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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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