Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Order [book in series=yearoffirstbook.book# (eg 2014.01), stand-alone or one-author collection=3333.pubyear, multi-author anthology=5555.pubyear, SFM/MM=5000, interview=1111]: 2009.03


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Becalmed: How the Ivoire got stuck in foldspace

Becalmed by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Becalmed (2012), a novella originally published in 2011 in Asimov’s Magazine, acts as a prequel to the second DIVING UNIVERSE novel, City of Ruins. You can read it at any point in the series.

Becalmed tells the story of how the spaceship Ivoire, captained by Jonathon “Coop” Cooper, was damaged as it entered foldspace after a failed diplomatic mission to the Quurzod people on the planet Ukhanda.


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The Lady of the Rivers: The protagonist lacks the magic of her ancestors

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

The Lady of the Rivers (2011) begins with the capture of a young French maiden. She wears a man’s cap and breeches, and tells her captors that she is following the voices of angels. When our narrator, Jacquetta of Luxembourg, calls her Joan, it quickly becomes apparent that Gregory has opened her novel with the capture of the legendary Joan of Arc. Moments in history don’t come much more momentous than this one, and it marks the first trial Jacquetta must overcome,


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The Night Eternal: Disappointing conclusion to del Toro’s STRAIN TRILOGY

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

The Night Eternal is the finale to Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan‘s THE STRAIN trilogy and I found it simply… inconsistent. I enjoyed the conclusion to the mythology which includes the genesis of the strain itself, but I was disappointed in the conclusions to the various plot threads. This review will contain some mild spoilers for the ending of The Fall.

The dark and serious mythology really drove the first two books,


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The Magician’s Land: A big and beautiful finish

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

The Magician’s Land, by Lev Grossman, is a superb finish to what is one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. I read it elated, skin tingling and brain buzzing, savoring every word to make it last longer. When I finished, I wanted to read it again immediately. And yet, I also finished the book feeling a persistent ambivalence about the conclusion Grossman has created for his characters.

In The Magician’s Land,


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Hexes and Hemlines: Comfy cozy

Hexes and Hemlines by Juliet Blackwell

Lily Ivory has only been in San Francisco for a couple of months, but she’s starting to feel like it’s home. She’s made friends with some fellow shopkeepers on Haight Street, a few local journalists, a cute cop who respects her paranormal talents, and some other quirky folks. Lily’s vintage clothing business has taken off, too, because she’s got a knack for choosing just the right clothes for each of her customers.

At the beginning of Hexes and Hemlines,


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Infinity: Emotionally moving

Infinity by Rachel Ward

Infinity, by Rachel Ward, concludes the series that began with Numbers and peaked in The Chaos. It’s a few years after the apocalypse that devastated England in that second book. Adam and Sarah are living a nomadic lifestyle with Sarah’s two younger brothers and her daughter Mia. Adam isn’t comfortable around people because of his special ability and easily recognizable face, but Sarah is pregnant again and would really like to settle down.

As this conflict arises between the two,


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Kalimpura: Frustrating close to frustrating series

Kalimpura by Jay Lake

Kalimpura is the third and supposedly concluding book in Jay Lake’s series about Green, the young girl who becomes enmeshed in both worldly and godly politics, much to her dismay. I had lots of issues with the first book, Green, fewer but still some issues with the follow-up, Endurance, and I have to say that Kalimpura, while better than Green, didn’t wrap up the series in any way that would have me recommend readers pick up the trilogy.


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Barry’s Tale: Gentle humor in a strong novella

Barry’s Tale by Lawrence M. Schoen

Barry’s Tale, a novella which has been nominated for this year’s Nebula Award, appears in Buffalito Buffet, one of a number of collections written by Lawrence M. Schoen regarding The Amazing Conroy and his buffalito, Reggie. And that calls for an explanation, doesn’t it? “The Amazing Conroy” is man who formerly made his living as a stage hypnotist, but who, at the time of this story, has a nascent business marketing buffalitos, alien creatures that look like miniature buffaloes  but are as cuddly as puppies and will eat literally anything.


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Grail of the Summer Stars: An inventive fantasy world that intersects with our own

Grail of the Summer Stars by Freda Warrington

Grail of the Summer Stars is the third in Freda Warrington’s AETHERIAL TALES series, following Elfland and Midsummer Night. Each novel can stand alone, though they have some overlapping plotlines and characters, such that each novel will be more meaningful and resonant if you’ve read the others. Grail of the Summer Stars has more overlapping elements than either of the two previous books and is connected more strongly to each of them than they are to each other.


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I Don’t Want to Kill You: Wells has created a fascinating character

I Don’t Want to Kill You by Dan Wells

I Don’t Want to Kill You is the final book in Dan Wells’s JOHN CLEAVER trilogy. It’s a powerful conclusion, sad, brutal, humorous and loving all at the same time. Wells has done a fine job of writing three books that can stand each stand on their own, but which together make a powerful coming-of-age story.

John Cleaver is 16 or 17, and in some ways a typical teenager; he eats huge bowls of cereal,


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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