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]: 2009.04


The Application of Hope: A helpful companion

The Application of Hope by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Application of Hope (2014) is another novella set in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s DIVING UNIVERSE series. You can read it at any point in the series, but it’d be best as a companion to City of Ruins because it takes place at the same time and gives a different perspective on the important and exciting events of that novel.

Here we meet Tory Sabin and Jonathon “Coop” Cooper,

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Barry’s Deal: Frenetic and fun

Barry’s Deal by Lawrence M. Schoen

The world and characters of Barry’s Deal (2017) will require no introduction to long time Lawrence M. Schoen readers. The Amazing Conroy, a space-traveling hypnotist and his companion Reggie, a buffalito (buffalo dog), have cropped up several times before, not least in Schoen’s last novella (Barry’s Tale, 2014). Nevertheless, the internet assured me that this latest installment can be read as a stand-alone novella and, as it’s one of this year’s Nebula nominees,

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Next of Kin: A surprisingly gentle tale

Next of Kin by Dan Wells

“I died again last night.” It’s a compelling first sentence to a novella told from the point of view of Elijah Sexton, a demon, and it promises a different and exciting new start to Dan Wells’s JOHN CLEAVER series.

Sexton drinks memories. For a time, he killed people himself, “topping off” his memory as he pleases. Soon, though, imbued with a hundred thousand lives, he could no longer bear to kill. Instead, he works in a morgue and drinks the memories of the newly dead.

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The Skull Throne: Things are heating up

The Skull Throne by Peter Brett

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Peter Brett’s DEMON CYCLE series from the beginning, and the most recent addition, The Skull Throne, continues to impress, even as it sidelines two of its major characters for the vast majority of the book. Fair warning, the review can’t help but offer up some spoilers for prior novels, especially the last one, which ended literally on a cliffhanger.

The prior books have shifted from emphasizing various points of view,

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In a Witch’s Wardrobe: Great series for audio

In a Witch’s Wardrobe by Juliet Blackwell

I’m really enjoying Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series on audio! These are short paranormal mysteries that have appealing characters, are light on blood and violence, feature (but don’t focus too much on) romantic relationships, include a bit of humor, and have a great setting (a vintage clothing store in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco). Each mystery is self-contained but there’s an overarching plot that advances with each book (so you want to start with the first book, Secondhand Spirits).

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Devil Said Bang: Leaving Hell was the easy part

Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey

Warning: This review may contain spoilers of earlier SANDMAN SLIM books.

I admire writers who can create fast-paced, intricately plotted stories that still have layered, complete characters. To me, that’s the prose version of juggling eggs and chainsaws at the same time. In Devil Said Bang, Richard Kadrey’s fourth SANDMAN SLIM book, he accomplishes this feat while tap-dancing and simultaneously playing blues harmonica.

When Devil Said Bang opens,

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Requiem: Moves the story along but in weaker fashion

Requiem by Ken Scholes

Requiem is the fourth book in Ken Scholes PSALMS OF ISAAK series, which while having a few minor issues throughout has mostly been a fresh mix of fantasy and science fiction, filled with intriguing characters and exploring complex issues involving the intersection of religion, technology, and society. Requiem continues that exploration, though in weaker fashion than the prior three novels.

By now, the plot has grown extremely complicated, so I’m not going to offer up much of a plot recap,

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The Minority Council: Swift and Griffin at their best

The Minority Council by Kate Griffin

The thing that gives Matthew Swift, London’s last urban sorcerer and Midnight Mayor, his extraordinary power is that he loves London. He loves the gritty streets, the posh apartment buildings, glowing graffiti, the blowing trash, the murky river, the pigeons, rats and urban foxes. He loves the underground, the trains, buses and cars. He loves the hole-in-the-wall diners and take-outs, the stink of diesel and petrol fumes, curry and incense. It is this love that gives him his power, and this love that makes Kate Griffin’s The Minority Council the best MATTHEW SWIFT book since A Madness of Angels.

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Reaper: A SOUL SCREAMERS novella

Reaper by Rachel Vincent

Rachel Vincent’s Reaper is a novella set in her SOUL SCREAMERS world. I read it because it was free for members at Audible during one of their promotions. I haven’t read any of the SOUL SCREAMERS novels, but I’m familiar with the premise because I’ve read Kelly’s reviews of the series.

Reaper is the story of how Tod, sacrificing himself for his impulsive younger brother Nash, became a reaper. We get to know Tod,

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Ganymede: Priest is writing the best steampunk around

Ganymede by Cherie Priest

When Hollywood makes a movie of Ganymede — and they have to — I hope they subtitle it “The Battle of Barataria Bay.” That sequence comes near the end of Cherie Priest’s latest CLOCKWORK CENTURY novel, and is fasten-your-seatbelt, grip-the-arms-of-your-chair exciting.

Priest’s books always feature strong women, and in Ganymede, the main character is Josephine Early. Josephine lives in New Orleans, running an upscale bordello. Nearly twenty years into the American civil war,

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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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February 2024