A Quartet of Shorts

reviewamnestyMy huge plan to catch myself up on reviews during my vacation has gone hopelessly awry, in fact I think I’m even more behind now than I was when I started. Partially that’s because life, but it was also because I read a number of shorter works when we were travelling and they sort of added up. So I bundled a number of them and I present you with a quartet of shorts!  Read More …

Review Amnesty: Reprise

reviewamnestyIt’s the return of the review amnesty. Once again I’m behind on reviewing books I’ve read and I really want to get through this backlog, so I won’t just keep staring at it mournfully and then freeze up trying to write the reviews. So I’ve decided to to write another batch of shorter reviews and I might do another one in the near future, just so I can start fresh after the summer.  Read More …

Review Amnesty: Final Edition

reviewamnestyIt’s time for my final Review Amnesty edition. After last year’s hiatus I had a whole stack of books I’d read, but not reviewed and I found that they were becoming a huge stumbling block into getting the blog started back up again, so I decided to call a review amnesty and just run through them in batches and short pieces giving my thoughts, instead of writing full reviews for them. I ended up with three posts of which this is the last one. So with this post I bid goodbye to the Review Amnesty, though you never know, they might make a comeback at some point in the future.  Read More …

Review Amnesty: Big Fat Fantasy Edition

reviewamnestyAfter the hiatus I took last year, I have a huge backlog of books I’ve read and need to review and now I’m trying to get the blog back up and running they are staring me in the face and taunting me, all nineteen of them. Some of them I read over six months ago and it is hard to write a review for them in the usual way, so I’ve decided to declare a review amnesty. There are two books I’m planning to co-review with Wiebe, since they are two of his favourite books, two novellas that I can quickly reread and review, but the other fifteen will be split up into three posts and I’m going to just quickly run down each of them and give my thoughts. And then I’ll be able to move on and *bursts into song* Let It Go…So here is the first of the three posts, the one I dubbed the Big Fat Fantasy edition.  Read More …

Ann Leckie – Ancillary Sword

annleckie-ancillaryswordBreq is a soldier who used to be a warship. Once a weapon of conquest controlling thousands of minds, now she only has a single body and serves the emperor she swore to destroy.

Given a new ship and a troublesome crew, Breq is ordered to the only place in the galaxy she will agree to go: Athoek station, to protect the family of a lieutenant she once knew – a lieutenant she murdered in cold blood.

After finishing Ancillary Justice I was able to immediately dive into Ancillary Sword, which was lucky, because I really didn’t want to say goodbye to Breq for long. I’d already heard people raving how Ancillary Sword was even better than Ancillary Justice, so the book had a lot to live up to. And it did… in spades. Ancillary Sword takes the foundations Ann Leckie had laid in the first book and built them up and out into a fascinating structure, both in terms of the world-building and of the plot.  Read More …

Author Query – Ann Leckie

annleckie-ancillarymercyAnn Leckie was already a well-known name in short fiction SFF circles when she burst upon the rest of the world with her debut novel Ancillary Justice. The book swept the 2014 SFF awards in an unprecedented way, while its sequel Ancillary Sword was published to perhaps not as many awards, but with many people opining that Sword was even better than Justice. Today is publication day for the highly anticipated conclusion of this trilogy, Ancillary Mercy. And trust me when I say Mercy continues the upward trend and is just an amazing ending to the series. I only came to read the series this summer despite getting Ancillary Justice for my birthday last year (bad blogger!), but the books gave me lots of thinky thoughts and I really wanted to ask Ann Leckie some questions and she was kind enough to answer them for me. I hope you enjoy the interview and check back for reviews for Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy later in the week.  Read More …

Ann Leckie – Ancillary Justice

annleckie-ancillaryjusticeOn a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.

Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren—a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.

An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body, unanswered questions, and a burning desire for vengeance.

In some way writing a review of Ann Leckie’s debut novel Ancillary Justice feels somewhat redundant, as it seems as if everyone has read this book or has at least heard about it. In fact, it swept the SFF awards in 2014 in an unprecedented way. On the other hand, much of the conversation about Ancillary Justice has focussed on Leckie’s choice of gender pronouns and treatment of gender in the narrative. In my opinion this does a disservice to both the book and the author, because Ancillary Justice is far more than an experiment in gender approach. In fact, my attention was much more drawn by the narrative techniques Leckie uses to convey Breq’s dual nature as a ship and an ancillary, and by the question of what it means to be sentient if not autonomous.  Read More …

Anticipated Reads (Summer-Autumn) 2015

2015In the past week and a half I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Summer/Autumn 2015 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Claire McGowan’s The Silent Dead, Edward Cox’s second book The Cathedral of Known Things, Stephanie Saulter’s Regeneration, Rebecca Levene’s The Hunter’s Kind, and the final book in Snorri Kristjansson’s Valhalla series Path of Gods.

So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: Science Fiction & Horror

2015Welcome to the third post in my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. Today I bring you both my science fiction and my horror picks. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …

Anticipated Books (Summer-Autumn) 2015: Fantasy October-December

2015Day two of my Anticipated Books series for the second half of 2015. As usual I had so many fantasy books catch my fancy I had to split them into two posts. For some of these I already have an (e)ARC or review copy, so they’ll definitely be read and reviewed. And for the rest, I’ll have to see whether I get the chance to get my hands on them!  Read More …