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]: 2013.01


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The Screaming Staircase: Spooky and fun (but no Bartimaeus)

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud

LOCKWOOD & CO. is Jonathan Stroud’s second four-part outing. It follows on from the success of his BARTIMAEUS sequence (which comes highly recommended here at FanLit). Stroud specialises in alternate versions of London for children. In BARTIMAEUS it was a London of djinn-conjuring wizards. This time London is troubled by deadly ghosts. The Screaming Staircase is a pacey, exciting introduction to Stroud’s new London, but it lacks the sense of magic and humour that made BARTIMAEUS such a winner.


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Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon

Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction

Matt Fraction and David Aja make a great team as they take a peek into the ‘everyday’ life of a superhero… a superhero who can’t shoot lightning bolts, fly, or bench press a city bus. What does an average Avenger do on his days off?

The story starts by letting us see Clint Barton, aka the Avenging archer Hawkeye, having a pretty bad day (which seems to be the norm for him): he’s just gotten out of the hospital after sustaining major injuries during his ‘day job’,


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Earth 2 (Vol. 1): The Gathering by James Robinson

Earth 2 (Vol. 1): The Gathering by James Robinson (writer) and Nicola Scott (artist)

I’ve been re-reading some of DCs New 52 titles now that four years have gone by and many of the initial titles have been cancelled, rebooted, reimagined, or wrapped up after a full run. To me, the three best titles that stayed consistently great — in the 4- to 5-star range — for at least five volumes of trade collections were Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Batwoman.


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The Mapmaker’s War: Did Not Finish

The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue

I really wanted to like The Mapmaker’s War, by Ronlyn Domingue. For so many reasons. First, it had “mapmaker” in the title. I love maps. I have books upon books of maps — old maps, strange maps, historical maps. And books upon books about maps, or mapmakers. So it had that going for it. And second person. I know lots of folks can’t stand it, but I like second person. I like reading it. And I like writing in it.


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Hell Bent: Realistic struggles with powerful magic

Hell Bent by Devon Monk

This is the first Devon Monk book I’ve ever read. After some digging, I discovered that the main characters in the BROKEN MAGIC series, Shame and Terric, were introduced as backburner characters in another book/series that Monk wrote, the Allie Beckstrom series. Never fear, you obviously don’t have to have read those other books to enjoy Hell Bent. I didn’t have a clue who the author or her characters were, and I still had a lot of fun.


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The Mist-Torn Witches: Fun but forgettable

The Mist-Torn Witches by Barb Hendee

The Mist-Torn Witches is a book that kind of leaves me torn. In some aspects, it’s a really great fantasy book and in others it just lacks… something. The Mist-Torn Witches is a rather short, fun little murder mystery with some magic thrown in for good measure. It’s the kind of fantasy that is a lot of fun to read, but ends up being not quite so memorable.

The two main protagonists in The Mist-Torn Witches are sisters,


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The Bone Season: More formula than feeling

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I was looking for nothing in particular when I found The Bone Season on the Science Fiction shelf of my local library. This was the saving grace of my reading experience of Samantha Shannon’s debut novel. It was not until after finishing the novel that I discovered the hype surrounding the first in Shannon’s planned seven-part series (of which Bloomsbury has already signed her up for three novels).

The novel centres around Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant who can move in and out of the minds of other people.


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Atlantis Rising: Did Not Finish

Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron

I gave Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron a pretty fair shot I’d say—200 of its 370 pages, but eventually I just had to give it up. And I wasn’t alone in that, as my wife and 13-yr-old son gave up far, far quicker. As usual with books I didn’t care for, and especially for books I didn’t finish (a rarity for me), this will be a relatively short review, as I don’t like to belabor the point.

The problems began immediately,


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The Grendel Affair: Popcorn isn’t a bad thing

The Grendel Affair by Lisa Shearin

The Grendel Affair is a sort of hybrid police procedural/governmental sort of book with a quirky main character who is easy to laugh with (and at), but also easy to sympathize with. Makenna is one of those characters that will probably seem rather cookie-cutter, and she is in many ways, but she’s endearing despite that. She has a quip for just about everything. She seems to have a knack for getting herself into ridiculous and unpredictable situations, and she’s also very pretty.


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Replica: A novel that can’t decide what it is

Replica by Jenna Black

Jenna Black’s Replica is a young adult science fiction novel which I read in only one day. Readers who follow my blog might know that when I read a book in a day it means I either loved it or hated it. Well, Replica tries hard, but in the end, it just wasn’t for me.

One of my issues right off the bat is that for a science fiction world, there really isn’t much SciFi in Replica and  Black never gives the reader a timeline to reference.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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