The Illustrated World of MORTAL ENGINES: A great companion piece

The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

The film adaptation of Mortal Engines may have been a disappointment, but at least its release led to more material from Philip Reeve — not only this book, but a series of short stories starring Anna Fang, and new reprints of the original MORTAL ENGINES quartet. So it all works out well!

The Illustrated World of Mortal Engines (2018) is a standard tie-in volume that comes with many a book franchise, in which the world of Mortal Engines is explored in more detail, complete with maps, time-lines, illustrations, profiles of characters, and other little tidbits that adds depth and flavour to the world-building.

Here the presentation... Read More

Shadow of the Scorpion: Agent Cormac’s origin story

Shadow of the Scorpion by Neal Asher

Shadow of the Scorpion (2008) is the fifth in Neal Asher’s AGENT CORMAC subseries, but first in terms of internal chronology, and second in the overall chronology of the POLITY series. Describing the events of Cormac’s youth, as well as his first years training as a soldier, it reveals how he came to be in Sparkind and involved in so much graphic, rip-roaring action across the Prador-infested galaxy.

Split into two storylines, one half of Shadow of the Scorpion describes Cormac’s childhood with his mother, brother, and father at the forefront of the war with the Prador. Because his brother is doctor, Cormac learns secondhand about the horrors of war, but it isn’t until he becomes a man that he learns just how muc... Read More

The Prisoner of Limnos: Another chapter in Penric’s life

The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold

The Prisoner of Limnos (2017 print, 2018 audio) is another of Lois McMaster Bujold’s PENRIC AND DESDEMONA novellas. It is a direct sequel to Mira’s Last Dance, so I’d recommend reading that (and its prequels) first.

Penric and Nikys, the widow Penric is in love with, are safe at court in Orbas when Nikys gets an encrypted letter stating that her mother has been taken prisoner by political enemies in Cedonia.

To his delight, Nikys comes to Penric for help, and the two set off for Cedonia to bust mom out of jail. This will involve Penric dressing up like a woman (again), using his chaos magic, working with some of Nikys’ family and r... Read More

March in Country: Vampire Earth keeps marching on

March in Country by E.E. Knight

March in Country had a lot to live up to after Winter Duty, the previous book in the prolific Vampire Earth series by E.E. Knight. Winter Duty was a tour de force example of grit, determination, pain and combat that really re-energized the series.

David Valentine has always been an amazing contradiction of hardened killer in combat and soft-hearted do-gooder after. Some of the lengths he has gone to in order to save friends, free prisoners and give people a second chance have gone beyond compassion and into the realms of lunacy. For a professional soldier, it’s been career suicide and led to a life full of pain. That continues to be a central theme of this series as David continues to place the needs of “victims” and the desire to reform traitors before... Read More

Through the Veil: Hardly high literature, but mildly entertaining

Through the Veil by Isobel Bird

Through the Veil is the ninth book in the Circle of Three series, which chronicles three teenagers' journey through a year-and-a-day of discovering and exploring Wicca. If you haven't yet come across these books, I suggest you stop reading now and head back to book number one So Mote It Be, as the books are very closely tied together and it's near impossible to read them out of chronological order (which is annoying, but there you go).

The three girls are Kate, Cooper and Annie (the ex-popularity queen, the rebel and the nerd are their individual personalities in a nutshell) and in Through the Veil they are fast approaching Halloween — Samhain in the Wicca calendar. Samhain marks the thinning of the veils between the living and the dead, which is especially... Read More