Monday, November 30, 2015

#49: Wonders of the Invisible World by Patricia A McKillip

Wonders of the Invisible World is an imaginative collection of science fiction and fantasy from Patricia A. McKillip, largely dealing with the roles of women in interesting ways.

McKillip is a well-established fantasy author, though I had never explored her work until a friend recommended this collection of short stories.  I purchased for my beloved Kindle and dipped a toe into over a long period of time this year. 

Though similarly themed, the stories are all very finely wrought and thought-provoking throughout, and I enjoyed savoring them over time.

I have enjoyed reading only women authors this year as I am not sure I would have taken a chance on McKillip before.  I have already salted away a few of her paperbacks I have found here and there for future enjoyment.

Recommended for fans of fantasy.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

#48: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

In the far-flung future, a vast empire--reminiscent of the Roman Empire--is in decline.  When a massive, thousand-year-old sentient ship learns why, her consciousness is downloaded into a single fragile human body, leading her on a methodical path of vengeance in Ann Leckie's sci-fi epic Ancillary Justice.

This novel garnered all the top sci-fi writing awards in one fell swoop, but came on my radar when a friend recommended it.  Despite what I think is a poor title--I've since recommended it to others, and they never remember what it's called--this is a fantastic bit of world-building as well as a cracking good adventure.

I have described this book as what might have happened if Samuel R. Delany wrote The Ship Who Sang or Anne McCaffrey wrote The Left Hand of Darkness.  If these name-checks strike a chord, Ancillary Justice is for you.

This is the first of a trilogy, and I am eager to read the rest.  I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

#47: X by Sue Grafton

P.I. Kinsey Milhone reluctantly looks into the affairs of a murdered colleague, finding a coded list of women's names that leads to art thievery and murder in Sue Grafton's latest alphabet mystery X.

Grafton has written a long, admirable private eye series, and the latest is a very solid entry.

Longtime fans will see continued character growth (although I could have done without a lengthy subplot about Milhone's landlord's interest in water conservation) and several ties back to the last novel in the series.  New fans will find an interesting mystery that takes place in the pre-internet late 80s, when being a private eye meant typewriters, index cards, phone books, and a lot more old-fashioned legwork.

I listened to this on audiobook from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

#46: White Crocodile by K.T. Medina

A young woman finds out that her ex-husband was killed clearing mines in the killing fields of Cambodia, and feels compelled to travel there to learn the truth, in K.T. Medina's absolutely crackling debut thriller White Crocodile.

Medina comes from a military background, including a stint in the Royal Engineers, and it is obvious she knows what she's talking about in the hair-raising scenes in the minefields.  But she can also write a riveting thriller, as the "White Crocodile" of the title--a killer stalking local women, but also what the locals call the minefield, named after a mythic beast--makes himself known.

White Crocodile is one of the best page-turners I've read in a while, and I found myself consuming the last hundred pages or so in a single fell swoop.  Recommended for thriller fans.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

#45: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Four Londons stand in the same place in parallel worlds; Red London, filled with good magic; White London, filled with dark magic; the everyday world of Gray London; and the lost world of Black London.  When an emissary from Red London crosses into White London on a royal errand, he inadvertently gets involved in an intricate plot in V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic.

I thought the title was kind of poor, but the storytelling rollicking and cinematic, as our protagonist teams up with an impish young thief against a variety of magical and non-magical foes. 

A really solid high fantasy, with lots of adventure, and apparently the start of a new series (which I was happy to learn).  I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond Indiana and read it quickly. 

Recommended for fans of fantasy and adventure stories.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

#44: The King's Dragon by Una McCormack

The Doctor and companions Amy and Rory decide to visit a medieval-era utopian town for a rest; instead, naturally, they find the town in the thrall of a despotic king and under threat by an alien armada in Una McCormack's The King's Dragon, a contemporary Doctor Who story.

Fans of the current series, especially the Matt Smith era, will find a lot to enjoy in this breezy, but action-packed adventure which adds to the Doctor Who lore.  It has the right pacing and tone for a current episode in the series, with social and political overtones, fun interplay between characters, and of course a large, robotic dragon.

I enjoyed McCormack's take on Doctor Who and would look for more of her writing.

I bought this at a goodbye price at the BBC America booth at GenCon this summer and read it over a weekend.