Book Review: Dragon Coast, by Greg Van Eekhout

Dragon Coast, by Greg Van Eekhout

Dragon Coast by Greg Van Eekhout

Published by Tor Books on September 15, 2015

Series: Daniel Blackland, #3

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: hardcover, 320

Source: purchased

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Dragon Coast: the sequel to Greg Van Eekhout’s California Bones and Pacific Fire, in which Daniel Blackland must pull off the most improbable theft of all.

Daniel’s adopted son Sam, made from the magical essence of the tyrannical Hierarch of Southern California whom Daniel overthrew and killed, is lost-consumed by the great Pacific firedrake secretly assembled by Daniel’s half-brother, Paul.

But Sam is still alive and aware, in magical form, trapped inside the dragon as it rampages around Los Angeles, periodically torching a neighborhood or two.

Daniel has a plan to rescue Sam. It will involve the rarest of substances, axis mundi, pieces of the bones of the great dragon at the center of the Earth. Daniel will have to go to the kingdom of Northern California, boldly posing as his half-brother, come to claim his place in the competition to be appointed Lord High Osteomancer of the Northern Kingdom. Only when the Northern Hierarch, in her throne room at Golden Gate Park, raises her scepter to confirm Daniel in his position will he have an opportunity to steal the axis mundi-under the gaze of the Hierarch herself.

And that’s just the first obstacle.

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Book Review: The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

Published by Orbit on August 15, 2017

Series: The Broken Earth, #3

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Format & Length: paperback, 416

Source: purchased

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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.

Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.

For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season.

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Book Review: Ace of Shades, by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades, by Amanda Foody

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

Published by Harlequin Teen on April 10, 2018 (expected)

Series: The Shadow Game, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 384

Source: Netgalley

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Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

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Book Review: The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

Published by Orbit on August 18, 2016

Series: The Broken Earth, #2

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Format & Length: paperback, 410

Source: purchased

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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.

The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.

It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.

It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.

The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.

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Book Review: Prodigy Prince, by Natasha Sapienza

Prodigy Prince, by Natasha Sapienza

Prodigy Prince by Natasha Sapienza

Published by Natasha Sapienza on September 19, 2017

Series: The Seven Covenant, #1

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 335

Source: author

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At seventeen, all Prince Nuelle had ever known was safety and peace while living in the Supreme Palace of Zephoris.

But one night, his older brother, Tane, defies their father by traveling to a cursed land. Now Nuelle holds the signet-ring and carries more responsibility than even Tane bore. Thrust from the palace and sent to a knight-building academy, Nuelle must discover his purpose for the entire kingdom’s sake.

From his place of banishment, Prince Antikai has been exacting revenge through fear and rebellions. Nuelle has the potential to defeat him, but he needs the help of a powerful book called the Acumen, and six gifted youths.

Summoned by Antikai, shape-shifting beasts and other enemies hunt Nuelle and the Acumen. If either is destroyed, the faithful citizens in Zephoris will perish, and darkness will rule forever.

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Book Review: The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Published by Orbit on August 4, 2015

Series: The Broken Earth, #1

Genre(s): fiction, dystopia, fantasy, post-apocalyptic

Format & Length: paperback, 468

Source: purchased

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THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS. AGAIN.

Three terrible things happen in a single day.

Essun, masquerading as an ordinary schoolteacher in a quiet small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Mighty Sanze, the empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years, collapses as its greatest city is destroyed by a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heartland of the world’s sole continent, a great red rift has been been torn which spews ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.

But this is the Stillness, a land long familiar with struggle, and where orogenes — those who wield the power of the earth as a weapon — are feared far more than the long cold night. Essun has remembered herself, and she will have her daughter back.

She does not care if the world falls apart around her. Essun will break it herself, if she must, to save her daughter.

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Book Review: Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forest, by Keira Gillett

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest, by Keira Gillett

Zaria Fierce and the Secret of the Gloomwood Forest by Keira Gillett

Published by Keira Gillett on March 6, 2015

Series: Zaria Fierce, #1

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, fantasy, middle grade

Format & Length: e-book, 208

Source: author

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“Come here Princess, and let me eat you.”

