I’ve been a fan of this anthology before I ever read it, before it was even compiled. I helped with the crowdfunding for Kaleidoscope – you can see myI’ve been a fan of this anthology before I ever read it, before it was even compiled. I helped with the crowdfunding for Kaleidoscope – you can see my name on page 438 (second column near the bottom). What appealed to me about this anthology was the fact it would focus on a more diverse range of protagonists, both from the perspective of race, sexual preference and (my favourite) neurodiversity.
The anthology did not let me down at all. While there was one story that just didn’t fully click with me (the idea was awesome but the characters and the story didn’t move me), it was only one out of twenty, and it wasn’t bad, just not exactly my cup of tea. I really liked a lot of them, and really, really liked the rest.
Tansy Rayner Roberts’ ‘Cookie-Cutter Superhero’ had wonderful characters and an amazing concept, but the ending felt much more like the end of a chapter than the end of a tale – not that I didn’t enjoy it, and I would read the hell out of that book if/when she releases it.
Vanilla was definitely one of my favourites. I loved the hairies and her relationship with them, and her background was wonderfully detailed. The ending was certainly a surprise too :)
The Chupacabra’s Song was probably my most favourite. The mixture of magic and the nuerologically diverse character and then add a legendary animal – you had me at hello ;p
Walkdog was really something different, and certainly impressed me – despite a regular desire to backhand the POV character.
I intend to write up my opinions on more of the stories but I’m pressed for time, so I'll have to come back and add them later.
I really enjoyed the diversity of characters and very rarely did it feel like their gender preference or colour had just been painted on for the appearance of diversity. I NEVER felt that the neuro diversity was painted on – every single time it was integral to the plot and character both and I really loved that.
However I was mildly disappointed that nearly all of the homosexual characters were female. I’ve noticed a distinct tendency for lesbians to be more accepted than gay men. I’ve literally stood in the presence of a bigot (not entirely willingly) who went from whinging his fears about a rumour one of the men on his favourite sports team might be gay and how that ‘just wasn’t on, he shouldn’t be kicked off the team’, and seconds later was commenting on how hot it would be if the two very attractive friends with me(both female) made out. While he’s clearly not the best example of a good person, he does effectively show my point. I’m now quite determined to write more gay men into my stories.
All up I absolutely adored the anthology and am so glad I donated during the crowdfunding phase. I recommend this anthology to anyone and everyone...more
Bill Masen, a bio-chemist working with the strange plants - triffids - is temporarily blinded by their poison. While he sits in hospital he is frustraBill Masen, a bio-chemist working with the strange plants - triffids - is temporarily blinded by their poison. While he sits in hospital he is frustrated that the bandages over his eyes prevent him from seeing the spectacular light show created by a passing comet. However when the next morning there is no noise around - even out on the street - he begins to realise he might be one of the lucky ones. Every one around is blind save for himself. Bill can't help but recall something a co-worker once said in passing: how just such a situation would benefit the carnivorous triffids.
It's kind of hard to express how much I loved this book. Bill was a great character (though a little slow on the pick-up from time to time)(balanced well though by how relatable and believable his reactions were while the bandages were on). I also loved Josella, whose resillience is hard not to enjoy (though your initial meeting of he might make you think I'm a nutter).
The triffids are such an amazing villain. Well equipped, creepy, genetically-engineered, carnivorous plants. Their origin story is interesting too.
There is so much action and adventure, and twist after twist - my favorite being right at the end with the (view spoiler)[ satellite weapons, alluded to at the start, but the importance of which were only revealed right t the end (hide spoiler)]. Characters, even the minor constantly changed and grew throughout the story - Coker being a particularly grand example.
I recommend this book for just about anyone, but particularly those who like post-apocalyptic tales, and against-the-odds stories.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A collection of stories 'as told by Susan Calvin during an interview'. In each story we get to view the three laws of robotics from a different angleA collection of stories 'as told by Susan Calvin during an interview'. In each story we get to view the three laws of robotics from a different angle and see how these laws can conflict to create strange new subroutines. We also slowly get to view the evolution of robots.
Each time I try and pick a favourite it becomes too hard because there are several I love immensely. After the first few I was excitedly enjoying trying to predict how the three laws had caused the problem, and how they could also be used to solve the problem.
