Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough
Drawn Blades is the fifth book in Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE series. This review will contain spoilers for the previous books.
Aral Kingslayer has finally emerged from his mental paralysis after the death of his Goddess, Namara. It has taken eight years, a lot of alcohol and the death of some friends for Aral to reach this point. With a new-found set of ideals, Aral is ready to start making a difference.
Siri Mythkiller was the First Blade of the order of Namara before its fall. Her talents in the arts of the assassin were top shelf, but her ability in magic had taken her to pinnacles others could match. After she is assigned the task to kill a powerful quasi God who has been imprisoned for many years, she finds herself gradually being possessed more and more by The Smoldering Flame. When Siri reaches out from distant Sylvani to ask f... Read More
Drawn Blades by Kelly McCullough
Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
With each book in THE CRAFT SEQUENCE series I feel more and more out of joint, but intrigued at the same time. Max Gladstone continues to play with concepts like gods and souls in ways that feel very familiar and completely alien all at once. Throw in a lot of reverse gender and religious stereotypes and the world this series depicts is something new and wildly different.
Kai is a priestess working for the ruling order/corporation on the island of Kavekana. The whole feel of the island is very Polynesian for me, but Gladstone doesn’t really say it. I felt like I was in a major city on a Hawaiian island with a huge volcano looming over the city, not threatening, but a very real presence and reminder of the power it contains.
The original Gods/Godesses of Kavekana left the island long ago to fight in the wars of gods and deathless kings. Gods died in those wars and ... Read More
Tainted Blood by M.L. Brennan
Book three of M.L. Brennan’s GENERATION V series and Fortitude Scott is starting to annoy me. Why? Because Fort’s progressive, do-gooder attitudes are eventually going to get a lot of people killed if he keeps siding with groups other than his family.
After the big conflict with the Elves (Ad-Hene) that led to Prudence, his older sister, trying to force his final transition to becoming a full vampire, Fortitude has been taking on more and more responsibility within the family business. It's truly like a mafia family, but instead of managing drugs, prostitution and robbery, they are controlling other supernatural races who live with permission in Fort's mother's territory. The challenge for Fortitude is that he seems to have taken in the brain-washing of socially progressive Ivy League graduates who want to pretend that everyone is actually nice and that bad things only happen when... Read More
Imperfect Sword by Jack Campbell
After the last book in Jack Campbell’s THE LOST STARS series, I was really almost dreading Imperfect Sword. I felt like Campbell had lost touch with the meaning of Military Science Fiction and was wandering in the land of Science Fiction Romance. Well, fortunately I have been rebuked; with Imperfect Sword, Campbell delivers a wonderful action-packed installment and restores my belief in him as an author who knows when to blow something up with a plasma cannon or take someone down with a sharp knife in the dark.
General Drakon and President Iceni have been up to their necks in intrigue since they broke with the Syndicate Worlds. Through a very, very fortunate series of interactions with Admiral Jack Geary, the hero of the LOST FLEET series, they have avoided being destroyed by the Enig... Read More
Janissaries by Chris Kennedy
I stumbled on Janissaries, the first book in Chris Kennedy's THEOGONY series, as a recommendation by Amazon after some other books that I have purchased. The description is kind of up my alley because I like the idea of the Earth fighting to preserve itself from an alien race. So, I dropped a couple of bucks and picked up this self-published story. It gets good reviews at Amazon.
Chris Kennedy has a story that he wants to tell about how the history of the earth is tied into different alien races having impacted us and left traces of them. The problem is that it was incredibly heavy-handed. Instead of having humans gradually piece together that there are other races living amongst us, Navy Lieutenant Shawn “Calvin” Hobbs (yes, Calvin & Hobbs) is contacted by aliens. Three technologically advanced extraterrestrials contact “Calvin,” ... Read More
Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell
The planet of Midway has seen some pretty intense activity since the fall of the Syndicate worlds after their fleets were defeated by Admiral Jack Geary, the legendary Black Jack. Former COEs Gwen Iceni and Artur Drakon now have control of the political machine that was in place under the Syndicate and are crafting something new. They also control the local fleet, have rooted out most of the Syndicate internal spies (known as Snakes) and have successfully worked with the Alliance as they have transited the Midway star system twice. It’s been a busy time for two former CEOs who had been relegated to backwater duty because they were not quite the same as their peers.
Perilous Shield focuses on a couple of key elements and some of those things are so repetitively discussed that it becomes boring. After Tarnished Knight, the first book in this Read More
Appalachian Overthrow by E.E. Knight
Appalachian Overthrow the tenth novel in E.E. Knight’s VAMPIRE EARTH series, is about Ahn-Kha. not David Valentine. I wanted to get that out upfront because if you have been following this series for a long time, which I have, then reading this book is interesting because of who it’s about and not because of the way it advances the storyline.
Ahn-Kha is a grog. That’s like saying that he’s an amphibian or a mammal because the diversity between the different species is enormous. As a “Golden One,” he is highly intelligent, very wise and has the physical dimensions of a Star Wars Wookie. Basically he’s huge, strong and super smart. Humans are lucky that the Kurians didn’t do a good job of linking his race to their war or we would have been in even worse trouble.
