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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Review: Fall of Angels by L.E. Modesitt Jr.


TOR
592 pp.

I recently re-read Fall of Angels, the sixth book in Modesitt’s Recluce series. The first time I read it was not long after it first came out. Though Fall of Angels is the sixth book in the series, it actually takes place hundreds of years in the past, when the angels of legend fell. The angels in this case are the mostly female crew of a military starship from another universe that suddenly find themselves in a completely different universe with half of their tech not working or working in ways that are not according to their original design. Luckily they find themselves orbiting a world that is just barely inhabitable for them. (They are cold-adapted humanoids. The planet is mostly too warm for them.) They crash land in an uninhabited area that is close enough to their requirements and attempt to settle.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Autumn Bones by Jacqueline Carey


ROC
424 pp.

In Autumn Bones, Daisy discovers that her nice normal boyfriend Sinclair Palmer is not quite as normal as advertised. Sinclair turns out to be related to a powerful judge back in Jamaica who is less than pleased with her son’s bus tour business and choice in girlfriends. This would be ordinary family drama--even with Daisy being hellspawn--if not for the part where Sinclair’s family are also obeah sorcerers and not at all shy about using magic to get their way. (When Sinclair’s twin sister Emmeline decides to strong arm her way into convincing Daisy to help her “convince” Sinclair to go back home, it does not go well for anyone concerned.)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: Copperhead by Tina Connoly


TOR
316 pp.


In Copperhead, the sequel to Ironskin, Jane’s sister Helen must navigate a tangled web of conspiracy when Jane disappears during a disastrous face lift procedure that goes terribly wrong. (It might have gone less wrong if it hadn’t been taking place during a party where a weapon meant to be used against the fey was being exhibited.)

Helen takes it upon herself to find her sister and convince the rest of “The Hundred” to undergo the procedure that will rid them of their fey beauty and restore their original faces. If this quest wasn’t challenging enough, Helen also has to dodge her husband and his cronies in “Copperhead,” a fascist organization prejudiced against both the fey and the dwarvven (who until now had always been considered allies). The B plot involves Helen’s growing romantic feelings for a half-dwarvven double agent investigating the Copperhead organization.

I had the same lukewarm reaction to Copperhead that I had for the previous book. The plot has some interesting twists and turns, but there were a few scenes that seemed a little too convenient. For example, Helen runs into an actress who wanted to undergo the facelift procedure. This actress turned out to have a connection to Rook, a half-dwarvven double agent who had infiltrated Copperhead, who initially contacts Helen during the party where the facelift procedure was taking place. On top of that, Helen conveniently discovers that she can use her “fey beauty” to manipulate people. These are just a few of the very convenient coincidences.

I also had some trouble engaging with the characters and the setting. I think part of the problem is that the previous book had a more “Jane Austen” feel to the setting while this book is more like the Roaring Twenties. The difference the difference between the settings, when both books are so closely linked in time was a little jarring. Despite my difficulties with the plot and the characters the book was generally readable with good pacing.


Copperhead on Amazon

Copperhead on Powell's Books


Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: The Queen of the Dead: Silence by Michelle Sagara


DAW
289 pp.


The Queen of the Dead: Silence ended up giving me a lot of nostalgia for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, even though Silence is almost nothing at all like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except for the entire “group of kids and one of them is extremely special with special powers,” thing. In this case, our main protagonist is a girl named Emma who is mourning the death of her boyfriend Nathan. She makes a habit of visiting his grave at night and one night she encounters Eric, a new student at her school and a very strange old woman.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: 1636: The Devil’s Opera by Eric Flint and David Carrico


Baen
510 pp.


1636: The Devil’s Opera involves the use of music as propaganda. (This is actually more interesting than the first line would indicate.) With Emperor Gustavus Adolphus non compos mentis and with Chancellor Oxenstierna attempting to take over the government, it suddenly becomes very important to make sure Magdeburg, the capitol city of the USE remains prominent in the minds of the populace. It’s decided that the best way to do this is with an opera showing support for the emperor. Various people are assembled to make this happen, including Marla Linder and her company of downtime musical partners. (Marla also decides to sing a song from Les Miserables which has some dangerous political sentiments guaranteed to ruffle the feathers of the nobility.)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review: Phoenix Rising by Ryk E. Spoor

Baen
387 pp.


Phoenix Rising has the same bright, slightly goofy feel of an extremely *shonen anime. I may or may not mean that in a good way. The world building is mostly “dashes of Tolkien, squibs of that really awesome roleplaying game the writer was in.” This is a book of bits and pieces that don’t always come together but manages to be fairly entertaining once you embrace the goofy shonen ridiculousness.