Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee

26118426._sy475_

Calendrical rot had set in again.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

* * * *
4 / 5

This book was bizarre. Odd and beautiful and deliciously confusing. I devoured this book on my train commute over the course of the week, nose stuck into its pages as I drifted between platforms. There was something about the story, the characters, the language that struck right at me. For example, a letter is signed off with “yours in calendrical heresy”. I’m still not quite sure what it means, but it is a phrase that has stuck in my head.

Continue reading “Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee”

Revenger, Alastair Reynolds

 

28962452._sy475_

“We all have it in us to be something other than what we are, I thought, but we don’t often get a glimpse of what we could have been”

* * * *
4 / 5

Alastair Reynolds is a pretty big name in sci-fi, but I’ve never actually read anything by him before. Well, that all changed with Revenger. Though, as I understand it, classically an Adult Sci-Fi writer, Reynolds mixed it up a bit with a YA novel. Revenger perfectly slots into that 16+ YA gap, for those younger readers that want to read something a bit more complex and sophisticated, and those adult readers (like me) who want something a bit less technical and easy to read.

Continue reading “Revenger, Alastair Reynolds”

Tangle’s Game, Stewart Hotston

42201499

We are your slaves, and we do not wish to be

Yesterday, Amanda Back’s life was flawless: the perfect social credit score, the perfect job, the perfect home. Today, Amanda is a target, an enemy of the system holding information dangerous enough to disrupt the world’s all-consuming tech—a fugitive on the run. But in a world where an un-hackable blockchain links everyone and everything, there is nowhere to run.

* *
2 / 5

I was expecting something akin to Suicide Club when I picked up Tangle’s Game, a book about a woman with a life that seems perfect right up until it isn’t. Instead I got something a bit confused, a bit slow and dragging, with a main character who didn’t interest me much.

Continue reading “Tangle’s Game, Stewart Hotston”

Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2), Josiah Bancroft

35959733

We are, each of us, a multitude. I am not the man I was this morning, nor the man of yesterday. I am a throng of myself queued through time. We are, gentle reader, each a crowd within a crowd.

Forced into a life of piracy, Senlin and his eclectic crew are struggling to survive aboard their stolen airship as the hunt to rescue Senlin’s lost wife continues. Hopeless and desolate, they turn to a legend of the Tower, the mysterious Sphinx. But help from the Sphinx never comes cheaply, and as Senlin knows, debts aren’t always what they seem in the Tower of Babel. 

* * * *
4 / 5

Arm of the Sphinx is the sequel to Senlin Ascends, the second book in The Books of Babel series. It has a rather different vibe. Where I would described the first book by saying something like “it’s about a mild schoolteacher who goes to a tower full of wonders and cruelty and loses his wife. On his search up the tower to find her, he encounters numerous weird and wonderful people and things”, I would describe Arm of the Sphinx as “previously mild schoolteacher becomes pirate airship captain leading a crew he doesn’t particularly trust but still loves, into shenanigans whilst having some sort of pseudo-affair with his first mate“.

Continue reading “Arm of the Sphinx (The Books of Babel #2), Josiah Bancroft”

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1), Josiah Bancroft

35271523

“It is easier to accept who you’ve become than to recollect who you were.” 

Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants.

* * * *
4 / 5

I love books about towers where people enter the Tower with a quest to get to the top where there will be a wish-granting deity/treasure/whatever. Please see the LitRPG book Sufficiently Advanced Magic and the manhwa Tower of God for examples. I’m a real sucker for this trope, lord knows why, but for this reason I picked up Senlin Ascends.

Continue reading “Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel #1), Josiah Bancroft”

Limited Wish (Impossible Times #2), Mark Lawrence

41771517

The dice were rolling. We just had to wait and see how they fell.

It’s the summer of 1986 and reluctant prodigy Nick Hayes is a student at Cambridge University, working with world-renowned mathematician Professor Halligan. When he crosses paths with a mysterious yet curiously familiar girl, Nick discovers that creases have appeared in the fabric of time, and that he is at the centre of the disruption. 

* * * *
4 / 5

In my humble opinion, Limited Wish was a much better book than One Word Kill. It benefits massively from a more interesting setting, a more comfortable relationship with the book’s already-known characters, and a more complex and less predictable time  travel conundrum.

Continue reading “Limited Wish (Impossible Times #2), Mark Lawrence”

One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1), Mark Lawrence

39792427

We might live in a multiverse of infinite wonder, but we are what we are, and can only care about what falls into our orbit

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. 

* * *
3 / 5

I would give practically anything written by Mark Lawrence a shot, which is primarily why I picked up One Word Kill in the first place. I’m definitely more of a fantasy reader than a contemporary sci-fi one, but I do enjoy an occasional well-written time-travel plot, which is what this book is about. I loved the main character and the writing style, but some elements felt way too ~extra~ or over the top.

Continue reading “One Word Kill (Impossible Times #1), Mark Lawrence”

This is How You Lose the Time War, Amel El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

36516585

Like your victory, love spreads back through time

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. And thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more.

* * * *
4 / 5

First off, I want to praise the title of this book to heaven and back. This is How You Lose the Time War. I love it. I stayed up at night thinking about how great it was (no joke). The cover is also beautiful. The book itself gave me mixed feelings.

Continue reading “This is How You Lose the Time War, Amel El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone”

The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2), Krista & Becca Ritchie

36678876

We are together. We are one, and we are two and then three, and finally, we have found real, everlasting peace

Legend says, a baby—the first of her species—has the power to cloak and teleport planets. Tasked with retrieving the infant, Court fears the baby is just a myth, and if they fail, they’ll never find the truth about their origins. As Court and Mykal grow closer, their linked bond becomes harder to hide, and dynamics change when Franny begins to fall for someone new. 

Read my review of the first book in this series The Raging Ones.

* * *
3 / 5

I really loved The Raging Ones: I thought it was so creative, with a setting on a frozen world with a lilac sky where everyone knows the date that they will die, and a trio of soulbonded characters where the two men are in love. I knew it was going to be a hard act to follow and The Last Hope was a good book, but it was a little “far out”.

Continue reading “The Last Hope (The Raging Ones #2), Krista & Becca Ritchie”

A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2), Jodi Taylor

25876967

History is a symphony of echoes. every little action has huge consequences.

In the second book in the Chronicles of St Mary’s series, Max and the team visit Victorian London in search of Jack the Ripper, witness the murder of Archbishop Thomas a Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and discover that dodos make a grockling noise when eating cucumber sandwiches.

* * *
3 / 5

It is rare that a sequel is quite as good as the original, particularly when the whole series of books rests on the premise “historians go back in time”, because obviously each book is going to involve going back in time to various events. A Symphony of Echoes was a solid book, but it didn’t capture the magic of the original.

Continue reading “A Symphony of Echoes (The Chronicles of St. Mary’s #2), Jodi Taylor”