The Machinery – Gerrard Cowan (Review)

41ctGTurmuLThe Overland have just finished conquering the Plateau on which their civilisation exists. No-one else stood a chance; the Overland select their leaders according to the whims of an omnipotent (and titular) Machine, which has given them an edge for the last ten millennia. Hegemony beckons.

But overshadowing all of these achievements is a prophecy that the government have done their best to stamp out. A faction of Doubters claim that the machinery has begun to break down and soon will halt completely. A secret police of hideously-masked Watchers scour the crowds for signs of this heresy, disappearing and torturing anyone they deem guilty. Among all of this a range of viewpoint characters, including Katrina Paprissi, a young woman whose brother vanished in mysterious circumstances, navigate a complex web of power games mediated by the machine’s whims. Continue reading “The Machinery – Gerrard Cowan (Review)”

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Tough Travels – Minions

Tough TravellingEvery month, Fantasy Faction runs a feature where they seek out examples of fantasy tropes. Other bloggers are welcome to join in, finding their own books to match the given topic. This week’s topic is minions:

Minions of the DARK LORD can be male or female, though he tends to favour males (who seem to be more susceptible to the Evil One’s wiles). They can take many forms: BAD KINGS, ENCHANTRESSES, HIGH PRIESTS, EUNUCHS, DUKES, REGENTS or WITCHES. Additionally, there are the non-human minions, such as ORCS, TROLLS, GOBLINS and random OTHER PEOPLES . . . not to mention MUTANT NASTIES, carefully selected MONSTERS, UNDEAD, and DEMONS.

Continue reading “Tough Travels – Minions”

Tough Travels – Dragons

Tough TravellingEvery month, Fantasy Faction runs a feature where they seek out examples of fantasy tropes. Other bloggers are welcome to join in, finding their own books to match the given topic. This week’s topic is dragons:

The Tough Guide advises that Dragons are ‘very large scaly beings with wings and long spiky tails, capable of breathing fire through their mouths. They can be almost any colour or combination of colours, though green, red and black are preferred. They are always very old. Most of them seem to have flown to Fantasyland aeons ago across the void. This migration was almost certainly to get away from our world, where people would insist that they were dangerous monsters that had to be exterminated. Dragons, as all Fantasyland knows, are no such thing.’ Or are they?

Continue reading “Tough Travels – Dragons”

Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich (Review)

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Lizzy Tucker makes cupcakes. And cookies and other baked goods, but she’s really good at cupcakes. That’s her talent. She works in a bakery, and leads a quiet life free from troublesome pets or romantic entanglements.

Her quiet life is disrupted when two dangerously attractive and simply dangerous men appear in her life. They think she has another talent, one that’s more significant than baking. They think she can find magical objects, the sort that might bring about the apocalypse.  Continue reading “Wicked Appetite – Janet Evanovich (Review)”

Top Ten Tuesday – Fictional schools that would be better to teach in than an actual school

Top Ten Tuesday

“Top Ten Tuesday” is a feature started by “The Broke and the Bookish“, in which people list their top ten books that match some given criterion. It changes every week, and happens on a Tuesday. Lots (a frankly ridiculous number) of bloggers take part.

This week the theme is “back to school”, which is not normally something I enjoy thinking about. In the spirit of that theme, I’ve decided to list fictional educational establishments which – in one way or another – would be preferable to real-world schools. Importantly, this list is about schools it would be preferable to teach in, not to learn in – most fictional schools would give you a terrible education.  Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday – Fictional schools that would be better to teach in than an actual school”

Faithless – Graham Austin-King (Review)

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In the temple of the Forgefather, fallen priests chant endlessly to an absent god, shaping metal through ritual and half-forgotten arts. Beneath them, in the subterranean city of Aspiration, miners scrabble for ore in cramped tunnels and try to resist the lure of the hungry dark. Continue reading “Faithless – Graham Austin-King (Review)”

Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison (Review)

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It took me a long time to get round to reading Dead Witch Walking. The book gets a lot of praise, but it was first mentioned to me as “urban fantasy about killer tomatoes,” and that description did nothing for me. It sounded like comic fantasy, and the list of authors who can manage to do that well is extremely short.

Dead Witch Walking is not comic fantasy, and killer tomatoes don’t really feature. Instead, a weaponised virus used tomatoes as a carrier, eventually wiping out a significant proportion of the human population. In the aftermath of this tragedy, vampires/witches/et cetera revealed themselves to humanity. The book takes place long after this, in a post-masquerade world where monsters are feared but accepted as part of reality.

Rachel Morgan is tired of dealing with bad assignments and unreasonable orders. For years, she’s been an employee of Inderland Security, tasked with solving supernatural problems – rogue vampires, black magic, that sort of thing. Now she’s ready to strike out on her own.

Life outside the I.S. isn’t easy though. With only a pixie and a vampire as backup, Rachel has to find steady work and stay alive, all the while dealing with demons, drug lords, and an agency that really doesn’t like people breaking their contracts.    Continue reading “Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison (Review)”