All posts by Mieneke

Guy Adams – The Clown Service

guyadams-theclownserviceToby Greene has been reassigned.

After one screw up too many, he finds himself at a largely forgotten branch of the British Intelligence Service, working for August Shining, a Cold War relic, and charged with defending the country from paranormal terrorism.

But when an ex-Soviet-era enemy returns with an insidious plan to raise the dead and destroy London, it seems Toby’s impossible job is to save Great Britain – whether he believes it or not.

When The Clown Service arrived the cover grabbed me as it was seemingly so at odds with the title. It evokes a classic cold war spy thriller, but in a colourful way. It is also set in a supernatural London; that fact alone would have sold me. But it was not just the supernatural London setting that made this book so much fun, it was its tone and sense of humour as well. In addition, The Clown Service’s plot was extremely entertaining and very well put together. I was really pleased with the book and while the story was impeccably paced, I would have loved for it to have been a bit longer, so I could have spent just a bit more time with the characters.   Continue reading »

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Laure Eve – Fearsome Dreamer

laureeve-fearsomedreamerIn the world of FEARSOME DREAMER, England has become Angle Tar – a technophobic and fiercely independent country holding its own against the mass of other nations that is World. Rue is an apprenticed hedge witch in rural Angle Tar, but she knows she is destined for greater things. After being whisked off to the city by the enigmatic Frith, Rue becomes the student of White, a young Worlder with a Talent that is much in demand: White is no ordinary Dreamer – but then neither is Rue. Both can physically ‘jump’ to different places when they dream – and both have more power than they know.

Rue and White find themselves electrically attracted to each other – but who is the mysterious silver-eyed boy stalking Rue’s dreams? And why is he so interested in her relationship with White? Is Rue about to discover just how devastatingly real dreams can be…?

Fearsome Dreamer has been on my radar ever since I first learned it was to be published. I was lucky enough to grab a copy and get it signed by its author, Laure Eve, at WFC in Brighton last year, but as so many books that I got at WFC it landed on my TBR-pile, to remain there until this month. With the sequel The Illusionists out next month, I decided it was high time to finally read Fearsome Dreamer. And I’m glad I did. While Eve’s debut novel wasn’t perfect, its world-building was intriguing and its characters satisfyingly complex.  Continue reading »

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Craig Cormick – The Shadow Master

craigcormick-theshadowmasterIn a land riven with plague, in the infamous Walled City, two families vie for control – the Medicis with their genius inventor Leonardo; the Lorraines with Galileo, the most brilliant alchemist of his generation.

And when two star-crossed lovers, one from either house, threaten the status quo, a third, shadowy power – one that forever seems a step ahead of all of the familial warring – plots and schemes, and bides its time, ready for the moment to attack…

Continue reading »

By Published Posted in fantasy, review | 1 Comment

Deborah Harkness – The Book of Life

deborahharkness-thebookoflifeA world of witches, daemons and vampires. A manuscript which holds the secrets of their past and the key to their future. Diana and Matthew – the forbidden love at the heart of it.

After travelling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home in France they reunite with their families – with one heart-breaking exception. But the real threat to their future is yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on a terrifying urgency. Using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the palaces of Venice and beyond, Diana and Matthew will finally learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

I was surprisingly blown away by the first book in this series and its sequel drew me in even further. Yet A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night were two very different books. Where A Discovery of Witches was modern day supernatural fantasy, Shadow of Night was very much a historical fantasy. And I was looking forward to seeing what The Book of Life would be. As far as setting goes, The Book of Life is very much more in the vein of A Discovery of Witches, yet with the added benefit of some of the fantastic characters from Shadow of Night. Yet like both of its predecessor the book makes for addictive reading and I had a serious case of book hangover once I finished it.

Of a necessity, talking about The Book of Life will contain some spoilers for the previous books, so if you want to remain unspoiled, beyond the cut will be SPOILERS!   Continue reading »

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Elliott Hall – The First Stone

elliotthall-thefirststonePrivate eye Felix Strange doesn’t work homicide cases. He saw enough dead bodies fighting in Iran, a war that left him with a crippling disease that has no name and no cure. So when Strange is summoned to a Manhattan hotel room to investigate the dead body of America’s most-loved preacher, he’d rather not get involved.

