Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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The Shape of Desire: Big disappointment

The Shape of Desire by Sharon Shinn

Maria is madly in love with Dante. It doesn’t matter that he is a shapeshifter, spending longer and longer periods away from her in animal form. Maria’s motto is “you can’t choose who you love,” and she loves Dante, regardless of the increasingly brief moments of time they can spend together as humans. But when mysterious animal attacks start claiming lives close to home, does her love for Dante put her own life at risk?

Oh my holy hand grenades barf.

I love Sharon Shinn.


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Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country: Not a sucess

Guenevere: Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles

The literary world is crammed full of books surrounding Arthurian lore — so many, in fact, that it could very well be a genre of its own. The problem, however, is that because the main events, characters and storylines are already set out in the mythology, authors cannot tamper with them… at least not too much. This poses the challenge of presenting the familiar story in an original way, and the latest trend seems to be taking a character and telling the story through their point of view.


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Evermore: Not recommended

Evermore by Alyson Noël

Evermore is the first in the Immortals series by Alyson Noël. Immortals are a bit like vampires… but not. Ever Bloom is a teenage girl who becomes entangled in the world of the Immortals.

Ever’s backstory feels pieced together from other works. Like Buffy Summers, she was one of the popular girls at her old school, but after a disaster, has to start over at a new school where she’s considered a freak and only has two friends.


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The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs: A pastiche still needs to entertain

The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs by James P. Blaylock

Langdon St. Ives returns in The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs, James P. Blaylock’s latest Langdon St. Ives Adventure.

St. Ives is described as “the greatest, if largely unheralded, explorer and scientist in the Western World … piecing together a magnetic engine for a voyage to the moon.” Unfortunately, the premise of The Affair of the Chalk Cliffs is less ambitious than its protagonist. Although our heroes are explorers and scientists,


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Hamlet’s Father: Transparent political and religious argument

Hamlet’s Father by Orson Scott Card

Those of us who majored in English in college have all read Shakespeare’s Hamlet at least once, and we’ve all seen at least one performance. Some of us go to as many performances as we possibly can, enjoying every new spin on the old tale. I’ve seen at least three movies made from the play and seen it staged at least five times. I’ve studied the text of the play in detail, and one thing never changes: Claudius murders King Hamlet in order to bed the king’s wife,


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Angelology: Fails to create a willing suspension of disbelief

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Danielle Trussoni is a highly educated and well established non-fiction writer with an award-nominated memoir under her belt already. She has a degree in history and an MFA in creative writing. She puts both of those degrees to use in Angelology. When she is drawing on history, the book comes to life.

I should say that I tend to be biased against writers who come out of MFA programs. Maybe it’s just reverse snobbery, but it seems to me that they have learned to write exquisite paragraphs but don’t always have a good sense of story,


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Wraith: A textbook example of an Idiot Plot

Wraith by Phaedra Weldon

This review is brought to you by the letters “T,” “S,” “T,” and “L.” Wraith is a textbook example of an Idiot Plot. The story is set in motion when the heroine does something stupid, and this sets the tone for the entire novel. Almost every plot development in Wraith is triggered by Zoë doing something stupid.

Zoë Martinique has the ability to leave her body and travel astrally. She has built a career on this talent,


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Wicked Appetite: Fortunately it’s short

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich is the well-known author of the Stephanie Plum mystery series, and here she begins another series that edges firmly into the paranormal arena. Elizabeth Tucker lives in Marblehead, just north of Boston, and makes cupcakes for a living while living in the house bequeathed to her by Great Aunt Ophelia. Her life is perfectly pleasant but very ordinary when two men walk into it and proceed to turn it upside down. One is Wulf and he is a Bad Man. The other is Diesel,


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The Questing Road: Flat characters, weak writing

The Questing Road by Lyn McConchie

New Zealand author Lyn McConchie has written several novels with Andre Norton in that author’s WITCH WORLD and BEAST MASTER universes, so I was surprised that The Questing Road, though officially McConchie’s first solo fantasy novel, actually reads much like a debut novel. While there are a few moments of charm and sparkle, the characters are so flat, and the writing so uneven, that I would have easily believed this to be someone’s first attempt at a novel.


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What Curiosity Kills: Crawls slowly to lacklustre end

The Turning: What Curiosity Kills by Helen Ellis

The Turning: What Curiosity Kills is the tale of Mary Richards, a girl adopted from foster care into a plush life in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. When strange events begin taking place, Mary struggles to comprehend the idea that she is one of those who Turn — from human to cat. Previously, she mostly worried about trying to win arguments with her foster sister Octavia and getting her crush Nick to notice her; now she’s terrified as she tries to come to terms with her new life.


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Next SFF Author: Ben Aaronovitch

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