Review: Thin Air

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Thin AirThin Air by Michelle Paver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A suspenseful, atmospheric horror set in the Himalayas in the 1930s. The story follows Doctor Stephen Pearce, a last minute replacement on an expedition to climb Kangchenjunga, back then believed to be the highest peak in the world.

A malaise seems to follow Stephen, in the beginning seemingly only due to the bad weather, his love/hate relationship with his brother Kits, and troubles he left behind in London. But … (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: Of Noble Family

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Of Noble Family
Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is a heavyweight – and not just because it’s almost twice as big as the earlier ones.

(mild spoilers follow)

Whereas Valour and Vanity was a historical heist novel, Of Noble Family could be seen as a psychological thriller. What should have been a simple engagement or even a relaxing vacation turns soon into horror, and Jane and Vincent have to bear the effects of … (Read more)

Review: Castle Hangnail, by Ursula Vernon

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Castle HangnailCastle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Haunted castles! Stitched-up minions! Walking suits of armour! Bats! donkeys! Several kinds of not-quite-dragons! And a 12-year old Wicked Witch who isn’t exactly who she says she is. These are the ingredients of Ursula Vernon’s latest novel and all I can say is I need a sequel now.

If you read my other reviews you already know what I love about Ursula’s books: the humour, the clever resolutions, … (Read more)

Review: Ready Player One

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Player one Player one by Ernest Cline

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, really.
Before elaborating, I’m going to quote from two other reviews here on Goodreads because I think they summarize my opinion quite well.
Flannery: “This book is nostalgia porn.”
William Cline: “Ready Player One doesn’t draw from 1980s popular culture; it just name-drops it all over the place.”

First things first: I liked Ready Player One, it’s a solid first book, and I’m curious of what else … (Read more)

The road to

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The following post stems from matters of feminism / gender studies, but doesn’t really offer much insight into either of those apart from the personal ramblings of a white cis dude. So, feel free to skip it, unless you want a brief insight into how my mind works.

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When you’re walking with a discrete amount of people for a certain time, eventually you’ll see them split up into three main groups: some rushing up ahead, others lagging towards the … (Read more)

Review: The Seventh Bride, by T. Kingfisher

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The Seventh BrideThe Seventh Bride by T. Kingfisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“When your future husband is a mad sorcerer, following hedgehogs sometimes seems like the only option.”

Initially born as a retelling of Bluebeard, this story stands on its own and becomes something else entirely. For one, most of the wives are still alive in this version, and for some of them that’s definitely not an improvement.

Kingfisher/Vernon has a rare skill, in that she can imbue a book … (Read more)

Review: The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

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The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help
The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part autobiography, part business insider, part long-form blog post, The Art of Asking is an insightful slice into Amanda Palmer’s mind and her relationship with the fans.

While inspired by her TED talk on the same topic, this book is (thankfully) not really a business model. Unlike those self-help books that try to translate life experiences … (Read more)

Review: Conservation of Shadows

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Conservation of Shadows
Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

All right, the important bits first: if you haven’t read this book yet DO IT DO IT NOWWWWWWW. Ahem.

The only word that comes to describe this collection of short stories by Yoon Ha Lee is “astounding”. The author’s prose is rich and succulent, each phrase a meal in itself, at times reminding me of Borges and Cat Valente.

Most of the stories in the collection are … (Read more)

Review: The Bread We Eat in Dreams

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The Bread We Eat in Dreams
The Bread We Eat in Dreams by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful anthology, and a perfect starting place for those who want to delve into the writings of Catherynne Valente without committing to a full novel.

I have read most of the stories in this anthology before and, on a second read, they don’t come as strong or shocking, but more like long-time friends or forgotten lovers with which to share a … (Read more)

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