Book Review – Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett

Interesting Times is the 17th novel in Terry Pratchett’s comic fantasy Discworld series and the 5th novel in the “Rincewind” sub-series. The Patrician of the city of Ankh-Morpork has received a vexing message from the reclusive Agatean Empire, simply reading “Send Us Instantly The Great Wizzard.” Tasking Archchancellor Ridcully of the Unseen University with finding him, he and his faculty deduce that this “wizzard” can only be one man: the infamously hapless Rincewind. They retrieve him from his life as a castaway, goading him into visiting the mysterious Agatean Empire to see what it is they want. Magically transporting him there, Rincewind is placed smack in the middle of a polite rebel uprising, a barbarian invasion, and the schemes of an ambitious Grand Vizier who is pulling the strings.Read More »

Book Review – The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a science fiction novel by Becky Chambers, the first in the author’s Wayfarers series. Rosemary Harper is a young woman with a troubled past that she is all too eager to get away from. She finds the escape she’s looking for aboard the Wayfarer, a patched-up ship that’s seen better days. The crew have an important job, however, as the ship can create the hyperspace tunnels that make long-distance space travel safer and time-saving. As the ship’s new clerk, she seems to find exactly the peace and quiet she was looking for, albeit alongside the Wayfarer’s chaotic yet affable crew made up of a mishmash of different species. Their relative comfort in close quarters is put to the test, however, as they take on a riskier, more lucrative job: creating the first tunnel to a distant planet. They’ll have to take the long way to get there first, however, contending with each other’s secrets and whatever the galaxy can throw at them along the way.Read More »

Book Review – Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Into the Unbounded Night is an upcoming historical fiction novel by Mitchell James Kaplan. Set in the first century Roman Empire, the story follows a myriad of characters from different walks of life and cultures. The most prominent perspective character is Aislin, a young woman native to Albion (Britain) during the Roman conquest of her land, who becomes a refugee as a result. Second to her point of view is Yohanan son of Zakkai, a studious and thoughtful young Judaean man living in Roman-occupied Jerusalem who philosophically struggles with keeping to the traditions of his faith and respecting the institution of the Temple, which seems more concerned with pleasing their Roman overlords. Other characters include a disgraced Roman soldier turned artist, the Roman general Vespasian, and the condemned angel Azazel.Read More »

Book Review – Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon

Hellboy Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon is the 4th standalone novel in the Hellboy series of books, based on the characters from the comic book series of the same name. As with the third novel, this book is apparently considered to be non-canon with the comic book series. Mythical creatures have suddenly appeared all around the world: a werewolf stalks the streets of Baltimore, a dragon perches on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and many more. Hellboy and his fellow BPRD agents (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence) are spread thin, trying to contain the situation before more lives are lost. As things go from bad to worse, however, they come to learn that the emergence of these creatures across the globe is simply a diversion, meant to distract from a more concerted plot that, if successful, could change the world forever.Read More »

Book Review – White Tears by Hari Kunzru

White Tears

White Tears is a 2017 literary horror novel by Hari Kunzru. Seth and Carter are two young white menwho share a passion for music; particularly black music. Thanks to Carter’s trust fund and wealthy family, and Seth’s technical skills and talent, the two run a successful recording studio in Brooklyn. Their lives take a turn, however, when Seth records an unknown singer in the park. Carter mixes the lyrics in their studio, making it sound like an authentic recording of a blues musician from the 1920s, and releases it online as a song by a lost artist of his invention named Charlie Shaw. It seems harmless enough to them, until somebody online reaches out saying that their fictional song and musician are somehow very real. What begins as the two humouring a seemingly confused old man sends their lives spiraling down into the darkness of the nation’s heart.Read More »

Book Review – The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

The Faceless Old Woman etc

The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor is the third standalone novel set in the world of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast series created and written by the authors. The Faceless Old Woman is a mysterious, spectral figure who has haunted the homes of Night Vale in the series for years now. Often menacing, yet sometimes obtusely helpful, who she might have been and where she came from had always been an unknown. Narrated by the Faceless Old Woman herself, this novel tells her entire life story, from her birth in the Mediterranean in the early 19th century all the way to how she first came to Night Vale, intercut throughout with her meddling in the life of Craig, a young man living in Night Vale in the 2010s.Read More »

Book Review – MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood

MaddAddam

MaddAddam is the third and final novel in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, following Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. It picks up exactly where the second novel left off, with Toby and Ren having recused Amanda from her captors, subduing them after Jimmy stepped in first. Though they initially have a handle of the situation, it all falls apart when the Crakers show up—the semi-humans created by Crake to inherit the Earth after the pandemic. Though everybody makes it out with their lives, the two dangerous men escape in the confusion. Needing to tend to Jimmy’s infected foot, Toby becomes a figure of much interest to the Crakers, and she quickly finds herself put into the role of storyteller in Jimmy’s stead. Ever on guard for the two men who still lurk somewhere nearby, the little colony of Toby and the MaddAddamites try to eke out a living in this post-apocalyptic world, while Toby probes Zeb for stories of his past.Read More »

Book Review – Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope

Here (away from it all)

Here (away from it all) is a 1969 novel by Polly Hope, originally published under the pseudonym Maryann Forrest. On an unnamed Greek island, often swamped with tourists, a small number of wealthy expatriates from around the world live a fairly carefree, relaxed lifestyle in one of the island’s villages. Our unnamed narrator lives with her husband, only referred to as “N,” and a number of her children. One lazy summer’s day the island is covered in a thick layer of dust, as if the fallout of some cataclysmic incident. Communication with the rest of the world ceases after this “Day of the Dusting” and leaving the island becomes hazardous. Left to their own devices, the precarious relationship between the native islanders and the foreigners stuck there begins to fall apart, as some of the old traditions come back into fashion and the expats realize they may never have been as welcome as they thought.Read More »

Book Review – The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

The Year of the Flood

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood is the 2009 sequel to the author’s 2003 novel Oryx and Crake and the second entry in the MaddAddam trilogy. The story is dystopian/post-apocalyptic science fiction set in the not-too-distant future after a global pandemic has wiped out much of humanity. The world before the fall was none too ideal either, with greedy corporations controlling nearly everything. Gene splicing and experimentation was rampant, heinous acts were presented for entertainment, and the world was in the midst of a complete ecological collapse. This novel follows two women who have managed to survive the pandemic, jumping between the day-to-day tribulations after “the Flood,” and their shared history with the ecological religious group the Gardeners before human civilization fell to ruin.Read More »

Book Review – Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

Lords and Ladies

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett is the 14th novel in the Discworld series, and the fourth in the “Witches” subseries. Unlike most other Discworld novels, this book begins with a note from the author suggesting you read some of the previous “Witches” novels before starting this one. This novel begins right where the last one, Witches Abroad, left off, and also continues plot threads from Wyrd Sisters, the novel before that.

Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick have returned home to the small kingdom of Lancre after their journey abroad, only to find trouble afoot before they can even settle back in at home. Magrat finds that her potential husband-to-be Verence II, the former Fool made King, has fast-tracked a lot of their wedding arrangements without her input. Meanwhile, crop circles are appearing all across the kingdom; it seems somebody has been dancing around some stone circles, inviting the return of the elves. While remembered fondly in the minds of people, their return only spells trouble for everybody living on the Disc.Read More »