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Reviews in Project: Miscellaneous Reviews (265)

Creatures of the Underworld

An Illusion of Thieves

By Cate Glass  

11 Jan, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews

3 comments

2019’s secondary world fantasy An Illusion of Thieves is the first volume in Cate Glass’ Chimera series. 

Cantagna has firm rules where sorcery is concerned. It is considered evidence of a demonic taint. Those born with magic are weighted down with chains and thrown in the nearest body of water. 

When Romy’s mother discovered Romy’s magical talent, she sold young Romy to a brothel. If Romy’s magic is ever discovered, it wouldn’t be her family’s problem.

Years later, Romy is Cataline of Moon House and one of the most famous courtesans in Cantagna. She is mistress to none other than Sandro, Cantagna’s Shadow Lord, the grand Padrone who rules the city. Sandro is married, of course (to Gilliette), but Romy is the one with whom Sandro spends his time. It’s the best life to which someone from Cantagna’s slums might aspire.

Happiness is evanescent.

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The Dream I Dream Takes Two

Start of Darkness

By Rich Burlew  

9 Jan, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews

2 comments

Rich Burlew’s 2007 Start of Darkness is a book prequel to his long-running Dungeons-and-Dragons-inspired fantasy web-comic, The Order of the Stick.

How did an easily distracted sorcerer become one of his world’s Big Bads? Why did the goblin cleric Redcloak ally with someone who squanders goblin lives on a whim? The answer for that begins with a punitive raid on a small goblin village thirty-four years before Order of the Stick begins.


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Tick-Tock

Alice Payne Arrives  (Alice Payne, book 1)

By Kate Heartfield  

31 Dec, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

0 comments

2018’s Alice Payne Arrives is the first installment in Kate Heartfield’s Alice Payne series. 

Alice father Colonel Payne served for England in the American Revolutionary War; he returned home changed for the worse. Life at home is increasingly difficult for Alice. She could escape by marriage, if some well-heeled man were to overlook her mixed race heritage (which is not all that likely). But a staid, conventional, boring marriage has no appeal to Alice. She prefers to make a living as a dashing highwayman known as the Holy Ghost. She has a minion, an automaton named Laverna. (So, steampunk.)

Alice’s scheme to rob the odious Lord Ludderworth goes awry when Ludderworth, almost all of his servants, and his carriage vanish after the robbery. Highway robbery is common enough that it doesn’t draw a lot of attention, but a vanished aristocrat draws far more intense scrutiny. Alice may be hunted down and hanged. 

That’s bad enough, but, as Alice will discover, time travel makes everything worse.


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Why Such a Lonely Beach

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens  

26 Dec, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

Charles Dickens 1843’s A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas is a standalone ghost story. Although the author failed to prosper in the science fiction and fantasy genres (in large part because they would not be codified until the following century), he enjoyed great success as a popular author.

Ebenezer Scrooge is living the dream: he has amassed an impressive fortune from which he derives a cold pleasure. He seems to have won at the game of life.

He discovers he has miscalculated the night that his long-dead business partner Jacob Marley visits him.


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With a Little Help From My Friends

Sisters of The Vast Black

By Lina Rather  

27 Nov, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

Lina Rather’s 2019 Sisters of The Vast Black is a standalone science fiction novella.

The living starship Our Lady of Impossible Constellations conveys the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita between several extrasolar systems, where they minister to scattered human colonies. Their spiritual ministry often takes a back seat to medical assistance. Forty years ago the colonies cast off the rule of the Earth Central Governance. Freedom from ECG comes bundled with freedom from all the medical resources ECG once provided. 

During the revolution, the rebels scourged the Earth, executing some ECG leaders and driving the others into exile, For some time the wounded ECG let the colonies to go their own way. Now the ECG is looking outward again. This will affect the sisters on board Our Lady of Impossible Constellations.


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Where I Can See It All

Catfishing on Catnet

By Naomi Kritzer  

25 Nov, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

2019’s Catfishing on CatNet is the first volume of Naomi Kritzer’s new YA series.

Fleeing Steph’s abusive father, Steph’s mother has spent the better part of a decade moving from town to town. Denied time to put down roots and forbidden to stay in contact with any friends she might make during her brief stays, Steph has turned to the internet for companionship. CatNet, an online forum whose denizens share pictures of cats (and other animals), is the closest thing she has to a social circle.

One of her online friends is not like the others.


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Heartaches by the Number

Finna

By Nino Cipri  

26 Sep, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

2 comments

Nino Cipri’s 2020 Finna is a standalone SF novella. 

Heartbroken over her breakup with Jules, Ava has rearranged her life to minimize contact with her ex. A challenging task, given that the pair both work at soulless big box store LitenVärld. Still, careful schedule management should do the trick. At least if fucking Derek doesn’t call in sick, obligating Ava come in to work on what should be an off-day. 

The resulting encounter between the former couple is as uncomfortable as it is unwanted. But it could be worse — and is. 


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I’m a Lionheart

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

By Alix E. Harrow  

18 Sep, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

2 comments

Alix E. Harrow’s debut novel The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a standalone portal fantasy. 

January Scaller rarely sees her beloved father, because Julian Scaller is absent running errands for wealthy Mr. Locke. She has been raised mainly by Mr. Locke’s servants. Her life is cozy and safe, but January increasingly feels that she is just one of Locke’s carefully guarded treasures. Not at all a person.

But a person who is a one-of-a-kind human, one who might not do well in the harsh outside world. 


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Just Something In My Stars

A Dead Djinn in Cairo

By P. Djeli Clark  

11 Sep, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

P. Djèlí Clark’s A Dead Djinn in Cairo is an alternate-history fantasy novella. It shares its setting with The Haunting of Tram Car 015.

Forty years ago, al-Jahiz opened the world to magic. Bad news for the Ottomans, the British, and the French, whose domination of Egypt came to an abrupt halt. Good news for Egypt, independent once more. But magic and magical beings bring problems of their own. Fatma el-Sha’arawi, special investigator with the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities, spends her days dealing with them. 

For example, the matter of the dead and bloodless djinn. 


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