Book Review – Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Feet of Clay

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett is the 19th novel in the author’s Discworld series and the third novel in the City Watch sub-series. There’s murder afoot, as the bodies of a priest and a baker have been found bludgeoned in their respective homes. Headed by Commander Vimes, Captain Carrot, werewolf Corporal Angua, and their new forensics expert Cheery Littlebottom, the City Watch is on the case. Despite the talents each bring to the case, however, it seems no other living thing was present for either murder, though a lot of clay was.

Golems are made of clay, but they’re just things that do as they’re told, not alive, and murder goes against the sacred scrolls that make them function. With the case only getting foggier, the Patrician of the city, Lord Vetinari, suddenly falls victim of poison from an unknown source, weakening him but not killing him outright. Vimes and the Watch’s policing skills are put to the test as they must uncover not only whodunit, but howdunit.Read More »

Book Review – To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

to-be-taught-if-fortunate

To Be Taught, If Fortunate is a 2019 science fiction novella by Becky Chambers. Close to the end of the 21st century, science has made a breakthrough in space exploration. Using a revolutionary method called “somaforming”, an astronaut’s biology is synthetically supplemented by a patch worn on the skin, allowing them to survive the harsh conditions of interstellar travel and other planets. Instead of trying to alter the destination, we alter ourselves.

With this bold new technology on hand, a number of manned missions have been launched to survey exoplanets suspected of harbouring life. Ariadne O’Neill is part of one such mission, Lawki 6, along with three other scientists, to explore four worlds in a system 15 light-years away from Earth. Arrival on each world brings unique changes to their bodies, alien landscapes, and news of an ever-changing Earth as the years back home pass them by.Read More »

Book Review – The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is the author’s first novel, retelling the life of the ancient Greek hero Achilles and the events of The Iliad by Homer. The story is told from the perspective of Patroclus, a Greek prince from a relatively small yet proud kingdom. To his father, the boy is a disappointment: small, slight, and timid. His life with this cruel, unloving father is empty and cold. After accidentally killing another noble boy who tries to take something from him, Patroclus is exiled to the kingdom of Phthia, to be fostered by King Peleus.

Initially ostracized by the other boys for his crime, he attracts the attention of Peleus’s son Achilles, a demigod destined to become the greatest hero of his time, becoming his faithful companion. As the two grow up together and become lovers, however, destiny becomes a portent of doom for any prolonged peace and happiness in their future together. Nevertheless, the call of the greatest campaign in their history becomes too difficult for one such as Achilles to ignore, compelling the two to meet whatever destiny has in store for them on the plains of Troy.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Oddest Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Oddest Jobs

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs is the third book in the “odd jobs” trilogy of anthologies edited by Christopher Golden, telling stories about the comic book character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola. This book brings together 15 different authors of fantasy, horror, and mystery. Most notable among them is Joe R. Lansdale, the introduction proclaiming his story as the reason this book started coming together in the first place. Accompanying each tale is an original black and white illustration by Mike Mignola.Read More »

Book Review – Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

Master & Apprentice

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice is a standalone novel by Claudia Gray, set in the new canon of Star Wars. Set several years before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the story follows Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his 17-year-old Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi at a crossroads in their relationship. Though they’ve been partnered for some time, they are at odds with one another, Qui-Gon a maverick who often disregards the inflexibility of the Jedi Council and Obi-Wan more rigid and committed to following the Jedi Code to the letter.

Their partnership is put at risk of ending altogether, however, after the Council extends an unexpected invitation for Qui-Gon to join them, meaning he can no longer keep an apprentice. He takes some time to think it over, fearing he will fail Obi-Wan as a teacher if he leaves him, yet wondering if another master may be better suited to teaching him. Despite so much uncertainty between the two, they embark upon what may be their final mission together, after an old friend reaches out to Qui-Gon for help.Read More »

Book Review – Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Me Talk Pretty One Day is a 2000 collection of humorous, anecdotal essays by David Sedaris, and is the author’s fourth book. Though these essays offer a bit of an eclectic mix of topics, altogether they serve as an unconventional telling of Sedaris’s life story up to that point, covering some of his experiences in school, the eccentricities of his family members, numerous relocations, and career changes. Underpinning many of these essays is a motif of communication and/or self-expression.Read More »

Book Review – Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Spiderlight

Spiderlight is a 2016 fantasy novel by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The Church of Armes of the Light has battled against the forces of Darkness for as long as anybody can remember, and their campaign against the Dark Lord Darvezian is the latest in their long history. It has been foretold that a band of misfits, led by a priestess of the Light, will bring about the end of this latest Dark Lord, armed only with their wits and an artifact retrieved from the wretched Spider Queen. The group’s conviction is put to the test, however, as they are forced to take Nth into their party, a spider from the Queen’s hideous brood. Without him they cannot find the “spider’s path” to the Dark Lord, as foretold, but can servants of the Light utilize the Dark in such a way without being corrupted by it?Read More »

Book Review – Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Maskerade

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett is the 18th novel in the author’s comic fantasy Discworld series and the fifth in the “Witches” subseries. Agnes Nitt, a young woman from Lancre in the Ramtop Mountains, has made her way to the bustling city of Ankh-Morpork in order to seek her fortune. Though possessed of an untrained talent for witchcraft, she has an especially gifted singing voice and is determined to see how far it can take her, auditioning at the city’s Opera House. It’s a chaotic world of melodrama and vanity, where the show must go on, even with a Ghost lurking about and murders piling up. Only the meddling of the Lancre witches, Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, can challenge this nonsensical world and unmask the Ghost before everything comes crashing down.Read More »

Book Review – Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

Thrawn Alliances (2)

Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn is the second book in the author’s Thrawn trilogy, set in the new canon of Star Wars after the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm. Emperor Palpatine has sensed a disturbance in the Force on the remote planet of Batuu, at the edge of the galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories. This disturbance, though only hinting at threats unknown, is deemed important enough that the Emperor sends two of his most powerful agents to investigate: the Sith Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn.

There is more to the mission than it at first seems, however, as long ago, during the Clone War, the two first met on Batuu under similar circumstances : Thrawn on an undisclosed mission for the Chiss Ascendency and then-Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker in search of his missing wife Padmé, who was investigating a Separatist plot. The two formed an unlikely alliance to achieve their goals all those years ago, but with loyalties being tested by new enemies, can their renewed partnership endure?Read More »

Book Review – Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Eileen

Eileen is a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh, the author’s first full-length book of fiction, which won her the PEN/Hemingway Foundation award in 2016. Set during a bitter winter in 1964, the story follows Eileen Dunlop, a disturbed 24-year-old woman living in a nowhere town in Massachusetts. Between working as a secretary in a youth prison and caring for her callous, alcoholic father at home, Eileen lives a life of misery and self-loathing, fantasizing about leaving her hometown forever. The story follows her life over the course of several days, leading up to the fateful Christmas Eve when her life changes forever.Read More »