After David and Ahn-Kha are separated during a raid,... Read More
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos
Andrew Grayson wants out. Growing up in the wretched urban tenements of the North American Commonwealth in the year 2108 has left him bitter, jaded and willing to risk his life to avoid becoming another barely surviving victim of a failed social system. His mother and father are no longer together and Andrew knows that if he wants a future the only real way out is to join the Armed Forces of the North American Commonwealth.
In the world of 2108 war is constant. Mankind has gone to space and is colonizing other planets, but we can’t seem to stop fighting each other whether on this world or another. For Grayson, joining the military is risky because conflict is real and there are no guarantees of where he will be assigned if he even makes it through training.
Basic Training in the future is much like it was in the past, except they don’t care if you quit because you are disposab... Read More
Islands of Rage & Hope by John Ringo
How is it possible to remain interested in the somewhat plodding description of how mankind slowly tries to save itself after a zombie apocalypse? The first book in the BLACK TIDE RISING series, Under a Graveyard Sky, had the novelty of describing how the world was falling apart and the small, at times very painful steps that were taken to keep some hope alive. The second book, To Sail a Darkling Sea, started to flirt with some of the craziness that would be completely inescapable in a world where order has been lost. Things like pregnancy after four men and one woman have spent four months confined in a small lifeboat and the PTSD like effects of being the person who was willing to kill friends and family when they began to become zombies. All of this was interesting in a bizarre, morbid kind of way. Book thr... Read More
To Sail a Darkling Sea by John Ringo
To Sail a Darkling Sea is the second installment in the BLACK TIDE RISING series. Ringo continues to tell the story of the Smith family who are the virtual seed of humanity that survives the Zombie apocalypse and starts the fight to save the world from perpetual barbarity.
Trying to re-establish civilization is complex work. For “Commodore” Smith and his family, that becomes increasingly difficult as numbers of people rescued and the implied logistics support begin to increase commensurately. How do you keep more and more boats running with limited repair parts, limited fuel and even fewer trained people who know how to fix them? With no land area to grow crops or harvest them, how do you feed everyone and keep them healthy when fishing is your primary food source? All of these complexities and the challenges of managing personalities become mo... Read More
It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!
What is the best book you read in August 2014 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.
(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)
As always, one commenter will choose a book from Read More
Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo
I have friends who are “preppers”: people who stockpile supplies and make solid plans for what to do in the event of a natural disaster or complete collapse of society. Under a Graveyard Sky tells the story of the kind of scenario my friends have planned for, and of how the world as we know it could unravel if the Zombie Apocalypse occurred.
Steve Smith and his family are normal people who have taken serious precautions in case the world comes to an end. Some of their preparations make lots of sense, like being able to secure their home against bad weather and other disturbances. So when Steve’s brother, who shares the family outlook on disaster preparedness, alerts them to a potentially world-ending crisis, the family is prepared.
The story of a virus or other plague sweeping across the world and turning people into mindless, savage, flesh-eating... Read More
Cyador’s Heirs by L.E. Modesitt Jr
Cyador’s Heirs, the seventeenth book in the SAGA OF RECLUCE, takes place after the fall of the great nation of Cyador. It tells the story of Lerial, the younger son of the current Duke of Cigoerne, the heir to the Malachite Throne of fallen Cyador. L.E. Modesitt Jr. follows Lerial as he comes of age and is shaped by people and events around him.
Lerial is an intelligent, angry, slightly jealous younger son of the nobility. He is talented, insightful, and sick of his older brother getting preferential treatment and acting superior to him. Lerial is not a bad guy; he’s just struggling to figure out who he is. His father, Kiedron, is a diligent ruler who has been well trained by his mother, the former Empress of Cyador, on what it takes to grow and develop a country in real prosperity. Those lessons are not always easy for Lerial to... Read More
Veil of the Deserters by Jeff Salyards
Jeff Salyards’ BLOODSOUNDER’s ARC is a fantasy series in the gritty vein: harsh and bloody, though with a bit of humor mixed in. Veil of the Deserters, its second installment, is an interesting blend of political maneuvering and realistic tactical combat in the era of swords and crossbows.
Arki is the historian/scribe for the company of Captain Braylar Killcoin from the Syldoonian Empire. Momentous events have happened in the previous book as CPT Killcoin and his soldiers continue their mission to create chaos in the city of Alespell. For Arki, it’s a culture clash; his background as a highly educated archivist gives him a very different perspective on life and death than the members of the Jackal Tower who employ him. Arki must learn that mercy and justice often have no place in the murky, violent world in which he now lives.
Salyards’ world-building is... Read More
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
War is hell. That is true on many different levels, and each individual copes with it differently. Brian McClellan’s The Crimson Campaign is a journey into hell from four perspectives — each character’s hell no less terrible than the others’.
Tamas is the acknowledged tyrant, military leader,and instigator of the overthrow on the Kingdom of Andro when his group of crack powder-mages killed the King and his royal cabal of Privileged (extremely powerful users of magic). Tamas has been through hell, fighting war after war until finally the murder/execution of his wife leaves him with just one goal left: revenge. Fighting the armies of Kez is something he knows well, but losing battles to them is not. When a bold, risky maneuver fails and leaves him trapped with an elite but relatively small group of soldiers behind enemy lines, Tamas has to find a way to save them. Watching... Read More