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Reviews from April 2023 (22)

Far From Day

Legendborn  (Legendborn, volume 1)

By Tracy Deonn  

14 Apr, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


2020’s Legendborn is the first volume in Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn Cycle.

Teenager Bree Matthews tells her mother some unsettling news: Bree covertly applied for and won a spot in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Early College Program. Bree’s mother is incensed at hearing this (even though UNC was the mother’s alma mater) and a fierce argument ensues. Mother and daughter never reconcile. Soon after the argument, Bree learns that her mother has died in a hit-and-run auto accident.

Life goes on. Bree arrives at UNC-Chapel Hill.

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A Man Without Conviction

Ocean’s Echo

By Everina Maxwell  

13 Apr, 2023

Special Requests


Everina Maxwell’s 2022 Ocean’s Echo is a space opera. While it shares a place and time with Maxwell’s 2021 Winter’s Orbit, Ocean’s Echo takes place in an entirely different solar system and shares no characters with the earlier book.

Tennalhin Tennal” Halkana is a wealthy young man who has a history of making bad life choices. This would make him an embarrassment to his hard-working sister Zinyary and to legislator Halkana, Tennal’s aunt (who is, thanks to the death of his parents, his guardian). But there’s worse. Tennal can read minds, which makes him a potential threat to the Orshan state.

One zany prank too many and Tennal discovers just how ruthless his aunt can be.

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This Girl Is On Fire

RuriDragon, volume 1

By Masaoki Shindo  

12 Apr, 2023



Masaoki Shindo’s RuriDragon (Japanese: ルリドラゴン, Hepburn: Ruridoragon) is a Japanese modern-day manga series. Originally a one-shot published in Shueisha’s Jump Giga magazine in December 2020, RuriDragon was serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump starting in June 2022.

Adolescence is a time of sometimes bewildering physical change. Japanese schoolgirl Ruri is more bewildered than most teens. One morning she glances in the bathroom mirror to discover that during the night she has sprouted two razor-sharp horns.

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Through The Dark Cloud Shining

Camp Concentration

By Thomas M. Disch  

9 Apr, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Thomas M. Disch’s 19681 Camp Concentration is a near-future (well, what was then the near future) science fiction novel.

Under President McNamara, America resolutely confronts its enemies across the globe. War! Patriots support the president. Others protest the war on ethical and moral grounds. Such conscientious objectors are given short shrift.

Being married and physically unfit for military service, poet Louis Sacchetti might very easily have avoided any personal involvement in the great conflict. Feeling principle was at stake, he made his objections clear. He was immediately quietly arrested, even more circumspectly tried, found guilty, and sent to prison.

Louis’ stand garnered the attention of nobody of consequence. Well, almost nobody of consequence. There is one notable exception. Louis is suddenly transferred from civilian prison to the very secret Camp Archimedes.

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Got That Sunshine

Hybrid Heart

By Iori Kusano  

7 Apr, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Iori Kusano’s 2023 Hybrid Heart is a stand-alone near-future science fiction novella.

Everyone loves Idols, perfectly adorable entertainers onto whom the audience can project their fantasies. Idols require perfectly honed public personas and Advanced Media Creation Girls, descended from artifacts like Hatsune Miku, enjoy a competitive edge. Nevertheless, mere humans like Rei can still prevail.

Provided they are willing to pay the price.

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My Criminal Mind

The Fractal Prince  (Jean le Flambeur, volume 2)

By Hannu Rajaniemi  

6 Apr, 2023

Special Requests

1 comment

2012’s The Fractal Prince is the second volume in Hannu Rajaniemi’s Jean le Flambeur post-human science fiction series.

Having enjoyed at best mixed results in his previous caper, Jean and companion Meili have a treasure held in a box they cannot open, a box that will destroy its contents in short order. Many people might find a hiding place where they could focus on cracking the enigma. Fate has other ideas for the legendary thief and his AI-possessed companion.

Earth beckons.

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Shine The Light

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 7

By Natsu Hyuuga  (Translated by Kevin Steinbach)

5 Apr, 2023



2018’s The Apothecary Diaries, Volume Seven is the seventh volume in Natsu Hyuuga’s secondary-universe light novel series. Illustrations1 are by Touko Shina. The 2023 English translation is by Kevin Steinbach. 

In this volume, Maomao struggles with school work, international intrigue, and of course the glacial progress of the romance between her and attractive (but incapable of straight-forward declaration) Jinshu, revealed as a prince of Li a few volumes ago.

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Burn So Bright

SF: The Year’s Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy Second Annual Volume  (The Year’s Best S‑F, volume 2)

 Edited by Judith Merril 

4 Apr, 2023

Judith Merril’s The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy

1 comment

1957’s SF: The Year’s Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy Second Annual Volume (also published as SF:’57: The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy) is the second volume in Judith Merril’s The Year’s Best S‑F series of science fiction anthologies.

As one might guess from the title, the book contains Merril’s selection of the best science fiction and fantasy. I note that while one version of the book’s cover was emblazoned with great big 1957, the stories within are from 1956. Which might be confusing.

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