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Reviews in Project: Doing What the WFC Cannot Do (92)

Uh Oh, We’re In Trouble

Prime Deceptions  (Chilling Effect, book 2)

By Valerie Valdes  

16 Oct, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

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2020’s Prime Deceptions is the second volume in Valerie Valdes’ Chilling Effect series.

In the previous volume Captain Eva Innocente escaped the clutches of a criminal empire known as the Fridge, giving it a black eye in the process of regaining her ship La Sirena Negra. Prudence would suggest adopting a low profile. Eva is terrible at being prudent, as suggested by the fact that when the book opens, someone is shooting at her.

Eva at least knows better than to accept job offers from her duplicitous sister Mari. As it turns out, knows better” is different from does not.” In Eva’s defence, the task seemed so straightforward.


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Sing It Out Loud

A Song for Quiet  (Persons Non Grata, book 2)

By Cassandra Khaw  

8 Oct, 2020

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2017’s A Song for Quiet is the second volume in Cassandra Khaw’s Persons Non Grata series. 

Blues musician Deacon James leaves his father’s funeral and discovers that he is being stalked by a persistent madman. Life in Jim-Crow-era America is already hard enough for a black musician; there’s no room for complications. Whatever the lunatic wants, Deacon wants no part of it.

What John Persons would like to do is save Deacon, but Persons’ communication skills could use some work. 


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Always Sunny

Machinehood

By S. B. Divya  

2 Oct, 2020

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S. B. Divya’s 2021 Machinehood is an upcoming near-future thriller. Yeah, it’s not due out until spring 2021, but who can say if any of us will be around then? Also, I have the author’s permission to review the book immediately. 

Welga Ramirez, former American special forces agent turned bodyguard, faces mid-life retirement. At thirty-five, she is getting too old to appeal to her established online audience; a well-filled social media tip jar is a vital component of any gig-based occupation. It’s vital she find some new, age-appropriate niche. Her plan is to become an online cooking maven. Fate has another career in mind: counter-terrorism.

Protestors attacking the Funders (the wealthy who finance pharmaceutical research) obey certain rules. They commit flashy, news-friendly attacks resulting in minor wounds but not media-unfriendly deaths. This grabs attention without alienating potential supporters. Slaughter followed by suicide is considered a losing game. 

The previously unknown group calling itself Machinehood appears not to have read the memo. In fact, Machinehood appears determined to kick the board over entirely. How rude! Welga barely survives the first Machinehood attack. Her client is not so lucky. 


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Living in the Garden of Evil

Darkest Light  (Half World, book 2)

By Hiromi Goto  

25 Sep, 2020

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2012’s Darkest Light is the second book in Hiromi Goto’s Half World series. 

Mr. Glueskin has been vanquished, allowing the age-old cycle of birth, reconciliation, rest, and rebirth to start once more. 

Mr. Glueskin has been reborn as sixteen-year-old Gee, an odd-looking outcast, haunted by a malevolent inner voice. The only person who can stand to be around him is his adopted grandmother Popo. He leads an odd, sad life. But it may be better than what’s coming. 

Mr. Glueskin’s followers cling to their pitiful existence in the Half World, preferring it to re-living past traumas (which is the only way to pass onto the Spirit World, after which one is reborn; lather, rinse, repeat), even though the only means to do so is to consume the souls of the dead Eel-armed Ilanna and bird-headed Karu, decide to drag their former boss back from the living world to glorious, sadistic, anthropophagy. 


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Thy Fearful Symmetry

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain  (Singing Hills Cycle, book 2)

By Nghi Vo  

18 Sep, 2020

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Nghi Vo’s 2020 When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is a secondary universe fantasy. It is the second volume in her Singing Hills Cycle.

Cleric Chih and their guide Si-yu ride on mammoth-back to an isolated way station. They hope to find a place to rest for the night. Instead, they find an unconscious man and three tigers. Tigers are generally bad news for travellers. These particular tigers are of the shape-shifting, talking variety, they are also very hungry tigers. 


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Turn Robber All on The Salt Sea

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

By Maggie Tokuda-Hall  

11 Sep, 2020

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Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s 2020 The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is a secondary universe fantasy. 

Lady Evelyn Hasegawa’s betrothal to wealthy officer Finn Callum promises financial security to her debt-ridden aristocratic parents. This is an arranged marriage; she’s never met her groom, who lives at a distant imperial outpost in the Floating Islands. Evelyn must take a long sea voyage to join him, a voyage from which she will almost certainly never return. 

⸮But this is a sacrifice her parents are willing to make.⸮ 

Evelyn and a casket full of worldly goods are sent off on the good ship Dove. She’s anxious, of course: a new land, an unknown husband. She would be even more anxious if she knew that Dove is captained by a complete villain and crewed by people who are just as bad.


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A War in My Mind

The Bone Shard Daughter  (Drowning Empire, book 1)

By Andrea Stewart  

4 Sep, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

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2020’s The Bone Shard Daughter is the first volume in Andrea Stewart’s projected Drowning Empire secondary-universe fantasy trilogy. It’s just published!

The Emperor protects his people from the Alanga, godlike beings who once plagued the Empire. All he asks is total obedience and a small token of his subjects’ gratitude. A trifle, really, just a small shard of skull bone, which grants the Emperor access to their life energy. He uses that to power the automatons through which he rules the Empire. Otherwise his subjects are free to pay their taxes and do as they are told until such time as they die from the side-effects of being used as a living battery. 

The Emperor is growing old and it isn’t clear what will happen when he dies.

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Where the Clear Winds Blow

Rider  (Rider, book 1)

By Joyce Chng  

28 Aug, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

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Joyce Chng’s 2013 Rider: A Novel of Jin is the first novel in her Rider trilogy.

Lifang would like to be a Rider, one of the fortunate elites partnered with a Quetz (the enormous pterodactyl-like natives of Jin). Her family, however, believes Lifang can do her bit for the struggling human community on the planet Jin as an agri-seer”. Which is to say, highly educated farmer.

If it were up to her family and her community, Lifang would not get the career she wants. Fate intervenes. 


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No Place to Go

Remote Control

By Nnedi Okorafor  

21 Aug, 2020

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Nnedi Okorafor’s 2021 Remote Control is an upcoming science fiction novella. Unless you’re reading this after January 2021, in which case strike upcoming.”

Sankofa wanders Ghana in the company of a fox, visiting community after community. The people she encounters fall over themselves providing her with food and clothing. In part, this is because Sankofa provides a useful service. In large part, it is because she can burn people down to their bones merely by willing it. 

Her story begins in the rural town of Wulugu, when she was just a sickly girl named Fatima.


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Count on Me

A Song Below Water

By Bethany C. Morrow  

14 Aug, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

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Bethany C. Morrow’s 2020 A Song Below Water: A Novel is a standalone contemporary fantasy novel.

Sisters-by-choice Tavia and Effie are African American teens (in uber-white Portland, Oregon), perpetually aware of the potential for casual abuse or worse from police. As stressful as this is, it could be far worse. Tavia has a secret: she is a siren. 

Sirens are feared for two reasons. Firstly, they can control people with the power of their voice. Secondly, all sirens are African American. Powerful African American women are to be feared and hated. Whatever the strict letter of the law might say about killing sirens, the practice is winked at, even lauded.

Take the case of the late Rhoda Taylor.


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