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Reviews from September 2018 (22)

The Other Side of the Mountain

The Guardian of Isis  (Isis, book 2)

By Monica Hughes 

16 Sep, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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1981’s The Guardian of Isis is the second volume in Monica Hughes’ Isis trilogy. 

Fifty-five years after Pegasus II delivered eighty-odd colonists to Isis, sole habitable world of the star Ra, the human numbers have swelled to about eight hundred. Only a few of the original colonists are still alive. David London is one of those few. When his father died, David grabbed the office of president for himself. He has never stepped down. David has spent his long decades in power enforcing his vision of the perfect community: advanced technology forbidden, strict taboos imposed, women reduced to the status of domestic animals. Above all: no exploration of the world outside their small valley. 

Jody n’Komo, one of those eight hundred colonists, is the grandson of one of David’s bitter (vanquished) rivals; he has the misfortune to look like his grandfather. David has transferred all the hate he felt for the grandfather to the grandson. Sooner or later, he will find some crime for which to punish young Jody. 

Spoilers.

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Masters of War

War Master’s Gate  (Shadows of the Apt, book 9)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky 

14 Sep, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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2013’s War Master’s Gate is the ninth and penultimate volume in the Shadows of the Apt decology. 

The Wasp Empire may be short on kindness, egalitarianism, and respect for human rights, but it compensates with warlike resolve and deep reserves. It has failed many times to crush Collegium, but, undaunted, its forces are marching into the Lowlands yet again. 

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When You’re Lost

Star Girl

By Henry Winterfeld 

13 Sep, 2018

Special Requests

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Star Girl is the title given to the English-language translation of Henry Winterfeld’s 1956 novel, the children’s science fantasy Kommt ein Mädchen geflogen.

While wandering in the woods, Otto, Walker, Gretel, and little Lottie encounter a stranger, a well-dressed blonde girl with an enormous bruise on her forehead. The girl, whose name is Mo, explains that she got the bruise when she climbed down out of a tree. How did she end up at the top of a tree in the first place? She fell out of her father’s damaged spaceship. 

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The Stars Align

The Elder Sister-like One

By Iida Pochi 

12 Sep, 2018

Translation

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The Elder Sister-like One is the English translation of Iida Pochi’s Ane Naru Mono.

Security, happiness, a loving family: Yuu has had none of these since a car crash left him an orphan at age five. Passed from one resentful relative to another, Yuu has finally landed in his uncle’s household. 

The uncle is too obsessed with Dark Knowledge Man Was Not Meant to Know to care much about Yuu. However. Yuu’s uncle does provide him with shelter, clothes, and food. This benign neglect is more than Yuu’s other relatives gave him. 

When his uncle descends into madness, Yuu must find the uncle’s health card in order to call in the health services. Failing to find it in the house, he ventures into the storehouse, the one part of the household his uncle had declared off limits. There the unprepared boy finds himself face to face with the sanity-shattering reality of Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of the Woods of a Thousand Young, who appears, possibly for marketing reasons, as an extremely buxom, scantily-clad, be-tentacled, obviously demonic woman. 

Being somewhat naive, Yuu jumps to the conclusion that Shub-Niggurath must be an angel. 


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A Dream of Weaving

The Meek

By Der-Shing Helmer 

11 Sep, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

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The Meek is a webcomic by Der-shing Helmer (last seen here as the author of Mare Internum).

Fifteen year old Angora has been dispatched to save her world by the ancient and powerful giant salamander Mocheril, whom Angora calls Grandfather. Angora is energetic, determined, and able to command plants. She is also fearfully ignorant of the world and deficient in many attributes that would facilitate her quest. 

Her utter lack of clothing proves unpleasantly attention-getting. 

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Goodbye Stranger

Cycle of Fire

By Hal Clement 

9 Sep, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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1957’s Cycle of Fire is a young-adult novel by Hal Clement. 

Marooned in a vast lava field by a glider crash, Dar Lang Ahn undertakes to march out on foot. It’s only after he has set out that he realizes that the march will be much harder than he expected. He and his precious cargo of books might be lost forever. 

An unexpected encounter saves Dar’s life and his books. Immediate consequences: benign. Long-term consequences: wrenching transformation for Dar’s people, the natives of the world Abyormen. 

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That Unfinished Goal

Eight Days of Luke

By Diana Wynne Jones 

7 Sep, 2018

Twelve by Diana Wynne Jones

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Diana Wynne Jones’ 1975 Eight Days of Luke is a standalone young-adult fantasy. 

Orphan David Allard is a lucky boy, or so his guardians — Uncle Bernard, and Aunt Dot — assure him. After all, they took him in when they could have dumped him in an orphanage. They’d let him live with their family (uncle, aunt, cousins Ronald and Astrid) … intermittently, that is. Most of the time he is packed off to one boarding school or another. 

David returns from boarding school a week early, which throws the family’s plans into chaos. The results are life-changing. 


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Sole Misfortune

An Unkindness of Ghosts

By Rivers Solomon 

6 Sep, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Rivers Solomon’s 2017 An Unkindness of Ghosts is a generation-ship novel. 

The generation ship Matilda set out lifetimes ago to convey a handful of people to a distant promised land1. It carries within it every flaw known to human society. Until the ship arrives at its destination, there is no escape, not for the ship’s rulers (the Sovereignty) and not for the unfortunates relegated to the lower decks. 

Aster is brilliant. Her intellectual gifts recommend her to the great surgeon Theo — not as a potential surgeon, but as a surgeon’s assistant. That is all she can ever be, because her skin is brown. That marks her as one of the underclass, as someone who can be oppressed and victimized without consequence. 

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Starts With A Goodbye

Noragami, book 5

By Adachitoka 

5 Sep, 2018

Translation

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Adachitoka’s Noragami Volume 5 collects issues 16 to 19 of the adventures of the stray god Yato. 

  • 16. Hell” (地獄 Jigoku”)
  • 17. Yearning for Someone to Trust” (寄る辺を求めて Yorube o Motomete”) 
  • 18. Naked Sword” (抜き身 Nuki Mi”) 
  • 19. Prayer” (願 Negai”)

Of all those who despise Yato, none hate him more than the war god Bishamonten. Bishamonten’s hatred blinds her. She is also blind to the dangers she incurs by her greed to recruit as many ghosts as she can, ghosts who will serve as her shinki, servants1. Both blindnesses are weapons that her enemy will use against her. 

Unfortunately for Bishamonten, that enemy is not Yato, but someone she considers her closest ally. 

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