my own book hoard under control was a pipe dream.

Reading round-up, Stacking the shelves and goal progress

Space Opera Sunday: Use of Weapons

Diziet Sma needs to recruit former superstar agent Cheradenine Zakalwe for one last job to resolve a situation in a politically-unstable star system. But is Zakalwe still up to the job? And will the price he puts on his renewed service unravel him beyond repair?

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The Cats of Seroster know what’s best for them

Book cover: The Cats of Seroster - Robert Westall (a tall dark man with a two-handed sword glowers out, surrounded by huge golden-haired cats)Young Cam is tasked to journey to a distant city with a letter and a dagger that he can’t get rid of – no matter how he tries. Hunted through the wilderness, he realises he has been tricked into more than just carrying a message. But the city and its cats need a Seroster. Can Cam avoid the fate being forced on him?

Fantasy with cats. Need I say more?

Top Ten Tuesday (on a Wednesday): defying expectations

Top Ten Tuesday bannerTop Ten Tuesday (or, ahem, Wednesday. Sorry) is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we talk about a bookish topic and have fun making lists. This week, it’s all about books that were pleasant surprises or sad disappointments.

The problem is usually my expectation…

Space Opera Sunday: The Player of Games

Jernau Morat Gurgeh is bored of winning, a master of strategy and tactics who can beat anyone at almost any game. When Special Circumstances approach him to represent the Culture in the vicious Empire of Azad – home to a complex Game so revered the winner is made Emperor – he can’t say no. But to play will mean putting more than just his life at risk. Can he resist the lure of Azad?

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A Darker Shade of Magic: welcome to London

Book cover: A Darker Shade of Magic - V E Schwab (silhouette of someone in a fabulously billowy cloak in black and red)London: one name, three cities in three very different worlds, each with more magic than the last. Only two men hold the power to cross between worlds, and one is about to unwittingly put them all at risk. Because there was once a fourth London – and its magic tires of being sealed away…

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Confessions of a bad SF fan: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Book cover: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - Philip K Dick (a digital pointilliste image of a sheeps face)Double whammy confession time: I hadn’t previously read Philip K Dick’s classic, and I don’t much like Blade Runner. Spot the obvious problem though: I have seen Blade Runner, and it’s really hard to read the book without being influenced by it.

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Top Ten Tuesday: hearts that beat as one

Top Ten Tuesday bannerTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we talk about a bookish topic and have fun making lists. Naturally today is all about romance!

Even an Ice Queen can melt

Space Opera Sunday: Consider Phlebas

The galaxy is at war. Horza, a shape-changing spy captured during an attempted infiltration, is rescued by his Idiran masters for a mission only he can complete: to return to a Planet of the Dead where he once served as a steward and retrieve a downed enemy AI. Now he just needs to find a ship, cross a war zone, and convinced the godlike alien who guards Schar’s World that it’s happy he’s back…

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Tongues of Serpents

Book cover: Tongues of Serpents - Naomi Novik (UK hardcover, stylised woodcut design - dragons, colonial buildings and gum trees)Will Laurence and Temeraire have been banished to Australia to establish new breeding grounds, convicts in all but name. But the colony is mutinous, its Governor in exile, and the continent hazardous, with no obvious opportunities for redemption…

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