A genuinely fun set of science fiction reads, featuring convincing world building and very capable plotting is elevated by a unique and compelling narrative voice in our favourite SecUnit: dangerous, compassionate, distant, a little obsessive and more than a touch neurodivergent.
Category: Science Fiction
Book Review: Deep Wheel Orcadia, Harry Josephine Giles
An undeniably beautiful and lyrical piece of science fiction poetry but, for me, the beauty of the language and the translation came at the expense of vivid charaterisations; there was an ephemeralness about the characters, a transparency, that was perhaps deliberate - how small we are in the vastness of space and time and Light is, after all, a familiar science-fiction trope - but left me wanting more of the humans.
Book Review: Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers
Book Review: Shards of Earth, Adrian Tchaikovsky
Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers.Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans such… Continue reading Book Review: Shards of Earth, Adrian Tchaikovsky
Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr
When everything is lost, it’s our stories that survive How do we weather the end of things? Cloud Cuckoo Land brings together an unforgettable cast of dreamers and outsiders from past, present and future to offer a vision of survival against all odds. Constantinople, 1453:An orphaned seamstress and a cursed boy with a love for animals risk… Continue reading Book Review: Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr
Book Review: Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath -- but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.Sealed… Continue reading Book Review: Harrow the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
Book Review: This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
I love you. I love you. I love you. I'll write it in waves. In skies. In my heart. You'll never see, but you will know. I'll be all the poets, I'll kill them all and take each one's place in turn, and every time love's written in all the strands it will be to… Continue reading Book Review: This is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
Top Five Saturday: Science Fiction
The Top 5 series is back! Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books in which the bookish community discover and share books that all have a common theme. Previously, the meme has focused on a range of different characters (witches and werewolves), genres (thrillers, detectives and re-tellings) and thoughts about the industry and life… Continue reading Top Five Saturday: Science Fiction
Book Review: Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
“Too many words,” said Gideon confidentially. “How about these: One flesh, one end, bitch.” How do you review a book like Gideon the Ninth? It is a book that I loved! But it is also a book that has many flaws, alongside all those elements that rightly deserve praise. A book that gloriously refuses to… Continue reading Book Review: Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir
The Midnight Library, Matt Haig
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices... Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?
Starsight, Brandon Sanderson
“A hero does not choose her trials. She steps into the darkness, then she faces what comes next.” As we left Skyward, Spensa appeared to have become the hero she wanted to, as courageous as Beowulf and the heroes of the Viking (and other) sagas that Gran-Gran had fed her with: she had saved Alta… Continue reading Starsight, Brandon Sanderson
The Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, Becky Chambers
“All you can do, Rosemary — all any of us can do — is work to be something positive instead. That is a choice that every sapient must make every day of their life. The universe is what we make of it. It’s up to you to decide what part you will play. And what I see in you is a woman who has a clear idea of what she wants to be... You’re trying to be someone good.”
Skyward, Brandon Sanderson
“We used to live out there, among the stars,” he whispered. “That’s where we belong, not in those caverns. The kids who make fun of you, they’re trapped on this rock. Their heads are heads of rock, their hearts set upon rock. Set your sights on something higher. Something more grand.”
Frankissstein, Jeanette Winterson
What is your substance, whereof are you made, That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Top Five Saturday: Set in Space
Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books to discover and share books that all have a common theme. Previously, the focus has included witches, werewolves, thrillers, faeries, fairy tale re-tellings, high fantasy and many more. This week, the Top Five is "Set in Space". This is the problem and the pleasure of… Continue reading Top Five Saturday: Set in Space
30 Day Book Challenge: Day Eight!
So, week two and day eight roll around and we're still going... And the challenge today is to name A series everyone should read. Now I struggle with this concept. Why should everyone read the same thing? Why would one series - which is a massive investment of time - be something everyone should read? Why should anyone read… Continue reading 30 Day Book Challenge: Day Eight!
The Humans, Matt Haig
There's nothing new or original in this novel. Touches of Doctor Who, perhaps. Touches of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. Touches, indeed, of Eleanor Oliphant Is Perfectly Fine. An outsider struggles to fit into humam society and ultimately fights to understand what it is to be human. Wrap that up with… Continue reading The Humans, Matt Haig
Railhead, Philip Reeve
This is a delightfully fun and engaging tale with all the confidence you'd expect of Phillip Reeve, returning to the steampunk genre, if in a very different world, of Mortal Engines. Here, rather than walking cities, we have sentient trains and K-gates - wormholes or portals, taking trains and their passengers instantly to different worlds and different… Continue reading Railhead, Philip Reeve
The Boy On The Bridge, M. R. Carey
There are times when comfort, familiarity and ease are, actually, exactly what you need; at other times, by all means, challenge me, make me confront my preconceptions, subvert my genres in different ways. When I'm tired, poorly and stressed, however, enfold me in familiar settings, tropes and - hell, yes - even the comfort of… Continue reading The Boy On The Bridge, M. R. Carey
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017
It being March, the CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist has been announced and I'm embarking on the ritual of trying to read them. This year, the list is:
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
This book - a Booker Prize shortlisted book from a Booker Prize winning novelist - has been sat on my book shelf since forever. I was convinced I'd read it. I am sure I've had lengthy and enthusiastic discussions about it. Heated debates. Yet, having downloaded it from Audible as a re-read, expecting something familiar… Continue reading Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu
What the hell was that? There is this much fuss over ... this? Now, I suppose I should confess: I'm not a great science fiction reader. Especially not hard science fiction. And I'm neither a scientist nor a historian of the Cultural Revolution in China. But this was not a good book. I didn't dislike… Continue reading The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu
The Martian, Andy Weir
This review is going to be controversial. There is a lot of hype about this book with the movie and Matt Damon and the Hollywood machine in overdrive. I didn't like it. Don't get me wrong: I didn't hate it. I just didn't like it. It wasn't well written. Clever, credible and smart, yes;… Continue reading The Martian, Andy Weir
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North
"Complexity should be your excuse for inaction." I was born in 1973 in a village in Kent. So far as I know, only once. I have to say, when I die, if I were to be reborn as myself in the same village in 1973 again, I'd be a tad surprised! I mean 1973.… Continue reading The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North
Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson
I've been considering reading this for a while. I do like Sanderson's world building, especially in the Mistborn series; I also have a penchant for superheroes, dating back to a misspent youth. Sanderson's take on superheroes was appealing and tempting, especially as the sequel to Steelheart, entitled Firefight, came out in January this year. And yet... For… Continue reading Steelheart, Brandon Sanderson
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