The Laundry files series and setting has been in a constant state of change by its nature. This book includes two of the most major changes.
Since compThe Laundry files series and setting has been in a constant state of change by its nature. This book includes two of the most major changes.
Since computing power and other factors have been increasing the ease and availability of magic, the setting itself has changed drastically. Superpowered humans have emerged as the walls between our reality and the ones next door wear thin. The operations of the Laundry itself have become no less secretive, but more active and wide ranging.
This is a perfect environment for another group from a different reality whose "Case NIGHTMARE GREEN" has already come to pass, to come calling.
Bob Howard, our hero from the first six Laundry novels has definitely come up in the world. From pure office tech support in book 1, he's gone through time in the field, to running external assets, and has now taken over for his old mentor. A Laundry novel about Bob at this point would be much more political and strategic than we're used to. So it's a good time for a POV switch. Enter Dr. Alex Schwartz, math nerd, programmer, and accidental discoverer of V-parasites and PHANG syndrome. He makes a good POV character - he's new enough to the Laundry to make his perspective accessible to people just getting into the series, but also resilient enough (magically and physically) from vampirism to avoid ratcheting down the tension and stakes....more
A solid outing from Powers with his combination of history, esoterica and a smidgeon of horror. A bit more sloppily plotted that his other books I'veA solid outing from Powers with his combination of history, esoterica and a smidgeon of horror. A bit more sloppily plotted that his other books I've read, but still quite enjoyable....more
Another excellent effort from DJO. Like Shadowshaper before it, this novella is richly multilayered. It would be easy for a story with so many layersAnother excellent effort from DJO. Like Shadowshaper before it, this novella is richly multilayered. It would be easy for a story with so many layers of conflict represented to become shallow, or muddied. Older juggles them with aplomb.
Tee has been feeling disconnected and uncertain of her place in the world since the end of Shadowshaper. It hasn't gone unnoticed, and the first obvious story is about the damage it's causing to her relationships, particularly with her girlfriend Izzy.
The blatant supernatural hook is the eponymous ghost girl who appears to Tee. What does she want? Who is she? Why does Tee feel in her bones the girl should be a secret, even from the other shadowshapers?
And where is Lani Cortez, star pitcher and local hero of the diamond?
On top of all this, Older acknowledges and comments on the myriad of other tensions in his characters lives without being heavy handed or preachy. Conflicts between races, origins, sexes and others make their impacts felt.
And to top of it off, we're left with a little hook for further Bed-Stuy Shadowshaper problems to come.
Fred is not so much a novel as a collection of related short stories. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if they'd been published somewhere that way firFred is not so much a novel as a collection of related short stories. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if they'd been published somewhere that way first.
This book is amusing, entertaining, and light. The main character is quite different than your usual UF fare. Fred was a fat, nerdy, picked-on kid who grew up to be a fat, nerdy, boring accountant. Until he was attacked by a vampire and turned. Now he's a thin (liquid diets don't promote pudginess), nerdy, boring vampire accountant.
At least, he is until a whim takes him back to his home town for his 10 year class reunion. There he meets up with an old friend who is also quite different than before, and learns he's not the weirdest thing out there.
The resulting (mis)adventures are amusing, sometimes touching, occasionally exciting, and a fun read....more
I'm not generally a reader of biographies or memoirs, so I wasn't really sure what to expect from the book. The closest I've come before was In God WI'm not generally a reader of biographies or memoirs, so I wasn't really sure what to expect from the book. The closest I've come before was In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, the basis of A Christmas Story.
Like he stand-up, Amy Schumer's book revolves around her relationships. Even the anecdotes that are more event driven are at heart about how those events affected her relationships to her family, friends, or self.
It moves back and forth between thoughtful, serious, angry, and laugh aloud hilarious. Sometimes she manages it within the same chapter/essay. Though not truly a biography, the book weaves a picture of a complicated, damaged and empathetic woman.
The writing is straightforward, with a flowing conversational style. It's easy to read and understand, but not particularly interesting in itself.
The audio book was read by the author, who did a fine job....more
The word building in particular is exquisite. The setting - a world where human meddling has lost us the moon and rendered tThis is an excellent book.
The word building in particular is exquisite. The setting - a world where human meddling has lost us the moon and rendered the planet seismically unstable - is refreshingly unusual. The idea of the Fifth Seasons (extended winters caused seismic activity throwing ash and fumes into the atmosphere) is familiar to anyone who grew up learning about Nuclear Winter.
The setting's magic is also quite interesting. It's focused on the earth, turning heat, pressure and kinetic energy to other purposes.
I started with the second book, because I wasn't paying that much attention and it was available at the library. Despite this, I had no trouble following the story or picking up what I needed to know about the people & environment.
Jemisin's writing is solid, as I have come to expect. The choice to tell parts of the story in the second person is unusual, but it works. It only took me a few pages to get used to, and then I hardly noticed.
The book does suffer a little bit from Middle Book Syndrome. Though this book has plot lines of its own, which are brought to a close (or at least the close of a phase), a great deal of it is also just set up for the finale. This really isn't a drawback, just an observation.
