Book Review: The Doors of Eden


Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 20th August 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Lee’s best friend went missing on Bodmin Moor, four years ago. She and Mal were chasing rumours of monsters when they found something all too real. Now Mal is back, but where has she been, and who is she working for?

When government physicist Kay Amal Khan is attacked, the security services investigate. This leads MI5’s Julian Sabreur deep into terrifying new territory, where he clashes with mysterious agents of an unknown power ­who may or may not be human. And Julian’s only clue is some grainy footage ­– showing a woman who supposedly died on Bodmin Moor.

Khan’s extradimensional research was purely theoretical, until she found cracks between our world and countless others. Parallel Earths where monsters live. These cracks are getting wider every day, so who knows what might creep through? Or what will happen when those walls finally come crashing down…

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Book Review: The First Sister


Linden A. Lewis

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 4th August 2020
spoilers? yes, big ones, but signposted

Goodreads

Combining the social commentary of The Handmaid’s Tale with the white-knuckled thrills of Red Rising, this epic space opera follows a comfort woman as she claims her agency, a soldier questioning his allegiances, and a non-binary hero out to save the solar system.

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is so much harder to do when you’re falling in love.

Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and now a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.

A stunning and sweeping debut novel that explores the power of technology, colonization, race, and gender, The First Sister is perfect for fans of James S.A. Corey, Chuck Wendig, and Margaret Atwood.

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Book Review: Court of Lions


Somaiya Daud

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

published: 6th August 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?

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Book Review: Unconquerable Sun


Kate Elliott

Rating: 4 out of 5.

published: 7th July 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Princess Sun has finally come of age.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared.

But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.

To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia—add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same—and hold on tight:

This is the space opera you’ve been waiting for.

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Book Review: The Space Between Worlds


Micaiah Johnson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

published: 4th August 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Reasons Cara has died:

– The emperor of the wasteland wanted to make an example of her mother and started with her
– One of her mother’s boyfriends wanted to cover up what he did to her
– She was born addicted and her lungs didn’t develop
– She was left alone, and a stranger came along
– The runners came for a neighbour and she was in the way
– The runners came for her mother and she was in the way
– The runners came for her boyfriend and she was in the way
– The runners came for no one, serving nothing but chaos and fear, and she was what they found
– Her mother left her alone in a shed while she worked or got high and she fell asleep alone and hungry and forever

Reasons Cara has lived:

– She doesn’t know but there are 8.

The multiverse business is booming, but there’s just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive.

Enter Cara. Of the 382 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but eight.

But on this earth, she survived. Born in the wastelands where if a basic lack of resources didn’t kill you, violence would, Cara is happy to reap the benefits of a job and a safe place in the city to call home.

But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.

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WTRIYL: A Darker Shade of Magic

Every now and then I schedule my reviews far enough apart that I can fit something not review shaped in between. And then I promptly forget to do it.

But not today! (If you see me posting tomorrow as well though, please look away.)

This rec list is books to read if you liked A Darker Shade of Magic. Full disclosure: I am on the fence about the series. Yes, I enjoyed it, but I also had to drag myself through it in the later books. And I have Thoughts about Schwab’s female characters and tendency to write her villains as having backstories where they’ve been abused. But that’s a whole other thing.

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Book Review: Chilling Effect


Valerie Valdes

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 13th February 2020
spoilers? nope, or minimal at least

Goodreads

A debut space opera that features an irresistible foul-mouthed captain and her misfit crew . . .

Captain Eva Innocente and the crew of La Sirena Negra cruise the galaxy delivering small cargo for even smaller profits. When her sister is kidnapped, Eva must undergo a series of dangerous missions to pay the ransom. But Eva may lose her mind before she can raise the money. The ship’s hold is full of psychic cats, an amorous fish-faced emperor wants her dead, and her engineer is giving her a pesky case of feelings. The worse things get, the more she lies, raising suspicions and testing her loyalty to her found family.

To free her sister, Eva will risk everything: her crew, her ship, and the life she’s built on the ashes of her past misdeeds. But when the dominoes start to fall and she finds the real threat is greater than she imagined, she must decide whether to play it cool or burn it all down.

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Book Review: The Blood-Dimmed Tide


Michael R. Johnston

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 13th February 2020
spoilers? no

Goodreads

Reclaiming Earth from the Zhen was only the beginning. For the first time in a thousand years, humans walk the world where their civilizations first arose. Settlements have become towns, swelling with new settlers fleeing the oppression and lies of the Empire. For the first time in a thousand years, the human race is free. But freedom never comes without a price, and a year of rebuilding ends with the human homeworld pushed to the brink of collapse by a series of Zhen attacks. Tajen Hunt, the man who found Earth and uncovered the truth about the Zhen, is sent to the Kelvaki Assembly to ask for ships and pilots to bolster Earth’s defenses. Between an assassination attempt on the Heir to the Assembly throne and the labyrinth of loyalties that is Kelvaki politics, it’s not an easy task. And it’s made impossible when the Zhen Empire seizes control of Earth and sets up a brutal Occupation. Now Tajen and his team must return to Earth and find a way to end the Zhen occupation. But unlike the first Battle of Earth, the lines between friend and foe are no longer clear – because the Zhen have human agents among the people of Earth – and not all of them are known.

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Book Review: Eclipse The Skies


Maura Milan

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

published: 3rd September 2019
spoilers? not really, but don’t read the synopsis if you haven’t read book 1!!

Goodreads

Ia Cōcha never thought she’d be working for the Olympus Commonwealth. But that was before she found out her trusted brother Einn was trying to tear apart the universe. Now, Ia, the Blood Wolf of the Skies, has agreed to help the Royal Star Force on one condition: when she finds him, she gets to kill Einn herself.

Brinn Tarver has just come to terms with her Tawny identity when the public lashes out against her people, crushing her family. At her breaking point, she starts to question everything she believes in—including Ia.

After the death of his mentor, Knives Adams is doing his best to live up to a role he didn’t ask for as Aphelion’s new headmaster. Still, with each new step deeper into war, he feels torn between his duties and the pull of Ia’s radical—sometimes criminal—ideas.

As they fight to keep darkness from eclipsing the skies, their unpredictable choices launch this breathtaking sequel to explosive new heights.

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WTRIYL: The Cruel Prince

Hello! I’m back after an impromptu hiatus caused by me needing to get my research project edited and submitted by yesterday. But now I’m done with all that, Masters degree complete, and I have more time to read (finally!) and blog. At least until job applications start, but hey. Gotta take what I can get.

I figured the best way to get back into things would be to give you a rec list. This time, I’m basing the recs on The Cruel Prince. Because as good as the book is (and I do enjoy it, let me just say), it’s a little bland, if we’re honest. Very white and fairly straight. So, like last time, I’m picking 5 or so tropes from the book, and giving you some more diverse recs using those tropes.

Let’s go!

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