Philip Reeve : Predator’s Gold

Mortal Engines left me so eager for more that I scoured all three bookshops in the town we were staying in for a copy of the sequel, Predator’s Gold, even though I suspected I was setting myself up for disappointment. Sequels aren’t usually as good, perhaps particularly in genre fiction, in part because the criticalContinue reading “Philip Reeve : Predator’s Gold”

Philip Reeve : Mortal Engines

Reeve’s young adult steampunk novel is set in a dystopian future where steam-powered cities literally roam the blasted earth on enormous tractor treads, devouring each other in the practice of “municipal Darwinism.” After you get past the willing suspension of disbelief required by the premise, Reeve’s world-building has a lot of lovely little details. There’sContinue reading “Philip Reeve : Mortal Engines”

Michael Reaves and Steve Perry : Death Star

The first part of Reaves and Perry’s novel is set immediately before the original 1977 Star Wars movie; the second section is set during the time frame of the film, and interleaves most of the scenes set on the Death Star into the new story. (It’s a bit structurally similar to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern AreContinue reading “Michael Reaves and Steve Perry : Death Star”

Beard, Donihe, Duza, et al: The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)

I hoped The Bizarro Starter Kit would help me figure out if I’d like bizarro fiction, a genre self-defined by a loose collective of writers with a shared love of cult/trash cinema. It didn’t. The Bizarro Starter Kit makes the case that there’s too much going on for me to dismiss it, and too muchContinue reading “Beard, Donihe, Duza, et al: The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)”

Dia Reeves: Bleeding Violet

I read Bleeding Violet on Justine Larbalestier’s recommendation, and it strikes me that it has some common elements with Larbalestier’s (très nifty) “Magic” series: both feature estranged families struggling towards reconcilation and less than wholly sane characters. Reeves also eschews standard supernatural fare (vampires, zombies, et al) in favor of inventing a mythos that drawsContinue reading “Dia Reeves: Bleeding Violet”

Adam Rex: Fat Vampire

Adam Rex’s Fat Vampire is sly and slippery. Its title stakes a claim to the glamorous vampire backlash (along with Catherine Jinks’ The Reformed Vampire Support Group, perhaps). Doug expects becoming a vampire to make him happy, but it leaves him chubby, not well liked, and still tormented by unrequited crushes. Beyond that, Fat VampireContinue reading “Adam Rex: Fat Vampire”

Mary Roach: Packing for Mars – The Curious Science of Life in the Void

I enjoyed Packing for Mars a lot, and it made me guffaw and snort repeatedly — but it’s the first of Roach’s books that make me feel like her approach is in danger of becoming a schtick. Packing for Mars devotes a chapter apiece to several aspects of the ticklish business of getting human beingsContinue reading “Mary Roach: Packing for Mars – The Curious Science of Life in the Void”

Kimberly Raye: Dead End Dating

Dead End Dating‘s premise seemed promising, if fluffy, at the outset: a young woman with no romantic life of her own starts at dating service. The twist is that she and most her clients are vampires (although it’s not much of a twist). I thought an Emma-ish comedy-of-manners, 21st-century-ized and fanged-up, sounded kinda fun. Unfortunately,Continue reading “Kimberly Raye: Dead End Dating”

Carrie Ryan: The Dead-Tossed Waves

The Dead-Tossed Waves shares some characters and a post-zombie-apocalypse setting with The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but it’s set a generation later. Ryan’s zombies — which come in both the old-school slow shambling and the newer fast-moving varieties — are certainly horrific, but Ryan treats them almost as an elemental force. The antagonists inContinue reading “Carrie Ryan: The Dead-Tossed Waves”

Laurie Viera Rigler: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict is the flip side of Rigler’s Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: the earlier novel cast 21st-century Courtney Stone’s mind into the body of a young woman in early 19th-century England. This (much better) novel brings the unfortunately (if significantly) named Jane Mansfield’s persona forward to modern LosContinue reading “Laurie Viera Rigler: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict”