James Nicoll Reviews

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Books Received, April 9 — April 15

16 Apr, 2022



Leech by Hiron Ennes

A wonderful new entry to Gothic science fiction, impeccably clever and atmospheric. Think Wuthering Heights … with worms!’ – Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth‘Highly recommended. I’ll be reading anything Hiron Ennes writes from now on’ – Tade Thompson, author of RosewaterIn an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The Interprovincial Medical Institute sends out a replacement. But when the new physician investigates the cause of death, which appears to be suicide, there’s a mystery to solve. It seems the good doctor was hosting a parasite. Yet this should have been impossible, as the man was already possessed. For hundreds of years, the Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine.The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species. Now it seems they have competition. For in the baron’s icebound castle, already a pit of secrets and lies, the parasite is spreading … These two enemies will make war within the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, humanity will lose again.Leech by Hiron Ennes is an atmospheric Gothic triumph, perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Destined 281221 Revisions Copy Imperial to Metric grw fonts

Destined Superhero Roleplaying by Mike Larrimore & Brian Pivik

A complete RPG in its own right, Destined takes the acclaimed Mythras rules into superpowered territory. Handling a range of power levels and different campaign approaches, Destined is a comprehensive, innovative approach to superhero roleplaying, with a wide range of superpowers, origin options, backgrounds, equipment management, and notes on campaign play. Copious advice sections and examples show you how to set up your super team, manage super villains, and how to emulate different kinds of heroic media, from Silver and Golden Age comics, through to the current film and TV blockbusters.

Self Portrait With Nothing

Self-Portrait With Nothing by Aimee Pokwatka

For fans of David Mitchell and Joanne Harris, Aimee Pokwatka’s Self-Portrait with Nothing reminds us that living our best life sometimes means embracing the imperfect one we already have.“Fraught and deeply moving…the work of a genuinely exciting new talent.” —Booker Prize winner, George Saunders.If a picture paints a thousand worlds…Abandoned as an infant on the local veterinarian’s front porch, Pepper Rafferty was raised by two loving mothers, and now at thirty-six is married to the stable, supportive Ike. She’s never told anyone that at fifteen she discovered the identity of her biological mother.That’s because her birth mother is Ula Frost, a reclusive painter famous for the outrageous claims that her portraits summon their subjects’ doppelgangers from parallel universes. Researching the rumors, Pepper couldn’t help but wonder: ~ Was there a parallel universe in which she was more confident, more accomplished, better able to accept love? ~ A universe in which Ula decided she was worth keeping? ~ A universe in which Ula’s rejection didn’t still hurt too much to share?Sometimes living our best life means embracing the imperfect one we already have…

Even Though I Knew the End

Even Though I Knew the End by C. L. Polk

C. L. Polk turns their considerable powers to a fantastical noir with Even Though I Knew the End.“Stylish supernatural noir with a heart and a thrumming pulse. I devoured it.” — Laini TaylorA magical detective dives into the affairs of Chicago’s divine monsters to secure a future with the love of her life. This sapphic period piece will dazzle anyone looking for mystery, intrigue, romance, magic, or all of the above.An exiled augur who sold her soul to save her brother’s life is offered one last job before serving an eternity in hell. When she turns it down, her client sweetens the pot by offering up the one payment she can’t resist — the chance to have a future where she grows old with the woman she loves. To succeed, she is given three days to track down the White City Vampire, Chicago’s most notorious serial killer. If she fails, only hell and heartbreak await.