James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Blog

Blog Posts

Books Received, October 10 — October 16

17 Oct, 2020

0 comments

Swashbuckling awesomeness … a definite winner’ John Gwynne, author of MaliceA brilliantly imagined saga of honour, glory and warfare, Call of the Bone Ships is the captivating epic fantasy sequel to RJ Barker’s The Bone Ships.Dragons have returned to the Hundred Isles. But their return heralds only war and destruction. When a horde of dying slaves are discovered in the bowels of a ship, Shipwife Meas and the crew of the Tide Child find themselves drawn into a vicious plot that will leave them questioning their loyalties and fighting for their lives. 

Read more ➤

Books Received, October 3 — October 9

10 Oct, 2020

0 comments

The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a darkly magical fantasy adventure in which a con artist returns to the city that betrayed her, determined to have her revenge – only to find that her fate might be to save it.

This is your past, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither… Arenza Lenskaya is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadezra, she fled that world to save her sister.

This is your present, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither… Renata Viraudax is a con artist recently arrived in Nadezra. She has one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune.

This is your future, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither… As corrupt nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the city of dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled — with Ren at their heart. And if she cannot sort the truth from the lies, it will mean the destruction of all her worlds.

Read more ➤

Books Received, September 26 — October 2

3 Oct, 2020

0 comments

Cate Glass’s A Summoning of Demons marks the thrilling conclusion for the Chimera team, a ragtag crew who use their forbidden magic for the good of the kingdom.Catagna has been shaken to its core. The philosophists insist that a disastrous earthquake has been caused by an ancient monster imprisoned below the earth, who can only be freed with magic. In every street and market, the people of Catagna are railing against magic-users with a greater ferocity than ever before, and magic hunters are everywhere. Meanwhile, Romy has been dreaming. Every night, her dreams are increasingly vivid and disturbing. Every day, she struggles to understand the purpose of the Chimera’s most recent assignment from the Shadow Lord. As Romy and the others attempt to carry out their mission, they find themselves plunged into a mystery of corruption and murder, myth and magic, and a terrifying truth: the philosophists may have been right all along

Read more ➤

September 2020 in Review

30 Sep, 2020

0 comments

September 2020

20 books read. 9.5 by women (48%), 9.5 by men (48%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%), and 9 works by POC (45%)

Year to Date

189 books read. 101 by women (53%), 77.5 by men (41%), 7 by non-binary authors (4%), 3.5 by unknown (2%), and 75.5 by POC (40%)

Charts below cut

Read more ➤

Books Received, September 19 — September 25

26 Sep, 2020

0 comments

A rare, searing portrayal of the future of climate change in South Asia. A streetrat turned revolutionary and the disillusioned hacker son of a politician try to take down a ruthlessly technocratic government that sacrifices its poorest citizens to build its utopia. The South Asian Province is split in two. Uplanders lead luxurious lives inside a climate-controlled biodome, dependent on technology and gene therapy to keep them healthy and youthful forever. Outside, the poor and forgotten scrape by with discarded black-market robotics, a society of poverty-stricken cyborgs struggling to survive in slums threatened by rising sea levels, unbreathable air, and deadly superbugs. Ashiva works for the Red Hand, an underground network of revolutionaries fighting the government, which is run by a merciless computer algorithm that dictates every citizen’s fate. She’s a smuggler with the best robotic arm and cybernetic enhancements the slums can offer, and her cargo includes the most vulnerable of the city’s abandoned children. When Ashiva crosses paths with the brilliant hacker Riz-Ali, a privileged Uplander who finds himself embroiled in the Red Hand’s dangerous activities, they uncover a horrifying conspiracy that the government will do anything to bury. From armed guardians kidnapping children to massive robots flattening the slums, to a pandemic that threatens to sweep through the city like wildfire, Ashiva and Riz-Ali will have to put aside their differences in order to fight the system and save the communities they love from destruction. 

Read more ➤

In Case You Are Curious

23 Sep, 2020

0 comments

This is what Hugo pins look like. Mine (2020’s and a replacement for the 2019 pin that never got to me) arrived last week.


And here they are with my previous pair from 2010, 2011, along with my Tiptree (now Otherwise) jury pin, and a SPF pin, in my John Singer bowl.

Read more ➤

Books Received, September 5 — September 11

12 Sep, 2020

0 comments

The Bookweaver’s Daughter is an #OwnVoices YA fantasy — a tale of magic, Indian lore, and radical female friendship, written by debut author, Malavika Kannan, when she was 17 year old. Malavika is an Indian-American novelist, feminist writer, and political activist raised in the suburbs of Central Florida and currently a freshman at Stanford University.In the ancient Indian kingdom of Kasmira, stories don’t begin with once upon a time.” Instead, Kasmiris start a woman’s story with those who came before her: her parents, grandparents, ancestors. For fourteen-year-old Reya Kandhari, her story always starts the same: with the fabled line of Bookweavers, tracing centuries back to the lost Yogis — the mythical guardians of Kasmiri culture who created the world itself. As a result, Reya’s entire life has been shaped by words. Words of mystique and mythology. Words of magic that allow her father, the Bookweaver, to bring his stories to life. Words of power that make him the target of tyrants who will stop at nothing to destroy magic in Kasmira. Living in disguise as a peasant in the fields, Reya’s sole focus is protecting the Bookweaver’s secret. But when her father is taken, Reya must flee deep into the jungle, alone with her best friend Nina and one ancient book. Grappling with Reya’s newfound magic, the two girls find themselves in the center of a war of liberation where magic reigns unchecked, and destiny takes a dark turn. As the stakes get higher, Reya realizes that her father’s legacy contains more power than she ever imagined. For Reya Kandhari is more than just a fugitive — she is a symbol of revolution. And that makes her a threat. In a tale of magic, Indian lore, and radical female friendship, Reya must pass the final test: the Bookweaver’s daughter must weave her own destiny. The fate of Kasmira depends on it. 

Read more ➤