Lagoon is a fast-paced, vivid novel, as diverse and full of life as the city it is set in.
I loved the multiple viewpoints (especially the non-human oLagoon is a fast-paced, vivid novel, as diverse and full of life as the city it is set in.
I loved the multiple viewpoints (especially the non-human ones) and the short chapters kept me turning pages. It was a fast read and lots of fun. But that's not to say it was 'fluffy' or lacked substance.
Okorafor depicts both the good and the bad of a city and truly manages to bring her setting and characters to life.
Also, I was happy to see a first contact novel where the aliens didn't just immediately ignore all other species and cut straight to land and humans (despite the fact that most of earth is water and that an alien species can't be assumed to judge species 'importance' by human standards). A nice little ego check.
(view spoiler)[I don't mind an open ending and was happy with the book's conclusion but I kind of want a sequel novella that details the swordfish's further adventures. :P (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was wonderfully creepy and well written. Few books manage to scare me but this one caused a shudder or two to run up my spine. This book truly deThis was wonderfully creepy and well written. Few books manage to scare me but this one caused a shudder or two to run up my spine. This book truly demonstrated that you don't need to be graphic to be unsettling. Furthermore, the author's love of the natural world and all its intertwined beauty and horror really shines through in the prose and minimal, yet evocative, description. Eventually the reader, at least in my case, is left unsure as to whether Area X is a horrifying landscape of duplicitous nightmares, or the place they want to be more than anywhere else.
While Annihilation stands very well on its own I am now eagerly awaiting next book in the series, anticipating both answers to some of Area X's mysteries and to fall deeper into the unknown. ...more
Sometimes I increase or decrease the rating of a book a while after I read it, either because it didn't stand up to further examination or (like in thSometimes I increase or decrease the rating of a book a while after I read it, either because it didn't stand up to further examination or (like in this case) because it stuck in my mind long after and I am very glad I read it for reasons above and beyond my enjoyment at the time
While Ancillary Justice might not be technically perfect and the genderless she pronoun (which I quite liked) and multiple themes, timelines and POV might be distracting for some readers and make it a bit more challenging to read, the story and characters lodged in my mind (view spoiler)[(I think am still upset about what happened to Awn) (hide spoiler)] and the book gave me a lot of food for thought.
That's reasonably rare for me these days. I also respect a book and author who takes risks even if they aren't all successful. I would take something imperfect but ambitious over something wildly entertaining, perfectly paced but ultimately forgettable any day. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories is the debut short story collection by talented upcoming author, Joanne Anderton. It contains thirteen stories in all, eleven of which have been previously published and two of which are brand new. All considered, it is an extremely impressive collection, and it did not contain a single story that I didn’t enjoy.
While I have enjoyed Anderton’s novels, in my personal opinion, her short stories have their own unique magic. They offer tantalizing glimpses into strange yet familiar worlds occupied by deeply and undeniably human characters. Without the need for elaborate explanation, Anderton draws you in and makes you believe in places where statues move, machines rule, or a wind chime made of bones tells its own tale. At times you can almost hear the crunch of desiccated grass underfoot or the rustle of skeleton animals stirring.
Most of the stories in The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories lean towards the darker side. Nevertheless, Anderton does not always paint a bleak picture, and as often as not the stories retain a strong sense of hope.
While each and every story in the collection is unique, all are consistently imaginative and compelling. I can’t help but agree with Kaaron Warren who, in her introduction to the collection, describes these stories as ‘transformative’
Many of Anderton’s stories defy categorisation into a single discreet genre mould. She expertly weaves genres together to produce what could be described as dark science fiction laced with horror, or psychological horror with a dash of fantasy, or any number of other things.
While I almost never reread books or stories (I have a very good memory for text which often makes it pointless past a few pages) I found myself rereading the stories I had encountered elsewhere purely for the beauty of the language. Doing so merely uncovered new layers and increased my admiration for the author’s skill. I could go on to describe the stories themselves, but in doing so I risk breaking the spell and ruining the experience for new readers. Furthermore, I cannot really pick a favourite story. By the time I finish writing this review it will probably have changed again.
For transparency’s sake I will admit that I have met Jo a number of times and very much like her. I think it would be hard not to. However, that is not the reason why I love this book so very much, nor why I’ve chosen to review it now. The simple fact is that these stories are good. Much more than good, in fact. Anderton has a beautiful way with words and an almost preternatural ability to draw the reader into her strange, wonderful and often disturbing imaginings.
All in all, I urge anyone who loves dark, strange and beautifully written stories to read this collection. You won’t regret it. Furthermore, I imagine this collection and the previously unpublished stories within it will be hot contenders for the Ditmar and Aurealis awards next year. Personally, I can’t wait to read whatever Joanne writes next.
The Bone Chime Song and Other Stories is published by Fablecroft Press and can be purchased here.
Note: As an added recommendation, my partner, who doesn’t read much fantasy, picked up the book while I was in the shower and read Sanaa’s Army. Then he wouldn’t give it back or stop reading until he’d finished it. He really enjoyed it and now we both want a ‘Cat Box’ for a pet (read the story for that to make sense).
