August 2019 archive

Aug 30 2019

Little White Lies (Debutantes Book 1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Oh, gosh darn it, if I’d known that the next book in this series was coming out in November, I’d have held off on reading this for a while! I mean, I’m glad I did read it — Jennifer Lynn Barnes consistently writes amazing stuff — but these next few months are going to feel …

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Aug 28 2019

Son of Heaven by David Wingrove

I remember seeing David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo books back in the 1980s and 1990s. They looked like a big, pulpish series set in a future dominated by China. A little while back, I picked up Son of Heaven, which says it’s Chung Kuo #1, thinking I would look in on this series and maybe set …

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Aug 25 2019

The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns #0.1) by Kendare Blake

Wait, that’s it?! No fair! So this is the prequel novella to the Three Dark Crowns series, explaining why all oracle queens are now drowned at birth. Exquisitely written, as always, it also does a mean thing to us readers: it sets up a terrific protagonist then has everything go terribly wrong not only for …

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Aug 24 2019

The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston

Boxer Rebellion

Distinguishing a warning that should be heeded from a host of false positives is a famously hard problem. The foreign community in Peking, as it was then generally called in the West, failed that test in the summer of 1900, costing many hundreds of lives. The Boxer Rebellion concentrates on the defense of the Legation …

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Aug 21 2019

Yikes

Son of Heaven

Sometimes speculative fiction is just a little too on the nose: The Republicans, coming to power …, wanted to do away with free trade. In a frenzy of nationalist rhetoric, they sought to replace globalization with protectionist tariffs. They wanted to pull up the economic drawbridge, just as their predecessors had after the Wall Street …

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Aug 20 2019

The Warehouse by Rob Hart

Oh gosh, this was one of those deeply affecting cautionary tales that you finish and need to put down and just sort of sit and recover from for a while. Set in a near-future where the trajectory of global (but especially American) capitalism has come to its merciless inevitability, the largest employer in the country …

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Aug 17 2019

Barry Hughart, 1934–2019

Bridge of Birds

“I shall clasp my hands together and bow to the corners of the world “My surname is Lu and my personal name is Yu, but I am not to be confused with the eminent author of The Classic of Tea. My family is quite undistinguished, and since I am the tenth of my father’s sons …

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Aug 17 2019

Hate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts #1) by Alisha Rai

What a delightfully fast read! Great romance novel featuring a pair of childhood sweethearts forced apart by their family circumstances, who manage to find their way back to each other. The twist, or hook, is that they’ve spent the last decade seeing each other for only one night a year, meeting at whichever coordinates she …

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Aug 14 2019

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

So on the one hand, this is some gorgeously written, truly imaginative sci-fi set in a world where the science seems like magic, so much so that the book reads like a terrific fantasy novel. It’s also a sharply drawn parable of slavery and gilded cages, based on inherent powers owned by people dubbed orogenes …

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Aug 11 2019

Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee

Hexarchate Stories

My review of Revenant Gun, the third in Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire series, ended “In short, I would greatly enjoy reading more stories set within Lee’s hexarchate, or indeed either the heptarchate that preceded it or the successor states that are trying to succeed it… And no more Jedao for a while, please. …

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