#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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#SciFi Worth Reading: Empress of Forever #BookReview

The Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone is spectacular. Wow! What an imaginative, creative, marvelous read.

If you’re looking for original space opera, this novel certainly fits. The concepts were huge and small at the same time, depending on how you wanted to take it. It’s hard not to envy what goes on in Gladstone’s head and then how he puts it in written form.

The main character is a Steve Jobs type, who starts off the story by running from the feds. She is then transported into another time, and, it seems, another universe. Viv starts running and never stops in this world and on the others she visits during the course of this delicious adventure.

What’s worse than being locked away by the feds? Hmmm, maybe killer robots and warrior monks. Then there’s an empress who rules the galaxy, who attacked Viv and brought her into this crazy galaxy.

Viv uses her smarts to survive and attract a rag-tag group of misfits who work to help her get home. One review said this story was a bit like Guardians of the Galaxy. And, it is. It’s fun, it’s poetic (beautifully written), thought-provoking, and took me into a world like I’ve never read or seen before. Fantastic!

The character are unique and alien and amazing and familiar.  There were twists and turns to keep the story fresh and brilliant. Can you tell I loved it? Max Gladstone is an author I now want to read more of, and I highly, highly recommend Empress of Forever.

A wildly successful innovator to rival Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, Vivian Liao is prone to radical thinking, quick decision-making, and reckless action. On the eve of her greatest achievement, she tries to outrun people who are trying to steal her success.

In the chilly darkness of a Boston server farm, Viv sets her ultimate plan into motion. A terrifying instant later, Vivian Liao is catapulted through space and time to a far future where she confronts a destiny stranger and more deadly than she could ever imagine.

The end of time is ruled by an ancient, powerful Empress who blesses or blasts entire planets with a single thought. Rebellion is literally impossible to consider–until Vivian Liao arrives. Trapped between the Pride―a ravening horde of sentient machines―and a fanatical sect of warrior monks who call themselves the Mirrorfaith, Viv must rally a strange group of allies to confront the Empress and find a way back to the world and life she left behind.

 

 

 

#Fantasy Worth Reading: Neverwhere #BookReview

Every time Mr. Croup and Mr. Vandemar came on scene, I cringed. Their character portrayals are so creepy and well done, that I’ve read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman several times to study his two villains. Plus, the story is dang good.

It is easy to empathize with the main character, Richard, and get lost in Neil’s nightmarish world. I enjoyed this story. A lot. Very imaginative and different.

Neverwhere uses the plot devise of falling into a fantasy world from our world. Other famous examples are Alice in Wonderland, Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Phantom Tollbooth, the Thomas Covenant series and many, many more. I think the idea of doorways to other worlds is intrinsically appealing. Fantasy is escape. Being able to walk into a different reality, well, there’s nothing more escapish than that.

Neverwhere‘s underground world is dark and garish. Yet it is also wonderful and teaches us about the actual world and our natures.

This is definitely a book I recommend reading.

It is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.

 

 

#Scifi Worth Reading: The Truth of Valor #BookReview

I fell hard for Gunny Sergeant Torin Kerr in Valor’s Choice, the first book in Tanya Huff’s space opera series. Action-packed, unique and unpredictable with one kick-ass character is what caught my attention. I then devoured the next three books in the series: The Better Part of Valor, The Heart of Valor, and Valor’s Trial.

So when this book came out, The Truth of Valor, I was thrilled.

Huff threw us into a new aspect of Kerr’s life as she tries to adjust to being a former Marine. Kerr kicks ass as much as ever, and I hope the series will continue. I will certainly keep reading.

Although this novel did not surprise me as much as the previous books in The Confederation Novels, there was still a lot of action, and a lot of fun. The imagination is superb, and it’s an above-average read.

If you haven’t discovered the Confederation Novels yet, I envy you reading them for the first time. They rock.

This is definitely a series I recommend.

 

 

 

Speculative Fiction Worth Reading: The Bedlam Stacks #BookReview #fantasy

Natasha Pulley is one of my favorite new writers. I fell in love with The Clockmaker of Filigree Street. So, I eagerly purchased this book. The Bedlam Stacks didn’t disappoint.

Pulley revisits the theme of friendship, and the story centers on a trip to Peru. Malaria is keeping British interests in India from thriving. Therefore, it’s imperative to get viable cuttings from the cinchona tree. The  bark is used to treat malaria.

Merrick Tremayne is recruited to make the expedition a success. His family connections and expertise in botany make him the top choice, despite a debilitating injury.

If you enjoyed She by H. Rider Haggard or Erewhon by Samuel Butler, you’ll be delighted with this tale of a grand expedition.

An Adventure to Peru

From a realistic start, the story evolves into the more mystical and magical. The town of Bedlam is quite fantastic: glass cliffs; pollen that is bioluminescent; trees that can float on air; and stone statues that move. It’s a town I’d love to visit. If only it existed!

The Bedlam Stacks is a thoroughly enjoyable escape. I will definitely add Pulley’s third book to my next book run.

Description

In 1859, ex–East India Company smuggler Merrick Tremayne is trapped at home in Cornwall with an injury that almost cost him his leg. When the India Office recruits him for an expedition to fetch quinine–essential for the treatment of malaria–from deep within Peru, he knows it’s a terrible idea; nearly every able-bodied expeditionary who’s made the attempt has died, and he can barely walk. But Merrick is eager to escape the strange events plaguing his family’s crumbling estate, so he sets off, against his better judgment, for the edge of the Amazon.

There he meets Raphael, a priest around whom the villagers spin unsettling stories of impossible disappearances, cursed woods, and living stone. Merrick must separate truth from fairy tale, and gradually he realizes that Raphael is the key to a legacy left by generations of Tremayne explorers before him, one which will prove more valuable than quinine, and far more dangerous.