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J.M. Lee

J.M. spent his formative years searching for talking animals and believing he could control the weather. After pursuing nerdy interests in comparative film studies, screenwriting, and Shakespeare, he graduated with a much nerdier degree in linguistics.

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The Nightland Express: A solid YA fantasy

The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee 

The Nightland Express (2022) by J.M. Lee is a solid YA fantasy that has its moments but also doesn’t quite reach its full potential due to several issues. It also suffers a bit perhaps from trying to take on too much, where a more streamlined approach might have allowed for more full development of its issues as well as a more tense narrative. A minor spoiler follows, one revealed quite early in the book and one whose “reveal” doesn’t really impact the reading experience, but stop here if you’re a purist on that sort of thing.

The novel is set in 1860 America, which is also not uncoincidentally the year the Pony Express began (and not long before it ended but that’s a different tale). Our two alternating POVs — Ben and Jessamine (who goes by Jesse) — each show up in St. Joseph, Missouri in response to a recruitment poster lookin... Read More