Review: Summer in Orcus

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Summer in OrcusSummer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Will I ever stop adoring everything Ursula writes? Probably not.
This is a portal fantasy with a girl who is wise beyond her years but still gets scared and doesn’t know how to fight and has to rely on her friends and the goodwill of others for most things.
This is a story where the bad guy razes villages to the ground but also wants the time to … (Read more)

Review: The Rise of Io

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The Rise of IoThe Rise of Io by Wesley Chu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn’t sure of this one at first. Ella seemed a bit of a stereotype at first, and her early relationship with Io hit a lot of similar notes as the Roen/Tao one. However both characters eventually grew up on me, and by the end of the book, I’m honestly excited to see where their story is going. (And hey, neither of them is Cameron, so they … (Read more)

Review: Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy

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Laser Moose and Rabbit BoyLaser Moose and Rabbit Boy by Doug Savage
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy protect the forest with the power of, well, lasers, and unending optimism. Alas, they’re likely to cause as much trouble as they prevent.

The book contains three stories and a short adventure, full of improbable happenings and a mix of dark and goofy humour. It’s a very short read for adults, and I think kids will find it funny as well. … (Read more)

Review: Ninefox Gambit

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Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire, #1)Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ninefox Gambit is the first full-length novel set in Yoon Ha Lee’s complex hexarchate universe, previously explored in several short stories. It’s also one of the best military sci-fi (heck, any sort of sci-fi) books I’ve read lately, sporting a compelling mix of espionage, intrigue, space battles, and ground fights.

In this universe, the hexarchate rules the day-to-day celebrations of its star-spanning empire with an iron fist, because … (Read more)

Review: Full Fathom Five

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Full Fathom Five (Craft Sequence, #3)Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m reading this series slightly out of order, though luckily the stories are mostly self-contained. Having just finished it, my feeling is that FFF is a better story than Three Parts Dead, though of course the first volume has the added weight of having to introduce world and characters from scratch, while FFF doesn’t bother too much explaining gods, Craft, and walking skeletons to first time readers. Only … (Read more)

Review: Forest of Memory

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Forest of MemoryForest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story plays with the themes of memory, recollection, and authenticity. Did something really happen if no one was there to record it? Is an account true if filtered by our fallible memories? If someone tells a story, can we ever be sure they’re not lying?

Some people found an anti-technology message in this story. I really don’t. It just asks some important questions about a technological … (Read more)

Review: Word Puppets

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Word PuppetsWord Puppets by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good collection, with many strong (and some less, but still enjoyable) pieces that showcase Kowal’s evolution as a short fiction writer. Most of these I had read before, either on the author’s website or on different magazines, but they didn’t lose anything on a second read.

The last three stories of the volume, including Rockets Red, original to this book, share the same universe as the extremely … (Read more)

Review: Speak Easy

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Speak EasySpeak Easy by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this on a first read. While Cat Valente’s writing style is always luscious and overflowing like a fountain, perfectly capturing the slang, essence, and style of the 1920s, I don’t think it helped favourably the pacing and narrative of the story. Barely over 140 pages, it felt enormously longer to read. What seemed to be the story of Zelda turned out to be … (Read more)

Review: Radiance

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RadianceRadiance by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you remember when you started reading Jules Verne, marvelled at the places he described, the ruins of Atlantis, the rivers of Africa, the caves at the centre of the Earth? Do you remember when you realised his world was not actually our world, but one made of myths, of hearsay, of wonder and imagination – maybe not real, but definitely more romantic*?

Valente’s solar system in Radiance is … (Read more)

Review: The Rebirths of Tao

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The Rebirths of Tao
The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounded up because I ultimately liked it.

Is it weird to judge a series of which you haven’t read the first installment? Well, I started reading with The Deaths of Tao, which I got as part of this year’s Hugo package and, while I do intend to read The Lives of Tao at some point, I do not feel the urge to do it right (Read more)