I also loved Susan Calvin, a strong and clever woman who tied so many of these stories together. I particularly loved the stories she was personally involved in, such as the mind-reading robot, when you could gain a better look at her character.
I recommend this book to anyone who beleives machines have a personality or has any form of interest in robotics....more
Being that my story is one of those contained in these pages and I know the other contributors also I can't make a truly unbiased review (obviously IBeing that my story is one of those contained in these pages and I know the other contributors also I can't make a truly unbiased review (obviously I think it's awesome and you should read it now). However I will level a challenge at you. One of these stories was written by a girl, sweet sixteen. I bet you can't tell which one.
Ransom is enjoying a walking tour of the English countryside only to be drugged by an old school friend and his companion. He wakes in a strange roomRansom is enjoying a walking tour of the English countryside only to be drugged by an old school friend and his companion. He wakes in a strange room and quickly learns he is on a spaceship headed for a planet called Malacandra. Even more alarmingly, before they land he hears he is to be offered up as a sacrifice to some of the planets inhabitants. What can he do though? It's not as if he can run away from his captors on another planet - can he?
My husband has recently been on an old school science-fiction kick, reading all the classics and I was starting to feel jealous. When I saw one of my favourite childhood authors had written a science fiction tale I jumped on it.
I wasn't expecting much, being that I don't read a lot of science fiction (not out of dislike, just because I tend to lean to the fantasy side of the speculative fiction spectrum so I'm too busy reading all that) and that the story was written back in 1938. The story went way above my expectations.
The landscape of Malacandra was weird and wonderful and filled my imagination, and the different species upon it were not only wonderful in appearance, behaviour and thought but I loved the fact the three different sentient species all integrated together in a non-warlike fashion. I also adored the reasoning behind such integration (which I won't spoil here for prospective readers.
As with the other older series I've been reading recently (Ursula K Le Guin's Earthsea stories) there is a lot of philosophising which is sometimes well hidden but other times just out there in the open, but since all the topics covered were interesting to me I didn't mind at all.
I recommend this book to people who want to try some classic science fiction and people who like stories with some deeper thinking in them....more
In the spirit of full disclosure, this anthology contains my own short story 'Short Circuit' (shortlisted in the 2013 Aurealis Awards), so my review wIn the spirit of full disclosure, this anthology contains my own short story 'Short Circuit' (shortlisted in the 2013 Aurealis Awards), so my review will pertain to all the other stories - not my own. I have not let my inclusion effect what I feel about the other stories.
Oomph: A Little Super Goes A Long Way is an anthology featuring a plethora of superheroes whose powers are not the typical powers that little kids wish for. From a woman who has a different power each Thursday (and has to figure out what it is), to a young man who always hears the exact line he needs to at that moment - if he's listening to his MP3 player on random - to a young lady with the ability to control blankets, there is no lack of powered heroes who refuse to let their (externally deemed) meager talents stop them from saving the day.
Apart from the good feeling you get reading stories where people push past barriers there is no lack of strong female characters and the anthology also positively promotes QUILTBAG characters too.
Usually when I read an anthology there's one story that I feel meh about. That story may not necessarily be bad, just it didn't quite click with me. I couldn't find that story in this anthology. In fifteen stories you'd feel sure there would be one, but I couldn't find it.
I recommend this book for any fan of superheroes and for anyone who wants to feel like they can tackle anything - because that's the feeling this gives you....more
Kobato is a mysterious young cutie who has absolutely no grasp on even the most basic of common sense. She has a goal however, there is a place she waKobato is a mysterious young cutie who has absolutely no grasp on even the most basic of common sense. She has a goal however, there is a place she wants to go, and to get there she must fill a jar to the brim with fragments of broken hearts she has healed - but first she has to earn the jar by proving she can survive (and blend in!) in the human world.
Anyone who has looked at my later reviews of this series will wonder why this volume has 4 stars but the others have 5. the reason is because this first volume has a very episodic feel, there was the undercurrent linking each episode, and Kobato was cute and Ioryogi hilarious (but brutal) but I wasn't deeply connecting to the story. Of course I had complete faith that CLAMP would pull it all together by the end.
While the episodic feel did keep me a little distant from the heart of the story anyone unfamiliar with Japanese culture will be delighted to discover details of daily life in Japan, like taking out the trash, hanami, and more. What is commonsense to the Japanese is slightly skewed in some situations to what is commonsense to those of us in 'the west'.
