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Reviews in Project: Doing the WFC's Homework (84)

Crossed the Deserts Bare

The Stardust Thief  (Sandsea Trilogy, volume 1)

By Chelsea Abdullah  

27 May, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Chelsea Abdullah’s 2022 The Stardust Thief is the first volume in Abdullah’s secondary-universe Sandsea Trilogy. 

Mortal humans live in a barren landscape scoured by the hubris of the ancient jinn kings, a land where even walled cities do not always provide protection against malicious jinn. But there are valuable treasures hidden in the wastelands, treasures a knowledgeable few know how to salvage. 

Loulie al-Nazari, famous as the Midnight Merchant, is one such expert. Her treasures are worthy of a sultan. However, the sultan who has her detained and dragged in front of him has no interest in her welfare. What he wants is her expertise.

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My Soul to Keep

Even Though I Knew the End

By C. L. Polk  

20 May, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

7 comments

C. L. Polk’s 2022 Even Though I Knew the End is a stand-alone modern fantasy novel. 

Helen Brandt, disgraced sorcerer, formerly of the Brotherhood of the Compass, now ekes out a precarious living as an investigative warlock. A client asks her to investigate a murder scene, latest of the so-called White City Vampire serial killings. The scene reeks of powerful magic. Helen takes photos and prepares to leave, when she is interrupted by former colleagues from the Brotherhood of the Compass, who warn her away. 

Helen very much wants to please her client, Marlowe. The pay is lucrative and will add to the nest egg Helen plans to leave her girlfriend Edith. It will be a great help to Edith in her (planned) new life in San Francisco. But it will be a life without Helen. Helen knows she will die January 13, three days away. That’s something Edith doesn’t know.

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So Criminal

The Jade Setter of Janloon

By Fonda Lee  

13 May, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Fonda Lee’s 2022 The Jade Setter of Janloon is a stand-alone crime novella that shares a setting with Lee’s Hugo-nominated Green Bones secondary-world fantasy series. 

Pulo dreamed of being a Green Bone warrior but ultimately found his niche as an apprentice to jade setter Isin-jen. Now a skilled artisan, Pulo chaffs at Isin-jen’s peculiar lack of ambition. Why does Janloon’s best jade setter settle for a small facility in a neutral part of the city, when, if he were to ally with one of the great clans, vast wealth could be his?

Pulo reluctantly concludes that personal ambition requires leaving his mentor behind. Before he can put his plan into action, tragedy strikes.

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Time and Mercy

Shadow Life

By Hiromi Goto & Ann Xu  

29 Apr, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Hiromi Goto’s 2021 Shadow Life is a stand-alone modern fantasy graphic novella. Illustrations are by Ann Xu.

Consigned to a retirement home by her well-meaning children, Komiko waits for a suitable moment, then slips away into the night, taking with her only a few reminders of her previous life. Komiko carefully conceals her new home — a bachelor apartment — from her alarmed children. They do not see her as a functioning adult and would only try to place her in another facility. 

As it happens, none of her children are the entity about whom she should be the most worried.

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Who Will Be The Witness

The Red Palace

By June Hur  

22 Apr, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

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June Hur’s 2022 The Red Palace is a stand-alone mystery novel. 

Hyeon is the child of a high-ranked official and his peasant mistress; she cannot be legally acknowledged. Her prospects in 18th century Joseon-dynasty Korea would seem to be limited. But she’s bright and hard-working and has managed to train as a nurse. She’s even achieved a position as a palace nurse. 

Posts of honor can be perilous. 

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Give Them Shelter

The Bruising of Qilwa

By Naseem Jamnia  

15 Apr, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

3 comments

Naseem Jamnia’s 2022 The Bruising of Qilwa is a stand-alone secondary universe fantasy novel. 

Having fled their birthland of Dilmun for the comparative safety of the Free Democratic City-State of Qilwa, Firuz must find some way to turn their skills into income. They believe Kofi’s Clinic may be key. After all, Firuz may not be fully credentialled, but their healer training is legitimate. Firuz would be a useful staff member at the clinic, particularly in this time of plague. 

Despite needing the job, Firuz is very careful not to list all of their medical assets. It’s important that Kofi know Firuz is a healer and that they were trained in structuralist magic. They don’t want Kofi to know about the blood magic. 

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Mind Gone Silicon

Ion Curtain

By Anya Ow  

8 Apr, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

4 comments

Anya Ow’s 2022 Ion Curtain is a space opera. 

The setting is centuries in the future, but the conflicts facing humanity are depressingly familiar. 

  • One side: the Chinese-dominated UN, a large, diverse polity whose common feature might be described as chaos.”
  • The other side: the Russian-dominated Federation, which provides its citizens with carefully curated news, firm guidance, and a plethora of political functionaries. True power is doled out behind the scenes in ruthless, endless competition between the Federation’s various factions. 

War would serve nobody; however, endless rumours of war ensure that military contractors can thrive. Military funding runs in ratchetting cycles: one side improves its standing and the other side reacts. 

As the Federation is about to discover, some creations are inherently destabilizing.


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Secrets From A Girl

Braking Day

By Adam Oyebanji  

1 Apr, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Adam Oyebanji’s 2022 debut Braking Day is that rare bird, a stand-alone science fiction novel1.

Seven generations ago, three vast generation ships—Archimedes, Bohr, and Chandrasekar—fled the soft tyranny of AI-run nanny-state Earth for the freedom of whatever waited in the Tau Ceti system. Generations of sacrifice have paid off. The fleet is approaching Tau Ceti, where a sufficiently Earthlike world awaits human settlement. The promised day looms! 

As Midshipman Ravi MacLeod will discover, the above is true but it is hardly the full truth. What was left out of the official history may be enough to kill everyone on Archimedes, Bohr, and Chandrasekar.


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Ocean Deep

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

By Axie Oh  

25 Mar, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Axie Oh’s 2022 The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a stand-alone fantasy novel. 

Each year, a different beauty is chosen as the Sea God’s bride. Perhaps the chosen ones enjoy lives of unparalleled luxury under the sea; perhaps their bones are moldering on the sea floor. What is clear is that the sacrifices are in vain. No matter how many brides set out in their lonely boats, annual storms still batter the kingdom. The Sea God has turned his back on his people.

Shim Cheong is the latest bride. Joon, who is in love with Shim, is determined to save her from whatever fate waits in the sea. Joon’s sister Mina is determined to save both. Thus, when the Sea King’s dragon appears to collect its living tribute, it finds a boat with three passengers, not one. Quick-thinking Mina volunteers first and is carried off. 

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