Strange knows that his hiring is no accident. He can’t see all the angles, and he knows he’s being watched. He’s got a week to find the killer, and even less time to get the black-market medicine he needs to stay alive. In a race against time Strange must face religious police, organized crime and a dame with very particular ideas, while uncovering a conspiracy that reaches the very heart of his newly fundamentalist nation.

June’s Hodderscape Review title was an interesting choice. At first blush, Elliott Hall’s The First Stone seemed more a crime thriller than an SFF novel, however there are certainly speculative elements to the story. Most of these are due to the narrative’s dystopian tendencies and near future setting. It made for a fascinating and somewhat chilling world and one whose elements are frighteningly plausible.   Continue reading »

By Published Posted in crime, review, science fiction | 2 Comments

A Fantastical Librarian Turns Four!

birthdayIf A Fantastical Librarian where human it’d be old enough to go to school today! I’m still amazed that I’ve kept writing all this time and how big a part of my life blogging and the online SFF community has become. Blogging has brought me more than I’d ever expected, something that was emphasised last week by the World Fantasy Award nomination I received for A Fantastical Librarian. To commemorate the blog’s 4th birthday, here are four things blogging has taught me.   Continue reading »

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Flabbergasted: World Fantasy Awards Edition

wfa-logoLast week the World Fantasy Awards short list was announced. I thought it was an interesting ballot with fabulous nominees. So imagine my surprise when this afternoon I suddenly received congratulations on being nominated for a World Fantasy Award in the Special Award: Nonprofessional category. And it’s actually really, really true!! Look it’s there on Locus and everything!   Continue reading »

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Clifford Beal – Raven’s Banquet

cliffordbeal-ravensbanquetGermany 1626: A War, a Witch, a Reckoning…

Richard Treadwell is a young man who dreams of glory and honour on the battlefield—and the plunder and riches that would follow. Newly arrived in Hamburg to seek his fortune as a mercenary in the Danish army, he joins the vast war in northern Germany between the Catholic Hapsburg empire and the Protestant princes of the north. But he has also brought with him an old secret—and with it the seeds of his own destruction.

A young gypsy woman foretells that Richard cannot outrun his fate, and then he is swept headlong into the terrible war. The bloodshed he witnesses among the Danes strips him of conscience and hardens his heart, as the opposing armies close for the battle to decide the future of the kingdom—and maybe his own soul. But even as Treadwell steels himself for the final contest against the forces of the Holy Roman Emperor, an unseen enemy stalks him within his own camp…

The hero of Gideon’s Angel returns to tell how his journey into the supernatural began.

Clifford Beal’s Gideon’s Angel impressed me very much last year and when the author told me a prequel was in the works I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Raven’s Banquet is set 26 years before Gideon’s Angel and is told in memoir form by Richard Treadwell in 1635, so nine years after the main events related in the book and running up to the earliest events recounted in Gideon’s Angel. While the narrative as such stands alone quite well, its ending clearly makes it a prequel and the 1635 arc definitely isn’t resolved. To find out what happened the reader will have to seek out the next book.   Continue reading »

By Published Posted in fantasy, historical fiction, review | Leave a comment

Blog Maintenance

menatworkI spent my afternoon watching the Tour de France and doing some long over due blog maintenance. I updated my review index, the series pages and the interviews page, so they are all current. I’ve messed about a bit with the side bar, tweaking the way you can browse tags.

But most importantly I’ve switched up my RSS delivery, moving away from FeedBurner, because you never now when it might go poof. So please update your RSS subscription to my new RSS feed linked in the upper right hand corner or by clicking here. I’ve also added the possibility to subscribe to A Fantastical Librarian via email, so you can get all my posts delivered straight to your inbox.  Continue reading »

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Carrie Patel – The Buried Life

carriepatel-theburiedlifeThe gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

The Buried Life, Carrie Patel’s debut novel, intrigued me with its synopsis. It reads as a noir crime novel in a fantasy setting and the lovely cover gives off a bit of a steampunky vibe for me. Yet Angry Robot has filed the book under Science Fantasy, which confused me a bit. Still, I’ll never say no to a crime fantasy novel and I cracked open my ARC for The Buried Life looking forward to discovering where exactly the book would fall on the genre scale. Two chapters in and any such considerations where completely forgotten as I became drawn into the narrative.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in crime, fantasy, review, science fiction | 2 Comments
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