As always with CLAMP books the art is gorgeous and detailed, you could spend days admiring some panels. Also, like a few of the more recent series you can keep an eye out for old friends from series past.
Kobato is a character has that adorable, clumsy innocence that is a bit of a trope in manga, but she is so cute (and adorable dressed) that I imagine most people will over-look it (or like a lot of manga fans perhaps love her all the more for it). Ioryogi may look like a blue stuffed animal, but his impressive fire beam breath prooves rather effectively that his is not your average toy dog (like the walking and talking wasn't some hint). Both characters clearly have hidden pasts (which readers of CLAMP will know won't be fully revealed until the final volume), and the hints are tantalising enough to draw you to the next volume.
I recommend this series for all CLAMP fans and any lovers of shojo manga or those keen to try out either (or both)....more
The Wild Girl is the story of Dortchen Wild, the girl who grew up next door to the Grimm brothers and told them many of their famous stories. While itThe Wild Girl is the story of Dortchen Wild, the girl who grew up next door to the Grimm brothers and told them many of their famous stories. While it is a romance story at heart, wars rage through the town, upending lives and behind closed doors darkness waits too.
The world is full of details that should delight historical fiction fans without becoming a litany of research, flecks of history and herb-lore peppering the pages in a just-right mix of spice. More than once I learned something new about the Napoleanic wars and properties of plants. There was also plentiful (but not overwhelming) information on the changing fashions of the time and the daily realities of life in the early 1800s - who knew you ground up acorns when you ran out of flour for bread?
Since the book starts with Dortchen as a twelve year old it takes a while for the passion to enter the romance, but it is well worth the wait. I genuinely was uncertain right up until the end if they would be together or not, though I suppose if you know the historical facts it will not be a surprise, since Forsyth was true to history. Fortunately I was unaware of those facts, so was able to enjoy the suspense.
For sufferers of parental abuse I will offer a trigger warning. I myself was disturbed at times and never suffered from such attacks. Upon reading the acknowledgements I was surprised (but also partially unsurprised) to see that Forsyth was also haunted by those scenes.
As with all of Forsyth’s work, there is a beautiful undercurrent of magic threaded through real life. It shows itself in the herb lore, but also through fervent wishes of Dortchen’s from time to time. I’ve always loved the way Forsyth works magic in and I assure you if you enjoyed Bitter Greens (Forsyth’s prior novel, a retelling of the Rapunzel tale (here’s my review)) then you will not be disappointed by this one.
Fans of fairy tales in their original forms will be delighted to hear many a tale in just such a way. I must admit I was surprised by 'All-Kinds-of-Fur' - which I knew as 'Sapsorrow' - and to see what might have been the actual creation of the tale. It is also interesting to see the evolution of the Grimm's book as it goes through various editions as well. Forsyth's research must have been exhaustive for all the many details she has put in.
I recommend this novel for fans of fairy tales and fantasy primarily, but also to historical fiction reader and those interested in the early 1800s and the way life was lived then. Lovers of bittersweet romance will also enjoy the book....more
Ashling is the third volume of the Obernewtyn Chronicles and follows Elspeth Gordie as she attempts to convince the rebels to accept her and the otherAshling is the third volume of the Obernewtyn Chronicles and follows Elspeth Gordie as she attempts to convince the rebels to accept her and the other Misfits of Obernewtyn, return an injured gypsy to her people and take on the notorious slave trader Salamander. Just a few tasks.
Elspeth has a hectic couple of weeks to deal with in this volume, but I can't help but question (just as teenage me did back when I first read this book) when the heck she was going to finally get around to finding and destroying the weapon machines? Not that this ruins to book or anything, just curious.
The pace tears through this book, ripping from one event to another making for a rapid read. I love that whenever Elspeth expects the worst things work out fine and whenever she thinks things will go smoothly they don't. Prepare for a couple of whammies as well.
I recommend this book/series to any lover of fantasy (young adult or otherwise) or anyone wanting to try fantasy but who wants to start with something great.
