Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2002.03


The B.P.R.D. (Vol. 3): Plague of Frogs: The Hellboy mythos grows

B.P.R.D. (Vol. 3): Plague of Frogs by Mike Mignola (writer), Guy Davis (artist), Dave Stewart (colors), & Clem Robins (letters)

The B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs is the first extended B.P.R.D. volume since the first two volumes were collections of short stories. Plague of Frogs is a five-issue mini-series. The comic book opens with bloodshed: One scientist visits another to see the fast-growing fungus being watched at a facility. The visiting scientist, out of the blue, shoots the other man in the back, claiming that “the Master commands.”

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The Field of Swords: Caesar abroad

The Field of Swords by Conn Iggulden

Conn Iggulden’s The Field of Swords (2005) follows a Caesar who is no longer young. Though he is still eminently capable and still driven to work day and night in pursuit of glory, he is exhausted rather than energized by his work in Spain. Naturally, the real story begins when he returns to Rome to form an alliance with Pompey and Crassus.

Rome considers itself the greatest city in the world, but, to our eyes,

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Humans: A love polygon

Humans by Robert J. Sawyer

Ponter, the Neanderthal from another dimension, is back on Earth – our Earth.

This time, Ponter has brought nearly a dozen of the most celebrated scientists and intellectuals from his world. Though we humans are a difficult bunch to deal with, the Neanderthals seem determined to make contact work. Thank goodness, since a lone gunman on our side shoots a member of their delegation as soon as he gets the chance. Mary, meanwhile, is recruited into an American think tank that is determined to figure out how the Neanderthals and their technology work.

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The Never War: Subtle teaching moments and a real emotional impact

The Never War by D.J. MacHale

Note: Contains spoilers for previous PENDRAGON novels.

In The Never War, the third book in D.J. MacHale’s PENDRAGON series, Bobby is now 15 years old and is gaining experience as a Traveler. His job is to protect Earth and other territories of Halla (which includes all peoples, places, and times that have ever existed) from Saint Dane, the super duper evil villain whose goal is to increase chaos everywhere. Somehow,

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Brilliance of the Moon: A slightly anti-climactic finale

Brilliance of the Moon by Lian Hearn

With a complicated web of back-story set up and a return to familiar characters that we’ve seen develop, it goes without saying that Brilliance of the Moon should be the gripping climax of a trilogy that has thus far moved from strength to strength. The third and final instalment of the TALES OF THE OTORI series, the book has many loose ends to tie up, not to mention a certain prophecy that needs fulfilling.

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Undead and Unappreciated: Funny but still shallow

Undead and Unappreciated by MaryJanice Davidson

“Blurgh! Death loomed (again), and I was grossed out. It was the worst week ever. Again.” ~Queen Betsy

In Undead and Unappreciated, the third book in MaryJanice Davidson’s QUEEN BETSY series, a lot of stuff happens to Betsy — she reads the Book of the Dead and becomes evil for a little while, she hurts her friends, she learns that her stepmother (who she hates) is pregnant, she negotiates with her unionized employees, she discovers that she has a half-sister who is the daughter of the devil,

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City of Flowers: Rich world, sluggish pace

City of Flowers by Mary Hoffman

They Want To Take All My Sons!

This, the third book in the Stravaganza series, is almost twice the size of the first installment, City of Masks, and I can’t help but feel that its pacing suffers as a result. Though still rich in detail and description, City of Flowers feels rather sluggish at times, with none of the intrigue or urgency that filled the pages of its predecessors. It picks up considerably toward the end of the novel,

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Woken Furies: When Takeshi Kovacs is in a bad mood, people die

Woken Furies by Richard K. Morgan

Takeshi Kovacs spends most of Woken Furies, the third book in the Kovacs series, in a bad mood. Kovacs is an ex-Envoy, a carefully selected, highly trained, rigidly conditioned assassin for the powerful and draconian Protectorate, so when he’s in a bad mood, people usually die.

Of course, many of them are not really dead, or rather, Really Dead, because people in Richard K. Morgan’s future universe have cortical stacks, shiny storage devices attached to their cervical vertebrae,

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The Hounds of Avalon: Too much more of the same

The Hounds of Avalon by Mark Chadbourn

The Hounds of Avalon is the third book in Mark Chadbourn’s DARK AGE trilogy, which continues the story of England after the Fall described in the author’s earlier AGE OF MISRULE trilogy. A noticeable difference between the two trilogies is that the AGE OF MISRULE follows the same group of five main characters, the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons, throughout all three books. The DARK AGE trilogy introduces one set of characters in book 1,

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The Blood Knight: Solid if uneven “bridge” book in the series

The Blood Knight by Greg Keyes

Anyone who reads a lot of fantasy knows by now to come with some trepidation to any sort of “bridge” book — the second book in a trilogy or the 2nd or 3rd book in longer series. Too often they simply exist to get us from the exciting stuff that got us hooked in book one to the exciting stuff that will wow us in the conclusion. Other times they read like they simply exist because the author can sell a trilogy more easily than a standalone or a simple sequel and so plot events are stretched out so thinly they almost snap.

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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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May 2024