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James Nicoll Reviews

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Reviews in Project: Doing the WFC's Homework (117)

Mean Streets

Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef  (Gods and Monsters, volume 1)

By Cassandra Khaw  

31 Mar, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


2015’s Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef is the first volume in Cassandra Khaw’s Gods and Monsters comic horror series.

Having blotted his copybook egregiously, Rupert Wong can look forward an unpleasant afterlife if he does not somehow earn enough karmic credit before dying to forestall his justly earned damnation. Thus, his current occupations as chef and liaison.

His clientele as a chef: Kuala Lumpur’s ghouls. Best not to ask what’s in the meals. As liaison, he assists Kuala Lumpur’s damned souls. Expect untoward complications, such as an offer he can neither refuse nor survive.

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Shiver in My Bones

Mapping the Interior

By Stephen Graham Jones  

24 Mar, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Stephen Graham Jones’ 2017 Mapping the Interior is a stand-alone horror novel.

Twelve-year-old Junior lives with his widowed mother and troubled younger brother Dino in a modular house. His hardworking mother’s income is marginal, her boyfriend is abusive, Junior sleepwalks, and Dino is a popular target for vicious bullying. It’s hard to see how life could get worse for the Indigenous family.

Of course it does.

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Nor Any Drop to Drink

The Lies of the Ajungo  (Forever Desert, volume 1)

By Moses Ose Utomi  

10 Mar, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


The Lies of the Ajungo is the first volume in Moses Ose Utomi’s debut novella; it is the first entry in his projected Forever Desert series.

Faced with an unending drought, the people of a desperate city accepted aid from the Ajungo Empire. The Empire provided just enough water to sustain life, or perhaps a smidgen less. There was, of course, a price.

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Mercy More Than Life

The Women Could Fly

By Megan Giddings  

3 Mar, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Megan Giddings’ 2022 The Women Could Fly is a stand-alone modern satirical fantasy.

21st century America enjoys a golden age of civil liberties, in which scapegoating and murdering women on suspicion of being witches is discouraged (in law, if not always in fact), in which licensed witches enjoy a degree of official tolerance, and in which women in general are free to do what they like, as long as what they like involves being married by the age of thirty.

Deviation from the norm, deliberate or otherwise, is always profoundly suspicious. This spells trouble for Josephine Jo” Thomas.

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Watch Us Where We Go

Jackal: A Novel

By Erin E. Adams  

24 Feb, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Erin E. Adams’ 2022 Jackal: A Novel is a stand-alone supernatural mystery novel.

Having successfully escaped Johnstown, Pennsylvania (most famous for a May 31, 1889, flood and a 1923 ethnic cleansing) for a career as a doctor, Haitian-American Liz Rocher is very reluctantly returning to Johnstown to attend the wedding of her best friend Melissa Mel” Parker.

Very white Mel is marrying her very not-white long-time boyfriend Garrett Washington. As one might expect in a town with Johnstown’s history, many people (including the bride’s family) are not pleased by the marriage. However, the event itself goes off as well as one could hope.

Liz takes her eyes off Mel and Garrett’s daughter Caroline. Only briefly, but long enough for the little girl to vanish.

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My Rest A Stone

The Silence of Bones

By June Hur  

17 Feb, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


June Hur’s 2020 The Silence of Bones is a stand-alone historical murder mystery.

King Chŏngjo of Joseon has died. Natural causes? Assassination? The ominous natural phenomena said to have accompanied his death are suggestive of something askew. Nevertheless, in the well-ordered state that is Joseon, to speculate risks execution for treason.

Every politically aware person knows that when in five months the official mourning period ends, Catholics, deemed enemies of the state, will again be tracked down and punished, as will those whose diligence in exposing Catholics is insufficient. As will others whose crime is to have inconvenienced the currently well-connected. Rivers of blood will flow, followed, no doubt, by a golden age of stability.

Damo (indentured police servant) Seol has a more immediate problem: a woman’s corpse found in an alley.

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But His Adventures Were Only Beginning

The Oddfits  (The Oddfits, volume 1)

By Tiffany Tsao  

10 Feb, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

2016’s The Oddfits is the first volume in Tiffany Tsao’s Oddfits series.

Returning to his native Singapore after decades of adventure elsewhere, Yusuf bin Hassim opens an ice cream store. His store is also a means of finding just the right person for a special role. His vigilance is rewarded: Yusuf recognizes in young Murgatroyd Floyd a kindred spirit, someone with the necessary qualities. All Yusuf need do now is inform the boy of his great destiny.

This is not to be. Murgatroyd visits his favourite ice cream store to find it closed. Yusuf has died of old age. The wonderful secret he was going to tell Murgatroyd is left unsaid.

Years pass.

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The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

By Sangu Mandanna  

3 Feb, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Sangu Mandanna’s 2022’s The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is a stand-alone contemporary fantasy novel.

Despite her pretensions to eccentricity, Mika Moon does follow the rules she learned from Primrose, oldest and most powerful of Britain’s small witch community. The prime rule: protect the secret that witches exist at all, lest witches once again find themselves the focus of official and mass hatred. Primrose is convinced that this means avoiding close friends, lovers, and any other social connection that might give a non-witch the chance to discover the secret. Even associating too often with other witches could give the game away. Thus far, Mika has been diligent, which is to say very, very alone.

Except … Mika does post online videos in which she cosplays a stereotyped witch. Since she never uses actual magic, those videos cannot possibly expose the secret. Or so Mika thought.

Ian Kubo-Hawthorn knows a witch when he sees one. As it happens, he and his colleagues have a use for a witch, if they can entice one into isolated Nowhere House.

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Closer To the Heart

Fire Heart

By Joyce Ch'ng  

27 Jan, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

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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