Cadmian’s Choice: A long middle book

Cadmian’s Choice by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Cadmian’s Choice is the fifth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s COREAN CHRONICLES and the second in the trilogy about Mykel and Dainyl. You don’t need to read the first trilogy in the COREAN CHRONICLES (Legacies, Darknesses, Scepters) before reading this one. In fact, I think it makes more sense to read this trilogy first since it focuses on events that occur generations before Legacies. However, you do need to read Alector’s Choice before starting Cadmian’s Choice.

In Alector’s Choice we met Mykel, a “lander” who lives on the planet Corus. He, like most of Modesitt’s protagonists, is ultra-honorable and ultra-competent, and he has risen remark... Read More

Paths Not Taken: Visit the Nightside of the past

Paths Not Taken by Simon R. Green

Warning: Contains spoilers for previous NIGHTSIDE books. If you haven’t read them, please start at the beginning with Something from the Nightside. Otherwise you’ll be lost.

Paths Not Taken is the fifth book in Simon R. Green’s NIGHTSIDE series. In the previous installment, Hex and the City, John Taylor investigated the origins of the Nightside and discovered that Lilith, his own mother, was its creator. Now, in Paths Not Taken, John and Suzie Shooter travel back in time to discover why and how Lilith created the Nightside. That might help them figure out why she now wants to destroy it and how they might be able to stop her.

The best part of Paths Not Taken, as usual, is the setting. This time it’s fun to learn what the Nightside was like throughout history, not just by being told, but by actually going... Read More

Victory Conditions: Satisfying conclusion to VATTA’S WAR

Victory Conditions by Elizabeth Moon

Victory Conditions is the fifth and final book in Elizabeth Moon’s VATTA’S WAR saga. This has been a solidly entertaining story with appealing characters and an unpredictable plot but it never quite pulls itself past its classification of “space opera.” If space opera is what you’re looking for, VATTA’S WAR delivers and this last installment, Victory Conditions, brings the Vatta story to a satisfying end. If you haven’t read the first four books, go find the first book, Trading in Danger. If you’ve read Trading in Danger, Marque and Reprisal, Engaging the Enemy and Command Decision, there’s no reason to stop now.

The pirate responsible for knocking out the ansibles and targeting the Vatta family has been identified — Kylara Vatta finally knows who her enemy is. Working with he... Read More

Lady Friday: Plot is getting formulaic, but it’s still enjoyable

Lady Friday by Garth Nix

At the epicenter of the universe is the House, a sort of celestial bureaucracy that is responsible for recording everything that happens in the Secondary Realms (the world as we know it). It is the Architect who is responsible for creating all this, with a range of guidelines and rules in place for keeping order in each world.

Named after the days of the week and personifying the seven deadly sins, the trustees took over the House when the Architect disappeared, disregarding the instructions she left behind in the form of the Will. As such, they have failed to appoint the Rightful Heir that the Will stipulates should take over in the Architect's absence. It is not until several thousand years pass that a piece of the Will manages to escape its imprisonment and find the Rightful Heir to defeat the seven trustees and claim the keys to the kingdom.

By this stage, if you have not yet been introd... Read More

Gregor and the Code of Claw: Doesn’t quite match quality of earlier books

Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins

This is the fifth and series-ending (I shy from ever using the word “final” with regard to fantasy nowadays) book in the Gregor series, one of the most original and powerful young adult fantasy series now in recent years. It is not a standalone book, so if you haven’t read the first four, you should start. Assuming you have, however, how does Code stack up?

I have to admit to some disappointment. While much of what has made Gregor such a strong series can be found here: strongly distinct characters, a quick pacing, truly moving scenes, a realistic approach to violence and its consequences seldom seen in most books (young adult or not), Code doesn’t quite match the quality of the earlier books. Read More