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Entries from Jan 2010

Diana Peterfreund: Rampant

30 Jan 2010 · No Comments

Rampant is a unicorn novel for people who hate unicorns — or at least the fluffy depiction of unicorns in current popular culture. Peterfreund sets out to reclaim the dignity of the unicorn by returning to the legendary roots of one-horned critters, and weaves multi-cultural variants on the theme into a unicorn hierarchy.
Since Peterfreund’s unicorns [...]

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Tags: fantasy · p-author · r-title · young adult

John Harwood: The Seance

26 Jan 2010 · No Comments

I liked Harwood’s previous novel The Ghost Writer very much. The Séance shares several of The Ghost Writer’s hallmarks: reserved, chilly, almost 19th-century flavored prose*; dark, complex and secret-spiked family histories; an elaborate, almost meta-textual, structure with multiple layers of nested stories; a brooding, slow-growing aura of menace; and lingering questions about which — if [...]

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Tags: h-author · historical · horror · s-title · suspense

Lisa McMann: Wake

24 Jan 2010 · No Comments

The good: As supernaturally-themed young adult novels go, the premise of this one is strikingly original: no vampires, werewolves, nor zombies (at least in this first volume of the series…). Instead, Janie finds herself involuntarily drawn into the dreams of anyone dreaming near her. A few SF authors have worked with similar concepts — [...]

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Tags: fantasy · m-author · w-title · young adult

Timothy Zahn: Dragon and Thief

19 Jan 2010 · No Comments

Even if I count them as guilty pleasures, I’ve enjoyed several of Zahn’s Star Wars novels enough that it’s a bit odd I never got around to trying one of his non-tie-in novels until now. (Many of them seem to be packaged/marketed as “military science fiction” as opposed to “space opera,” which probably partially explains [...]

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Tags: d-title · science fiction · young adult · z-author

Matt Ruff: Bad Monkeys

15 Jan 2010 · No Comments

Bad Monkeys opens with Jane Charlotte in custody, apparently being interviewed by a police psychologist. She admits she’s in jail because, “I killed someone I wasn’t supposed to.” She claims to work for a secret (but extensively resourced) organization that combats evil; her division terminates “irredeemable” people, like serial killers and child molesters. She tells [...]

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Tags: alphabetical-author

L. Jagi Lamplighter: Prospero Lost

13 Jan 2010 · No Comments

Prospero Lost is one of the most original contemporary fantasies I’ve read in years from outside the slipstream camp. Its central conceit is that Shakespeare’s The Tempest was loosely based on fact. Prospero, Miranda (and later additions to the clan) are near-immortal beings secretly responsible for imposing order on elemental magical forces, thus making modern [...]

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Tags: fantasy · l-author · p-title

Catherine Jinks: The Reformed Vampire Support Group

08 Jan 2010 · No Comments

The Reformed Vampire Support Group is maybe the most original vampire novel I’ve ever read that actually uses the word “vampire.” With a few deft twists to the rules of the legend, Jinks inverts the dynamic of the modern sexy, super-strong bloodsucker. Her vamps don’t have super strength or magically accelerated healing. They can’t fly, [...]

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Tags: fantasy · j-author · r-title · young adult

Stacey Jay: You Are So Undead to Me

06 Jan 2010 · No Comments

If the title didn’t already clue you in, the final sentence of the back cover blurb perfectly telegraphs You Are So Undead to Me’s tone: “Her life — and more importantly, the homecoming dance — depends on it.”
In the first volume of Jay’s post-Buffy zombie franchise, reluctant zombie “Settler” Megan Berry is at least as [...]

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Tags: fantasy · j-author · young adult

Paolo Bacigalupi: The Windup Girl

03 Jan 2010 · No Comments

I eventually decided Bacigalupi’s Pump Six and Other Stories was one of the strongest and most-memorable single-author science-fiction story collections I’ve read in the past several years. If The Windup Girl didn’t quite live up to my expectations, it’s at least partly because those expectations were high.
But I also think that The Windup Girl would [...]

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Tags: b-author · science fiction · w-title