The Farseekers is the second book of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, a series following Elspeth Gordie, an orphaned mutant with exceptional mind powers inThe Farseekers is the second book of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, a series following Elspeth Gordie, an orphaned mutant with exceptional mind powers in a post-apocalyptic world. Elspeth has a fate she must follow: to find and destroy all the machines which created the Great White(the event that destroyed her world), and this fate is becoming harder and harder to refuse. (You can read my review of the first volume here.)
In 'The Farseekers' Elspeth and some friends from Obernewtyn begin a two-goaled quest. The first goal is to uncover a library of the Beforetimers, the second goal is to find a prodigious power in the vicinity of the library. Before departing on the quest, a futureteller informs the team they have to return with their goals achieved before winter freezes the pass to Obernewtyn, or their home will be destroyed.
Elspeth is a remarkable character, someone who frequently pushes herself beyond her limits for the benefit of others. It is easy to see she is perfect for the role of 'Seeker'. Her character is not unbelievable however (which is a trap a lot of writers fall in), and her actions are true to her past and beliefs.
The story has a good plot with plenty of twists and turns, and Carmody sure as heck doesn't go easy on her characters. This volume contains a lot more travel and adventure than the previous volume, so for those who like fantasy that roams continents this volume will be quite satisfying.
I recommend the series for any lover of fantasy (young adult or otherwise) or anyone wanting to try fantasy but who wants to start with something great. ...more
Much more than just your average art book, Hyrule Historia gives you a chronology of where the many different games should fit together in the historyMuch more than just your average art book, Hyrule Historia gives you a chronology of where the many different games should fit together in the history of Hyrule (obviously with some leeway) and makes some nice points about things that appear in multiple stories and how they might be connected.
Of course there's plenty of awesome conceptual sketches (which I've always been mad about) for characters, races, landscapes and monster/opponents.
Lots of informational tidbits and insights, HEAPS of art and well it's Legend of Zelda isn't it? You had me at hello.
Recommended to any fans of the video game series and collectors who love artbooks/video games....more
Obernewtyn is the tale of Elspeth Gordie, an orphan with mutant powers she must keep a secret from everyone around her. In a post-apocalyptic world fuObernewtyn is the tale of Elspeth Gordie, an orphan with mutant powers she must keep a secret from everyone around her. In a post-apocalyptic world full of adults grappling for power where anyone different could be burned simply for what makes them different, how is a young woman to survive?
And then of course there's a prophecy (because what's a fantasy novel without a prophecy?).
Fair disclosure, I'm a long-time fan of this series re-reading it for my Australian speculative fiction authors challenge. I read the first three books during my teens (and you can totally blame Carmody for the fact I am a writer myself since hearing she wrote Obernewtyn during high school inspired me to try and take it up as a career) but due to life interfering with reading time(and a large gap between releases) never got around to finishing the series.
Elspeth is an intriguing character for me, primarily because she is so vastly different from me in many ways, but with a tiny kernel of similarity that resonated both with teen me and still somewhat with 30 year old me. Elspeth is a loner, partly by circumstance, but also a little by nature. It's hard not to be envious of her powers, and that was certainly something teen me dug about her.
The story moves at a good pace and paints an amazing world which you can't help but wonder whether the pre-apocalypse world was ours. I love the clever details of government and religion like the Council and the Herder Faction as well as the way the pre-apocalypse world bleeds into the post and effects it.
The ending is a wonderful promise of what the rest of the series will offer, but not in a too frustrating cliff-hanger sort of way.
I recommend the series for any lover of fantasy (young adult or otherwise) or anyone wanting to try fantasy but who wants to start with something great....more
If you are looking for a feel good, pick-me-up fantasy move along, because this book is not that book. Which is not to say I didn't love the book - itIf you are looking for a feel good, pick-me-up fantasy move along, because this book is not that book. Which is not to say I didn't love the book - it was fantastic, but there was even more heart break to be had in this volume than in the first.
The T'En and Malaunje (collectively referred to as Wyrds) are besieged in their glorious city trying to ensure they will be able to safely leave the country rather than be obliterated as a race by the aging and violent King Charald.
There is a large cast of characters to follow, many of whom you will love or love-to-hate. I found it easy to follow each individual characters storyline despite the number of them because they each have such clarity as individuals that it is easy to remember them. I was a smidge disappointed that one of my favourite not-so-good (but also not evil) characters was less likeable in this version, mostly I think because we never saw scenes from her perspective so didn't get any brief flashes of the person underneath all that bluster. Poor Vittoryxe.