Great stuff, I now see why people rave about this book. These darkly beautiful feminist takes on fairy tales are in turns sad, disturbing, brutal andGreat stuff, I now see why people rave about this book. These darkly beautiful feminist takes on fairy tales are in turns sad, disturbing, brutal and humorous. The prose is lyrical and almost hypnotic.
Lately I've become a bit addicted to short fiction and have been on the lookout for anthologies and collections containing the kind of offbeat, lyricaLately I've become a bit addicted to short fiction and have been on the lookout for anthologies and collections containing the kind of offbeat, lyrically written speculative fiction that I tend to enjoy. As I really enjoyed the Lisa L. Hannett stories I read in The Year's Best Australian Fantasy and Horror and have heard great things about her other stories I thought I might give her debut collection a try.
I think I'll try something different this time and rate and comment on each story as I go.
(Apologies for any dodgy grammar. I've been a bit sick and worn out lately and am writing this in spare time after work so it probably isn't too polished. I'll probably rewrite it when I'm finished the whole thing).
Carousel - A wonderfully written and bizarre story involving a girl, her father and a shed full of moths. The powerful imagery, equal parts beautiful and disturbing, gives the story a strange mesmeric quality, drawing you right in until you can almost smell the blood and sawdust. 5/5
Down the Hollow - Eerie and sad, Down the Hollow tells a story of love, sacrifice, loss and a desperate, all-consuming yearning for approval. Told from the perspective of a young man suffering from a taboo love, Hannett creates something both essentially morbid and beautiful. 5/5
Them Little Shinin’ Things - A strange and brutal changeling story telling a story of jealousy, desire and the lengths people will go to claim what they believe is theirs. The story is given a unique spin in being told in the first person by a human accomplice to the baby-snatching faerie folk. The protagonist's voice is both memorable and distinctive, elevating what might otherwise have been a good story, into a great one. 5/5
Fur and Feathers - I loved this one. Has all the elements of a great story-fox men, magic eggs and human-headed oracle chickens. Great fun, but not without its share of pathos. 5/5
From the Teeth of Strange Children - A truly disturbing vampire tale that actually manages to do some new and interesting things with the genre. 5/5
The Wager and the Hourglass - A short but effective story with a strong feminist message. A young woman must win a wager against a cruel and literally soulless Mayor to save both herself and the life of the man she loves. A bit more straightforward than some of the other stories but still very good. 4/5
The Short Go: A Future in Eight Seconds - Told in a style reminiscent of the oral tradition, this story chronicles the possible future/s of a young couple in a town with some err...interesting customs involving minotaurs, and examines the far reaching consequences of their choices. 4.5/5
I really enjoyed this. Loved the fey and the werewolves and came to really care about the characters.
It's set in a fascinating secondary4.25-4.5 stars
I really enjoyed this. Loved the fey and the werewolves and came to really care about the characters.
It's set in a fascinating secondary world (much of which is based off Brittany) and despite the medieval setting incorporates progressive gender roles and features strong, smart and competent characters of both sexes.
I think I'd also like a longer, slightly darker and more complex adult take on this story as well. (Sue, please write that for me :P) However, it works well as is and has a different style than most of the other YA first person fantasy books I've read, likely due to its medieval romance origins.
More detailed review to come sometime in the future. ...more
I'd read quite a few anthologies lately and hundreds of fantasy and horror stories (for work and pleasure) yet this collection felt surprisingly4-4.5
I'd read quite a few anthologies lately and hundreds of fantasy and horror stories (for work and pleasure) yet this collection felt surprisingly fresh and I found myself looking forward to coming home to read it each night. Many of the stories have a distinctly Australian flavour and all in all there were very few that I couldn't quite connect with. There are some absolutely excellent stories here and despite their varying tones the collection works admirably well as a whole. There were stories that made me laugh, stories that left me elated, stories that scared me and one that actually made me tear up.
I'll most likely write a more detailed review mentioning some of my favourite stories at a later date.
Highly recommended. Personally, I can't wait for the 2011 anthology....more
I've been waiting to read this book for ages and when I heard about the Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along (http://bit.ly/zLXUOe) I couldn't resist joiniI've been waiting to read this book for ages and when I heard about the Lies of Locke Lamora Read Along (http://bit.ly/zLXUOe) I couldn't resist joining in.
Stories from lots of exciting authors and, somehow, me! Excitement!
I'm a bit uncomfortable rating a book that I contributed to, so I might just leaveStories from lots of exciting authors and, somehow, me! Excitement!
I'm a bit uncomfortable rating a book that I contributed to, so I might just leave it unrated for now.
However, I will say that (not considering my story which I can't really pass judgement on) the quality of the collection is very high. As high, if not higher, than the previous collection by the same editors.
There is a great variety of different stories and some really interesting takes on the Dickens London theme.
After reading it I have a strong urge to book a trip to London. :P