Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

So I loved Gideon the Ninth. She sucked me right in with her attitude, her snarkiness, her sword. She's a fabulous character. She will tell the world she doesn't care, but at the same time is fiercely loyal and honestly cares about the other on this adventure. She is Cavalier to Harrowhark, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House, ruler of their home planet. Harrowhark and the necromancer heirs of the other houses have all been brought Canaan House with possibility of becoming Lyctors, powerful, nearly immortal generals in the Emperor/God's army. Gideon the Ninth is maybe sci-fi. It takes place in space, there were a couple of space shuttles, but it is much more fantasy/horror. All the combat is hand to hand or with swords. Gideon and Harrowhark, her master/crush/frenemy, are exploring what basically a gothic space castle with skeleton servants and words written in blood that appear on the walls. Or maybe it's a murder mystery. The Emperor has...
Read More
Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

Notes from the Burning Age takes place in a time after the world burned. The kakuy, spirits of earth, sky, water, became so enraged at our destruction of the environment that they burned and drowned us. Those who survived became more careful of how they use resources and honor and fear the kakuy. Some people, like Ven, study ancient texts, learning from them but also labeling violent and earth-damaging knowledge as heretical. But a war is coming, when some would use the secrets of the past for their own gain. Yes, this is speculative fiction, but at heart it's a spy thriller, a tightly plotted novel with memorable characters and plenty of twists and harrowing situations. The information is being gathered from the past, leading to translation issues, research espionage, and a situation where knowledge is power, and the war rests on who can control the most knowledge and use it most effectively. The relationships in the book are believable...
Read More
Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

Thin Air by Richard K. Morgan

I tend to say I don't read a lot of sci-fi. That's probably not true. This is my 7th sci-fi book this year, which compared to the number of mysteries I've read is small but compared to the amount of sci-fi the average person reads is probably a lot. I do think when you're reviewing genre fiction it does matter how much you read. It affects your expectations, your familiarity with structures, how original the work seems, your enjoyment of the book. I guess that makes me a casual sci-fi reader. But Thin Air is not solely sci-fi. I'dsay its more noir with a sci-fi backdrop. Veil is our "detective," an outsider with an attitude who takes the job both because he needs the money and because his honest cop friend wants him to. We've got lots of violence and several sex scenes. We've got the dark underbelly of the city where everyone lives in shades of grey, where corruption runs...
Read More
The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May by Max Barry

The 22 Murders of Madison May has a great concept. A lone killer is stalking one woman through multiple words, killing her every time she doesn't live up to his idea of the perfect Madison. A group of other individuals, including the mysterious Hugo, is also moving across worlds, kind of in search of the perfect world, maybe. The group's motives weren't quite clear to me, but it was obvious that the killer is messing up their plans too. Felicity Staples is a newspaper reporter in New York when she discovers that multiverses exist and that Madison May is a murder target in every one of them. Felicity and Hugo move from world to world to stop the killer. Madison May, depending on which world, is an actress, a real estate agent, a weather girl, a student, etc, but she always ends up dead. And the same man always kills her. But the differences, similarities, and twists in the worlds keep...
Read More
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

I don't really have much to say about Consider Phlebas. It's fun and the plot keeps moving forward. At the same time, the story is rather small for the length of the book, Yeah, there are sidequests that fill out time and give interesting peeks into the world, but the basic race to find the Mind is a lot of lead up to a bit of a letdown. The characters are morally grey, a bit of good and bad and a lot of violence. But don't get too attached to any of them. I guess I want a happy ending, even in my space operas, and this didn't provide one. I guess the Culture novels each pretty much work as stand alones. I'll probably read The Player of Games, #2, but I don't know that Banks will become a favorite author. ...
Read More
Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

We play a lot of board games at our house. One that hits the table regularly is Terraforming Mars; it's probably my husband's favorite. The game is based on Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinsons, which I finally got around to reading after having it sit on my shelf for a couple of years. So I may be a bit biased, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Red Mars follows the first hundred people on Mars, the ones who begin the colonization/terraforming. The story follows several viewpoints and they are all incredibly strong, tough, smart people who got to Mars on a variety of skills and the ability to more or less hide their nuttiness. None of them are wholly likable, but they each have their own motivations and their own visions of what Mars can/should become. The book touches on a lot of themes. We have religious groups and social groups. We have the realities of living on a different planet,...
Read More