The plot was fast paced and exciting despite the fact that several times I felt the desire to yell at Daniells to give her poor characters a break once in a while. I would have finished the book several days ago if I hadn't been stricken with migraines and unable to read for those days.
The ending leaves you keen for the next volume and I'll tell you what, I'm glad I already bought it because otherwise I might have gone mental before I made it to the bookstore.
I recommend this book (and its series) to lovers of gritty fantasy, epic fantasy and swords and sorcery....more
Meg Murry's father has been missing for some time and everyone in the town thinks he's run away. When her younger brother, Charles Wallace, introducesMeg Murry's father has been missing for some time and everyone in the town thinks he's run away. When her younger brother, Charles Wallace, introduces her to the strange woman, Mrs. Whatsit who informs them there is such a thing as a tesseract, and before to much longer they are traveling across time and space in search of their father.
This is such an amazing book, and another classic which seems to not be too held back by the passage of time. Meg is a very identifiable character, and i have the feeling this isn't something just felt by messy-haired girls like me, but just about any girl who doesn't fit perfectly into society's mould. What i loved most were that her flaws were exactly what was needed in most situations.
There are some many big ideas in this book, but they are explained so well and so simply and wrapped up in such a wonderful story that they barely give you pause beyond a moment of 'wow'.
I can't wait to read this to my son when he's just a little bit older....more
Follow the slayer myth started in Buffy into the future. Meet Melaka Fray, a thief living in the slums of the future. One day after a 'grab' she returFollow the slayer myth started in Buffy into the future. Meet Melaka Fray, a thief living in the slums of the future. One day after a 'grab' she returns home and meets her watcher. The man tells her she is the Chosen and promptly lights himself on fire. Fortunately there's a demon waiting in the wings who offers to guide and teach her, but aside from his own motivations what sort of slayer has never heard of vampires?
As one expects with Whedon's works, characters you love will die(this is not a spoiler, no cast of Joss Whedon's ever makes it out entirely unscathed) and there are too many twists to predict all of them. The setting is deep and believable. I loved how he added his own slang into the speech.
By far his best talent is characters. You cant help but love characters like Melaka and Loo and be intrigued by Urkonn and Icarus. He manages to give so much clarity that you can easily identify with them or at least understand their motivations.
Whedon creates an impressive twist on the slayer myth which is quite compelling. Expect gasps, laughter and tears.
I recommend this book to any Joss Whedon fan, anyone who enjoys graphic novels and well, pretty much everyone....more
Beseiged is a multi-threaded tale involving an entire race hated by ‘True-men’ involving the pure blood T’En and their magic, the Mieren(True-men) and half-bloods between the two races. Besieged is full of political intrigue and war and characters you love and love to hate.
This is one of those books where I wish Goodreads gave me the ability to do half stars so I could give it four and a half. I only give five stars to books the change me or I burn to read again the instant I finish them, and while this book is awesome it didn't quite meet either of my five star requirements - but the book is also better than some of the books I have given four stars to before and deserves the distinction.
Daniells has a skill with characters I feel. Some characters you just can’t wait to have a sword embedded in their gut (Charald for me), some villains you aren’t sure if they are villains or just people doing what they have to (Graelen, Oskane), other villains you can see flashes of good in them and can’t quite hate even if they are a power hungry bitch(Vittoryxe) and then there are the ‘good guys’.
With such a large cast of characters I thought I would get lost quickly, but Daniells ability to imbue characters with memorable features and behaviours and speed/regularity in switching between the various locations meant I never got lost (much to my surprise).
The world building is amazing. The different races and their cultures are unusual and clever and I like how Daniells has filled her world with gender wars as well as race wars and power wars. I certainly wouldn’t want to live there though ;p
The plot was well paced with action breaking up the politics and intrigue, and even though my reading time is quite minimal I was able to finish the book much faster than I expected. I also can’t wait to start the next book.
Something I really loved about the book as well was that when a coupling happened it was just as frequently a same sex pairing as a different gendered one, something which I enjoy in my fiction when it is done well. I believe in love without the boundaries of race/gender ect.
I recommend this book (and series) to all fans of epic fantasy and those considering trying it out. I also recommend it to those who enjoy political intrigue that won’t bore you....more