On her birthday, Zaria Fierce finds her usual path to school blocked by an ugly river-troll. At first she’s surprised and curious, but then Olaf threatens to eat her, which is an act Zaria could not in good conscience consent to, so Zaria counteroffers. A deal is struck and she goes to school, but Zaria is about to learn the hard way that one does not trick a river-troll and expect to win.

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Book Review: Pacific Fire, by Greg Van Eekhout

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Pacific Fire by Greg Van Eekhout

Published by Tor Books on January 27, 2015

Series: Daniel Blackland, #2

Genre(s): fiction, adventure, dystopia, fantasy, young adult

Format & Length: hardcover, 336

Source: purchased

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Pacific Fire: Another thrilling ride through Greg van Eekhout’s wildly imaginative world of California Bones, featuring entertaining new characters and a dangerous magical plot unfolding in Los Angeles.

I’m Sam. I’m just this guy.

Okay, yeah, I’m a golem created from the substance of his own magic by the late Hierarch of Southern California. With a lot of work, I might be able to wield magic myself. I kind of doubt it, though. Not like Daniel Blackland can.

Daniel’s the reason the Hierarch’s gone and I’m still alive. He’s also the reason I’ve lived my entire life on the run. Ten years of never, ever going back to Los Angeles. Daniel’s determined to protect me. To teach me.

But it gets old. I’ve got nobody but Daniel. I’ll never do anything normal. Like attend school. Or date a girl.

Now it’s worse. Because things are happening back in LA. Very bad people are building a Pacific firedrake, a kind of ultimate weapon of mass magical destruction. Daniel seemed to think only he could stop them. Now Daniel’s been hurt. I managed to get us to the place run by the Emmas. (Many of them. All named Emma. It’s a long story.) They seem to be healing him, but he isn’t going anyplace soon.

Do I even have a reason for existing, if it isn’t to prevent this firedrake from happening? I’m good at escaping from things. Now I’ve escaped from Daniel and the Emmas, and I’m on my way to LA.

This may be the worst idea I ever had.

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Book Review & Book vs. Movie: Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others, by Ted Chiang

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Published by Vintage on June 14, 2016 (first published July 2002)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, science fiction

Format & Length: paperback, 281

Source: purchased

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Ted Chiang’s first published story, “Tower of Babylon,” won the Nebula Award in 1990. Subsequent stories have won the Asimov’s SF Magazine reader poll, a second Nebula Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the Sidewise Award for alternate history. He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 1992. Story for story, he is the most honored young writer in modern SF.

Now, collected here for the first time are all seven of this extraordinary writer’s stories so far-plus an eighth story written especially for this volume.

What if men built a tower from Earth to Heaven-and broke through to Heaven’s other side? What if we discovered that the fundamentals of mathematics were arbitrary and inconsistent? What if there were a science of naming things that calls life into being from inanimate matter? What if exposure to an alien language forever changed our perception of time? What if all the beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity were literally true, and the sight of sinners being swallowed into fiery pits were a routine event on city streets? These are the kinds of outrageous questions posed by the stories of Ted Chiang. Stories of your life . . . and others.

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Book Review: Select, by Marit Weisenberg

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Select by Marit Weisenberg

Published by Charlesbridge Teen on October 3, 2017 (expected)

Series: The Select, #1

Genre(s): fiction, fantasy, romance, science fiction, young adult

Format & Length: e-book, 352

Source: Netgalley

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Coming from a race of highly-evolved humans, Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. But there’s something rotten beneath the surface—dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of people determined to keep their talents hidden and who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally disrupts the Jaynes’ delicate anonymity, she’s banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior: public high school.

Julia’s goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him—John Ford, tennis prodigy, all-around good guy. When Julia discovers a knack for reading his mind, and also manipulating his life, school suddenly becomes a temporary escape from the cold grip of her manipulative father. But as Julia’s powers over John grow, so do her feelings. For the first time in her life, Julia begins to develop a sense of self, to question her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide: can a perfect love be worth more than a perfect life?

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