Paul Krueger – Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge

I’m leaving this rating here unaltered. I thought I’d written a review when I read this 3 years ago, but apparently I didn’t. I’m guessing that’s because even then, I was uneasy with how this novel portrays drinking – downing the perfect cocktail can give you literal superpowers, what?! – and how my sober friendsContinue reading “Paul Krueger – Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge”

Gilbert Sorrentino: Lunar Follies

One of the interesting things about Gilbert Sorrentino’s Lunar Follies is how little I can say about it, despite its formal structure, without departing for the subjective. It consists of 53 brief pieces, few more than a handful of pages long, named after features of the moon, ordered alphabetically. (In fact, its formalism and almostContinue reading “Gilbert Sorrentino: Lunar Follies”

Tod Davies: Lily the Silent

Lily the Silent reminded me of works by authors who blur the line between fable and emotionally realistic, less overtly symbolic (if still fantastic) narrative, like Angela Carter, Rachel Pollack, and Kelly Link. There’s a lot I admire about it. It’s unambiguously, but not heavily-handed, feminist. It explicitly opposes the conventions of Tolkein-derivative heroic fantasy.Continue reading “Tod Davies: Lily the Silent”

John Barnes: Losers in Space

In the post-scarcity 22nd century of Losers in Space, notoriety is worth more than any currency. A loose-knit group of the underachieving kids of famous folks aim to increase their profiles by stowing away on a spaceship bound for Mars. But the plan’s architect might be a genuine sociopath. And there are a lot ofContinue reading “John Barnes: Losers in Space”

Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief

It took a while for The Lightning Thief to win me over. For much of its length, it felt too nakedly calculated to appeal to Harry Potter fans (with the interesting, but hardly unique, added dimension of a basis in Greek mythology). The character dynamic between Percy Jackson and his pals seemed a bit tooContinue reading “Rick Riordan: The Lightning Thief”

Tom Perrotta: The Leftovers

More than a week later, I’m still not really sure what I think of The Leftovers. In some ways its upper middle class suburban lifestyle satire struck me as thematically similar to Little Children, with the addition of its major background plot element: it takes place after a Rapture-like event caused a significant fraction ofContinue reading “Tom Perrotta: The Leftovers”

Frank Beddor: The Looking Glass Wars

Mitigating factors: I was really psyched by the elevator pitch for this book, which posits that the infamous break between Reverend Charles Dodgson and Alice Pleasance Liddell was because Liddell was angry at Dodgson for watering down her story for the “Wonderland” books. So perhaps my disenchantment with this book is a result of excessivelyContinue reading “Frank Beddor: The Looking Glass Wars”

Alexander Gordon Smith : Lockdown (Escape from Furnace 1)

In the first novel of Smith’s “Escape from Furnace” series, young Alex Sawyer finds himself incarcerated in a future super-prison with imagery and events reminiscent of Nazi medical experimentation and death camps. Lucky for Alex, the future super-prison’s security policies would embarrass any present-day medium-security penitentiary; I had major suspension of disbelief issues throughout. ForContinue reading “Alexander Gordon Smith : Lockdown (Escape from Furnace 1)”

Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan

A week after visiting three bookstores to score a copy of Larbalestier’s Liar on its release day, I was preparing a multi-book store itinerary to buy her husband’s new novel, Leviathan on its first day of sale. I’ve been awaiting this book since at least June of 2006, when Westerfeld first started mentioning an in-progressContinue reading “Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan”

Justine Larbalestier, Liar

Larbalestier’s new book is hard to talk about while avoiding spoilers. But I had one good reason to buy this book that has nothing to with the contents: although its narrator, Micah, is a young woman who is half-black and wears her hair short, the original US cover design featured a long-haired white woman, mostlyContinue reading “Justine Larbalestier, Liar”