#Fantasy Worth Reading: Tentacles and Teeth #BookReview

Tentacles and Teeth by Ariele Sieling starts off at a gripping, intense pace and doesn’t let up. Immensely enjoyable, I eagerly kept returning to this novel until I devoured the last page like a hungry Pok.

Something happened to the Earth we know. We don’t find out what, but the mystery made the story richer. The end of the world is ushered in by a plethora of monsters, referred to as gorgs.

There are lots of different kinds, and the surviving people are constantly fighting. Besides squaring off with the deadly monsters, Askari also battles some of the rules set by the elders. She doesn’t agree with them all and doesn’t always follow them.

This gets her punished and sent on a mission alone, a mission that will most likely kill her before she completes it. On her journey, we learn more about her and the changed Earth. She learns why some of the rules are wise, and decides she was right to question others.

This story is not lacking in monsters, action, and suspense. The characters were easy to identify with and root for. They were believable-flawed as well as strong. There were some twists and turns with the monster-action, which made this a fun and delightful read.

Good news! There are more books in this series! I would definitely recommend Teeth and Tentacles.

The apocalypse wasn’t what anyone expected–no rising flood waters, no zombies, no nuclear bombs. Instead, monsters. Their sudden invasion left the world in shatters, and now, decades later, all that’s left of human civilization are a few nomadic bands struggling to survive off the land.

Askari was born to this world, and lives, fights, and survives alongside the community that raised her. But when she breaks one too many of the community’s rules, her punishment is severe: leave.

Armed with her bow and blade, Askari sets off alone, guided only by a map and the promise that if she can find a book hidden in a nearby town, then she can return. But what can one person do alone in such a harsh, violent landscape? How will she survive?

Askari faces a challenge that will force her to learn not only about the world she lives in, but question what she believes about herself.

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: The Salvage Crew #BookReview

The Salvage Crew by Yudhanjaya Wijeratne was an exciting read. What started as a simple mission to recover ship parts became more and more immersed in problems and complexity.

Filled with adventure and the thrill of exploring an alien world, the story’s main character is an AI. He used to be human and is now an overseer. It’s his responsibility to keep the mission on track. He also enjoys writing poetry.

The crew of three humans is deeply flawed, and they have varying reactions to the adversity they face.  Their human-ness makes the story interesting and kept me turning the pages. There was mystery, exploration, discovery, disaster, pain, and evolution.  I liked the grit and flawed nature of the characters and the universe in which they operate. So many themes and ideas in this novel resonated.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. As you’ve probably guessed, I highly recommend adding this book to your library.  I’ll have to see what else this author has to offer as a reading treat.

They thought this was just another salvage job. They thought wrong.

An AI overseer and a human crew arrive on a distant planet to salvage an ancient UN starship. The overseer is unhappy. The crew, well, they’re certainly no A-team. Not even a C-team on the best of days.

And worse? Urmahon Beta, the planet, is at the ass-end of nowhere. Everybody expects this to be a long, ugly, and thankless job.

Then it all goes disastrously wrong. What they thought was an uninhabited backwater turns out to be anything but empty. Megafauna roam the land, a rival crew with some terrifyingly high-powered gear haunts the dig site, and a secret that will change humanity forever is waiting in the darkness.

Stuck on this unmapped, hostile planet, lacking resources, and with tech built by the cheapest bidder, the salvage crew must engineer their way to payday…and beat Urmahon Beta before it kills them all.

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: Binti #BookReview

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a beautiful read. It’s a novella, so it’s easily devoured in a day. I read this Hugo and Nebula winner cover to cover in one sitting. It deserves the awards. I’ll definitely check out the author’s other work since this one was such a treat.

It was easy to identify with Binti. She’s a 16-year-old girl who wins a scholarship to the finest university in the galaxy. Of the Himba people, her family and friends aren’t happy about her leaving. Himbas don’t leave their land or their traditions. If she leaves, they won’t welcome her back.

The story opens with Binti running off in the night to catch the starship. It was easy to feel the burning hope of a bright future and the loss of home as Binti sets off. Her people wear red clay and she really sticks out at the spaceport and on the ship.

Despite being such a misfit, Binti doesn’t give up her customs or her people’s traditions. How can we shed what we are? We can’t completely. Customs and traditions are the foundation of self.

