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: Radiance”

Review: The Shepherd’s Crown

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The Shepherd's CrownThe Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a good book. This is a more than decent final book to Discworld. This is a book as written by a man who has been fighting for years with an illness that threatened his own mind. And it’s actually an excellent draft for a finished novel.
It is not, sadly, a very good Terry Pratchett book.

It is a done story. As the afterword says, it … (Read more) “Review: The Shepherd’s Crown”

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) “Review: The Rebirths of Tao”

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: Of Noble Family”

Review: The Goblin Emperor

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The Goblin Emperor
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was… nice? OK? I really have a hard time finding much about it that I didn’t like, but there isn’t much of particularly exceptional either. (Except for Csevet. Csevet rules.)

(mild spoilers follow)

Maia is a particularly nice main character who main characteristic is being nice. Granted, I’m extremely glad that he has enough political knowledge not to be the stupid kind of nice who makes … (Read more) “Review: The Goblin Emperor”

Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland

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The Boy Who Lost FairylandThe Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m kinda conflicted about this one, and it makes me sad, since I wanted to love it so much.

It’s not the change in characters so late in the series (only one more book to go): Hawthorn and Tamburlaine are lovely, especially the little troll’s struggle to understand human society and all its little quirks and unspoken rules that make absolutely no sense.

It’s not … (Read more) “Review: The Boy Who Lost Fairyland”

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

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: Conservation of Shadows”

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) “Review: The Bread We Eat in Dreams”

Review: Cotillion

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Cotillion
Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Freddy!
Though nominally this book is about Kitty – her predicament, her coming to London, her getting tangled up in other people’s problems – none of this would happen, or get resolved in any satisfactory way, without the quiet, simple, and unassuming help of a character who, normally, would be relegated to the sidelines, being the helpful best friend or that guy in the background.

The story … (Read more) “Review: Cotillion”