A whale of a story

Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Living on the surface of a planet, mass sucking at every bone and muscle, and nothing but gravity to keep your air close, seemed like a fast path to crazy.

Excellent world building! By chapter four I was reading up on the solar system, inner and outer planets, the asteroid belt, dwarf planets… well-done sci-fi, without going too hardcore. And some crime noir thrown in…

“You are under arrest for the murder of that lady over there, whoever the hell she is. You are not required to participate in questioning without the presence of an attorney or union representative, and if you so much as look at me wrong, I’ll space you. Do we understand each other?” 

I like Miller, a disillusioned cop on a moon in the belt, he is an engaging character. POV alternates between him and Holden, a naive and blue-eyed XO on a water hauler. At first glance this is a mix of crime novel, colony politics and military SF / space opera. But the plot takes it many different places. From disillusioned cop to Alien horror story to submarine-like space battles. Fun, fun, fun.

The other characters populating this book were just as entertaining. Alex and Amos could always sign up with the circus, if being space pirates doesn’t work out in the end.

“Goddamn, Boss, I’d give my left nut for food that didn’t look like a dildo,” Amos said, then tapped his food against Naomi’s in mock toast.

Excellent stuff. Imaginative, twisty plot, swamped with fully realized settings that could have filled several books. Great character development. Good humour and dialogue, interesting concepts and ideas, all around excellent book.

Extra points for quoting Dune! Now move along and find a review that does a much better job at describing this book than I could… Meanwhile I will find myself a copy of the next book in the series and maybe try to rustle up the TV adaptation.

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Brain candy

The Magpie Lord (A Charm of Magpies, #1)The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Very entertaining and well written brain candy with likeable characters, a nice mystery, some sorcery and the requisite hot sex toward the end. Couldn’t put it down! Well, I had to sleep at some point…

Includes Interlude with Tattoos (A Charm of Magpies #1.5), a short story set just after the end of The Magpie Lord.

I will very likely continue with this series.

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Some fishsauce?

Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch, #3)Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lovely. I am sad that this is the end for the Imperial Radch. But then…

“Every ending is an arbitrary one. Every ending is, from another angle, not really an ending.”

Direct continuation of Ancillary Sword. A nice and fitting conclusion to the trilogy.

The humour and tongue-in-check of the dialogues was great and right down my alley. And Translator Zeiat made this novel, what a great character!

Loved Breq and how human she became in the last book. And not.

Loved the development of her relationship with Seivarden, who definitely did not have enough page time.

Loved the action sequences, loved the conversation about what makes one a significant being.

I will miss these characters, Athoek Station, the Undergarden… I would have loved to go through the ghost gate and meet the Presger.

Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy felt like one book and I think I liked them more than Ancillary Justice. The plot and characterizations were more intricate. Although I did like the plot of Ancillary Justice a lot, too, and the early days of Seivarden and Breq. I’ll need to think on that some more.

Some fish sauce in the meantime?

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Enter my lair, said the dragon

White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)White Hot by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Enter my lair, said the dragon. I have shiny treasure for you to play with, I’ll keep you warm and safe, and if it suits my purpose, I’ll chain you to the floor and kill your client by throwing quarters at him with my magic. Been there, done that.”

Great action, as always. Some darker tones, too. Nice development of the existing characters and I like the added new characters. Loved the plot, the snark, the humour in general. The sex scenes were ok. Not the best I ever read, but not bad.

Giving this five stars is a no-brainer. I would give a grocery shopping list five stars, if it was written by Ilona Andrews. Can’t wait for Wildfire and am extremely distressed at the info, that it will be the FINAL volume of Hidden Legacy.

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Short, not necesarily sweet

The New MotherThe New Mother by Eugene Fischer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The girls were spayed. That is the only word for it. Four sisters, the oldest five and the youngest barely two, with dirt-crusted fingers and baggy t-shirts, huddled next to a police van. They are identical in the way of twins; different sizes but, excepting perhaps some scars and birthmarks, their bodies are the same. The picture of them standing together next to the van is like a textbook illustration of early human development. And hidden under their shirts, carved low across the belly, the one scar they all share.”

I have read dystopian fanfiction, where all women on Earth died and what the repercussions of that could be. This is a different take, similar scenario — women can procreate asexually and essentially bear clones of themselves, without any male contribution.

Interessting idea and the author poses some fascinating questions to his set-up.

Winner of the Tiptree Award.

Story is available for free at https://medium.com/@glorioushubris/th…

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Holy Avon, Batman!

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, #9)Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is humour…
Holy Avon, Batman, I thought as worry relaxed into annoyance-tinged humor, I’ve been attacked by a multilevel marketer.

And profound stuff…
Death is not to be feared. Death is easy. It is living that is brutal.

And swearing…
“My croaking fat frog will shag my fucking Aunt Fanny before I’ll go now,” he said.

And a very nice, feel-good ending…
“Nudge,” he said.

I took me a while to warm up to Adam, but by now I love him. And Mercy still is an excellent character. The Pack dynamics are very well done, truly believable, UF for grown-ups, without silly drama. Love the fae, love the settings, good action, great world building.

Still going strong. Looking forward to the next book.

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Revisiting Alpha & Omega

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1)Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I was never afraid of monsters until I became one. Now I’m afraid of my own shadow.”

Anna is a little whiney in this one. I know that some people get put off by that. But she is not really a special snowflake, she comes into her own eventually and it’s done in a convincing way.

I think to appreciate the story best, reading the Alpha & Omega prequel is a good choice. It moves on from the pretty smoothly.

Entertaining, good action scenes, good characterizations. And it fleshes out the world of Mercy Thompson quite nicely. For someone wanting to read both series together in chronological order, this is a pretty decent list:

http://www.patriciabriggs.com/books/t…

*~*~*~*~*~*
First read in 201o

Original review:
This series is a spin-off of the Mercy Thompson books. The first one is set back in Aspen Creek and centres around Charles Cornick and his new mate Anna. I was hesitant at first if it would be as good as the Mercy books, so it sat on my shelf for a while. But it is really good, I’ve had a lot of fun, it actually kept me up half way through the night.

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