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Reviews from January 2023 (22)

Comes the Flood

Well of Shiuan  (Morgaine, volume 2)

By C J Cherryh  

29 Jan, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1978’s Well of Shiuan is the second volume in C. J. Cherryh’s Morgaine series.

Jherun faces two pressing challenges. Her immediate concern is that she does not want to be married off. In her culture, marriage is a test to see how much work a woman can do before dying of childbirth. Her longer-term concern is rising sea levels. For reasons that are poorly understood, the oceans are inexorably rising. One day, not so long from now, all terrestrial life on her planet will drown.

She is out barrow-robbing when she encounters a stranger. Not someone from another domain or another continent; he’s from another world.

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Closer To the Heart

Fire Heart

By Joyce Ch'ng  

27 Jan, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework

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2022’s Fire Heart is a coming-of-age secondary world fantasy novel.

Wehia t’Doniyat comes from a respectable family of knifesmiths in what may politely be deemed the sticks.” Wehia could live a very respectable life following in the footsteps of her mother and aunts. However, Wehia wants to forge swords, a career not available in her village.

Conveniently for Wehia, she is related (if not terribly closely) to Hadana t’Tonali, a respected swordsmith in the City of Swords. Wehia is sufficiently ambitious that when Hadana agrees to consider Wehia as an apprentice, Wehia leaves family and home behind to travel to the City.

Success is in no way guaranteed.

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It’s Easy If You Try

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 9

By Ryōko Kui  

25 Jan, 2023


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2020’s Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 9 is the ninth tankōbon in Ryoko Kui’s secondary-world fantasy manga series. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeonappears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 9 was translated into English in 2021.

As Laios and his companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, dwarf fighter Senshi, and new party member cat-beastkin ninja Izutsumi) explore even deeper into the dungeon, random encounters facilitate informative flashbacks as well as giving Izutsumi a chance to show off a truly unique ability. Meanwhile, Team Laios’ frenemy Kabru has problems of his own.

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Flood Waters Rise

Sounding Dark  (Calpurnian Wars, volume 1)

By Jo Graham  

24 Jan, 2023

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

2021’s Sounding Dark is the first volume in Jo Graham’s Calpurnian Wars series.

Interstellar great power Calpurnia eschews subtle hints when brute force will do as well. Thus, the initial indications that the matter of Eresh is once again occupying an autocrat’s mind come when two Eresh ships are ambushed and annihilated by a Calpurnian task force.

Arriving too late to intervene, the officers and crew of Steel Nine search for survivors. They find one. However, the survivor is neither from Eresh nor Calpurnia. Bister is Tainted, born and raised on the interdicted world of Inanna, around which the space facility Eresh orbits. They have no business being in space.

This is not Bister’s most unusual characteristic.

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On To Victory

The Warlock in Spite of Himself  (Rod Gallowglass, volume 2)

By Christopher Stasheff  

22 Jan, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1969’s The Warlock in Spite of Himself is the debut1 volume in Christopher Stasheff’s subseries focusing on Rod Gallowglass (subseries because it also features in a greater, more wide-ranging series).

Having overthrown the Proletarian Eclectic State of Terra (PEST), the Decentralized Democratic Tribunal (DDT) established the Society for Conversion of Extraterrestrial Nascent Totalitarianisms (SCENT) to seek out and liberate worlds from dictatorships. Aristocratic Rod Gallowglass is a SCENT agent.

Accompanied by his faithful robot Fess (short for Faithful Cybernetic Companion), Rod infiltrates the backwater world Graymarye, determined to deliver to its clearly subjugated population the democracy they would want if only they knew what was good for them.

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Telling Me That Everything Is Fine

Kill The Dead

By Tanith Lee  

19 Jan, 2023



Tanith Lee’s 1980 Kill the Dead is a secondary world fantasy novel.

Black-clad Parl Dro limps into town with a single purpose in mind: find his way to Ghyste Mortua, the city of the dead, where he will dispatch every lingering ghost he finds there. Despite his relentless determination, he lingers long enough to confront dead Cilny Soban, a decision that will have lingering consequences, not least of which is being saddled with a not especially useful sidekick.

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Building Your Dream

Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, volume 2

By AidaIro  

18 Jan, 2023



2015’s Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun, Volume 2 (Jibaku Shōnen Hanako-kun) is the second tankōbon of AidaIro’s1 fantasy manga series. The series has been serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly G Fantasy since 2014. The English translation of Volume 2 appeared in 2017.

In volume one, Nene Yashiro made a series of discoveries. First, that the legendary Hanako was no myth but a very real magical entity. Second, that Hanako was a boy and not a girl. Third, that asking for magical favours without asking about fine print was a bad idea. Now semi-piscine, Nene is indebted to Hanako for saving her from the worst consequences of her wish.

Nene may not long survive her debt to Hanako.

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