Review: All the Birds in the Sky

Posted 27 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

All the Birds in the Sky
By: Charlie Jane Anders
Format/Source: eBook; courtesy of Tor.com reading club

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse.

I’ve long been following io9.com back when Charlie Jane Anders was editor of the site. So naturally I was curious when I heard she had written a book and was stepping down from that site to write full time.

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Review: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History

Posted 25 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History
By: John M. Barry
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

At the height of WWI, history’s most lethal influenza virus erupted in an army camp in Kansas, moved east with American troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide. It killed more people in twenty-four months than AIDS killed in twenty-four years, more in a year than the Black Death killed in a century. But this was not the Middle Ages, and 1918 marked the first collision of science and epidemic disease.

Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research and now revised to reflect the growing danger of the avian flu, The Great Influenza is ultimately a tale of triumph amid tragedy, which provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.

People told me this might not be the best time to read this book given what’s going on around the world with COVID-19 but I thought there was no better time than now to read this book. There’s a lot of similarities mentioned between the two pandemics and it was something I didn’t read as much when I was in school, having always focused on the wider geopolitics.

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Review: The Bookshop

Posted 22 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Bookshop
By: Penelope Fitzgerald
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Offshore, The Blue Flower and Innocence comes this Booker Prize-shortlisted story of books and busybodies in East Anglia.

This, Penelope Fitzgerald’s second novel, was her first to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It is set in a small East Anglian coastal town, where Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop. ‘She had a kind heart, but that is not much use when it comes to the matter of self-preservation.’

Hardborough becomes a battleground, as small towns so easily do. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. This is a story for anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice.

Please bear with me in this review, I thought I had written notes down when I had finished reading it but I guess not. This book had been cropping up in my radar for some time and it sounded interesting so I decided to pick it up (also, in the event I ever get around to watching the movie).

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Review: The Raven Tower

Posted 20 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Raven Tower
By: V.E. Schwab
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master’s castle.
This castle where he finds his uncle on his father’s throne.
You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.

A triumph of the imagination, The Raven Tower is the first fantasy novel by Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking fantasy masterpiece.

Ann Leckie writing a fantasy novel? Yeah, count me in! And isn’t the cover gorgeous?

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Review: Warlight

Posted 18 May, 2020 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Warlight
By: Michael Ondaatje
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In a narrative as beguiling and mysterious as memory itself, shadowed and luminous at once: we read the story of fourteen-year-old Nathaniel, and his older sister, Rachel. In 1945, just after World War II, they stay behind in London when their parents move to Singapore, leaving them in the care of a mysterious figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and they grow both more convinced and less concerned as they come to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women joined by a shared history of unspecified service during the war, all of whom seem, in some way, determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel.

But are they really what and who they claim to be? And what does it mean when the siblings’ mother returns after months of silence without their father, explaining nothing, excusing nothing?

A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all that he didn’t know and understand in that time, and it is this journey–through facts, recollection, and imagination–that he narrates in this masterwork from one of the great writers of our time.

I’ve been eyeing this book since it was first released and then longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2018: aside from its rather mysterious book covers, the premise sounded interesting and promised to be unique. I finally picked it up a while ago for my Kobo and read it rather recently.

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