I have read over 150 books so far this year. Maybe I should slow down…?
Charles Stross, The Rhesus Chart. Orbit, 2014.
The fifth installment in Stross’s “Laundry Files” series. Rather more episodic than its predecessors, with an approach to pacing that staggers rather a bit in the middle, it never quite transcends the sum of its parts. But it’s a fun story with an interesting twist in the climax that clearly sets up some New Changes in the life of its protagonist, and I enjoyed it a lot.
Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword. Orbit, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of Orbit.
It is space opera, and could have been written JUST FOR ME. I love it as much as I loved its predecessor. Read this one for review for Tor.com: expect to hear more about it from me soon.
Roz Kaveney, Resurrections. Plus One Press, 2014. Review copy courtesy of the author.
Third in series, and what a fantastic bloody series it is. Kaveney isn’t afraid to make ambitious messes with mythology, genre furniture, and your own expectations. Structurally it’s not an entirely successful offering, but I love it incredibly much, and hopefully I’ll get to talk about it at length in a review somewhere else.
Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, The House of the Four Winds. Tor, 2014. Copy courtesy of the publisher.
A competent if not particularly exciting fantasy novel set in a version of our world sometime in the 1700s – with all the names of the countries changed, but still with things called “French doors.” It has pirates and the high seas, and doesn’t fuck up shipboard life entirely, but you can call the plotpoints in advance pretty easily.
Barbara Hambly, Crimson Angel. Severn House, 2014. eARC courtesy of the publisher.
The latest Benjamin January novel, and in my opinion one of the best. (Mind you, my two favourites are Graveyard Dust and Sold Down The River.) Here, death and threats and an old family secret lead Ben and Rose – accompanied by Hannibal Sefton – to Cuba, and thence to Haiti. A fantastic, powerful, atmospheric novel.
Sharon Kay Penman, The Queen’s Man and Cruel As The Grave. Ebooks.
Two mysteries set in 12th-century England from an acclaimed historical novelist. Fun mysteries, diverting but not particularly stunning.
Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill, Legacies, Conspiracies, Sacrifices, and Victories. Ebooks.
Four novels in a Young Adult series called “The Shadow Grail.” Which was fun, until it became reincarnated Arthurian mythos nonsense.
Shea Godfrey, Blackstone. Bold Strokes Books, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of the publisher.
Lesbian fantasy romance. The prose is competent enough, but there’s not a lot of plot to hold the attention in between fairly unimaginative sex scenes. It is probably fairer to describe this as “romance, subtype erotic” than anything else, and that’s not exactly my style.
Kim Baldwin, Taken By Storm. Bold Strokes Books, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of the publisher.
Lesbian romance. Bunch of Americans and a handful of other nationalities (who don’t have characterisation) get trapped in a train carriage during serious avalanches in the Swiss Alps. There is some interesting ice climbing stuff. Mostly it is more competent than not, although the lack of attention paid to non-USian characters is deeply annoying. Not particularly special, but good enough if you’re looking for more women having relationships with women while adventures happen.
Jaime Maddox, The Common Thread. Bold Strokes Books, 2014. Review copy (electronic) courtesy of the publisher.
Novel in which the lives of twins separated at birth come to intersect after a murder. The idea for the narrative is ambitious, but the execution is lacking. For all that, it is a perfectly readable book, if ultimately a little too… well, trite.