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 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 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: 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: 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: 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.


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 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 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)

Birdman and the Hugos

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Since the snow had finally decided to give us a cease fire, and since all my American friends had been raving about it, yesterday we decided to go see what Birdman was all about.

Birdman really is a fantastic movie, both for the story, the acting, and the direction. Every single choice points to its focus on duality, real and imagined, stage and backstage. It’s made to look like it was shot all in one take, and there are very … (Read more)