The Scourge Between Stars

Humanity screwed up. To get us out of it, we sent a generation ship to the stars. But when we got there… it wasn’t any better, so they turned around to go home. On the way back… well, we just might not be alone.

A generation ship is a great setting for a sci-fi/horror mashup. There really is nowhere to run but plenty of places to hide.

The idea of things lurking out there between the stars? Terrifying.

The feel of the book, especially as it ratchets up to the big reveal/fight scenes throughout the ship? Excellent.

I think the only real problems I had with the book were:

  • It was too short! Novella length, but the premise alone could certainly fill a novel.

  • The technology was a bit odd at times (what exactly are they doing with ‘jumps’?)

  • The things in the dark between stars not actually being the monster? Awesome. But... what were they then?

Worth a read though! A debut author worth following.

Shadow and Bone The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1 Grishaverse #1

Browsing through Netflix last fall, I came upon Shadow and Bone. Watched it. Quite enjoyed it. Figured I should read the book.

In a nutshell, it’s not bad, but I enjoyed the show more. For one, it pulls in Kaz and co, which don’t appear in this novel at all (they’re originally from the related Six of Crows books), which is a bummer. For two, the additional dynamic of Alina as half-Shu in addition to being an orphan added rather a lot to her character.


The Book of Zog

The man scowled, but Zogrusz sensed a slight softening in his mood.

“I understand, stranger. I remember my first time in this room, when I felt His presence looming over me. But you cannot so blithely stroke the visage of our dread lord! Such disrespect might summon His wrath, and all of Xochintl would suffer.”

“What delightful nonsense!” Zogrusz exclaimed, clapping his hands together. “Did you make it up yourself?”

Zogrusz is an Eldrich Horror, a being from beyond time and space. But… a nice one? That just wants to do the right thing?

The book follows Zog and the quasi-Earth (it’s never entirely clear) he settles on through thousands of years (mostly with large time jumps) and the rise and fall of various religions up to (and through) and approaching cosmic horror style end of the world.


Rosewater The Wormwood Trilogy #1

The idea of a singular hero and a manifest destiny just makes us lazy. There is no destiny. There is choice, there is action, and any other narrative perpetuates a myth that someone else out there will fix our problems with a magic sword and a blessing from the gods.

Rosewater has a fascinating premise. Take the world a half century in the future. Most things are the same, but there’s a bit more tech floating around, mostly. Introduce a massive alien organism that lands in London and ends up burrowing it’s way to Nigeria. From that alien blob, fill the atmosphere with alien microorganisms/cells that create their own xenosphere, enabling (among other things) psychic powers in some very small proportion of the population.


A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking

“It is nearly impossibly to be sad when eating a blueberry muffin. I’m pretty sure that’s a scientific fact.”

I need to read more T. Kingfisher. Nettle & Bone was delightful and, if anything, A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking is even better!

In a nutshell, we have a world with a specialized sorts of wizards. You might be able to cast lightning bolts… or you might have the power to animate and converse with dead horses. Or you might even have magical powers over… bread!

It’s such a delightful idea and Kingfisher manages to do all sorts of fun things with it. Some obvious (Mongo eat your gingerbread heart out), some less so (Bob the sourdough starter; so delightful).


Stories of Your Life and Others

Well that was a delightful collection of shorts.

I don’t often read anthologies, but perhaps I should read more. I do love me some epic fantasy (I’ve read the entire The Wheel of Time half a dozen times now…), but there’s just something about a story that builds up quickly, gets to the point, and doesn’t stick around.

I think of the 8, I only bounced off 1 (which was actually a fine story, I just couldn’t suspend disbelief enough for the premise) and 1 was a bit meh, just for how short it was. 6 of 8 I absolutely loved though.

Absolutely worth a read.


Six-Gun Snow White

From that day forward she never used my name. Eventually I forgot it. Mrs. H called me something new. She named me cruel and smirking, she named me not for beauty or for cleverness or for sweetness. She named me a thing I could aspire to but never become, the one thing I was not and could never be: Snow White.

Well that was most certainly a book.

Take (the vague outline) the story of Snow White. Make it a Western. Things get weird.


Lock In Lock In #1

Making people change because you can’t deal with who they are isn’t how it’s supposed to be done. What needs to be done is for people to pull their heads out of their asses. You say ‘cure.’ I hear ‘you’re not human enough.

Been a bit since I last read any Scalzi. I’m glad to get back around to it though. Lock In is very good.

In a nutshell, Lock In takes place in a near future Earth where a flu-like pandemic (Haden’s Syndrome) has caused locked-in syndrome in some small percent of the world’s population (a small percent of billions is still an awful lot of people). Those affected are completely paralyzed, unable to move, while still being fully aware and conscious.

Luckily(ish) a massive global effort has figured out how to embed computer hardware in their brains so as to allow them to remotely pilot either robotic bodies (threeps1) or (more rarely) other humans who’ve allowed them access2.

This of course is widely accepted by the rest of humanity and causes no issues whatsoever.



The Last Unicorn

Haven’t you ever been in a fairy tale before?

It’s one of those books that just feels like a fairy tale. An ageless story. A story passed down from long ago ages of myth and fantasy. Ages with heroes and villains and wizards and–you guessed it–unicorns.


Dreamer's Pool Blackthorn & Grim #1

A solid book.

“There are three conditions you must agree to meet before I grant you this opportunity.”

“Firstly, the considerable skill you possess must be used only for good. You will not let bitterness or anger draw you down the darker ways of your craft.”

“Secondly, if anyone asks for your help, you will give it willingly. I do not mean solely those who come to you for assistance with their ailments, but anyone at all who seeks your aid.”

“And thirdly?” It occurred to me that I could be as good a liar as anyone. What was to stop me from agreeing now, and once I was out of here, doing whatever I pleased? I might yet live beyond dawn and see Mathuin brought down before nightfall. My heart began to race.

“Thirdly, you will not seek vengeance. You will remain in Dalriada and stay away from Mathuin of Laois.”

Take a bit of magic/folklore in an oldentimes Ireland; add in a Fae bargain (with all the complications that ensues); combine with a prince and princess who’ve never met outside of letters–and seem entirely different in person; and finish it all off with fairy tale magic of Dreamer’s Pool.