2004.06


The Annihilation Score: I like the different point-of-view character

The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

The Annihilation Score (2016), by Charles Stross, is the sixth book in his LAUNDRY FILES series. Stross has hit on an interesting way to keep a series from flagging. He created a super-secret agency that fights extra-normal entities and events, and by doing this, he has a stable of characters who can take the lead in given books. Most of the LAUNDRY FILES books I’ve read featured Bob Howard as the main character, although there were other POV characters. The Annihilation Score has Dominique O’Brien, Howard’s estranged wife, as the main character.

This review contains mild spoilers for the previous book, The Rhesus Chart... Read More

Clash of the Demons: Tom and Alice go to Greece

Clash of the Demons by Joseph Delaney

In Clash of the Demons, the sixth book in Joseph Delaney’s LAST APPRENTICE series, expect more of the same: scary creatures, dark magic, dangerous quests, captures and rescues, Tom’s insecurities, questions about whether Alice is good or evil, the Spook’s insistence that they can’t compromise with the dark, foreshadowing of war, etc.

This time, the quest is to accompany Tom’s mother to Greece where they must fight an ancient witch called Ordeen who threatens a group of monks who for years have held her at bay and protected the world from her evil. The monks are growing weak, though, and they need some powerful help. They may be able to destroy Ordeen once and for all if Tom’s mother can unite the witches and spooks against her.

This pr... Read More

Assail: Ties up some loose plot threads and raises entirely new questions

Assail by Ian C. Esslemont

Once upon a time one could speak of the “upcoming conclusion” to the tales of the Malazan Empire, the multi-volume shared world series by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. But with Erikson currently writing the second book in his prequel trilogy, and both he and Esslemont contracted for more books set in this world, it’s best nowadays to perhaps muse on “resting points” rather than “conclusions.” And so it is with Esslemont’s sixth book, Assail, billed as bringing to “a thrilling close” the “epic story of the Malazan Empire,” but which also, even as it ties up some loose plot threads, raises entirely new questions. And that’s fine; even with my admittedly mixed response to Assail, I’d be ... Read More

Chosen: Doesn’t stand out

Chosen by Jeanne C. Stein

I read the first ANNA STRONG novel, The Becoming, some time ago and didn’t like it. Because of this, I haven’t kept up with the series. When I received a review copy of Chosen, however, I was curious. Now that I’ve read it, I will say that Chosen is superior to The Becoming, but that this series will probably never be one of my favorites.

Anna Strong is approaching the first anniversary of her transformation into a vampire. Rumor says she’s the Chosen One, and according to legend, the Chosen One’s powers will fully manifest on that anniversary. Needless to say, Anna is a little freaked out when she does start developing new traits, such as an ability to sniff out “evil” followed by the overwhelming urge to kill the person she has identified as evil. Then an attempt is made... Read More

The Outlaw Demon Wails: Best HOLLOWS book so far

The Outlaw Demon Wails by Kim Harrison

The Outlaw Demon Wails (Where Demons Dare in the UK) is easily the best of the books so far in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, featuring Rachel Morgan. I thoroughly enjoyed For A Few Demons More, but this entry into the series had me gripped from the very start.

We open the story with an explosive visit from Al, where he reveals that he is being summoned each evening out of jail by a demon summoner hell-bent on getting rid of Rachel. This sets the stage for a plot that reveals more about Rachel's parentage (her mum has a much larger role in this book than previously, which was good for me because I love her rather kooky character); leads Rachel further into the grips of demons; and highlights exactly how Rachel is different from oth... Read More

First Lord’s Fury: Here ends a fun fantasy epic!

First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher

Grab your helms, shields and swords, fantasy fans. In First Lord’s Fury, Jim Butcher is taking you to war! In the 6th and final book in the CODEX ALERA series, Butcher not only takes you to war, but makes you laugh and cry along the way. First Lord’s Fury is a very suitable ending to what I found to be a most enjoyable fantasy series. The CODEX ALERA series takes place several thousand years after a lost Roman legion found its way to another world and rebuilt a society. The novels’ setting, the realm of Alera, is therefore loosely based on ancient Roman culture. The story follows a young man named Tavi through his eventful life and First Lord’s Fury is the ultimate conclusion of Tavi’s story. In the previous books, Tavi finds himself in impossible situation... Read More