Showing posts from April, 2019

Assassin's Gambit

Assassin's Gambit Amy Raby, 2013 Premise: Vitala has been sent undercover to kill the young emperor and hopefully strike a blow for her conquered homeland. Of course, politics are more complicated than she's been told, and then there's the little problem of falling in love. This book is one from a short list of books that I bought for a dollar (or less) at some point, looked at a few months ago when I was cleaning my bookshelf, and decided to give a chance to. It's the only one of those books so far that didn't get relocated to the donate box after just a few chapters, but that doesn't mean it isn't going there now. It's not bad. It's a fantasy romance with some interesting magic and an interesting political situation for the leads. It moves pretty quickly past the assassin-falls-for-the-target premise into more nuanced arguments about how a few people in the right positions might actually untangle a hostile territory occupation without des

Forever Peace

Forever Peace Joe Haldeman, 1997 Hugo winner - 1998 Premise: Julian is a physics professor by inclination and education, but he's also been drafted part-time to run a remote soldier robot. There's more to the plot, and the blurb on the back of the book discusses it, but it doesn't happen until half the book is done. Hmmm. This is an odd one. I had a cheap paperback copy that I picked up at some point, but I took an ebook version out of the library because I thought I'd be more likely to read it that way. I only read about a third of it by the time my three-week loan timed out. I just could not get into this book. I kept putting off reading it. I finally found my place in the paperback copy and read some more, then left it on my nightstand, untouched, for weeks before reading more. (Considering I've often been known to read a novel in an afternoon, this is a major sign.) At some point when I was about halfway through I finally read the blurb on the back

Any Old Diamonds

Any Old Diamonds K.J. Charles, 2019 Premise: Alec and his siblings barely make ends meet after being cut off by their noble father. When he reaches a breaking point, Alec decides to try to get some of their own back by helping a pair of accomplished thieves steal his stepmother’s diamonds. Falling for one of them wasn’t part of the plan. I read a lot of K.J. Charles’ historical romances. Like, most of them. Most of them I don’t bother to review here. This one, however, was especially delightful. Alec is full of contradictions: he’s the son of a noble house, but happy to seek work as a freelance illustrator, while he’s also understanding of his siblings who can’t take on “normal” jobs and have any hope of regaining their social standing in Victoria’s England. He makes a choice and is tormented by it. He doesn’t know who to trust or how to solve his problems. Jerry is a great thief, and one of his skills is the ability to read people. At first he gets close to Alec to ensu

The Blue Sword

The Blue Sword Robin McKinley, 1982 Premise: Angharad “Harry” Crewe lives with relatives on the edge of the kingdom after her father’s death. She is drawn to the rugged frontier land, but doesn’t think much of the tribes who live outside her civilization until she is chosen by their leader’s second sight. It’s so funny to read this book for this first time now. I know this (and the prequel, The Hero and the Crown ) were seminal fantasy reads for so many people I know. YA before YA was a genre, these books feature brave female protagonists who stand against great evil. This one also features an abduction that turns into a romance. It’s about as well-handled as the trope can be - the guy is drawn to her because of his innate magic and she is the destined recipient of a magical artifact (the blue sword of the title). Plus they gain each other’s respect as warriors before they admit any romantic attraction. Still, it bugged me a bit. It skews toward the fairy tale end of the

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, Book 1)

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, Book 1) N. K. Jemisin, 2015 Hugo Winner - 2016 Premise: The world is ending. The empire which has been controlling the unstable earth has fallen. One woman reveals her forbidden power and leaves her home with only one goal: find the husband who murdered her son and rescue her daughter. I should know better than to let months go by between finishing a book and writing a review, but sometimes life happens. Besides, what can I say about this book that hasn't been said? It's brilliant. The triple-stranded narrative gives you multiple perspectives on the world and the society which are each fascinating, and it adds up to one heck of a story. The characters are complicated and intense. The magic and how it connects to the structure of the world is intriguing. It's just really good. There is a lot of tragedy in this story, but none of it felt gratuitous or exaggerated. It just felt tragic and true. There's a reason Jemi