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Reviews in Project: Miscellaneous Reviews (277)

After the Great War

Cuckoo Song

By Frances Hardinge  

26 May, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Sometimes commissions arrive as N possible choices, chose one.” Even when a suggested title doesn’t make the first cut, I often leave it on my reading list as a possibility for an unsponsored review. I’m particularly likely to do this if it is a title I’ve not read but that looks interesting or is critically acclaimed. Novels like Frances Hardinge’s (Carnegie Medal short-listed) Cuckoo Song are the rewards I get for expanding my reading list.

~oOo~

The Great War came and went, taking Triss Crescent’s brother Sebastian with it. The post-war era brought material prosperity to the Crescent family, but nothing that could compensate for their long-mourned loss. Money could not bring Sebastian back; nothing could bring Sebastian back. No method known to mortal man, at least.

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The boys who survived by teleporting, or I don’t know what Cox’s issue is but the Far Being Retzglaran is definitely a dick

Jumper Caverns  (Jumper, book 1 The Journeys of McGill Feighan, book 1)

By Kevin O’Donnell  

12 May, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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[I am aware the title and credit for the two books is somewhat munged at present]


Publishers like Tor send reviewers like me free books because they hope a review will result. Mission accomplished! Tor sent me a copy of Steven Gould’s latest book Exo and as a direct result of that I am writing a review featuring not one but two books. OK, one of them is of a different Gould book, 1993’s Jumper, and the other is of 1981’s The Journeys of McGill Feighan: Book 1: Caverns, a book by an author whom Tor has never to my knowledge published, a book that predates Tor’s very existence but still … book goes in, review goes out. The system works.

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Return to the Asteroid Belt

Freedom at Feronia  (Asteroid Police, book 2)

By Richard Penn  

12 Mar, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2014’s Freedom at Feronia is a follow-up to Penn’s Dark Colony. Having exposed and broken up an illegal secret colony, young cop Lisa Johansen is now faced with new opportunities, not the least of which is legitimate and legal possession of the core materials needed for a nuclear-powered spacecraft. The new opportunities also come with new challenges, one of which is considerably more complex than the one featured in the first book (the illegal colony set up by a criminal cabal). What this challenge is, and how Lisa handles it, reminded me a lot of the Canadian TV show Flashpoint, except, of course, IN SPACE

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From the world of Mesoamerican myth

The Bone Flower Throne  (Bone Flower Trilogy, book 1)

By T L Morganfield  

12 Feb, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2013’s The Bone Flower Throne, the first book in the Bone Flower Trilogy, is set in the world of Mesoamerican myth, specifically, the story of the great Priest-King Ce Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl. (In an afterword, the author compares him to King Arthur, which I think is off the mark for reasons I will explain later). I enjoy works set in or drawing on the Pre-Columbian cultures of the New World, but have been unable to find more than a few such works. Fortunately, the author of this book, T. L. Morgenfield, is on my Livejournal friends list, which made finding her book just that wee bit easier.

Of course, just because a work falls into a genre I find interesting and just because I know the author doesn’t mean I have to like the book. I could be the sort of monumental dick who asks for a review copy and finding it not to his taste, rewards the courtesy with a scathing review [1]. Or I might not be. Let’s find out!

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Back to the Raksura

Stories of the Raksura: Volume One: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud  (Raksura, book 4)

By Martha Wells  

10 Feb, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Well’s 2014 collection Stories of the Raksura: Volume One: The Falling World & The Tale of Indigo and Cloud shares a setting, the Three Worlds, with some of Wells’ previous works: The Cloud Roads, The Serpent Sea, and The Siren Depths.

I should admit, up front, that this review isn’t really a Tuesday Rediscovery so much as it is a review of a book I had intended to review long before now. I am using my Rediscovery slot to highlight a book that, IMHO, deserves highlighting. 

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Not quite the Traveller novel I was expecting

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

By Becky Chambers  

1 Feb, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2014’s The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is Becky Chambers debut novel. 

I picked it up because, over on Livejournal, Heron61 said

It’s basically what you’d get if you took Firefly (minus the unfortunate Civil War metaphors) or an average campaign of the Traveller RPG and focused more on interpersonal dynamics and character’s emotional lives, while substantially reducing the level of violence. 

Traveller was the first table top RPG I played extensively and I still remember it fondly. Yes, this book reminds me of Traveller; it even begins with an event that could very well be someone failing their low passage roll [1]. That said, while I see the similarities that Heron61 mentions, I was more strongly reminded of James Tiptree, Jr.‘s short story And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side” … that is, if James Tiptree, Jr. instead of being relentlessly, inexorably depressing, had been a cheerful optimist. The book isn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was a refreshing change of pace.

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Go to the ant, thou sluggard

Herland  (Gilman’s Utopian Trilogy, book 2)

By Charlotte Perkins Gilman  

22 Jan, 2015

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915’s feminist utopia Herland is the middle volume of a trilogy, being preceded by Moving the Mountain and followed by With Her in Ourland. I had not previously read this book and didn’t know what to expect. Well, given the time when it was written, I did expect some form of genteel racism, perhaps coupled with eugenics, and I wasn’t wrong. But there’s more here than that.

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