Category: Books

Book Review: Libertaria: Genesis by Sabrina Peña Young

It takes a lot of work to create an opera or musical: you need a cohesive plot that can be sung, you need actors, you need costumes, and you need musicians. Award-winning composer went a different way, sourcing the entire world and putting out her opera, Libertaria, virtually. (She talks about the process a bit more in a TedX Buffalo talk.)

But Young has also taken her opera one step further, converting the show into a novel, Libertaria: Genesis, and that’s what I’m going to talk about now.

Book Review: Murder with Monsters by KT Katzmann

Is the act of writing a book where you subvert genre tropes itself a trope? Because that seems to be happening a lot lately, in both short fiction and longer works.

I guess a lot of authors are doing it because it works, and because it can be funny. But there’s a lot to be said for putting your own spin on the tropes themselves — not quite subverting them, but being aware of their power and using them for good, instead of evil. That’s what author KT Katzmann has done in his debut novel, Murder with Monsters.

Book Review: Snapshot by Beau Hall

Marietta (the one in Georgia) isn’t a small town. Not anymore. In fact, if you live in an unincorporated part of northeastern Cobb county, you pretty much live in Marietta, even if you’re not paying city taxes or using city services. It’s become part of the sprawl that is Atlanta; it’s the next city northwest as you head up the highway.

The thing is, it wasn’t always like that. Fifty years ago, Marietta really was a small town, and the thing about small towns is that you can hide a lot of big secrets there. Marvin Hill has been hiding a huge one: for more than fifty years, Marvin’s been “cleaning up” his town, one vagrant and hoodlum at a time.

But there’s more to Beau Hall‘s new novel Snapshot than just small-town murders.

Book Review: The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

On September 1, my Kindle automatically downloaded my preordered copy of The Shepherd’s Crown. By September 3, I’d finished reading the final Discworld novel. How do I feel about this?

Empty. Satisfied, but empty. The book is closed on the Discworld, at least in this form, and… well… I don’t think I can wrap my head around that.

But anyway, here’s my review of the novel. Spoilers beyond this point for The Shepherd’s Crown by the late Sir Terry Pratchett, and for the rest of the Discworld.

Book Review: Dead Ice by Laurell K. Hamilton

Whenever I tell people about the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, I tell them to stop reading after the eighth book — before they get to the muddled middle that was everything from Cerulean Sins through about Hit List. Things started to get better around there, but not as good as the first books.

After finishing Dead Ice, the latest Anita Blake novel, I’m worried that things are backsliding a little.

Book Review: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain by Richard Roberts

In a world where superheroes and supervillains are locked in honorable combat… in a world where science and magic are both real… in a world where superheroism is an inherited trait… three middle-school students are about to discover their true potential.

The book: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain. The author: Richard Roberts. The review: now!

Book Review: Ghosts of Engines Past by Sean McMullen

When I was offered the opportunity to review Ghosts of Engines Past, a short-story collection by one of my favorite authors, Sean McMullen, the initial e-mail said it was a steampunk anthology. I suppose this is broadly true, in much the same way that an anthology about veterinarians might be 80 percent dog stories. In this case, the 80 percent is stories of flight.

And if there’s one thing McMullen knows how to do, it’s make people fly.

Book Review: Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton

This review contains spoilers for the first 21 Anita Blake novels.

You’d think after 22 books, most of which made the New York Times bestseller list, that editors would swoop in and get a very popular author to fix some of the stuff that’s… let’s say “not optimal”… about her writing.

You’d be wrong.

I just recently finished Affliction, the latest Anita Blake novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, and while it had a lot of really good action sequences, some of the problems that plague the other tales are just as evident in this one.

Book Review: Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is well-known in the world of genre writing mostly for his Discworld series. However, in the decades he’s been active, Pratchett has written several different stories outside of the Discworld. The latest is Dodger, a historical fantasy with all the charm of Discworld and none of the thousands of pages of background a new Discworld reader might need.

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane is ostensibly his first novel for adults in eight years. Though, to my mind, I don’t classify it strictly as such. I think the point of view was the issue — told through the eyes of a man remembering what life was like when he was a seven-year-old boy. Never let it be said that Gaiman makes things easy for his readers. (And that’s a good thing.)

It was a good book. Just, hard to explain in one short teaser paragraph. Here — read on.