Archive for review

Sarah Lotz – The Three

sarahlotz-thethreeThey’re here … The boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many … They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to??–

The last words of Pamela May Donald (1961 – 2012)

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt. But they are not unchanged. And the fourth is Pamela May Donald, who lives just long enough to record a voice message on her phone. A message that will change the world.

The message is a warning.

Sarah Lotz is one half of the writing duo S.L. Grey, whose short fiction I love, and one half of Lily Herne, whose YA fiction I still need to read. But based on her writing as part of S.L. Grey, when I saw the announcement for The Three, her first solo novel, I knew I had to read it. It sounded deliciously creepy and when the book trailer was launched, I was only more excited for the book, something that doesn’t happen very often, as book trailers usually aren’t my thing. But even with those high expectations Lotz managed to surprise and amaze me, not just with the narrative The Three tells, but also with the form she’s chosen and how well everything fits together.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in horror, review, thriller | 1 Comment

The Skyscraper Throne Reread Week 11

TomPollock-TheCitysSonThis August Jo Fletcher Books is publishing the final instalment in Tom Pollock’s Skyscraper Throne trilogy, Our Lady of the Streets and to get ready for it, they’ve organised a massive reread for the first two books, The City’s Son and The Glass Republic. It’s no secret I adore these books and I’m eagerly awaiting the concluding volume to find out how Beth and Pen’s story ends. So I’m really pleased to be part of this reread and today I’ll be your host to the recap and discussion for the relatively short chapters 41-44. Remember, this is a reread, so there will be spoilers galore coming up, so as the lady says SPOILERS!   Continue reading »

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Michael J. Sullivan – Hollow World

michaeljsullivan-hollowworldEllis Rogers is an ordinary man who is about to embark on an extraordinary journey. All his life he has played it safe and done the right thing, but when faced with a terminal illness, he’s willing to take an insane gamble. He’s built a time machine in his garage, and if it works, he’ll face a world that challenges his understanding of what it means to be human, what it takes to love, and the cost of paradise. He could find more than a cure for his illness; he might find what everyone has been searching for since time began…but only if he can survive Hollow World.

When Michael J. Sullivan contacted me about reviewing his new SF novel Hollow World, I did a double-take. As I’d only been aware of him as a fantasy author, I was surprised that his newest publication would be a time-travelling SF novel. Still, the synopsis sounded fun and some of my favourite bloggers adore Sullivan’s writing, so I gladly accepted. And Hollow World wasn’t what I’d expected at all. There was an unexpected mystery at the heart of the narrative and an eloquent exploration of the nature of love, which made the time-travel element feel almost accidental.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in review, science fiction | 2 Comments

Coming Attractions: Historical Fiction Month

book-316411_640This coming May will be all about the historical fiction here on A Fantastical Librarian. There were some awesome releases in the past month and I still had some fantastic books in my TBR-pile that had been languishing there in favour of the new and shiny. So when I jokingly told someone that I needed to do an exclusive historical fiction month, I actually decided to do just that. I have a list of titles I want to read and some interviews and guest posts lined up. And it’s not just straight historical fiction; there is some historical crime and some historical supernatural suspense in there as well. So I hope you’ll enjoy the month, even if you’re not a regular historical fiction reader; I know I’m looking forward to getting stuck-in on these titles.  Continue reading »

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Naomi Foyle – Astra

naomifoyle-astraLike every child in Is-Land, Astra Ordott is looking forward to her Security shot so she can one day do her IMBOD Service and help defend her Gaian homeland from Non-Lander infiltrators. The one of Astra’s Shelter mothers, the formidable Dr Hokma Blesser, warns her that the shot will limit her chances of being a famous scientist – or helping raise the mysterious data-messenger Owleons that Hokma breeds – and Astra reluctantly agrees to deceive the Is-land authorities and all her family and friends in Or.

Astra grows up increasingly conscious of the differences between her and the other Or-kids – then Lil, an orphaned wild child of the forest, appears in Or and at last she has someone exciting to play with. But Lil’s father taught her some alarming ideas about the world, and Astra is about to learn some devastating truths about Is-Land, Non-Land, the Owleons, and the complex web of adult relationships that surrounds her.

Last year I reviewed Naomi Foyle’s Seoul Survivors and while the book and I didn’t really get along, I was very impressed with Foyle’s writing. And the premise of Astra sounded quite interesting, so I was really looking forward to seeing whether I’d get along better with Foyle’s sophomore effort. And I’m glad to say I did. Astra is just as thought-provoking as Seoul Survivors was, but without the problematic elements and Foyle’s use of language and imagery is just as good, if not better as it was in her previous novel.  Continue reading »

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Sophia McDougall – Mars Evacuees

sophiamcdougall-marsevacueesThe fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.

And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.

If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.

