Padma Mehta needs to recruit 33 more people to the Union and claim the signing bonus if she’s to buy the Old Windswept distillery. When an opportunity comes by that would put her over the line, she can’t pass it up, even if it is put her way by smelly loser Vytai Bloombeck. Padma’s forgotten that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The next few days will test what she’s really willing to do to make her numbers – and save her planet.
I’ll be revisiting the Echoes of the Ascended novellae regularly in Bite-sized Books (not least because there’s a new one every month, and I’m still playing catch up). A new perspective on Aedaron, with a new hero and a new tone. Rend the Dark shifts to horror as Ferran hunts the Dark that walks in human skin.
Elinor and Con are about to be reminded that corruption is a way of life in the Marches. Already in disgrace, Elinor will have to choose between risking the lives of her engineers or leaving another Reaper’s squad in the hands of a murderous upstart. When honour is for sale, how can she determine what is right?
Irene is a Librarian with a capital L – a secret agent who recovers books of note for the Library, hopping from one alternate reality to another. Irene settled down in a Victorian steampunk alternate when her apprentice is kidnapped by local Fae. But Kai is actually a dragon prince. If Irene can’t get him back, this will be the opening move in a multiverse-wide war between order and chaos.
Sorcerer to the Crown is a frothy fantasy farce with serious ideas under its lacy skirts; comparing it to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (as many people do) feels inappropriate to me as I found that novel dour and slow. Sorcerer to the Crown may also be set in a Regency England with a well-established magical tradition, but it has a gleeful exuberance that makes it a joy from start to finish.
Having read more diversely throughout 2015 (hurray), I have been on the slow boat through the 2 week challenge so have only finished one of the 3 titles I have in progress (I will review the others on completion later this month).
I have thoroughly enjoyed Aliette de Bodard‘s scifi short stories and jumped at the thought of a sort of post-apocalyptic angel urban fantasy.
An alternate twentieth century Paris. The Fallen live amongst mankind, banished for crimes against Heaven. Stripped of their wings and their memories, each must rapidly come to terms with their new earthbound existence and find a home in one of the Houses – or die at the hands of humans who steal the magic from their body parts.
Henry Whittaker is a ‘useful little fingerstink’. Born to a gifted Kew gardener in the reign of George III, his ambition and determination drive him across the world and to the heady heights of Philadelphia society, reinventing himself as one of America’s richest men. His daughter Alma is a marvel: intellectually gifted and impeccably educated, if socially awkward. The novel is a majestic epic weaving historical facts into a fictional tapestry as she struggles to understand the mechanisms of creation and alteration in the age of Darwin.
Ajax Penumbra and Aliette de Bodard have really driven home to me the extent to which I’m enjoying The Ultimate Time Traveler’s Almanac (i.e. not as much), which I’ve been slowly reading since February. The time travel stories are good, they’re fine, but I’m not relishing or affected by the stories or characters.
My brain is sufficiently scrambled (headache is back and biting this week) that the best I can muster is very nearly ‘that was interesting’ (in a good way).
Blood and Iron is a slow ride that is quietly demanding. Elizabeth Bear makes no allowances for her reader’s familiarity with faerie tales or Irish pronunciation, weaving the implicit weight of her chosen myths into her own sharp tale of the war between Faerie and Man. If you don’t know what you’re missing, it may feel both surprising and sketchy; if you have long loved Irish myth and the Matter of Britain, you will probably get a good deal more out of it.
Cat Valente has a gift for myth. She is inspired by it, she works with it, she weaves into new and strange configurations and leaves the reader to work out where they’ve got to and how they feel about it.
John Sandall the blackamoor’s son is born in 17th century Somerset, with a gift for recognising all the ingredients in a dish by taste or scent. As the country is gripped by religious fervour, he and his mother are driven out as witches. But John’s demon tastebuds make him the perfect cook. Taken in at the local Manor and trained in their kitchens, he must face down old enemies and new challenges as the country slides into Civil War.
When Myfanwy Thomas wakes up surrounded by dead bodies in a London park and no memory, she’s ever so grateful for the note in her pocket with instructions. Now she just has to fake she knows what she’s doing as a very senior member of a very secret government agency, save Britain from supernatural threats and figure out who stole her memory… without anyone noticing.
The second of my reviews for Diversiverse 2014, this SF classic deserves every mention it gets (and a few more that it doesn’t. It should get all the mentions). Anyanwu discovers she isn’t the only immortal in the world – but her potential partner through the ages is ruthlessly pursuing a program of eugenics. Is his companionship worth the cost?