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Reviews in Project: Special Requests (268)

Walking Like the Wind Blows

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

By Ruth Emmie Lang  

15 Jan, 2020

Special Requests

1 comment

Ruth Emmie Lang’s 2017 debut novel Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance is a contemporary fantasy.

Goaded by schoolmates into exploring a dilapidated, gloomy dwelling, Roark falls through the roof into a spider-silk snare. She meets the building’s occupant, eccentric coot Weylyn Grey, who proceeds to spin a tale. 

Weylyn is as amiable as he is odd. His uninvited visitor does not have to worry about a horrid fate, unless it’s being talked to death. Weylyn’s rambling biography begins when a young Weylyn, tragically orphaned, does what any boy might do in his position. He runs off to live with wolves.


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Those Who Deserve the Best in Life

Abbott

By Saladin Ahmed  

14 Jan, 2020

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Saladin Ahmed’s 2018 Abbott is a horror comic. It was nominated for the Hugo and the Stoker.

Illustrator: Sami Kivelä. Colorist: Jason Wordie.

Detroit, 1972. Elena Abbott is a reporter, whose hard work should earn her accolades. Her boss’s bosses at the Detroit Daily are unenthusiastic about employing a reporter who is a woman and black. Detroit police are similarly unenthusiastic about a reporter whose stories on flagrant police brutality inexplicably don’t take the side of the police. Nevertheless, she persists.

Called to the scene of a brutal outrage, Abbott finds the cops baffled. The scene has elements all too familiar to her.


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Were It Not For Hope

The Ninth Rain  (Winnowing Flame, book 1)

By Jen Williams  

6 Jan, 2020

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2 comments

2018’s The Ninth Rain is the first volume in Jen Williams’ Winnowing Flame trilogy.

Once the Eborans were rulers and guardians of their world; they were sustained and armed by their tree-god Ygseril. Eight times they fought the Jure’lia, invading horrors from beyond the sky. Eight times they won. In the aftermath of the eighth invasion, however, Ygseril died. Since then, the Eborans have suffered a long, inexorable decline.

Tormalin the Oathless abandons the remnant of once-great Ebora for a life of adventure and debauchery abroad, in the service of Lady Vincenza Vintage” de Grazon. Vintage is determined to discover the true nature of the invaders and possibly a way to reverse the corruption each invasion leaves in its wake.

Vintage’s archaeology is surprisingly combat-intensive.


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Twenty Questions

Magic For Liars

By Sarah Gailey  

21 Dec, 2019

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2 comments

Sarah Gailey’s debut novel Magic for Liars is a standalone modern-fantasy-private-investigator story.

The Osborne Academy for Young Mages has a problem. Health and Wellness teacher Sylvia Capley has been found bisected and quite dead in the library. Headmaster Marion Torres does not believe the official explanation, magical mishap. She believes it was murder. 

Torres turns to Ivy Gamble for help. Unlike her sister Tabitha, who teaches at Osborne, Ivy has no magical talent whatsoever. What she does have is a PI license and a long experience of uncovering secrets.


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A Sign in the Wind

The River South  (Riders Guild, book 2)

By Marta Randall  

28 Nov, 2019

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2019’s The River South is the second volume of Marta Randall’s Riders Guild series.

Abandoned by her mother, Kieve Rider, as a baby, Shrug was left to the care of the Rider Guild in Koerstadt. The Guild was a careless guardian and Shrug a challenging ward. 

Someone else seems to have a keen interest in Shrug’s future. This unknown party would like Shrug’s future to be short. Shrug escapes the first assassin. 

One of the riders, Daenet, remembers Kieve fondly and tries to protect her daughter against further attempts. He takes Shrug with him on a river voyage, which gets the girl out of Koerstadt. Daenet is accompanying Lord Kyst, whom he serves as rider (and who is also his lover). 


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Each Merry Man’s Friend

Mapping Winter  (Riders Guild, book 1)

By Marta Randall  

19 Nov, 2019

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2 comments

2019’s Mapping Winter is the first volume in Marta Randall’s Riders Guild secondary universe speculative fiction series. It is a reworking of her 1983 novel Sword of Winter1.

Kieve Rider delivers portentous news to the scattered communities of Dalmorat Province. After four decades of autocratic rule, Lord Cadoc Marubin is finally dying. Few will be sad to see the Lord dead, but his death may not bring happiness to his subjects. Cadoc leaves behind an innovative system of secret police and midnight arrests, ugly tools his successor may set aside … or take up. 

Kieve Rider despises Cadoc but, having sworn an oath to him, has no choice but to serve. Like the rest of the people of Dalmorat, she hopes Cadoc’s death will bring freedom for her. It may instead send her to her own death.


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With a Candle to Guide Me

Trail of Lightning  (Sixth World, book 1)

By Rebecca Roanhorse  

12 Nov, 2019

Special Requests

1 comment

Trail of Lightning is the first book in Rebecca Roanhorse’s post-apocalyptic paranormal Sixth World series.

Maggie Hoskie is a supernaturally enhanced monster-hunter. She became so as a consequence of a near-death encounter as a girl. Another way to look at her is that she’s a marginally domesticated monster whose utility to her Diné people is slightly higher than the risk of allowing her to live among them. True so far. 

When children are stolen away by monsters, Maggie is the logical person to ask for help. That’s not to say she’s always successful…


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How Every Empire Falls

Lanark: A Life in Four Books

By Alasdair Gray  

5 Nov, 2019

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11 comments

Alasdair Gray’s 1981 debut novel Lanark: A Life in Four Books is a standalone dystopian surrealist work. Or to look at it another way, it’s one part straightforward literary fiction and one part portal fantasy (of sorts).

Lanark is an unsocial man living in the troubled city of Unthank. Duncan Thaw is a socially deficient inhabitant of Glasgow. The two men are connected in ways of which neither is immediately aware. And why would they be aware? They inhabit different realities.


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