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Reviews from July 2021 (22)

This Glorious Quest

She Who Became the Sun  (Radiant Emperor, volume 1)

By Shelley Parker-Chan  

16 Jul, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


2021’s She Who Became the Sun is the first volume in Shelley Parker-Chan’s Radiant Emperor historical fantasy series.

A seer assures Zhu Chongba that he has a grand destiny, the exact nature of which is vague. Historically informed readers may think they know what is coming. Surely, Zhu will overthrow the alien Yuan dynasty. Racked by famine, plagued by incessant uprisings, the Yuan dynasty is weak. The right man at the right place and time will topple China’s Mongol rulers and restore a Han emperor to the throne! 

Zhu Chongba fails at his first trial. After his father is killed by passing bandits, he falls into a deep depression and dies. 

Zhu Chongba has a sister.

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When The Day Is Done

The Apocalypse Seven

By Gene Doucette  

15 Jul, 2021

Special Requests


Gene Doucette’s 2021 The Apocalypse Seven is a standalone post-apocalyptic novel. 

University student Robbie wakes the morning after a raucous party to find himself alone in the Harvard dorms. He goes out to explore and finds Carol, who is flustered because she woke up and found her seeing-eye dog vanished. They search further. Cambridge appears to be deserted and overrun with wild animals. They eventually find two more people: Bethany (a teen with a talent for picking locks) and Touré (a programmer). 

Further finds: Paul (former lowlife turned backwoods preacher), Win (experienced woodsperson), and, much later, Ananda (professor). Now they are the Apocalypse Seven!

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A Book With All The Rules

Daughter of a Soldier, volume 3

By Miya Kazuki  

14 Jul, 2021


1 comment

Daughter of a Soldier, Volume 3 is the third volume of the first trilogy in Miya Kazuki’s 27+ volume Ascendance of a Bookworm series.

Having died as an adult bookworm in modern-day Japan, then having been resurrected as a child in a pre-industrial secondary fantasy world, the person now calling themself Myne has used her modern-day knowledge to carve out a potentially lucrative commercial niche. She has done so to survive, yes … but it’s also one step in her quest to re-invent a thriving book trade. 

Myne has to deal with four major impediments: her knowledge of bookmaking is fragmentary; her knowledge of her new society is likewise fragmentary; her family occupies the bottom rung of the social ladder; and her host body suffers from the Devouring, an illness likely to be fatal sooner rather than later.

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Gonna Rise Up

The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets  (Interplanetary Relations Bureau, volume 1)

By Lloyd Biggle, Jr.  

11 Jul, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Lloyd Biggle, Jr.’s 1968 The Still, Small Voice of Trumpets is the first of Biggle’s Interplanetary Relations Bureau works.

Seconded to the Interplanetary Relations Bureau (IPR), Cultural Survey agent Jef Forzon arrives on the non-Federation world Gurnil without orders in hand and with no clear idea what his duties are to be. Local IPR Coordinator Rastadt offers little illumination; he claims that he’s as surprised to see Forzon on Gurnil as Forzon is to have been sent to the backwater world.

Forzon soon discovers that Gurnil is a sore point for the IPR. It is the planet where IPR careers go to die and has been for four centuries. 

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War For Tomorrow

The Chronoliths

By Robert Charles Wilson  

8 Jul, 2021

Special Requests


Robert Charles Wilson’s 2001 The Chronoliths is a standalone near-future science fiction novel.

Scott Warden turned a programming contract into an extended stay in Thailand, where he became yet another expatriate beach-dwelling riff-raff (much to the displeasure of his long-suffering wife Janice). Scott’s self-indulgent adventure comes to a screeching halt one day in 2021 when a mysterious towering artifact suddenly manifests in Chumphon Province. While Scott and his sketchy pal Hitch are off investigating the artifact, Scott and Janice’s daughter Kaitlin falls ill with a life-threatening disease. Detained by the authorities, Scott has no idea what is going on. By the time he is freed and discovers that Kaitlin had been ill, the crisis is past and Janice has decided she has had enough of marriage. 

Life as a 21st century divorcé stretches before Scott. The artifact, and its successors, will provide ample diversion.

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Clouds of Mystery

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 2

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

7 Jul, 2021



The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 2 is the second volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s illustrated light novel series, The Apothecary Diaries. Illustrations are by Touko Shino. The English translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Court eunuch1 Jinshi made an allusive comment that was misinterpreted; it cost his protégé Maomao her job in the Rear Palace, where the emperor’s wives and concubines live. He attempted to repair his error by recruiting her to the Outer Court. 

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