Showing posts from June, 2017

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal

The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal K.J. Charles, 2015 Premise: Journalist Robert Caldwell has told the world about the exploits of famous ghost hunter Simon Feximal for years, but he has never before revealed how they met, or their true relationship. In the spectrum of works inspired by other works, there is more than enough room for delightful books like this one. You can see from the very premise that something is owed to Holmes and his ilk, but it is not as simple as a Holmes story with a paranormal/LGBT overlay. It turns out to be a love letter to Victorian adventure and occult stories. The book itself is structured as a series of linked short tales. Characters from works of the time come in and out like Easter eggs for the reader, but not being familiar with them doesn't detract anything from the experience. There is a list of references in the back of the book for the curious. As always, this author crafts her characters to feel incredibly accurate to their ti

Mockingbird: I Can Explain and Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda

Mockingbird: I Can Explain and Mockingbird: My Feminist Agenda Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, 2016, 2017 Premise: Bobbi Morse is a lot of things. She's a spy, a superhero, a scientist. She's an ex-wife and a SHIELD agent and an Avenger. And she is done taking anybody's shit. Collects Mockingbird #1-5, Mockingbird SHIELD 50th anniversary #1, Mockingbird #6-8, and see below. Like too many people, I only heard about this series when it met its untimely cancellation . I picked up the first trade almost immediately but didn't get a chance to read it until recently. It is a metric ton of fun. A few different aspects contribute to the brilliance of this book. One is the balance of superheroic and mundane. Bobbi's life is punctuated by crazy escapades, but she also deals with annoying medical check-ups and clothing stains and relationship drama. Another is the fun meta-stuff that I love. Tons of little jokes in the background art or the intro pages for each

Stranger at the Wedding

Stranger at the Wedding Barbara Hambly, 1994 Premise: Wizard-in-training Kyra is surprised to receive a letter from her estranged family, even one informing her that her sister is to marry. Her teachers advise her not to go, but the letter crystallizes the premonitions that have been plaguing her - if she doesn't stop the wedding, her sister could die! This is set in the same world as the Windrose books ( The Silent Tower and its sequels) but doesn't involve any of the same characters, except peripherally. It does hinge on the hostile and complicated relationship in that world between "normal" people and those with magical abilities. Kyra left home because her merchant father wanted to rise in society, and having a wizard as a daughter would be a scandal. But being born to magic is an irresistible call, and no matter what else she wanted, Kyra couldn't not learn to use her abilities. She found a local teacher and her parents looked the other way for

The Kingdom of Gods (Inheritance, Book Three)

The Kingdom of Gods (Inheritance, Book Three) N. K. Jemisin, 2011 Premise: Sequel to The Broken Kingdoms . Time is passing, and the balance of power in the mortal world is affected by the changes in the gods. The power in the gods is changing too, as Sieh finds to his peril. Sieh is one of the more memorable characters from the first two books - the child-trickster, first-born of the Three's many children. Naturally, he starts the first pages of his book telling the reader in no uncertain terms how his book will be different from those that went before. This was a worthy sequel to the first two books, although I wasn't sure that was possible. I liked how much of this book was about consequences. The characters in books one and two made what seemed to be good choices at the time, but when the primary (corrupt) structure falls, is that actually a net positive? For a parallel: if you take away Rome's power, you end the Pax Romana - for good and for ill. Mea