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Book Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself the blade itself
Joe Abercrombie

Orbit/Gollancz, 2006
★★★★☆

The Blade Itself is a rather standard, basic high fantasy, which isn’t necessarily a criticism (I enjoy basic European-esque fantasy very much!), but I guess I just expected more from this series, since it’s often spoken of as one of the best in the genre. I enjoyed it, to be sure, but I wasn’t blown away. Much more classic fantasy than I was expecting, with some clear inspiration from A Song of Ice and Fire. Based on this book alone, I’d say this series is 1000% overrated and over-hyped, but I keep hearing that the sequels make up for it, so I’m withholding judgement. Continue reading “Book Review: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie”

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Book Review: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

the light brigadeThe Light Brigade
Kameron Hurley

Saga, 2019
★★★☆☆

Well, shit.

I have no idea how to give this a proper rating, as I pretty much hated reading it, and not, as I had expected, because it is confusing (though it definitely is) but mainly because it’s so fucking bleak. That is, of course, the point – hard military sci-fi isn’t about to shy away from all the visceral realities of war – but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’m also generally not a fan of dystopias because they often hit too close to home; so much of dystopic visions Hurley has come up with in The Light Brigade don’t seem too far off from what we’re living now. It’s kind of terrifying, when you think about it too closely. Continue reading “Book Review: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley”

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Book Review: The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

the city in the middle of the nightThe City in the Middle of the Night
Charlie Jane Anders

Tor, 2019
★★★☆☆

The City in the Middle of the Night takes great care to develop its characters, character arcs, character dynamics, and its worldbuilding, and pretty much forgets all about having a cohesive plot. The biggest criticism of this book would be that it is meandering and slow. It’s not that it doesn’t know where it wants to go – now that I’ve finished, I can step back and see the general plot arc meant to be established here – but it doesn’t get there clearly or quickly enough. There’s a lot of waffle and pointless journey stuff in between all the important bits, and this book, already rather short, could have been way shorter. Continue reading “Book Review: The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders”

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Book Review: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

middlegameMiddlegame
Seanan McGuire

Tor.com, 2019
★★★☆☆

This was definitely very good, no doubt about it, but I think I liked the idea of it far more than I liked the execution. The idea, at its core, is just so, so very cool! It’s all about alchemy and incarnating ideas into human bodies and trying to control the universe. It’s awesome! Very confusing at first, but not so much that I couldn’t follow along, and things (mostly) make sense at the end, even if some ideas remain rather abstract.

I just am not sure that I am a fan of which parts of the story were prioritized: Roger and Dodger’s lives. There was just so much time spent on them growing up and getting to know one another and this book is so long. Continue reading “Book Review: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire”

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Book Review: The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar

The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancockthe mermaid and mrs hancock
Imogen Hermes Gowar

Harper, 2018
★★★★☆

I think the best way to describe The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock would be: uneven, meandering, and unbalanced, in terms of both pacing and genre. It’s almost as though it can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Somehow, it is too long and yet not long enough.

Oddly enough, a book with this kind of pacing normally wouldn’t be able to hold my attention, but I was never once bored! I think that is to do with two factors. One is my own personal interest in Georgian London as well as the history of prostitution. Harlots is one of my favorite shows. The amount of historical detail Gowar displays here is simply astonishing. It stops just shy of being too much, but because of this detail I could picture everything so, so clearly; I felt like I was inhabiting this time period. Continue reading “Book Review: The Mermaid & Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar”