Posts Tagged ‘Sci-Fi and Fantasy’

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl.

March 19, 2019 - 7:42 am No Comments

So my time has come on the blog tour to showcase New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl. Here is my review

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl

Published by Solaris on 12th March 2019

239 pages

As soon as I read the blurb for this anthology, I knew that I wanted to read it. It ticks all the boxes when I look for an anthology, horror, sci-fi and fantasy. With any anthology I go in with an open mind, I know I won’t love every story but I can guarantee I can find some new authors who I will go onto purchase their work.

New Sun has 17 short stories that will introduce you to various cultures and religions, creatures from other realms and so much more. Each story was completely different and you will change genre from one story to the next.

For the purpose of this review, I will write about the ones I really enjoyed.

 The Fine Print by Chinelo Onwualu: The story about how one man wants to change the rules to protect his son. As you read this story, you learn how much Nuhu’s community rely on the Djinn for survival. The idea of the perfect woman (Spells) being got from a catalogue enforced the town’s need. The descriptive style of the author enabled you to imagine the spells, the views of the men and the desperation and determination of Nuhu to break the contract.  

Unkind of Mercy by Alex Jennings: Alaina-Rose talks about Johnny the love of her life and the strange feeling that something is in the room with her. I love reading stories that gets your imagination working. The story written from Alaina-Rose’s POV, helps you see how these mysterious creatures are starting to affect her and lets you decide whether it is supernatural or extraterrestrial.

The Freedom of the Shifting Sea by Jaymee Goh: Mayang an unusual sea creature and the affects she has on a mother and daughter. I really enjoyed this story. Yes, Mayang was a sea creature, but it was a story about love and loss. This story was beautifully written. You are drawn into their lives and as this story is told over a long period of time, you see how Mayang changed the lives of Salmah and Eunice.

One Easy Trick by Hiromi Goto: Marnie has a bit of a belly but after a trip into the forest to collect mushrooms, it all changes. As I was reading this story, I did not know what had happened to Marnie and rereading it, I still do not know what she did. However, that did not stop me enjoying this story, my favourite scenes were when she went back into the forest and her conversation with a bear. Reading this reminded me of the Adipose from Dr Who.

Kelsey and the Burdened Breath by Darcie Little Badger: This was my favourite story. Kelsey and Pal, her spirit dog earn a living rounding up lost souls. Written in the 3rd person, makes you feel that you are following her step by step. Tracking down the burdened breath tested her skills. This is a paranormal thriller and I would love to read more of Kelsey and if there were a series I would definitely buy it.

I am glad I got to read this anthology and as expected I have now added more authors to my list to look out for. If you are looking for refreshing stories than pick up this book. 

Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

December 1, 2018 - 8:17 pm No Comments

Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar
Published by Tachyon Publications on 6th November 2018
290 pages

Living in Palestine is dangerous, even getting on a bus could get you blown up. A wall is being built to keep the Ugandans out, but there is a lot of unrest and the Ugandans want their land back.
Lior Tirosh is an author of detective novels that you normally see for sale at airports. Having moved to Berlin to escape the troubles, he has to return to Palestine to visit his sick father, but whilst there he finds out that his niece is missing. As soon as he starts his journey, he soon becomes a person of interest. Can he put what he writes into practice?
This is one book I will probably read again, as I am sure that I have missed something, which made the review quite hard to do. This book switches between 1st and 3rd person POV which I got into quickly as it was seamless, enabling the reader to follow Lior as he steps on the plane and the danger he is going home to and also following the watchers. One of my favourite characters was Special Agent Bloom, not from this world but a man of morals and always wanted to do what’s right.
This starts off as a mystery and whilst it was a slower pace, really held my interest as there was always something going on. The addition of the sci-fi element took the story in another direction and I did find myself re-reading parts so I could follow what was going on, although I was a bit confused at the end.
If you like alternative history than this is a good book to read as it does get you thinking what if with its mashup of genres it will attract a lot of readers.

Foundryside (The Founders Book 1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

August 22, 2018 - 6:37 am No Comments

I am lucky to be on the blog tour for this amazing book. Here is my review for Foundryside

Foundryside (The Founders Book 1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
Published by Jo Fletcher Books on 23rd August 2018
512 pages

Living in Tevanne was hard, unless you belonged to one of the four houses who ran the city. Sancia Grado was an escaped slave having a special talent, she was an exceptional thief. But when she was hired to steal a plain wooden box, from a heavily guarded warehouse, she got herself embroiled in something that could change Tevanne for good and endanger her life.
Even though Sancia was a thief, she had honour. There was reason behind why she was taking on this big dangerous job and as the story progresses you find out just what a hard life she suffered as a slave and after her escape. She found it hard to trust and when her life was in danger she had very few friends to call on for help. Her two best friends Claudia and Giovanni worked as Scrappers, illegal scrivers, and even though they knew Sancia’s secret they tried to not get involved in case of capture.
Captain Gregor Dandolo was a man of principals, not one to flaunt his family name. He took it as a personal insult when the warehouse was robbed. However, he did not expect his hunt for thief would put him in danger and unearth a deadly plot against Tevanne.
I loved this book, there was always something interesting going on whether it was Sancia running for her life or a horseless carriage. Items that were scrived had a different way of working, and whilst it was illegal to scrive a human and defy the laws of gravity, certain people had a way of bending the rules. The story flowed smoothly, and you are taken on an exciting adventure. When Orso the hypatus of Candiano got involved in the investigation, it added to the story as more complicated scribed items were used. He did remind me of a modern-day Merlin, there to help the family but liked to experiment. I do not want to say much about the artefact as I do not want to give anything away, but what I will say was he had a way with words and a few comedy moments.
I got so into the story that I did not want it to end. I do not get many book hangovers, but I got one from this story. I kept reading into the middle of the night as I wanted to find out more about Sancia. When I did finish this story, I struggled to find another book that thrilled me as much. This is the first story that I have read by this author, but I will look out for more. I hope I do not have to wait long for more of Sancia‘s adventures

Time Shards by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald

March 23, 2018 - 7:16 pm No Comments

Time Shards by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald

Published by Titan Books on 30th January 2018

442 pages

Reviewed by Chris Stocks

Imagine that spacetime, rather than being continuous, is like a stack of jigsaw puzzles, with each puzzle being an instant in time. Imagine further, as per the premise of this SF thriller, that some unknown temporal Event breaks up these jigsaws into random pieces and stitches the world together again. The result is a patchwork landscape consisting of pieces of varying shape and size, all in the right place geographically, but torn from a random era of history, from the Silurian to the present – and possibly beyond.

Initially the narrative is as fractured as the landscape, told from the viewpoints of a variety of people, some of whom are historical figures, including George Washington, Julius Caesar and Neil Armstrong. However, after these brief episodes illustrating the scope and effects of the Event, the action is then mostly confined to south-east England as seen through the eyes of a smaller cast of characters including Amber, a feisty present-day Californian, currently living in Essex; Blake, a grizzled World War II and ex-SAS veteran from the 1950s; Cam, a young Celtic warrior from pre-Roman Britannia, and Alex Brice, a policewoman from 1985.

Together with a small group of other survivors, they navigate the post-apocalyptic landscape, struggling against fearsome prehistoric predators – from carnivorous dinosaurs to dire wolves and giant scorpions. But, as so often happens in such scenarios, their most dangerous foes are not these creatures but other humans. Here it is a group of Roundhead soldiers, who, mistakenly believing that they caused the Event, want to burn them at the stake as witches and warlocks.

The group rescues ‘Merlin’, a mysterious, catatonic character from these Roundheads. Recovering from an apparently fatal headwound, he reveals himself as a near-future astronomer. He also claims to know something about the cause of the temporal Event – and maybe a way to reverse it…

This is the first book in a trilogy by Dana Fredsti and David Fitzgerald. It is an exciting, fast-moving story with an interesting set of characters, an unusual setting and plenty of monsters – both animal and human. There are a few technical inaccuracies – for example, George Washington could not have identified a herd of elephant-like creatures as Mastodons in 1789, as this term was not coined by Cuvier until 1806 (thanks, Wikipedia!) – but this doesn’t really matter. This is not a work of hard-SF, but a rollicking adventure – and as an adventure story it works superbly. The protaganists are interesting and (mostly) sympathetic, and I enjoyed both the surrealistically patchwork setting and the break-neck pace of the plot. Time Shards ends on a suitably suspenseful cliff-hanger and I look forward to seeing where the adventure leads in the second volume. In summary, a fast-paced read and a thoroughly enjoyable piece of escapism.

The Night Lies Bleeding by MD Lachlan

February 26, 2018 - 10:20 pm No Comments

The Night Lies Bleeding by MD Lachlan
Published by Gollancz on 22nd February 2018
447 pages
Reviewed by Yvonne Davies

When countries are at war there are plenty of casualties, but when bodies are turning up with strange markings, the London police are baffled. Calling in an expert who has his own secrets, can they find out who is behind it.
Whilst the murders are happening in London, in Germany Dr Max Voller has applied to join the SS. What started out as a bit of a laugh soon got serious when he was accepted to prove his psychic theory.
Craw and Dr Voller’s stories at the start are told separately but as the story continues they soon intertwine. Craw was constantly fighting his inner wolf, whilst also trying to help the police. Plagued with memories of his former lives he was slowly cracking up. Adding to his pressure was Professor Harbard who had his own agenda. Dr Voller was an idealist, Even though he was Nazi, he did not wish to be part of the conflict, but after entering the SS, his was forced to change his way of life. Mixed in with their stories was the history of the Ancient Norse gods and the part they played in the war.
As Craws and Voller’s stories were running parallel it was easy to follow the story. However there were parts that I found heavy going and this did slow me down with my reading. The experiments that Dr Voller did were graphic, but this was what happened in the war and whilst distressing, it did help explain the paranormal fascination that Himmler and Hitler had. The action was full on and the final scenes were a page turner. Whilst I had not read any other stories in this series I did not feel that I missed out as the story could be read as a stand alone. For my first introduction to Craw I really liked him as a character and I am interested in reading his previous stories.