For a short work, this book explores a lot about self and the beauty of not conforming. The words are froth with meaning and wisdom. The story definitely has a lot of delicious layers.

On the way to the university, the love of mathematics brings Binti friendships and a budding romance. I was enjoying her growth and learning about the galaxy as Binti learns about it. Then it all dramatically changes.

I won’t ruin the surprising twists for you. This tale was gripping and gorgeous and amazing. The writing is impeccable and I sopped up every word. Definitely worth reading. I couldn’t put this book down and am excited there are two more books in this series. Don’t miss this gem!

Here’s the official blurb:

Winner of the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novella!

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

 

 

#Fantasy Worth Reading: Flex #BookReview

Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz is an engrossing fantasy set on modern-day Earth. I loved his space opera, The Sol Majestic, so had to try another book by this talented author.

The magic system has a bad side. For every wonderful gift, a dire consequence is required. The costs of doing magic are high and leave the ‘mancer without anything. Magic takes their homes, their friends, everyone and everything they love. Using magic is like a drug in this realm, and the magic users are addicts. They give up everything for their moments of glory and marvel.

The main character, Paul Tsabo, is an ordinary person dealing with some bad luck. He was once a cop, who gained notoriety for taking out a ‘mancer. He lost a foot during the battle, and the loss required him to take a new job. He now works as a claims adjustor at an insurance company.

Thing is, it’s there he learns he has a gift – bureaucracy ‘mancy. He can do extraordinary things with forms and reordering the world. He has to hide his gift, but he can’t stay away from it, especially once his daughter is horribly burned in a fire caused by the consequences of someone else doing magic.

He’s as obsessed with saving his daughter as finding quiet moments to do ‘mancy. This leads to him tracking down the ‘mancer who caused the fire that injured his daughter. Although he wants revenge in the worst way, he also needs to learn to hone his magic so he can help his daughter. This odd alliance and the search to find a better way to do magic drives the story.

The characters are very relatable. Most of us love to get lost in the beauty of our daydreams, which is very much like how the magic works in this book. It’s a great adventure with a great dose of self-discovery. Paul has to figure out what matters most and how to tame his ‘mancy for good.

I was entertained until the last page, and was rooting for Paul, his new ally, and his daughter. I was also rooting for magic. I highly recommend this fantasy.

Here’s the official blurb:

The first in a series by the author of The Sol Majestic that is “what might result if you put Breaking Bad and Reddit in a blender and hit ‘frappe.’ ” (B&N Sci-Fi Blog)

FLEX: Distilled magic in crystal form. The most dangerous drug in the world. Snort it, and you can create incredible coincidences to live the life of your dreams.

FLUX: The backlash from snorting Flex. The universe hates magic and tries to rebalance the odds; maybe you survive the horrendous accidents the Flex inflicts, maybe you don’t.

PAUL TSABO: The obsessed bureaucromancer who’s turned paperwork into a magical Beast that can rewrite rental agreements, conjure rented cars from nowhere, track down anyone who’s ever filled out a form.

But when all of his formulaic magic can’t save his burned daughter, Paul must enter the dangerous world of Flex dealers to heal her. Except he’s never done this before—and the punishment for brewing Flex is army conscription and a total brain-wipe.

 

 

#Fantasy Worth Reading: Trail of Lightning #BookReview

This post-apocalyptic story written by Rebecca Roanhorse is set in the American desert. The Big Water destroyed the world as we know it, and the Navajo have walled off a large portion of western territory in which the story takes place.

Maggie Hoskie is recovering from a broken heart and using her clan powers to fight monsters bothering her neighbors. Her clan powers give her speed and a thirst for blood. She doesn’t mind killing, and so thinks herself a monster.  Her new partner challenges her to think of herself differently.

The Native American lore and main characters were well thought out and intertwined with the plot in a magical way-literally and figuratively. Every character has its secrets, mirroring Maggie’s nature to keep everything to herself.

The plot unfolds in layers and tangles everything together into a wonderful novel. Everyone has a past, and Maggie is forced to confront hers during the chaos of fighting an army of monsters. The plot twists were fun and the action exciting. The character journey was as pivotal as the mystery of finding the witch creating the monsters. There are also some interfering immortals.

Fun and fast-paced, I eagerly kept reading until the last page. More, please! Highly recommended.

Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

Welcome to the Sixth World.