James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Blog

Blog Posts

Books Received, November 30 — December 6

7 Dec, 2019

0 comments

A space salvager and her partner make the discovery of a lifetime that just might change the universe in this wild, big-ideas space opera from multi award-winning author Elizabeth Bear. 

Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz are salvage operators, living just on the inside of the law…usually. Theirs is the perilous and marginal existence — with barely enough chance of striking it fantastically big — just once — to keep them coming back for more. They pilot their tiny ship into the scars left by unsuccessful White Transitions, searching for the relics of lost human and alien vessels. But when they make a shocking discovery about an alien species that has been long thought dead, it may be the thing that could tip the perilous peace mankind has found into full-out war. 


Read more ➤

Books Received, November 23 — 29

29 Nov, 2019

0 comments

One Cursed City. Two Dead Gods. Ten Thousand Murderers and Thieves. One Orphaned Girl. As a child, Kyrioc was groomed to be the head of one of the most powerful noble families in Koh-Salash, a city built inside the skeletons of two murdered gods. Kyrioc himself dreamed of becoming head of the High Watch, the highest political position in the land.Those dreams have turned to dust. Presumed dead after a disastrous overseas quest, Kyrioc now lives in a downcity slum under a false name, hiding behind the bars of a pawnshop window. Riliska, a nine-year-old pickpocket who sells stolen trinkets to his shop, is the closest thing he has to a friend.When a criminal gang kills Riliska’s mother and kidnaps the little girl, Kyrioc goes hunting for her. He doesn’t care about the forbidden magic the gangs are fighting over — the severed ear of a glitterkind, a creature whose flesh contains astonishing healing powers. He doesn’t care about the bloody, escalating gang violence. He doesn’t care about the schemes of power-hungry nobles. In a raging city on the verge of civil war, Kyrioc only wants to save his friend. He will risk anything for her, even awakening the powers that murdered the gods so long ago.

Read more ➤

Books Received, November 9 — 15

16 Nov, 2019

0 comments

Perpetua Collins works for a real troll. Well, technically a goblin, and it’s not as bad as it sounds. As the administrative assistant, she provides a human” face for an employment agency specializing in placements for goblins and trolls. It’s probably the most unusual job she could find in Toronto, but she’s grateful for it, having come to the city with $500 in her pocket and no support. Without it, she’d have no choice but to go back to the boring small town and overbearing mother she worked so hard to leave. But as Perpetua settles into her new job, disturbing questions arise. And no, they’re not about the fact that goblins and trolls exist. She’s fine with that part. The agency has no visible means of support. How does her boss manage to keep his clients” out of the public eye? They’ve been part of the city far longer than anyone thinks, and are growing restless under the burden of forced invisibility and financial poverty. What will happen if the veil drops, and humans see?

Read more ➤

Books Received, October 26 — November 1

1 Nov, 2019

0 comments

A novice assassin is on the hunt for someone killing their own in K. A. Doore’s The Perfect Assassin , a breakout high fantasy beginning the Chronicles of Ghadid series. Divine justice is written in blood. Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs. Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed. Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be their next target.

Read more ➤

Books Received, October 19 — 25

25 Oct, 2019

0 comments

An ambitious young woman with the power to control minds seeks vengeance against the royals who murdered her family, in a Caribbean-inspired fantasy world embattled by colonial oppression.Sigourney Rose is the only surviving daughter of a noble lineage on the islands of Hans Lollik. When she was a child, her family was murdered by the islands’ colonizers, who have massacred and enslaved generations of her people — and now, Sigourney is ready to exact her revenge.When the childless king of the islands declares that he will choose his successor from amongst eligible noble families, Sigourney uses her ability to read and control minds to manipulate her way onto the royal island and into the ranks of the ruling colonizers. But when she arrives, prepared to fight for control of all the islands, Sigourney finds herself the target of a dangerous, unknown magic.Someone is killing off the ruling families to clear a path to the throne. As the bodies pile up and all eyes regard her with suspicion, Sigourney must find allies among her prey and the murderer among her peers… lest she become the next victim.

Read more ➤

September 2019 in Review

5 Oct, 2019

0 comments

September

19 books read. 10.25 by women (54%), 8.75 by men (46%)

Works by POC: 8.5 (45%)

Year to Date

184 books read. 100.5 by women (55%). 80 by men (43%). 2 by non-binary authors (1%) and 1.5 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%).

Works by POC: 74.75 (41%).

And to compare to last year: 


Read more ➤

Books Received, 28 September — 4 October

5 Oct, 2019

0 comments

The avant-garde of science fiction have landed in this space-age sequel to the World Fantasy Award-winner, The New Voices of Fantasy. Here are the rising stars of the last five years of science fiction, including newcomers as well as already lauded authors: Rebecca Roanhorse, Amal El-Mohtar, Alice Sola Kim, Sam J. Miller, E. Lily Yu, Rich Larson, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Sarah Pinsker, Darcie Little Badger, S. Qiouyi Lu, Kelly Robson, and more. Their extraordinary stories have been hand-selected by cutting-edge author Hannu Rajaniemi ( The Quantum Thief ) and genre expert Jacob Weisman ( Invaders ).

Read more ➤

August 2019 in Review

21 Sep, 2019

0 comments

August

21 books read. 10.5 by women (50%), 10.5 by men (50%)

Works by POC: 8 (38%)

Year to Date

165 books read. 90.25 by women (55%). 71.25 by men (43%). 2 by non-binary authors (1%) and 1.5 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%).

Works by POC: 66.25 (40%).

And to compare to last year:


Read more ➤

July 2019 in Review

21 Sep, 2019

0 comments

July

20 books read. 10 by women (50%), 8.5 by men (43%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%) and 0.5 by an author whose gender is unknown 3%) 

Works by POC: 7.5 (38%)

Year to Date

144 books read. 79.75 by women (55%). 60.75 by men (42%). 2 by non-binary authors (1%) and 1.5 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%).

Works by POC: 58.25 (40%).


This compares somewhat dismally with where I was at this time last year.


Read more ➤