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Reviews from February 2019 (21)

Ain’t Gonna Drown in the Water

Bride of the Water God, book 1

By Mi-Kyung Yun 

27 Feb, 2019

Translation

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Bride of the Water God, Volume One collects the first seven issues of Mi-kyung Yun’s manhwa (manga, comic). 

Faced with a long, punishing drought, Soah’s fellow villagers do the only thing they think will work. They send a bride to Habaek the Water God in the hope that the god will be pleased and send rain again. 

By bride”, they mean human sacrifice.” Soah is cast adrift in a small boat to face a watery doom. 

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Whisper Whisper

City of Bones

By Martha Wells 

26 Feb, 2019

Special Requests

1 comment

Martha Wells’ 1995 City of Bones is a standalone secondary-world fantasy. 

The relic trade is chancy enough, but for krismen like Khat in a city like Charisat, it is especially risky. Even if Khat can avoid violating Charisat’s trade laws, he could still be murdered by greedy criminals … or off-handedly killed by the city guard or their masters. He is, after all, a despised non-human. 

Too bad that there are so few jobs open to Khat. This is the best of the few; as a krisman, he has some advantages. 


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Songs That May No Longer Please Us

Destinies, November – December 1978

By Jim Baen 

24 Feb, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Destinies, November – December 1978 was the debut issue of Jim Baen’s bookazine Destinies. Destinies ran from late 1978 to summer of 1981. There were eleven issues, each the size of a mass market paperback; there was a Best-of anthology as well1. Back in the day, I was an avid magazine reader and this was one of my favourite magazines. 

Odd that until I reread this volume I did not remember it at all. 


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Nobody Calls You Honey When You’re Sitting On a Throne

Shadow Magic  (Lyra, book 1)

By Patricia C. Wrede 

23 Feb, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

10 comments

Patricia C. Wrede’s 1982 debut novel Shadow Magic was the first novel published in what became her Lyra series. ISFDB lists it as the third Lyra novel, presumably on the basis of internal chronology. But the omnibus on my Kobo lists Shadow Magic as first book in the series. Lyra book order may be a problem like Narnia book order; one can wile away many a pleasant afternoon discussing which is the correct way to order the books and which way is obviously incorrect. (I vote for the correct way, as I am sure you do too.) 

Merchant Maurin Atuval has just been invited into the home of his new chum, aristocrat Har of the Noble House of Brenn, when he makes a sudden discovery. He is not the protagonist of this story. Har’s sister Alethia is. 

This becomes apparent as soon as Alethia is kidnapped by Lithmern. 

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Don’t Pay No Union Dues

Usagi Yojimbo Saga, book 8

By Stan Sakai 

22 Feb, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

The Usagi Yojimbo Saga, Volume Eight is an omnibus that collects books 29 through 31 of Stan Sakai’s eponymous series. At its centre is the masterless lapin samurai Miyamoto Usagi, who wanders through a slightly skewed version of Edo-era Japan. 

Because I got this as an e‑arc, I failed to grasp how much of a tome Volume Eight is. On paper, it’s probably weighty enough to cause serious back pain when lifting the volume. 


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And The Stars Above

Finder

By Suzanne Palmer 

21 Feb, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Suzanne Palmer’s 2019 Finder is a science fiction novel. 

Humanity has escaped the Earth and the Solar System and has spread across the Milky Way. It’s a grand, romantic era … in the midst of which Fergus Ferguson has an unromantic job. He is a modern-day repo man, tracking down and recovering items that have not been paid for. 

The quest for a starship misappropriated by Arum Gilger leads Fergus to Cernekan, a meh system midway between nowhere remarkable and no place special. Cernekan is about to become an interesting place, and the unfortunate Fergus will play a central role in that transformation. 


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Read All About Their Schemes and Adventuring

Kingdom, book 1

By Kim Seong-Hun 

20 Feb, 2019

Translation

5 comments

Kingdom is a 2019 South Korean television series. It was written by Kim Eun-hee and directed by Kim Seong-hun. There are six episodes in season one, of which this is the first. The primary cast are (from Wikipedia): 

Ju Ji-hoon as Crown Prince Yi Chang 

Supporting 

Prince Yi Chang, crown prince of the Kingdom of Great Joseon, would seem to have an enviable lot. Not so. His father’s new bride, Queen Consort Yo, is pregnant with a child who might well take Yi Chang’s place. Queen Consort Yo’s clan, the Haewon Cho, have seized control of the nation’s bureaucracies. 

Ten days earlier, the King fell ill. Try as he might, Yi Chang cannot get past the wall of Haewon-paid courtiers clustering around his father. What is the true state of the King’s health? The courtiers lie. He cannot tell. 


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That’s My Plan

In Conquest Born  (Azean Empire, book 1)

By C. S. Friedman 

18 Feb, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

1987’s In Conquest Born is the first volume in C. S. Friedman’s Azean Empire series. It was the author’s debut novel. 

The Azean Empire has the misfortune to border territory claimed by Braxi. Braxi lives for war and conquest. If it concludes a peace treaty, that’s a temporary measure; they’re preparing for the next attack. There have been many comprehensive peace treaties between Azea and Braxi, each as short-lived as the one before. 

The latest treaty collapses when Vinir and K’Siva, high-born Braxin, birth a son. The Braxana feel strongly that it would be inauspicious to name the child in peacetime. Braxin forces descend on an Azean colony world to celebrate Zatar’s birth. 

Zatar grows into an ambitious and talented warlord. This would not bode well for Azea were it not that one well-placed family has also produced a capable child. But there is a slight problem. 

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You May See a Stranger

Enchantress From the Stars  (Elana, book 1)

By Sylvia Louise Engdahl 

17 Feb, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Sylvia Engdahl’s 1970 Enchantress From the Stars is the first of the two Elana novels, also the first of five Anthropology Service novels. 

The Federation is vast and powerful; it is also a good neighbor. It is not inclined to try to fix other cultures (Special Circumstances, cough cough). The Federation takes non-interference seriously enough that its very existence is a secret from less developed star-faring powers. Protecting pre-industrial worlds like Andrecia from imperialists (like the Empire) would therefore seem to be impossible. 

Seem. 


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Ballots Not Bullets

Infomocracy  (Centenal Cycle, book 1)

By Malka Older 

15 Feb, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Malka Older’s Infomocracy is the first volume in her Centenal Cycle. 

Twenty years ago, the people of the world came together in an unprecedented step to form a new international order. Since the first global election, war among participating jurisdictions has been eradicated, and prosperity and trade have spread. 

Key to the new status quo: Information, the organization that ensures everyone’s access to reliable information. 


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