I don't know if I'll go back to the first book and read it. I know the basic story, and I suspect I have been told about the major climax(es) of the book as well. Then again, it would be interesting to see how these characters get where I found them in this book....more
In the movie The Prophecy, a character at one point says, "Did you ever notice how in the Bible, when ever God needed to punish someone, or make an exIn the movie The Prophecy, a character at one point says, "Did you ever notice how in the Bible, when ever God needed to punish someone, or make an example, or whenever God needed a killing, he sent an angel? Did you ever wonder what a creature like that must be like? A whole existence spent praising your God, but always with one wing dipped in blood. Would you ever really want to see an angel?"
The angels of Angelfall are definitely cast in that mold. We step into the shoes of Penryn, a survivor of (perhaps quite literally) the Apocalypse. She lives in Silicon Valley, and it has been mostly destroyed by angels. Angels have destroyed most of the major population centers - and no one really knows why.
She, her paraplegic sister, and her schizophrenic mother are moving house - they've been squatting in one place too long. But on the way out they take cover after hearing and seeing an angel. They witness this angel being attacked by 5 others. Hoping the single angel will continue to keep the others busy so she can wheel her sister away from danger, Penryn helps him. It's not really enough, in the end, and one of the attackers kidnaps the sister. In desperation, she drags the wounded angel off the street, hoping he can give her information on where the others have taken her.
The world described in Angelfall is bleak, but not without hope. Society has been devastated, but people are still making do. Small communities are making their way the best they can. The angels are interesting, too. Much more fallible and fractious than the traditional view, and the righteousness of their cause is definitely called into question.
If you like interesting takes on religious themes, post-apocalypse fiction, and against-the-odds rescue stories, check this one out....more
Five stars for solid plotting, wonderful character development, and deft handling of a complex and unusual setting.
(audiobook only, spelling of namesFive stars for solid plotting, wonderful character development, and deft handling of a complex and unusual setting.
(audiobook only, spelling of names in question)
This book builds on the foundation laid by the first book to great effect. The conflicts are well established at this point, and the major players are on the board. Now the details start to emerge, and the plots, as they say, thicken.
This is one of the best "middle books" I've read recently. So many times, middle books feel like they're all middle with no development or resolution to call their own. Hogan does a good job combining these two aims, giving us a couple of different immediate storylines while also continuing the wider story.
Characters do a lot of changing in this book. **Mild spoilers for Book 1**
1. Caldan learned in book 1 that the common belief that sorcery cannot be used to destroy is false. His fascination with destructive sorcery, and his need for coercive sorcery to save Melinda, drive a lot of his character development. His frustration with arbitrary rules and his enjoyment of the sense of power (which we see first in Book 1) continue. His eventual fate remains a mystery, which I like.
2. Amardon doesn't change much, but we learn a lot more about his back story and what goes on in his head.
3. Vasiel continues to be sucked deeper into the affairs of the Five Oceans Trading Concern, testing his strength and his new minted sobriety.
4. Felicienne is pretty well set at this point, but remains a major mover of the plot.
On top of all that, Hogan continues to parcel out information about the world. Caldan, with his sheltered upbringing, and Vasiel with his outsider's perspective are perfect vehicles for these revelations. They're handled well, without feeling like infodumps or "As you know, Bob..."
A thoroughly enjoyable book that left me hungry for book 3....more
I enjoyed this one a lot. An interesting and well-thought out magic system, a "small town boy makes good" storyline, and larger mysteries moving behinI enjoyed this one a lot. An interesting and well-thought out magic system, a "small town boy makes good" storyline, and larger mysteries moving behind the scenes....more
An enjoyable fantasy, with a well realized world and imaginative magical concepts.
The main character is likable, and feels like a whole person. ThereAn enjoyable fantasy, with a well realized world and imaginative magical concepts.
The main character is likable, and feels like a whole person. There is clearly history there, but the author doesn't waste a lot of space taking us through every part. A word here, a hint there, and we're left knowing there's more to her than immediately meets the eye.
The game which plays a large role in the plot, dominion, is fascinating as well. It seems a lot like 3D chess, with a complicated ruleset and wider variety of pieces.
It does suffer from the same fate as many shorter works by novelists - it feels more like the first act of a book than a complete story. Though the major goal of the story is accomplished, a lot of page time is dedicated to questions and characters that are not.
I hope that Mr. Hogan writes more novellas (or even a novel) about Felician. In the meantime, I've already started A Crucible of Souls, the first novel in the series....more
This book mixes personal drama, 80s nostalgia, Satanic PanFun, silly, lighthearted, nostalgic, terrifying, sickening, saddening - all equally correct.
This book mixes personal drama, 80s nostalgia, Satanic Panic and supernatural horror into a compelling mix. The voice of our narrator/heroine Abby is genuine. I clearly recognized the sort of all encompassing enthusiasm, sincerity, arrogance and ignorance that defined our teen years. The references to various bits of 80s pop culture were very well done.
The personal story, of Abby's friendship with Gretchen, was heartwarming and heartbreaking by turns.
Don't think I'll be finishing this one. I don't dislike it or anything, but I also just don't care what happens. Competently written, but I have no paDon't think I'll be finishing this one. I don't dislike it or anything, but I also just don't care what happens. Competently written, but I have no particular interest in the main character or the setting....more