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Reviews from May 2020 (21)

Set Free the Angel

Soldier, Ask Not  (Childe Cycle, volume 3)

By Gordon R. Dickson  

17 May, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Gordon R. Dickson’s 1967 Soldier, Ask Not is an expansion of his 1964 Hugo-winning novella of the same title. It is part of his Childe Cycle, a series also known as the Dorsai books. 

Tam Olyn and his sister Eileen were orphaned as children, which left them in the dubious care of their abusive uncle Mathias. Tam grows up ambitious and lacking in empathy. His emotional damage is a flaw that will have some nasty consequences.

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Sure to Lure Someone Bad

Burning Roses

By S L Huang  

13 May, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews


S. L. Huang’s 2020 Burning Roses is a re-imagined fairy tale. Or rather, it is the intersection of two re-imagined fairy tales.

Her grandmother’s murder at the hands of the wolf-man confirmed everything that red-clad Rosa’s mother ever told Rosa about Grundwirgen—people who have both human and beast-forms — so rifle in hand, Rosa set out to cleanse the human world of the tainted race.

Rosa’s quest was so successful that she had to flee to the far side of the world to escape her crimes.

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All I Can Do is Dream You

A Shadow of All Night Falling  (A Cruel Wind, volume 1)

By Glen Cook  

10 May, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1979’s A Shadow of All Night Falling is the first book in Glen Cook’s A Cruel Wind fantasy trilogy, set in his Dread Empire secondary-universe.

The great city of Ilkazar actually heeded the grim prophecy that the city and its grand empire would fall because of a witch. Every witch, real or supposed, who fell into Ilkazar’s hands was prudently burned alive. Problem solved … or so the city’s rulers thought. 

Varthlokkur’s mother was one such witch. The authorities took mercy on the boy, handing him over to doting foster parents. The bright young boy grew into a taciturn, grim, focused adult.

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Nothing But Shadows

Race to the Sun

By Rebecca Roanhorse  

8 May, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Rebecca Roanhorse’s 2019 Race to the Sun is a standalone young-adult contemporary fantasy.

Nizhoni Begay’s single father has had a string of short-term jobs, which has meant frequent moves for seventh-grader Nizhoni Begay and her brother Mac. Nizhoni knows that her dad is doing the best he can for his family, but that’s cold comfort. She has a hard time making friends and the ones she makes she loses when she leaves. Now she’s found a good friend, Davery … but another move looms. 

That’s not the worst threat she faces.

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All Fall Down

The Andromeda Strain

By Michael Crichton  

7 May, 2020

Illimitable Dominion


Michael Crichton’s 1969 The Andromeda Strain is a medical thriller about preventing a pandemic — FROM SPACE!

Dispatched to retrieve the SCOOP satellite from the isolated Nevada hinterland where it landed, government agents enter the small town of Piedmont. They report that the sidewalks are littered with dead bodies, then abruptly succumb themselves.

SCOOP was intended to retrieve lifeforms from the near-Earth space environment with an eye to weaponizing them. It seems that the mission has succeeded beyond its creators’ wildest dreams. 

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To the Place I Belong

Guardian of the Darkness  (Moribito, volume 2)

By Nahoko Uehashi  

6 May, 2020



1999’s Guardian of the Darkness (translated by Cathy Hirano) is the second volume of Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito series of secondary-universe fantasy novels. It’s the most recent of the lengthy series to be translated into English and also a demonstration of how poorly I defer gratification. I just reviewed the first book in the series and I could not wait …. 

Twenty-five years ago, Balsa fled Kanbal with her foster father, Jiguro. The malevolent king whom the pair were fleeing, is long dead, as is Jiguro himself. With the adventures of the first volume behind her, Balsa decides that the time has come to return to her homeland.

Balsa retraces the subterranean route she and her foster father used to escape Kanbal. It’s an unnecessarily difficult route that has an unintended benefit: she happens upon fourteen-year-old Kassa and his nine-year-old sister Gina, just in time to save them from a hyohlu. Exploring the caves is a well-established test of courage for Kanbalese youths. The siblings barely survive. But at least they have had a salutary lesson in prudence. 

It just so happens that the pair belong to the Musa clan, as did Jiguro1.

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