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Reviews from August 2019 (21)

The Ghosts That Haunt Me

Kekkaishi, book 1

By Yellow Tanabe  

14 Aug, 2019

Translation

1 comment

Kekkaishi, Volume 1 includes the first seven chapters of Yellow Tanabe’s manga of the same name. 

Young Yoshimori Sumimura is in training to become the 22nd demon-fighting kekkaishi of the Sumimura lineage. His neighbour Tokine Yukimura is also in training to become a kekkaishi for her own family lineage. The two opposed branches of the Hazama clan have lived side by side for 400 years and for most of that time the two families have been bitter rivals, a tradition Yoshimori’s grandfather and Tokine’s grandmother maintain to the modern day. Consequently, Yoshimori and Tokine have kept their friendship secret. 

Tokine is two years older, weaker, more studious, and far more skilled than Yoshimori. Yoshimori compensates for his lack of diligence with raw power. Yoshimori’s carelessness allows a demon Ayakashi to gravely injure Tokine, an event that that forever changes the repentant Yoshimori. 


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Everywhere a Wilderness

Off the Main Sequence: The Other Science Fiction Stories of Robert A. Heinlein

By Robert A. Heinlein Edited by Andrew Wheeler 

13 Aug, 2019

Special Requests

12 comments

Off the Main Sequence: The Other Science Fiction Stories of Robert A. Heinlein was edited by Andrew Wheeler, then of the Science Fiction Book Club. It delivers exactly what it says on the tin. 

This book has been out of print since its first and only printing in 2005 [1]. It seems to be surprising available as a used book (which I would not have expected) but I was spared the immense difficulty of ordering and waiting for a copy, as I already owned an early cut of the book, thanks to my then job at the Science Fiction Book Club. 


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As Dreamers Do

The Traveler in Black

By John Brunner  

11 Aug, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment


John Brunner’s 1971 fantasy collection The Traveler in Black was the first book published as an Ace Science Fiction Special. It has since been republished under several titles and with varying contents; nevertheless, like its protagonist, we can say that it has but one nature. 

He had many names, but one nature, and this unique nature made him subject to certain laws not binding upon ordinary persons. In a compensatory fashion, he was also free from certain other laws more commonly in force. 


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Oh, So Pretty

The Belles  (The Belles, book 1)

By Dhonielle Clayton  

9 Aug, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

2018’s The Belles is the first book in Dhonielle Clayton’s The Belles secondary-world fantasy series. 

Orléans is a hermit monarchy, isolated from the rest of the world. The autocratic Queen Celeste Elisabeth the Third rules with a heavy hand: harsh penalties for the disobedient and lavish rewards for the faithful. 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle, gifted with the magical power to change bodies at will. Belles control beauty in appearance-obsessed Orléans and the Queen controls the Belles. 

Sixteen-year-old Camellia, fresh out of training, is desperate to be named the Queen’s favourite. But she hasn’t been desperate enough to follow the rules set out for Belles and her sister Amber becomes the new favorite. 

Camellia is bitterly disappointed. There are, as Camellia will soon learn, far worse things in Orléans than disappointment. 

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Like to Rage

Carry On  (Simon Snow, book 1)

By Rainbow Rowell  

8 Aug, 2019

Special Requests

1 comment

Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On is a fanfic of Gemma T. Leslie’s Simon Snow series. It would be an unauthorized fanfic were it not that Gemma T. Leslie and Simon Snow were both created by Rainbow Rowell. They were introduced in Rowell’s novel Fangirl.

Simon Snow returns to wizard school Watford for the final year of his magical education. Summer at the latest foster home in the Normal world has been dreadful as always. Life at Watford isn’t without its challenges, but at least at Watford Simon has his friendship with Penelope and his joyless romance with the beautiful Agatha. 


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Come out and Play

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, book 1

By Miki Yoshikawa  

7 Aug, 2019

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Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Volume One collects the first five issues (of 243!) of Miki Yoshikawa’s eponymous manga series. The series ran from 2012 to 2017. The English translation was released in 2015

Ryu Yamada is an outcast at school, a delinquent whose marks are as unimpressive as his attendance record. He regards Urara Shiraishi as exactly the sort of overachieving student he loathes, so he makes a point of cutting in front on her while ascending the school stairs. 

One tumble down the stairs later and he is a delinquent transformed. 

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Shadows on the Wall

The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant  (Fred, the Vampire Accountant, book 1)

By Drew Hayes  

6 Aug, 2019

Special Requests

5 comments

2014’s The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant is the first volume of Drew Hayes’ Fred, the Vampire Accountant series. It is a fix-up urban fantasy novel. Or possibly a collection of linked stories, depending on how you look at it. 

Transformed into an undead, Fredrick Fred” Frankford Fletcher (accountant) has made the minimum necessary adjustments to existence as a vampire. He may work nights now, but he’s still an accountant and as exciting as a ledger. Boring in life, boring in undeath. 

At least until the night of his high school reunion. 


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Where There’s a Will

Wolfling

By Gordon R. Dickson  

4 Aug, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

Gordon R. Dickson’s 1969 Wolfling is a standalone SF novel. 

UN starships reached Alpha Centauri only to discover that humans already lived there. They are subjects of an immeasurably advanced hundred-thousand-year-old galactic empire. 

The empire believes that Earth must be a lost colony. It might decide to act on that belief. 

The UN must learn more about the empire. It sends James Keil off on a ship to the Throne World. He will pose as a bullfighter and entertain the imperial elite with barbaric spectacle. He will also gather intelligence. 

His superior is having second thoughts about the plan, and the choice of agent, but it’s too late. Keil is en route. 

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Live Until I Die

Gods of Jade and Shadow

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia  

2 Aug, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

2 comments

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s 2019 Gods of Jade and Shadow is a standalone fantasy novel. 

Bitter old Cirilo Layva is a very big frog in the extremely small pond of Uukumil. The Layvas are the family of consequence in the backwater Yucatan town. Cirilo’s worthless grandson Martin revels in his high status and does nothing to deserve it. 

Eighteen-year-old Casiopea Tun is less fortunate. She is a Layva, but her mother married against Cirilo’s wishes. Now Casiopea is poor, orphaned, grudgingly tolerated relative. She’s family enough to live on the family estate, but so low status that she is basically an unpaid servant. 

Casiopea tolerates her circumstances because she has been told that Cirilo’s will gives her a bequest of one thousand pesos, which would be enough for to start a good life elsewhere. Cirilo dies and Martin gleefully informs her that the bequest was a lie. She will get nothing. 

Casiopea decides to take matters into her own hands. She breaks into her grandfather’s locked chest, hoping to find something she can use or sell. No luck there. She does, however, find an imprisoned god. 


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