A Bagful of Dragon
My girlfriend's brilliant paranormal urban fantasy novel is finally published.
I proofread it thinking it wouldn't be my kind of thing, but I LOVED IT! Loads of fun, really creepy in parts and full of magic and danger.
Set in Leeds, it includes references to actual magical practices and Yorkshire's thriving magic sub-culture.
A great, fast-paced read. Can't wait to proof read the sequel.
A Taste of Honey
The beauty of the prose is only matched by the imagination behind the world-building. This novella, while short, breaks my heart, reforms it, and breaks it once more.
While the writing itself might not be to everyone's tastes, you cannot deny its beauty. Each sentence is carved and crafted, each paragraph moulded into art.
Reading Kai Ashante Wilson's work is an experience not to be missed.
Arachne is an unique entry in the cyberpunk genre. It steps between the dystopia of William Gibson and the otherworldliness of Phillip K. Dick.
Full of 'almost' body-horror, corporations so mega that they transact court cases in nanoseconds, and AI characters with more spiritualism in their circuits than the humans that inhabit this post Big-One San Francisco.
A must-read for cyberpunk fans!
Gaie Sebold has created such a rich universe of worlds and characters in her Babylon Steel novels, that you can't help finding something to enjoy.
For me the two books have been a complete blast and I can't wait for the third... when it arrives.
They are FUN! That's not to say there's no emotion, pathos, danger and risk in them. Not at all.
An absolute riot of multi-world fantasy fiction.
Coeur d'Alene Waters
Filled with flawed characters, a corrupt police force, bought and manipulated by a wealthy local family; it's a rich background to the main tale of redemption, coming to terms and moving on.
Slow in parts, it is however, a worthwhile read in itself, serving as an insight into the mining communities of the region and their demise as a local industry and employer.
Crime fiction is a genre I rarely venture into, but Ruth Sutton's Cumbria-set series may be my gateway.
The story nips along at a nice pace, providing plenty of information while avoiding info-dumps. The characters are likeable in their own ways and the late 60s setting is nicely done, especially the insight into the Cumbrian coastal region of that period.
I can't wait to start the sequel.
Europe in Autumn
Europe in Autumn, Europe at Midnight and Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson, combine a believable and prescient view of a soon-to-be Europe with a strange, almost fantastical twist.
It reminds me in part of China Miéville's The City and the City, while also showing flashes of William Gibson's Pattern Recognition, with its "technocultural future-present" setting.
All three are great reads!
FIYAH - Issue One [EPUB]
I was expecting to be impressed. But instead I was STUNNED!
FIYAH Literary Magazine is an essential work. While the included stories can all be considered speculative fiction, the breadth of ideas is astounding.
It's all finished off with a nice sample of a self-published work. A great idea.
If the subsequent issues are half as good as this first one, you should definitely subscribe.
A beautiful, contemplative journey.
It's hard to slot Jaran into a genre. It's been called "anthropological science fiction", and that kind of fits. But it doesn't cover the ideas of wonder, nature, culture and love, found with a new people on a new world.
If you liked Rosemarie Kirstein's Steerswoman series, Jaran let's you explore and fall in love with another way of life all over again.
An amazing story that more than fulfils my need for great world-building. Such a creative mix of the unrecognisable, beautiful prose, and an uncanny skill for weaving technology into mythology.
Memory is slow to build, but when it does, it does so steadily. As our characters explore the 'Ring of the World' we learn with them, understand with them and fight back with them.
A wonderful read.
Much Secret Sorrow: Guy of Gisborne 1
This book pulls you into a richly detailed 12th Century world of politicking lords, dangerous Welsh border raids and a likeable protagonist in the form of Guy of Maebury. A careful, steady feed of recognisable, but not yet legendary, characters tops it all off.
The slow build-up is worth it and does contribute to a much livelier, fuller world and more meaningful character motivations.
What a fantastically fun read.
This novella was my first experience of T. Kingfisher's books, and I'll now be buying any and all the others I can get my hands on.
The lovably ragtag troop of goblins comprising the Whining Niners make the Fellowship of the Ring seem like some dull kids on a Sunday school outing. And I have to say, the Bear is my favourite.
Go read it. A light, fast story.
Finding the print version of Nonplayer in a local comic shop blew my mind.
The amazing digital artwork is absolutely beautiful. The story - as much of a short snippet you get in a single comic book issue - is cyberpunky and fresh, to me at least.
I only recently realised it was available from Image Comics, along with issue 2. So I'm heading back into its lush artwork and enthralling world.
As wonderful and entrancing as the first issue.
This beautifully illustrated second comic from Nate Simpson, opens up the world, broadens the scope and sets up some interesting conflict.
I can't wait for the third in the series. This is a story to get lost in.
Well done Nate and Image Comics.
Created by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, Saga is a beautifully intimate space opera.
It touches on race, religion, conflict, family and love, with a deft hand and imagery that is just sublime.
Proof that Image Comics' creator-owned approach really works. These are the kinds of stories that comics were made for.
You know how you sometimes get too comfortable in familiar genres and need a book to come along and kick you out of your comfort zone? Well, this was mine.
We fall into the world-weary lives of a newly-married ex-pat couple. The author explores sex, pain, abuse, assault, desire, trauma... and the relationships, even love, based on all these things.
An uncomfortable, but rewarding read.
I'm always intrigued by novels that are inspired by tiny snippets of historical events.
A sliver of history taken as a seed, with enough facts to place it in a believable context, can be a rich seam for a skilled author. Ned Hayes has recreated a dark period of British history and, taking little-known facts, has wrapped them in a heart-wrenching tale of loss, vengeance, treachery, and grief.
The Blue Blazes
This weird, wild, violent, dangerous, almost-fantasy, New York setting is pure Chuck Wendig.
Mookie Pearl is to the gangland thug what Miriam Black is to the care home nurse. If this is what happens when Chuck Wendig is given free rein to create his own universe and populate it with strange gods, demons and magic, then I want more of it!
Read it and the sequel. Well done Chuck!
The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter
A ripping yarn of disguise, deception and misdirection, propelled along by a brilliantly written period style that firmly places you in the world.
A rollicking ride through alternate-history Britain after the Luddite uprisings. Recognisable locations mixed with carefully applied genre tropes keep this book from becoming yet another steampunk adventure and raise it above its fellows.
Yes, The Fisherman is a little Lovecraftian, with its ancient gods, cultists, and watery... things. But it has much more going for it. The Fisherman is a work of beauty that Lovecraft never came close to.
You grieve with Abe as he tries to pick up the pieces. You worry about what Dan will do... and when he'll break. You wonder which story you are actually reading and who is telling it.