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Reviews in Project: Special Requests (439)

Taste of Betrayal

A Thousand Recipes for Revenge  (Chefs of the Five Gods, volume 1)

By Beth Cato  

29 Jun, 2023

Special Requests

1 comment

A Thousand Recipes for Revenge is the first volume in Beth Cato’s Chefs of the Five Gods series.

Adamantine Ada” Garland seems to be an unremarkable employee of an unremarkable inn. She is a wanted deserter and a Chef with a god-touched tongue. The recent presence of gendarmes at the inn is a matter of great concern.

Far from Ada, Braiz’s Princess Solenn is preparing for her impending wedding to Verdanian Prince Rupert. Braizian-Verdanian relations, currently strained, depend on the match. Braiz being almost defenseless due to a recent calamity, Solenn bears the future of her nation on her shoulders.

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Praise for the Morning

Life Beyond Us: An Original Anthology of SF Stories and Science Essays

 Edited by Julie Nováková, Lucas K. Law & Susan Forest 

20 Jun, 2023

Special Requests


April 2023’s Life Beyond Us: An Original Anthology of SF Stories and Science Essays was edited by Julie Nováková, Lucas K. Law & Susan Forest. This anthology was sponsored by the European Astrobiology Institute, the European Science Foundation (ESF), and the Laksa Media Group. It comprises essays and stories by dozens of named authors, many of them well known as SF authors, and several unnamed authors.

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I’d Like To Be

The Mountain in the Sea

By Ray Nayler  

13 Jun, 2023

Special Requests


Ray Nayler’s 2022 The Mountain in the Sea is a stand-alone near-future tale of first contact.

In a triumph of human achievement, high ‑tech trawlers have scoured the oceans, transforming them from over-crowded seas full of thriving life to pristine deserts. As catches plummet, new ways are discovered and deployed to track down and catch the tiny remnant of a once-rich ecosystem.

While this is good news for consumers, it’s bad news for people like Eiko, kidnapped and enslaved on an automated fishing boat. Humans are slightly cheaper than new machinery.

It’s worse news for the entities living off Con Dao, for they are not human. This is a world in which humans are merely economic cogs while non-humans are simply food.

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Uncomfortably Me

The Meister of Decimen City

By Brenna Raney  

16 May, 2023

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Brenna Raney’s 2023 debut, The Meister of Decimen City, is a superhero novel. Although perhaps superhero is the wrong word.

Decimen City’s resident genius ditz (Rex) combines brilliance and good intentions with a lack of social skills and an inability to foresee complications. However, thanks in part to the never-ending efforts of her lawyer Flora and an AI named Aya to manage Rex’s reputation, Rex is popular or at least tolerated. It helps that one of her projects produced a cure for cancer.

Heretofore, her status as a lovable knucklehead and her adherence to certain agreements with the city has protected her from the legal consequences of her wacky hijinks. The rampaging cloned intelligence-amplified dinosaurs … that was one misstep too many. Now Rex has to deal with the Superbeings Oversight Contingencies organization.

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Dreaming of a Life of Ease

A Sleight of Shadows  (Unseen World, volume 2)

By Kat Howard  

11 May, 2023

Special Requests


2023’s A Sleight of Shadows is the second volume in Kat Howard’s Unseen World series. The first volume was An Unkindness of Magicians, whose review may be found here.

During the revolution called the Turning, Sydney sacrificed her magic to bring down the malevolent House of Shadows. Thanks to Sydney, the mages of the Unseen World can no longer draw their power from the slaves of the House of Shadows. They must draw on their own power. That’s painful.

Many sorcerers are unhappy with the new state of affairs. Spells may not work; using magic hurts. Ill-will is building. Can the Turning be reversed?

As it happens, the House of Shadows has begun reassembling itself without human intervention.

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Destiny of Self

The Great Gods  (Time Wars, volume 1)

By Daniel Keys Moran  

27 Apr, 2023

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2023’s The Great Gods is the first book in Daniel Keys Moran’s The Time Wars series. It shares a setting with such works as Emerald Eyes, The Long Run, The Last Dancer, and The Big Boost.

Camber Tremodian is a bright young boy connected to one of best families on the planet Domain. Domain has political institutions that should encourage peace, order, and good government. But in practice, politics has become a high stakes game and Camber is marked for death.

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Voices of the Dead

The Grief of Stones  (The Cemeteries of Amalo, volume 2)

By Katherine Addison  

18 Apr, 2023

Special Requests


The Grief of Stones is the second volume in Katherine Addison’s The Cemeteries of Amalo secondary universe fantasy series. The Cemeteries of Amalo share a setting with The Goblin Emperor.

The reward for competence is more work. Therefore, since Thara Celehar solved murders while fending off monsters in the previous volume, Thara is presented with more untimely deaths and even more ferocious undead. Not to mention an unrequested apprentice.

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A Man Without Conviction

Ocean’s Echo

By Everina Maxwell  

13 Apr, 2023

Special Requests


Everina Maxwell’s 2022 Ocean’s Echo is a space opera. While it shares a place and time with Maxwell’s 2021 Winter’s Orbit, Ocean’s Echo takes place in an entirely different solar system and shares no characters with the earlier book.

Tennalhin Tennal” Halkana is a wealthy young man who has a history of making bad life choices. This would make him an embarrassment to his hard-working sister Zinyary and to legislator Halkana, Tennal’s aunt (who is, thanks to the death of his parents, his guardian). But there’s worse. Tennal can read minds, which makes him a potential threat to the Orshan state.

One zany prank too many and Tennal discovers just how ruthless his aunt can be.

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My Criminal Mind

The Fractal Prince  (Jean le Flambeur, volume 2)

By Hannu Rajaniemi  

6 Apr, 2023

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1 comment

2012’s The Fractal Prince is the second volume in Hannu Rajaniemi’s Jean le Flambeur post-human science fiction series.

Having enjoyed at best mixed results in his previous caper, Jean and companion Meili have a treasure held in a box they cannot open, a box that will destroy its contents in short order. Many people might find a hiding place where they could focus on cracking the enigma. Fate has other ideas for the legendary thief and his AI-possessed companion.

Earth beckons.

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