December 1, 2014 by rachelcmann
Planesrunner – Ian McDonald – Unique mythology. Likable main characters. A fun steampunk vibe. All very readable and a really fun read. I think there might be additional books in this world so I need to do a little research to find out (yes! there are more). Essentially this first installment is about a teenage boy who is trying to find his father, and who discovers the secret of parallel universes.
Tiger Lily- Jodi Lynn Anderson – It sometimes feels like Peter Pan has been done to death. So many retellings and reinterpretations that it all feels old and worn out. So an original and fresh version of Peter Pan, told through the eyes of the oft overlooked source of Tinker Bell. She is attached to another minor character Tiger Lily and their story of the white man’s encroach on native cultures in heartbreaking. The author doesn’t directly address, but let’s the reality seep in, not unlike real history. Peter Pan plays a minor role in the tale and is not a terribly sympathetic character.
Brainiac – Ken Jennings – This was really enjoyable and a quick read. Ken Jennings has (unintentionally) leveraged a record breaking winning streak on Jeopardy! into being a nerdy cultural icon. He has this book, a regular column on Slate, and a handful of special appearances. And if he continues to be witty and engaging he’s unlikely to disappear from the zeitgeist soon.
Thief’s Magic – Trudi Canavan – The tag line suggests this is magic like you’ve never seen it before, but honestly the mythology isn’t all that original. What’s surprising is that the dual story lines never meet, not in this book at least, and I was at least 3/4 of the way through before I figured out how they might cross and got really excited. In one story, a young sorcerer is forced to flee his magic academy with his new found treasure. In the other, a young woman in a world where magic is shunned is discovered for using a tiny amount of magic to protect herself and she is sent to prison (basically). The stories are compelling on their own but the sections on each get briefer as the book progresses and I got a little confused a couple of times. I’d be interested to see where the story goes but I doubt I’ll remember where this one ended by the time the second book comes out.
Variant – Robison Wells – I ate this one UP (literally read it in a single sitting when I ought to have been sleeping). A young man accepts a scholarship to a mysterious boarding school. Turns out, they are more like prisoners (think the Stanford Prison Experiment) then students, watched over by a semi-benevolent unseen overlord. And then this thing takes a total left turn! I won’t spoil it but OMG! 😉
Any Witch Way You Can – Amanda M Lee – This is what most people would call a beach read I think. It’s easy, super fast and fun. It’s about modern day witches, and while this is more mystery than romance it’s not hard to see where it’s going. The main protagonist has a great wit and it all reminds me of the Tempest series. (That’s a good thing)
Every Witch Way but Wicked – Amanda M Lee – Well, I just kept going. And while this one stretched my credulity a little farther than the first it was still a lot of fun and if I can find the next one for free on my Kindle I’ll definitely read it. That’s how they get you!
The Twelve Stones – RJ Johnson – This is a pretty dark book. Yes it’s sci-fi/fantasy and yes, it’s pretty light weight on motive but it’s also got a new twist on an old tale. A mystical object that grants strange powers. An evil guy. A good guy. The sidekicks. The lost love reunited. But that dark part I mentioned? Yeah, they don’t spare the gory details and the body count gets pretty darn high. And I was going to say that I’d look out for the next book but now…well I think I’ll stick to something lighter.
Atlas – Becca C Smith – This, like so many other books these days, comes from BookBub. This is a pretty quick read, a female Navy SEAL with a huge chip on her shoulder is suddenly pulled into a mythological game of chicken with the god Atlas. She wins…kind of… Quick fun read but a little light on character development.
Black Wings – Christina Henry – I seem to have stumbled across a spate of reaper-esque related fiction lately. This one has a great protagonist and some fun twists and turns. Essentially a reaper with a gargoyle guardian and a freelance recipe development job is just another cog in the wheel of the business of death. But then she starts to be attacked and her never-existent father is suddenly screwing around with a lot of her life. There’s mostly fallen angels and some odd interpretations of Christian mythology but overall a fun read.
Fated & Cursed & Taken – Benedict Jacka – I zipped right through this trilogy (there may be more, I need to check). A mage with the powers of divination runs a magic shop (very reminiscent of Dresden Files) and although it took me a solid 50 pages to figure out that our narrator was male (too many female leads lately I guess) I thoroughly enjoyed the story telling. Of course, the bad guys have to get badder, the threats loom larger and the band of merry men grows in a predictable way, but I still really had a lot of enjoyment.
Hounded – Kevin Hearne – I really really enjoyed this one. I laughed out loud on several occasions and I will definitely look for the next book in the series. An ancient druid who maintains a 21-year-old body has to deal with witches and Fae, with mostly just his wits. His fight is believable, as in you believe why everyone wants to kill him (something that’s a little bit lacking in the series above) and he definitely has a wry sense of humor. With a telepathic link to his dog, the help of his werewolf lawyer and a witch sharing a body with a comely Irish barmaid he saves the day (like you didn’t know that was going to happen). Oh, and Morrigan is around a lot too although it’s hard to say whose side she’s really on.
Hard Magic – Laura Anne Gilman – I don’t know why but it took me a while to get into this one. It’s essentially about a group of techno-mages who form up a CSI group and the various troubles they get into, but the lead character Bonnie is a bit of a spoiled brat and I didn’t immediately warm to her (if ever). While the magic use was intriguing and the story interesting, I don’t like anyone enough to keep going with the series.
WWW: Wake – Robert J Sawyer – I don’t know. This one just didn’t grab. Feels like it’s going in the direction of the singularity but it didn’t get there fast enough for me.
Claimed – Evangeline Anderson – It starts off totally normal and then BAM it’s 2025 and the Earth has been under siege by aliens. But these other aliens arrived to save us! Except the price for saving us is essentially human trafficking, that human women are ‘drafted’ to become brides for these ‘humanoid’ aliens. When our narrator gets drafted and is terrified and determined not to go through with the ‘claiming’ sex, and yet is turned on etc by her new groom I started to get annoyed. The rape-y quality of it wasn’t the worst part, it was that I can 100% imagine a world where the women of this country and most of the world are considered an acceptable form of payment. That we are objects to be traded for humanity’s salvation. And if it was a volunteer effort that would be different but it’s very clear that in this book it’s not a choice and the paltry efforts our lawmakers might have made to prevent the ‘drafted’ women from getting raped are ridiculous. The whole thing just left an awful taste in my mouth and still does, just yuck.
God’s War – Kameron Hurley – This one starts off very very strange and I quickly put it down.
The Anxiety of Kalix the Werewolf – Martin Millar – With a title like that how could I resist? However, there are about a dozen characters introduced per page and I quickly lost track and interest.
A Brush of Darkness – Allison Pang – I actually read a far bit but once I put it down I never picked it back up again. The sex started on page 8 so…