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The Cassini Division: Action-packed

The Cassini Division by Ken MacLeod

The Stone Canal, predecessor to The Cassini Division, saw a flurry of technical, and as a result, social developments, moving one part of humanity to post-human status. And so while Wilde and Reid’s personal matters were resolved, larger matters, that is, an agreement between standard and post-humans was left hanging, with a peaceful resolution far from certain. Focusing precisely on this schism, The Cassini Division, Ken MacLeod’s third novel in the FALL REVOLUTION sequence, brings the implications of Singularity to a full head.

Set 350 years after the events of The Star Fraction, The Cassini Division is told through the eyes of Ellen May Ngwethu, captain of the ... Read More

The Radiant Seas: Better than previous books

The Radiant Seas by Catherine Asaro

The Radiant Seas is the direct sequel to Primary Inversion, Catherine Asaro’s debut novel which introduces her Skolian Empire. Readers should note that the book Catch the Lightning was published between Primary Inversion and The Radiant Seas, its sequel. If you’ve just read Primary Inversion (which you need to read before picking up The Radiant Seas), I advise skipping Catch the Lightning for now (or forever). This review will contain spoilers for Primary Inversion.

The Radiant Seas begins a short time before Primary Inversion ends — as ... Read More

Tendeleo’s Story: A companion to McDonald’s CHAGA novels

Tendeleo’s Story by Ian McDonald

Tendeleo’s Story is a short companion novel to Ian McDonald’s CHAGA series which is about an alien tropical plant-like life form that drops from space and lands in several equatorial regions of Earth. The first CHAGA novel, Evolution’s Shore, follows Irish reporter Gaby McAslin as she documents the biological, societal, and political changes that occur in Kenya as the Chaga descends from Mount Kilimanjaro and overruns Nairobi. In Kirinya, the second book, Gaby joins the people who have decided to (or been forced to) live in the Chaga rather than fleeing northward to safety. Meanwhile, a subplot follows Dr. Shepherd, one of Gaby’s lovers, who is studying and trying to figure out the purpose, mechanisms, and creator of the Chaga.

Tendeleo’s Story does n... Read More

Assassin’s Quest: Glory and heartache

Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

FitzChivalry Farseer’s life keeps getting worse. He has once again barely — and I mean just barely — survived Uncle Regal’s machinations. As Assassin’s Quest, the third book in Robin Hobb’s FARSEER trilogy, opens, Fitz’s situation seems hopeless. Only a couple of people know he still lives and Molly is not one of them. She’s gone, and it seems safest for Fitz to let her live in ignorance.

Meanwhile, Fitz’s uncle Regal has declared himself king in the Six Duchies. He demands exorbitant taxes, has abandoned Buck Town and left Buckkeep in the hands of a foreigner, and has in essence given up the area to the Red Ship Raiders. Not only has Fitz suffered at Regal’s hands, the coastal duchies suffer too.

Once Fitz is standing on his own two feet again, he decides to get revenge for what Regal has done to him personally ... Read More

Bite Me: Christopher Moore is the king of crass

Bite Me by Christopher Moore

Tired of reading about sexy vampires having sword fights… or orgiastic love fests? What about tragically misunderstood yet sensitive and compassionate vampires? Much as MaryJanice Davidson is the godmother of vampire chick lit, Christopher Moore owns the market of the stoner-loser vampire. In Bite Me, the sequel to You Suck (which was in turn the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends), Moore once again puts the fun in dysfunctional and demonstrates why he is the king of crass, the executor of non sequitur... err, anyway, one of the funniest fantasy authors writing today.

It starts with the sometimes narrator. Imagine Juno’s snarky heroine, recast as a tragically gothic vampire... Read More

StarMan: A grand but often tragic campaign

StarMan by Sara Douglass

StarMan is the third in the Axis Trilogy by Sara Douglass. In this book the final battle between Axis and his half brother Gorgrael will take place, the identity of the Lover is revealed, and, finally, WolfStar shows his true colours. StarMan is absolutely packed with events, as the first two books were, and it positively glitters with the force of Douglass' very vivid imagination.

Sara Douglass has managed to churn out a fairly effective fantasy trilogy. The world building is top-notch, and the character development has been vigorous — especially when thinking back to the first book. These characters have definitely come a long way! I was unable to resist finding out what happened to Axis, Azhure, and Faraday, which I guess is most of what can be asked from a novel.
... Read More

The Amber Spyglass: Pullman becomes intolerant

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

At the end of The Subtle Knife, things were dire. Lyra had been kidnapped by her mother Mrs Coulter, whilst Will was left in the company of two angels with the subtle knife (which can create windows between worlds) and the altheiometer (that communicates with the mystery substance known as 'Dust'). Refusing to accompany them to Lord Asriel, who is on the verge of war with Heaven itself, Will enlists the angels help in tracking down Lyra, and is soon joined by Iorek Byrnison, the king of the polar bears. Meanwhile, Lyra herself is forced into an enchanted sleep by her mother, whilst the powers of the Church and the Authority close in to end her life and thus the terrible threat she poses against them. When the two children are reunited, they hatch a plan to go right to the end of where the subtle knife can take them; right into death itself.

Mary Malone, who has been to... Read More

Abhorsen: Explosive ending

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Abhorsen is the final book of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom trilogy, which could basically translate into the second half of Lirael (the first installment Sabriel stands on its own, but its follow-up Lirael needs Abhorsen in order for the story to be completed). In the final chapter of Lirael, our four travelers Lirael, Sameth, Mogget and the Disreputable Dog have found sanctuary (albeit temporarily) at the Abhorsen's House where further revelations concerning Lirael and Sam's connection are discovered. With the missing pieces of her family's history now set into place, Lirael realizes that the burden of Abhorsen-in-Waiting has now been placed on her.

Yet there is no time to dwell ... Read More