Books

Review: Sea of Rust

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Review: Sea of Rust

The one truth you need to know about the end of a machine is that the closer they are to death, the more they act like people.

And you could never trust people.

The long-feared robot uprising finally happened, and humanity lost. More than lost actually; it’s been wiped out. The last human left was gunned down fifteen years after the fighting stopped, nameless and starved on the streets of what used to be New York. It was the start of the Robotic Golden Age.

It didn’t last.

Thirty years after the end of the war, a robot named Brittle scavenges for parts in the Sea of Rust and tries not to think about everything she did to free herself from humanity, and everything she has to do now to keep herself free from the world-spanning minds that are absorbing all the remaining freebots on the planet. The very last thing she’s interested in is to join a group that includes the most dangerous person in the planet (for her at least) so she can go on a mission to save the world. Which of course is exactly what happens.

As a long-time fan of the Transformers comic (a fan who’s most common complaint about any story was usually “too many humans”), I figured from the description that C. Robert Cargill’s latest book was something I had to check out. But I didn’t expect the page turning, tragic, sometimes funny, and always powerful book it turned out to be, something that had me going “okay, just one more chapter” several times. I didn’t imagine this book was going to be amazing. 

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Review: Ramses the Damned – The Passion of Cleopatra

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Review: Ramses the Damned – The Passion of Cleopatra

At the end of Anne Rice’s The Mummy, the centuries-old Egyptian pharaoh Ramses the Damned has given the elixir of immortality to his lover Julie Stratford, the heiress who first introduced him to the world of Edwardian England.

Meanwhile, Ramses’s former lover Queen Cleopatra awakens in a remote hospital in the Egyptian wilderness, having somehow survived the fiery train explosion that should have destroyed her. The murderous queen (who spent two thousand years as a corpse before Ramses brought her back to life) wastes no time in seducing a doctor and planning to track down Ramses and everyone he cares about. The book finishes with the statement “The Adventures of Ramses The Damned Shall Continue.”

That was twenty-nine years ago.

It’s been a long wait, but readers finally get to learn what happened next.

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Review – Jackalope Wives and Other Stories

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Review – Jackalope Wives and Other Stories

I actually read this book right after Ursula Vernon won the Hugo for her story “The Tomato Thief” but I hadn’t had a chance to review it (“hadn’t had a chance” should be read as “didn’t get organized and stop procrastinating long enough” but I think most people assumed that was the case.) I didn’t want to try and write down the good bits from memory, so I sat down to read the book again.

I probably don’t need this kind of encouragement to procrastinate, but I’m so glad I did. The book’s even better the second time around.

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Review: The Glass Town Game

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Review: The Glass Town Game

“We can go to Cowan Bridge School and learn a lot of rot we already know and freeze and starve and probably die of consumption, or we can get on a fairy train driven by our Christmas presents.”

The four siblings called it The Glass Town Game, but it was more than just a simple game of make-believe. A gift of twelve wooden soldiers gradually turned into an entire imaginary world, the result of years of creativity and storytelling. Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and Bramwell took everything they could learn from fiction and history and current events outside their tiny little village of Haworth, and poured it all into Glass Town, a place of intrigues and doomed romance and heroism, where wooden soldiers die bravely in battle against Napoleon, only to spring back to life for more adventures the next day.

You can imagine the children’s surprise when they’re whisked off to a world that’s exactly like Glass Town.

Well almost exactly, except for a few minor details. Like the Napoleon with guns for arms, riding a giant fire-breathing porcelain rooster. That one’s new.

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The Best Books of 2017

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The Best Books of 2017

Once again I’m running into the problem that readers love to have: too many fantastic books from last year to fit into a short top-three list. Click the jump for a list of the ten best (and by “best” I mean “favorite”) from 2017.

 

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Review: Twin Peaks – The Final Dossier

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Review: Twin Peaks – The Final Dossier

We still have time for one more book review before the end of the year. And what a strange year 2017 has been. Careers in DC and Hollywood have been wiped out (by bad behavior that, let’s face it, really should have been dealt with a long time ago), the political world has been a straight up circus, there’s an object in space that scientists thought might possibly be a sign of extra-terrestrial life, and did you see how the last Oscars ceremony ended?

So what the heck, let’s embrace the weirdness and pick for our last book review of the year something from the strangest show of the year: Twin Peaks. The Final Dossier by Mark Frost may not resolve all my feelings of “WHAT THE ABSOLUTE HELL, LYNCH?” that the ending of Season 3 left me with, but it gives the reader a lot more info. It also answers quite a few questions about how the characters ended up where they were when the season started, with a tiny taste of what happened next.

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Review: The Princess Diarist (audio book)

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Review: The Princess Diarist (audio book)

“If anyone reads this when I have passed to the big bad beyond I shall be posthumorously embarrassed. I shall spend my entire afterlife blushing.”

It’s almost Christmas, so do you need to find a last-minute gift for that hard-to-shop-for friend? It’s also been almost a year since we lost Carrie Fisher; don’t you think now seems like a good time for more stories of life in- and adjacent-to-Hollywood by the galaxy’s most famous princess? And best of all there’s a brand-new Star Wars movie out right now, and wouldn’t you like to hear more about the filming of the movie that started it all?

If the answer to these questions is yes then you really need to pick up a copy of Carrie Fisher’s final book, The Princess Diarist. Inspired by (and including) newly-found journal entries that Fisher made while filming Star Wars: A New Hope, the book is a close look at the mindset of a 19-year-old who’s in the middle of her first successful acting gig, while having an affair with a handsome older actor who just happened to be her character’s love-interest for the next four decades.

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Review: Star Wars Aftermath – Empire’s End

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Review: Star Wars Aftermath – Empire’s End

“The Rebellion was easy, Lando. Governing’s harder.”

The Empire takes its last stand on the planet of Jakku in the final book of Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath trilogy. And while this trilogy has been less “journey to The Force Awakens” and more “what happened right after Return of the Jedi,” we get a tiny glimpse of the start of the First Order in a tale of old favorites, new favorites that I hope we’ll see more of, the birth of the New Republic and the last gasp of a foe that’s dangerous even when it’s dying.

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Review: Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War Book 1)

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Review: Clockwork Boys (Clocktaur War Book 1)

Convicted criminal Slate knows she’s not the first choice to lead an expedition into enemy territory. Heck, she’s not even the second. No one else has managed to find any useful information on the rampaging Clockwork Boys though, so she and a smart-aleck assassin, a failed paladin, and a misogynistic scholar have been press-ganged into infiltrating a neighboring city to find something, anything, that will save the Dowager’s City from the invading army.

It’s an act of pure desperation on the Dowager’s part, but Slate is hopeful for her little band….she’s actually hoping they’ll all manage to kill each other and save everyone else the trouble.

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