Review: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin

6437061Series: Inheritance Trilogy
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆


Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into a vicious power struggle.


I didn’t really care for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but I think most of the things I didn’t like were personal preference, rather than a problem with the book.

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Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completley Fine by Gail Honeyman

31434883Genre: Fiction
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.


Oh wow. Eleanor Oliphant was completely heart-wrenching, yet profoundly heart-warming. I loved it, and I loved Eleanor. Continue reading

Review: Fuzzy Nation

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

9647532Genres: Science Fiction, Fiction
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn’t care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp’s headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation’s headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that’s not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there’s another wrinkle to ZaraCorp’s relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped—trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute—shows up at Jack’s outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp’s claim to a planet’s worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed…and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the “fuzzys” before their existence becomes more widely known. 


Maybe I’m just choosing the wrong John Scalzi novels, but I’m starting to suspect that he’s highly overrated. Fuzzy Nation, which is based off the H. Beam Piper novel Little Fuzzy, takes what could have been a very serious and compelling Sci-Fi work asking deep and meaningful questions, and turned it into an action-adventure-courtroom-drama. Continue reading

Review: The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

27209460Series: The Invisible Library
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen. 
 
London’s underground factions are prepared to fight to the death to find the tome before Irene and Kai do, a problem compounded by the fact that this world is chaos-infested—the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic to run rampant. To make matters worse, Kai is hiding something—secrets that could be just as volatile as the chaos-filled world itself.
 
Now Irene is caught in a puzzling web of deadly danger, conflicting clues, and sinister secret societies. And failure is not an option—because it isn’t just Irene’s reputation at stake, it’s the nature of reality itself…


This is a classic example of a book that isn’t very good but was wildly entertaining anyway. I mean, it’s hard to go wrong with a library spy novel. Dr. Who meets Thursday Next.

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Guest Post: My Wife Reading The Goblin Emperor

Okay, so I don’t know if this is technically a guest post. This showed up in my inbox yesterday from my husband, and he’s not a blogger or anything. But it was too sweet to not post.


17910048When Katie is truly happy, she becomes at a loss for words, which is why she is always silent after the hilarious dad jokes I tell. This was the case for her when reading The Goblin Emperor by Sarah Monette (as Katherine Addison). On nearly every occasion where I found her reading this book, she would invariably come to a stopping place, put the book down and exclaim, “This book is so good!” But, that was essentially the end of her commentary; no explanation. And none was necessary for in that moment, I saw how happy she was, and that was enough. Katie connected with the book, and that’s what I find to be important about books and about art in general. Connection is what makes art valuable and meaningful. Continue reading

Review: The Goblin Emperor

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

17910048Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Maturity Level: 3
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆


The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an “accident,” he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend… and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.


THIS BOOK!!!!!!

The Goblin Emperor was delightfully unusual. It was like nothing I had ever read before. Refreshingly free of action/fighting sequences, graphic romance scenes, or cliffhangers, it still grabbed my attention from the beginning and held it. The pace was a little on the slower side, but my regular readers know that I prefer it that way. Continue reading

Review: Guards! Guards!

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

64216Series: Discworld
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
Maturity Level: 2
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆


Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco nobilis (“noble dragon” for those who don’t understand italics) has appeared in Discworld’s greatest city. Not only does this unwelcome visitor have a nasty habit of charbroiling everything in its path, in rather short order it is crowned King (it is a noble dragon, after all . . .).

Meanwhile, back at Unseen University, an ancient and long-forgotten volume–The Summoning of Dragons–is missing from the Library’s shelves. To the rescue come Captain Vimes, Constable Carrot, and the rest of the Night Watch who, along with other brave citizens, risk everything, including a good roasting, to dethrone the flying monarch and restore order to Ankh-Morpork (before it’s burned to a crisp). 


WARNING: This book does not have chapters.

I wanted to love this book. I really did. Its exactly the kind of book I could like, a silly, goofball fantasy featuring dragons. But… I didn’t.  Continue reading