Blake Crouch: Recursion

There was a lot I really liked about this novel and a few things I really didn’t. I avoided reading anything about it beforehand, but I’m guessing it’s dogged by comparisons to Christopher Nolan’s films (both “Memento” and “Inception,” particularly) and maybe to Kaufman/Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and really, if this isContinue reading “Blake Crouch: Recursion”

Gina X Grant: The Reluctant Reaper

The Reluctant Reaper is an urban fantasy drawing on Dante’s Inferno with plot and setting elements not entirely dissimilar to similarly inspired works by the likes of Piers Anthony and Amber Benson. Grant’s style is is short on description and long on puns, as this early paragraph demonstrates: Leaping up, I threw myself against theContinue reading “Gina X Grant: The Reluctant Reaper”

Andrea Hairston: Redwood and Wildfire

I finished Hairston’s harrowing and beautiful Redwood and Wildfire about a week ago, and I’ve been struggling to write about it in a way that does it justice. But it’s today that I learned about the acquittal of one George Zimmerman in the murder trial of one Trayvon Martin, and that — and what itContinue reading “Andrea Hairston: Redwood and Wildfire”

Daniel Radosh: Rapture Ready!

Rapture Ready!, an outsider’s tour of many facets of evangelical Christian culture was entertaining and informative, lucidly and sometimes even beautifully written. I already knew about the existence of the near-oxymoronic music genre Christian black metal and Left Behind novels, but I had no clue about Christian wrestling or superheroes like Bibleman. Depending on howContinue reading “Daniel Radosh: Rapture Ready!”

Ernest Cline: Ready Player One

In Ready Player One, an eccentric multi-billionaire’s will leaves a jackpot to whoever finds an easter egg hidden in his ubiquitous virtual reality environment. The primary hallmark of the multi-billionaire’s eccentricity was an obsession with 80’s geek culture, and so in Cline’s not-so-distant future, retro geek culture is perpetuated by fortune hunters looking for cluesContinue reading “Ernest Cline: Ready Player One”

Lauren McLaughlin: (Re)cycler

(Re)cyler is definitely not the book I expected it to be. Cycler ended so abruptly and with so little resolution that I expected (Re)cycler to be basically the second half of a novel too long for one volume. I thought it was going to include an “origin story” for Jill (who turns, physically, into herContinue reading “Lauren McLaughlin: (Re)cycler”

J.F. Lewis: Revamped

Revamped is, like its predecessor Staked, a fantasy thriller very much in the mode of Hamilton’s Anita Blake series: jockeying for dominance between various supernatural entities is the prime mover of the plot, which features a lot of sex and violence, the latter even more copious and explicit than the former. Lewis continues to exploitContinue reading “J.F. Lewis: Revamped”

Diana Peterfreund: Rites of Spring (Break): An Ivy League Novel

Rites of Spring Break is another frothy cocktail in Peterfreund’s Ivy League series, following Secret Society Girl and Under the Rose, and mixed up according to the same recipe which is roughly: 1 part coming-of-age novel (protracted) 1 part feminist subtext 1 part formalized presentation (every chapter has an “I Confess…” header; text incorporates orderedContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Rites of Spring (Break): An Ivy League Novel”

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”

Diana Peterfreund: Rampant

Rampant is a unicorn novel for people who hate unicorns — or at least the fluffy depiction of unicorns in current popular culture. Peterfreund sets out to reclaim the dignity of the unicorn by returning to the legendary roots of one-horned critters, and weaves multi-cultural variants on the theme into a unicorn hierarchy. Since Peterfreund’sContinue reading “Diana Peterfreund: Rampant”