Night Flights: A brief but welcome return to the world of MORTAL ENGINES

Night Flights by Philip Reeve

Night Flights (2018) by Philip Reeve is a collection of three short stories set in the world of the MORTAL ENGINES QUARTET (also known as the HUNGRY CITY CHRONICLES), and focuses on the character of Anna Fang, a fearless aviatrix. Its timing seemed to be connected to the release of Peter Jackson's filmic adaptation of Mortal Engines, the first book in the series, and Reeve's touching dedication at the front of the book confirmed this. It reads: "To Jihae, who plays Anna Fang with such style and grace that I realized she needed some more stories." Aww.

Set within a framing device of Anna going about her daily business, she recalls three adventures of her past. "Fr... Read More

Mira’s Last Dance: An amusing episode in Penric’s continuing story

Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

Note: Contains mild spoilers for the previous PENRIC novellas.

Around 15 years ago, Lois McMaster Bujold published her much-acclaimed WORLD OF THE FIVE GODS series which contained three stand-alone novels: The Curse of Chalion (winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, nominated for the Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy Awards), Paladin of Souls (winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus Award, nominated for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award) and The Hallowed Hunt (nominated for the Myth... Read More

The Last Guardian: A final trip on the merry-go-round with Artemis

The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

The ARTEMIS FOWL series in general has always been amusing, but after the first couple installments it rather lost the feel of being the breath of fresh air it seemed when the first novel rolled around. Eoin Colfer is never less than witty, and his premise and characters remain lively, but there has been an increasing sense that the series and the protagonists have been treading water a bit. Artemis’s world is like a slightly daring sitcom: at the end of each adventure there’s one token change that seems impactful, but the status quo for the next installment promises to be more or less the same.
The Last Guardian doesn’t do much to alter this state of affairs, but on the other hand there’s nothing particularly wrong with the flow and style of it either. In comparison to book 1 it certainly suffers, but then all the subsequ... Read More

Winter Duty: A violent emotional roller-coaster

Winter Duty by E.E. Knight

E.E. Knight’s Vampire Earth is one of the most interesting military fantasy series around. Watching the maturation and evolution of the main character David Valentine has been very intriguing because Knight has done the right things. Val has been through the proverbial wringer in terms of losing friends, getting hurt, and dealing with leaders who are more concerned with their own career than doing the right things for the Soldiers they lead. In many ways, Knight’s tongue-in-cheek commentary on bureaucrats and indictment of self-serving Officers has been his most powerful theme.

Winter Duty does even more. Once again Val is taking great personal risk on a mission which he feels is important, but which is not being supported by Southern Command. He lacks resources, qualified Soldiers and still he’s willing to r... Read More