Booklist: Once again, Tanzer expertly weaves an authentic historical setting into a tense, engrossing supernatural frame with lush descriptions and a steadily building pace…. Despite the supernatural, historical setting, readers will see themes and issues that reverberate eerily with our present.
Kirkus: When death stops working, avoiding a dead ex-best friend becomes impossible. Dino DeLuca and July Cooper were best friends. Then Dino started dating perfect—and perfectly handsome—Rafi Merza, and their duet dissolved, an end punctuated by July’s unexpected death. Kind of. As Dino is grieving privately by her corpse (the DeLuca’s have a funeral home) July wakes up from death as vocal as ever. Tandem with trying to keep her revenant status secret is analyzing why their once strong pact devolved into dislike. His answer: her jealousy. Her answer: his boyfriend. The truth: somewhere in the middle. Rafi is trans and has a group of friends diverse in ethnicity and sexual orientation who school brash, brassy July on sensitivities to marginalized people (her struggle with being labeled without nuance as “dead” lightheartedly mirrors that of the LGBTQ+ community). The quasi-linear overlap of Dino’s and July’s narratives demonstrate the difficulty in finding the reality between the two sides. Their voices (him: think the dry intellect of Juno circa 2007, her: the audience who rolled their eyes at Juno circa 2007) are as distinctly different as their perceived versions of the truth. Dino and July are both white, while Rafi is of Pakistani descent. The explanation of why deaths cease is underdeveloped but doesn’t stop this from being a decent romp. Unfortunately for Dino, Rafi outranks him in narrative allure. The dissection of a fractured friendship with a pretty fun post-mortem.
Library Journal: Min is a supernatural creature, a fox spirit, with the ability to use fox-magic, called the Charm, to change her appearance and persuade others to do things. All her life, her mother has told her to avoid using the Charm, as foxes are mistrusted and looked down upon by the rest of society. When an investigator comes to their home inquiring after her brother Jun, who he claims has deserted from his place in the Space Forces, Min takes matters into her own hands and goes in search of him. Her travels take her from a gambling house run by a disowned relative to the ship where her brother was last stationed, the Pale Lightning. The more Min learns about her brother’s disappearance, the more she suspects foul play and all signs seem to be leading to the discovery of the Dragon Pearl, an ancient relic with great powers and value. The story’s climax features multiple surprises and betrayals, in a quick but unhurried pace. Lee skillfully weaves Korean folklore into this space opera narrative, creating dynamic and relatable characters. The ending is satisfying, tying up loose ends, but leaving room for a sequel. VERDICT With ghosts, pirates, and a rollicking space adventure, there’s a little something for everyone here. A recommended purchase for all middle grade collections.
Barnes and Noble: Molly Tanzer does it all; from her debut novel, named best book of 2015 by i09, to the “thoughtful erotica” she edits at her magazine, Congress, she’s proven to be one of the most distinct voices in contemporary SFF.
Tanzer balances wink-wink references to contemporary politics with pulpy tropes and solid storytelling.
DMLA congratulates its authors whose work made Publishers Weekly’s Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Books of 2018 list:
- Temper by Nicky Drayden
- The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
- Witchmark by C.L. Polk
Robert Jackson Bennett’s VIGILANCE, a novella about an America that has permanently surrendered to paranoia, distrust, and gun violence, to Brian Sweany at Recorded Books, at auction, by Katie Shea Boutillier, for Cameron McClure.
Shaun David Hutchinson’s BRAVE FACE, to Tom Spain at Simon & Schuster Audio, by Katie Shea Boutillier.
Russian rights to NYT bestselling author Robert McCammon’s BOY’S LIFE, SWAN SONG, THE BORDER, THE LISTENER and SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD, to Azbooka-Atticus, in a five-book deal, by Igor Korzhenevski at Alexander Korzhenevski Agency on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Cameron McClure.
Hungarian rights to Brent Weeks’s THE BLOOD MIRROR and THE BLACK PRISM renewal rights, to Konyvmolykepzo, by Milena Kaplarevic at Prava I Prevodi on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier for Donald Maass.
Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s ALWAYS NEVER YOURS, to Planeta Mexico, for world Spanish rights, by Amaiur Fernandez at International Editors’ on behalf of Katie Shea Boutillier.
Korean rights to Martha Wells’ Nebula and Hugo Award-winning ALL SYSTEMS RED (Book 1 of The Murderbot Diaries series), to Alma Publishing Co., by Jackie Yang at the Eric Yang Agency in association with Michael Curry for Jennifer Jackson.
Tor.com: This is a fast, fun, and funny novella that, at its heart, is about personhood, independence, and selfhood: about autonomy, trust, and kindness, as well as anxiety, frustration, and anger. At its heart, Exit Strategy is a kind story, and a hopeful one. I deeply enjoyed it. I heartily recommend the entire Murderbot Diaries series.
Publishers Weekly: Tanzer’s charming, confident follow-up to Creatures of Will and Temper continues the conceit of drawing on famous literary source texts for character and plot material; here, The Great Gatsby crashes into the works of H.P. Lovecraft, with, of course, chaotic results. On Long Island in the 1920s, Ellie West does bootlegging by boat to help pay for her brother’s education. One night, she inadvertently gets into an altercation with another sailor that ends in her acquiring some odd new bottles of moonshine; those bottles end up at a party thrown by Delphine “Fin” Coulthead and her rich husband and friends. Fin is out of her element in the endless parties of the Roaring ’20s, a situation only made worse by the nightmarish paranormal effects of the tainted liquor. Fin and Ellie make an appealing team as they work to figure out what’s wrong and stop it, and the depiction of Long Island is a fine example of nuanced, lovely landscape writing. The portrayal of groups of normal people falling into mob violence and hatred of the other groups is genuinely unnerving, and Tanzer resists simplistic moral takes. Some elements of the plot are a touch predictable, but the overall effect is delightful.
Author of the Majat Code series Anna Kashina’s SHADOWBLADE, in which a young blademaster must impersonate a lost princess and join a deadly political game that will upset the balance of powers in the empire, to Marc Gascoigne at Angry Robot, in a nice deal, for publication in May 2019, by Jennie Goloboy.