Archive for Books

Book Review: Cat’s Claw by Amber Benson


This review contains spoilers for Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson.

Following her enjoyable adventure through Hell with Calliope Reaper-Jones, Death’s middle daughter, I think it was pretty much understood that actress and author Amber Benson would return to her Death’s Daughter universe. She did so in 2010 with Cat’s Claw, a sequel that pretty much depends upon the main character making bad decisions for the story to succeed. Make no mistake, I still had fun reading the book, but there was an awful lot of narrative convenience in it.

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Book Review: The Tyrant Strategy: Revenant Man by Jonathan C. Gillespie


I’m not a huge fan of military SF. But I am a fan of post-apocalyptic SF. I’m not a huge fan of augmented-humanity SF. But I am a fan of humans-aren’t-the-most-powerful-people-in-the-universe SF. So when author Jonathan C. Gillespie put out his new novel The Tyrant Strategy: Revenant Man I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my cup of post-apocalyptic, augmented humanity, military-style, humans-aren’t-so-great tea.

That’s an awfully complicated blend, by the way. Not too many people sell it.

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25 Days of TNG, Day 19: The Relaunch


This article contains major spoilers for all TNG relaunch novels up to and including the Typhon Pact series.

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Even though Star Trek canon says that, after Nemesis, there was no more official Trek until Spock attempted to save Romulus, I think we all knew the intellectual property was too valuable to just be left lying there. The TNG novelists — old and new alike — were given free reign to do whatever was necessary to keep the story going, and they certainly did that.

The relaunch novels can, at this point, be broken down into three main story arcs.

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25 Days of TNG, Day 15: The 10 Worst Tie-In Novels


I first started reading Star Trek tie-in novels when I was about eight. My dad hurt his foot and was in the hospital, and my mom brought me to a bookstore before we went to visit him. I found three Star Trek novels — My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane, Dreams of the Raven by Carmen Carter, and How Much For Just The Planet? by John M. Ford — and haven’t looked back. When TNG tie-ins started appearing, I bought them all, saving my allowance and gift certificates until I could afford them.

Unfortunately, while many were great, some… well, some were big-time stinkers. So here’s my opinion on the 10 worst TNG tie-in novels.

A couple of caveats: I stopped reading the tie-ins quite so religiously in the late 90s, so I might have missed a few. Also, this list will not cover the relaunch novels because they’re getting their own article.

So, here goes.

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Book Review: Apollo’s Outcasts by Allen Steele


Every time I read a YA novel, I wonder why all novels don’t move at the same pace. I’m not missing anything in the YA genre — the characters are just as developed, the action is just as action-y, and the story is just as engrossing. I just don’t have to slog through hundreds of extra pages of tangential plotlines and lovingly-rendered character descriptions to get to the good stuff.

And I think that adequately describes Allen Steele’s new YA sci-fi adventure, Apollo’s Outcasts, which will be published this November by Prometheus Books: for the most part, everything extraneous has been trimmed away, leaving a tightly-written, fast-paced novel that I quite enjoyed.

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Book Review: Wrayth by Philippa Ballantine


The following contains spoilers for Geist and Spectyr, the first two books in the series.

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Well, I finished reading Wrayth, the new novel by Philippa Ballantine.

I tried several different thematic ways to approach this review, but I had a lot of difficulty doing that. There’s a lot going on in this book, and I couldn’t really find any singular thing to tie it together because, the moment I thought I was on that path, things changed.

Let me explain.

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Book Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter


I’ve only seen a few episodes of Sliders, and it’s been a while, but as far as I can remember the premise of the show was quasi-similar to Quantum Leap: a team of scientists slides sideways into an alternate version of Earth, does something that can be resolved in a 42-minute episode, and slides on. A quick check of Wikipedia tells me that I’m more or less on the money there.

And that kind of explains to me why parts of The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, felt vaguely familiar.

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Book Review: Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias


In certain parts of the US, immigration policy and illegal alien rights are forefront. In other parts, they exist only as issues upon which to campaign. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that we’re moving in one of two directions: full amnesty or full illegality.

Ink, which will be released on October 15, tells one such story. Or, more precisely, four of them.

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Book Review: “Death’s Daughter” by Amber Benson


Okay, I’m not going to lie to you: I got myself a copy of Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson because, hey, Tara wrote a book.

Yes, I know, I know, the actor is not the character. And yes, I’ve seen other work Benson has written, performed, and directed. I was kind of expecting a certain type of novel, and to a certain extent, I did get it.

I also apparently stumbled into chick-lit. How did that happen?

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