Aug 212017

Locus Magazine: A damaged android on an exploratory mission takes center stage in this entertaining SF novella, the first book in the Murderbot Diaries series.

There’s some tense action, and a few of the scientists turn out to be more interesting and less helpless than they initially appear, but it’s the character of Murderbot that really makes the story come alive, a mix of flat robot personality with some surprising quirks, serious combat skills, a talent for coming up with effective plans – and a deep need to discover who it really is.

Aug 172017

Cover of The Stone in The Skull by Elizabeth Bear.Booklist: Readers familiar with Bear’s work will recognize the city of Messaline and the names of the Lotus Kingdoms, but this is the farthest she’s delved into this shattered empire. As usual, the setting is wonderfully realized; the characters are possessed of depth, personality, and individuality; the threads of politics that drive the plot are a fascinating knot to try to unravel. This is a promising beginning indeed for an epic; there are many lines of story left to follow, and it will no doubt be a magnificent journey.

Aug 152017

Cover of Kaira Rouda's BEST DAY EVER.Library Journal: This latest psychological thriller from bestselling Rouda is destined to fly off the shelves, enticing readers to ride along as this multifaceted day in the life of the Stroms unfolds.

Aug 142017

Cover of The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo.Barnes & Noble SFF Blog: With precise prose and an engaging plot that is lyrical even as it is paced like a thriller, The Five Daughters of the Moon is rich, rewarding tale.

Aug 112017

Cover of The Stone in The Skull by Elizabeth Bear.Kirkus: Hoping to build on the dazzling triumph of her Eternal Sky fantasy trilogy (Steles of the Sky, etc.), Bear embarks on a new trilogy set in the same universe. The opening scene, in which a caravan heaves itself across the icy peaks of the Steles of the Sky, takes the narrative, literally and figuratively, out of familiar territory and into the Lotus Kingdoms, the contentious, broken shards of the once-mighty Alchemical Empire.

A panoramic drama that grabs and grips from Page 1 …captivatingly different …vivid, absorbing, and thrilling…stands head and shoulders above nearly everything else.

In an overcrowded field, [The Stone in The Skull] stands head and shoulders above nearly everything else.

Aug 102017

Cover of Swarm and Steel by Michael Fletcher.Booklist: Imagine waking in an alley with no recollection of how you got there—or even who you are. That is how Zerfall’s day starts. Left to die by assassins, she awakens wounded and unable to remember how she got to where she is, let alone where her precious sword has gone.

Fletcher’s latest grim-dark novel will leave readers wanting the story to continue.

Aug 092017

Cover of The Gate of Tagmeth by P.C. Hodgell.Publishers Weekly: The enchanting eighth installment of Hodgell’s Chronicles of the Kencyrath (after Sea of Time) continues to follow Jame, who is both sister and heir of Torisen, the Highlord of the Kencyr, and the avatar of the destructive side of the Kencyr’s Three-Faced God. Jame is given command of the fort of Tagmeth as a way to prove herself in lieu of her third year of military school, but her family’s political enemies live between Tagmeth and the Highlord’s forces, making her journey there treacherous-and the ancient evil that the Kencyr’s god has destined them to fight is drawing near from the other direction. The Kencyr live in one of the most deeply realized worlds in fantasy, a rich and complicated space that includes many cultures and riveting, three-dimensional characters.

Full of dark wonder, wry humor, and the quirks of Jame’s inimitable personality, the newest installment in Hodgell’s life’s work demonstrates why it can be worthwhile for a writer to spend 40 years writing the same series.

Aug 082017

B&N SFF Blog: Without a doubt, Godblind is a savage read; there is bloodshed in nearly every chapter. Stephens doesn’t shy away from graphic gore, whether in scenes of battle or ritualistic slaughter. And yet, it never feels gratuitous. This is a grimdark fantasy that truly lives up to the name.

Aug 042017

Cover of The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden.New York Times: Long ago, as one character explains early in Nicky Drayden’s THE PREY OF GODS, the human race was fathered by a god who gave unique powers to each of his children. Though human beings have lost these abilities over the generations since, they remain present in mitochondrial DNA, latent except in a few rare individuals. And except in those humans whose latent DNA has been awakened — which a new street drug called godsend just happens to be able to do.

This is the mytho-scientific premise underlying a madcap, rapid-fire tale of South Africa in the year 2064, where a handful of individuals are suddenly plagued by godhood. One, Nomvula, is a lonely little township girl born with power. Several others acquire their abilities from godsend, to varying degrees of trauma or delight…As a genetically engineered virus spreads and threatens to awaken the latent godhood of billions, these few special individuals come together to decide, ultimately, what manner of gods will rule the future. Oh­ — and also, the technological apocalypse looms as personal robots all over the world quietly become self-aware.

Drayden’s delivery of all this is subtly poignant and slap-in-the-face deadpan – perfect for this novel-length thought exercise about what kinds of gods a cynical, self-absorbed postmodern society really deserves. Lots of fun.

Aug 012017

Cover of The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo.B&N SFF Blog: With lush prose and an immersive sense of place, this brief, evocative work – the first half of a duology that continues with The Sisters of the Crescent Empress in November – will bring an icy chill to the summer months.