Books

Review: The Stone Sky

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Review: The Stone Sky

“…some worlds were built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares. Don’t lament when those worlds fall. Rage that they were built doomed in the first place.”

The world of Stillness is as good as dead. The planet is being smothered under volcanic ash by the Rifting, caused by an orogene who couldn’t stand being a slave for one more moment. But Alabaster had a plan when he cracked the planet in half, and he’s taught his former lover Essun how it’s going to work. All she has to do now is use the Obelisk Gate to tap into all the energy boiling up from the Rift.

Unfortunately Essun’s ten-year-old daughter Nassun has learned how to harness the Obelisk Gate as well. The third book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy finds mother and daughter on opposite sides of a war that goes back centuries, each with a different goal in mind. Both of them want to stop the ten-thousand-year Season before humanity starves, but Essun wants to do it by returning the lost Moon to its orbit to end the Seasons once and for all.

Nassun plans to crash the Moon into the planet and end everything.

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

The first novella in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series introduced us to identical twins Jacqueline and Jillian (or Jack and Jill, “…because our parents should never have been allowed to name their own children.”) The siblings were just two of the students at Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children, a school and halfway home for those who once stepped through a doorway into some kind of fairyland, and who would now do anything to be able to go back.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is not the story about Eleanor West’s school. This is the story about how Jack and Jill ended up in fairyland in the first place.

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Review: Raven Stratagem (Machineries of Empire Book 2)

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Review: Raven Stratagem (Machineries of Empire Book 2)

The end of the previous book in the trilogy saw the Hexacharte make a desperate attempt to destroy the ghost of Shuos Jedao…by wiping out his entire fleet. Thousands of soldiers exterminated by their own rulers in the blink of an eye, just to kill the 400-year-old heretic General along with Cheris, the Kel soldier who’s body the General’s ghost is currently inside.

They failed. And they’re only just starting to realize what kind of force they’ve let loose.

The universe in Yoon Ha Lee’s sequel to Ninefox Gambit is just as dazzlingly complex as it was in the first book, but if anything it’s even more dangerous. There’s a lot of collateral damage in the war with the Hafn, but that only gets worse when it involves a technologically advanced government that has no problem with killing entire races to try to track down a living weapon who’s too clever to die.

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2017 Hugo Awards – The Finalists

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2017 Hugo Awards – The Finalists

The Hugo Awards are this Friday, 7:30 PM Eastern European time (that’s 12:30 in the afternoon for those of us on the East Coast). The Worldcon 75 youtube channnel should be streaming the ceremony live, just in case you’d like to watch the announcement for Best Novel (or Best Editor Short Form, if that’s what you’re interested in.)

Pixelated Geek managed to read almost all of the fiction entries this year; we’re only missing the novels A Closed and Common Orbit and Too Like the Lightning, plus a few of the graphic novels. If you’ve read any of those and would like to have a review linked to the PG site, let us know! If any of the ones we’re missing wins an award then I plan to read those next (I still think Death’s End is going to walk away with the Best Novel award this year.)

Huge thank you to the Hugo Awards website and File 770 for providing tons of info on the awards, controversies, and the places to find entries that were posted in full online!

Click the jump for a full list of the finalists (and my predictions for the winner!)

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Review: All the Birds in the Sky

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Review: All the Birds in the Sky

One day the Singularity would elevate humans to cybernetic superbeings, and maybe then people would say what they meant.
Probably not, though.

Charlie Jane Anders’s Hugo-nominated book, All the Birds In the Sky is a modern-day fantasy/sci-fi drama that’s partly about a global apocalypse and a war between science and magic, but mostly about two young outcasts trying to find their place in the world and in each other’s lives.

Put yourself in the place of a typical highschooler, with more than the typical amount of high-school misery. Add the complication of being a budding engineering genius (if you’re Laurence), or you’ve just been told by the Parliament of Birds that you’re actually a witch (if you’re Patricia). Imagine stumbling across the one person in the world who understands you, not because they share your passions, but because they think your passions are weird and fascinating and something that makes you you.

Now imagine finding out that the two of you are destined to destroy the world.

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2017 Hugo Awards – Three Novellas

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2017 Hugo Awards – Three Novellas

The clock’s ticking; we only have a few more weeks before the 2017 Hugo Award ceremony in August. Since I think it would be a crime to leave any of the shorter fiction entries unread, this week I’m reviewing three of the nominees for Best Novella at once. Click the jump for a review of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric and the Shaman, Kai Ashante Wilson’s A Taste of Honey, and Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe.

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Review: The Queen of Swords – Golgatha Book 3

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Review: The Queen of Swords – Golgatha Book 3

When the blood fails, the Father of Monsters rises again to devour all.

The last installment in R.S. Belcher’s Golgatha series ended with the widow Maude Stapleton leaving her strange little town in Nevada in pursuit of her father. Martin Anderton has given up trying to talk sense into his only child, so he’s claimed custody of Maude’s inheritance, and her daughter, and Maude is headed to South Carolina to get both of them back.

Maude isn’t about to let anything get between her and her daughter, although the male-dominated law of the 1870’s, the reappearance of a monster she accidentally set free, and members of her own order – The Daughters of Lilith – are all set on making things pretty difficult for her. Fortunately Maude was trained as an assassin by the famous Anne Bonny – who also happens to be her her great-great-great-great-grandmother – and Maude has enough of the legendary pirate queen’s blood in her veins to make her a force to be reckoned with.

We’ve been hearing about Maude’s ancestor for two books now. In The Queen of Swords we finally get to learn Anne’s story, how she ran away to become a pirate, how she became the most feared woman on the high seas, and how she joined the Daughters of Lilith and traveled to the mythical bone city of Carcosa to face mankind’s oldest enemy.

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Review: Every Heart A Doorway

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Review: Every Heart A Doorway

Alice fell down a rabbit hole to Wonderland. Dorothy was whisked away to Oz by a tornado. Wendy, Michael, and John flew away to Never Land with Peter Pan, and Harry Potter could just go to Platform 9¾ whenever he needed to enter the wizarding world. Literature is full of examples of children who stepped (or fell. Or were dragged) into one of many different variations of fairyland..

Some children when they return are happy to have escaped alive. Most grow up and remember their adventure as a childhood daydream. A few get to stay in fairyland forever. Seanan McGuire’s Hugo-nominated novella Every Heart a Doorway is set in Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, a school for those travelers who’d do anything to go back.

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Review: The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth Book 2)

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Review: The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth Book 2)

Father Earth did not always hate life, the lorists say. He hates because he cannot forgive the loss of his only child.

The first book of The Broken Earth series introduced us to the earthquake-prone world of Stillness, plus the orogenes who calm earthquakes, and the Fulcrum Guardians who keep the orogenes in line. It was also where we met the orogene Essun, who lost her childhood family…and then her ties to the Fulcrum, and then her new family, and then another family after that, until all she has left is her dying former lover Alabaster and the impossible task that he’s just dropped in her lap…

…right after he cracked the world in half. As bad as things were in Book 1, in Book 2 they’re about to get much worse.

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