I love Sophia McDougall’s short fiction; I think she’s one of the most talented short fiction writers out there. I still have to read her Romanitas series; the first book in said series is patiently sitting on my TBR-pile. But when I heard about Mars Evacuees, learnt about McDougall’s inspiration for the book and read the flap text, I was sold and really wanted to read it. So I was gutted to learn that I had missed snagging an ARC of the book at World Fantasy last year, but made up for it by winning a competition McDougall ran for an ARC. There was much rejoicing in Casa Librarian at that news. And Mars Evacuees was everything I expected. It’s funny, smart, well-written and has oodles of character.  Continue reading »

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Robert A. Heinlein – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

robertaheinlein-themoonisaharshmistressIn 2075, Luna is no longer a penal colony, but it’s still a prison for everyone except its rulers …

A strange group of plotters are brewing up a revolution: an engaging jack-of-all-trades, his luscious blonde girlfriend, and a lonely talking computer. Their aim is the overthrow of the hated Authority and real freedom for the freebooting individualists who make up the moon’s population.

Set in a strangely familiar yet utterly alien human civilization of the future, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is one of the most imaginative science fiction novels ever written.

Reading Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and writing this review filled me with trepidation. Hodderscape had impeccable timing with the selection of this title as March’s Review Project Title as there was a discussion (to put it in the kindest terms) over whether one could be a “real SF fan” without having read and enjoyed Heinlein. I’d read Starship Troopers in days long past and thought it was okay. But after this debate and also because I’ve become a more critical and socially-aware reader since that time, I really was a little apprehensive starting The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. And with reason, because oh boy, I had issues with this book.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in review, science fiction | 2 Comments

Guest Post: E.J. Swift on Post-ecological Politics in The Osiris Project

ejswift-cataveiroE.J. Swift’s debut Osiris had some interesting reviews when it came out, but since it was published by Nightshade Books and at the time didn’t have a UK publisher, I never got around to reading it. However, I did get an e-copy in one of Nightshade’s giveaways at some point and when I received an ARC for Cataveiro, the second book in The Osiris Project, it seemed like the universe was giving me a hint, so I’ll be reading both books in early June. In the meantime, I’m happy to bring you a guest post by E.J. Swift explaining some of the ecological politics in her series The Osiris ProjectContinue reading »

By Published Posted in guest post, science fiction | 2 Comments

Scott Tracey – Darkbound

scotttracey-darkboundNo one hates being a witch quite like Malcolm. But if there’s one thing worse than being a witch, it’s being a Moonset witch. There are very few things in his life that he can control, and after a fight with his siblings, he’s losing his grip on what he’s got left.

A creature as old as Hamelin has crept out of the Abyss, and its siren song has infected the teenagers of Carrow Mill compelling them, at first, to simply be swept away in love. But love soon turns dangerous, as passion turns to violence and an army of sociopaths is born.

The Pied Piper isn’t just a story, and he’s got his eyes set on Malcolm, promising a life of freedom from magic and the shackles of the Moonset bond. As Carrow Mill burns, Malcolm must make the hardest choice of his life: family? Or freedom?

In the sequel to last year’s Moonset, Scott Tracey returns the reader to Carrow Mill. However, we don’t return to Justin’s point of view, instead the story is told from Malcolm’s perspective. It’s an interesting shift, especially as it means we get a different look at the members of the Moonset coven, both past and present. While I enjoyed Darkbound quite a lot and it was a good follow-up to Moonset, there were some things that disappointed me and some troubling aspects to some of Tracey’s word choice and ambiguity as to Mal’s sexual orientation.  Continue reading »

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Michael Boatman – Last God Standing

michaelboatman-lastgodstandingWhen God decides to quit and join the human race to see what all the fuss is about, all Hell breaks loose.

Sensing his abdication, the other defunct gods of Earth’s vanquished pantheons want a piece of the action He abandoned.

Meanwhile, the newly-humanised deity must discover the whereabouts and intentions of the similarly reincarnated Lucifer, and block the ascension of a murderous new God.

How is he ever going to make it as a stand-up comedian with all of this going on…?

Last God Standing was one of my Anticipated Reads for this spring. As I said in that post “…when I read the blurb I immediately wanted to read the book as it seemed like it would be a really fun read. I love Boatman as an actor, he’s got a great sense of timing, which is key to comedic acting, and it’ll be interesting to see whether this translates to his writing.” Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed with the book. First of all, Last God Standing‘s blurb doesn’t really do it justice; Boatman asks some pretty deep questions in his book and it is far from the comedic fling that it looks like from the blurb. Secondly, I had a hard time connecting to the narrative. I kept getting lost and having to go back a page to figure out exactly what was going on. However, despite these problems, there were things that worked really well in this book.  Continue reading »

By Published Posted in fantasy, review | 1 Comment

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