Kaleidoscope is one of the best anthologies I have read for a very long time. It's not just the concept, which is both necessary and overdue; it's not...moreKaleidoscope is one of the best anthologies I have read for a very long time. It's not just the concept, which is both necessary and overdue; it's not just the stories, which are engaging and beautiful and thoughtful and brilliant; it's not just the way the authors explore science fiction and fantasy from perspectives all too frequently unseen in fiction; it's all of these things, and that it seems so natural. In this anthology, every story takes a character (or two or three) who is often "othered" in fiction (and life), and makes their differences a part of the story. Readers will see themselves, they will see their friends, they will see their families, their cultures, their religious beliefs, their sexuality, their physical and mental states and they will see them as normal, as okay, as special. Not othered. Important and relevant and very very good, Kaleidoscope offers a powerful message to our society about difference, and about what we, as readers, want (and need) to see in our stories.
Some pieces, such as Tansy Rayner Roberts' "Cookie Cutter Superhero", offer a biting commentary on popular culture, couched in humour and teen spirit; others, such as "Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon" by Ken Liu, take a gentler approach, examining first love with a fantasical twist. Some stories shade darker, as with "The Legend Trap" by Sean Williams (set in his Twinmaker universe, an added bonus for fans) and "Kiss and Kiss and Kiss and Tell" by E.C. Myers; still others take a familiar trope and turn it sideways, like Faith Mudge's "Signature" and "The Lovely Duckling" by Tim Susman. Some of my favourite works in the book were those that embedded the story in the protagonist's nature, like the magic of Jim C. Hines' "Chupacabra's Song" and Karen Healey's astonishingly good "Careful Magic". There are so many wonderful stories in the pages of Kaleidoscope that every reader will find a favourite (or two or three), and every reader, teen or adult, will find at least one that speaks to them in deeper ways.
Thank you to the publisher for my review copy of the book. Kaleidoscope will launch on August 5, 2014 and can be preordered here.(less)
Perfectly readable, full of action, and while I had some concerns about the worldbuilding, by the end I was happy with that too. Look forward to seein...morePerfectly readable, full of action, and while I had some concerns about the worldbuilding, by the end I was happy with that too. Look forward to seeing what happens next.(less)
A cracking pace and some fantastic characters to get to know in this debut novel. I would probably label it science fantasy, as the scientific premise...moreA cracking pace and some fantastic characters to get to know in this debut novel. I would probably label it science fantasy, as the scientific premise is somewhat shaky, but it's well considered in the world building of the novel, which works for me. A bit of the "most special of the specials" in the main character, but I liked her anyway, and while I'm a little tired of the Insta-Love plus REASON trope, this had some nice backstory to alleviate some of my annoyance. In all, the overused tropes were outweighed by great action & interesting premise, and I enjoyed the reading experience. If you liked Veronica Roth, chances are this will be right up your alley.(less)
This probably is more like a 2.5 for me, but I've rounded up for a) debut novel and b) really interesting idea. I absolutely love the premise here, wh...moreThis probably is more like a 2.5 for me, but I've rounded up for a) debut novel and b) really interesting idea. I absolutely love the premise here, which messes both with history and the future, creating a completely alternate timeline to play with, but unfortunately, this book suffers severely from over-hype-itis it in no way lives up to. While the CONCEPT is excellent and quite unusual, the execution is somewhat pedestrian, relying heavily on all the same over-used tropes we've been seeing in the genre for a long time. I can see what people who aren't usually readers in the field like about it, but for a seasoned reader, it's nothing new and it is not nearly well enough paced, plotted and characterised. It took me several weeks to get through it, with many books in between because it just didn't grab me and hold on. There are kernels of a really great story here, but overall, leaves a fair bit to be desired – I doubt I'll pick up the next one.
Thank you to the publisher for my review copy. (less)