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Reviews from September 2021 (22)

Fools and Sages

Apprentice Shrine Maiden, volume 2

By Miya Kazuki  (Translated by Quof)

29 Sep, 2021



2016’s Apprentice Shrine Maiden Volume 2 is the second volume in the second arc of Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm series. Illustrations are by You Shiina. The 2020 English language translation is by Quof.

Since her reincarnation in a new world, bookworm Myne has been working to recreate books, publishing, and libraries. The culmination of her long efforts appears to be at hand. Perhaps. What Myne doesn’t know about her new society (and doesn’t care to learn) is going to present difficulties. 

This is not the first time Myne has run up against this problem. Too bad she is a slow learner.

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For Something Pure and True

Truth of the Divine  (Noumena, volume 2)

By Lindsay Ellis  

28 Sep, 2021

Special Requests


2021’s Truth of the Divine is the second volume in Lindsay Ellis’s Noumena alternate history first contact series.

Aliens — in the form of a handful of anti-social political refugees equipped with technology far superior to ours — have fled to Earth and US bureaucracy has tried to adapt to new needs. Cora Sabino is one of those adaptations. One of very few humans with whom the aliens will deign to speak, she has a full-time job mediating between the aliens and the US’s various alphabet soup agencies. On the one hand, it’s a secure job in economically troubled times. On the other hand, Cora has to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (complicated by her mental link with one particular alien). She also has to cope with US security agencies, which are often staffed by … um … difficult people.

Her already fraught existence is complicated by the rise of the Third Party.

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Point Me Towards Tomorrow

The Infinite Noise  (The Bright Sessions, volume 1)

By Lauren Shippen  

27 Sep, 2021

Special Requests

1 comment

2019’s The Infinite Noise is the first volume in Lauren Shippen’s The Bright Sessions series.

Stressed and unable to maintain a passing grade, high school football player Caleb gives a class bully a well deserved and at the same time completely unsanctioned beating. Disciplinary consequences follow, including therapy. 

Caleb’s circumstances are complicated by a superpower he has no idea he possesses. Luckily for Caleb, his therapist is not a bald telepath in a wheelchair looking for more child soldiers. Caleb’s therapist is Doctor Bright. 

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Somewhere After Midnight

Atlan  (Atlan, volume 3)

By Jane Gaskell  

26 Sep, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1965’s Atlan is the third volume in Jane Gaskell’s sword-and-sorcery Atlan series … unless you purchased 1963’s The Serpent before it was divided into The Dragon (1975) and The Serpent (1975), in which case Atlan is the second volume. It was followed by two other volumes in the series, The City (1966) and Some Summer Lands (1977).

Naïve, cosseted Cija, having survived many unpleasant educational experiences, has married man-serpent Zerd, now Emperor of Atlan. One might think this would confer on Cija a measure of security, but no, Cija is beset on all sides. 

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Looks Like Freedom

Trickster Drift  (Trickster, volume 2)

By Eden Robinson  

24 Sep, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


2018’s Trickster Drift is the second volume in Eden Robinson’s Trickster trilogy.

Seventeen-year-old Jared Martin has been sober for the last year; he’s ready for college. He leaves Kitimat for Vancouver, intending to study at the British Columbia School of Technology. 

Necessary backstory: Jared’s mother is a witch, while Jared himself is the son of Wee’git the Trickster. In modern day Canada, however, neither inborn supernatural talents nor learned magical skills are much help in finding a place to stay in Vancouver. 

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Such a Classic Tale

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 3

By Natsu Hyuuga  

23 Sep, 2021


1 comment

2015’s The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 3 is the third volume1 in Natsu Hyuuga’s secondary-universe quasi-historical mystery series. Illustrations are by Touko Shino. The 2021 translation is by Kevin Steinbach.

Jinshu is a skilled administrator but he lacks the professional training that would allow him to notice a potentially ominous development in the imperial harem. For palace servant Maomao, the problem is more obvious.


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Don’t Wanna Treat You Well

The Reproductive System

By John Sladek  

19 Sep, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


John Sladek’s 1968 The Reproductive System is a stand-alone near-future science fiction novel.

Faced with impending bankruptcy due to declining sales, the board of Millford’s venerable Wompler company (manufacturers of Wompler’s Walking Babies) uncharacteristically embraces bold change. Rather than looking for ways to better appeal to their traditional market — young girls — they decide to become part of America’s thriving military industrial complex.

Exactly what a minor doll company located in the middle of nowhere has to offer the military industrial complex is of no concern. The important thing is to get their hands on those sweet, sweet government funds. 

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A Rare and Precious Metal

The Bones of Ruin

By Sarah Raughley  

17 Sep, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Sarah Raughley’s 2021 The Bones of Ruin is a historical fantasy novel. 

Iris is the Coolie Company’s star attraction; she’s a daredevil ropewalker who appears utterly blind to the risks she takes far above the audience’s heads. In fact, the amnesiac African woman takes no risks at all. Unbeknownst to the audience and her employer, Mr. Coolie, Iris has a great secret. She cannot be killed. 

This is a knack that makes Iris and persons like Iris very valuable to members of the Enlightenment Committee.

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