Tag: Event: Sci-Fi Month

Review: Ninefox Gambit

Posted 21 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Ninefox Gambit (The Machinations of Empire #1)
By: Yoon Ha Lee
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

The first installment of the trilogy, Ninefox Gambit, centers on disgraced captain Kel Cheris, who must recapture the formidable Fortress of Scattered Needles in order to redeem herself in front of the Hexarchate.

To win an impossible war Captain Kel Cheris must awaken an ancient weapon and a despised traitor general.

Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for using unconventional methods in a battle against heretics. Kel Command gives her the opportunity to redeem herself by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles, a star fortress that has recently been captured by heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake. If the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress.

The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own. As the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

Excitement! I’ve been a fan of Yoon Ha Lee’s writing since reading his short story “Combustion Hour” on Tor.com (great story, check it out here). So naturally I was very excited when I heard he was writing a novel, let alone a sci-fi trilogy. I had to check it out as soon as I could 😉

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Review: Memory of Water

Posted 18 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments

Memory of Water
By: Emmi Itäranta
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Global warming has changed the world’s geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria’s father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father’s death the army starts watching their town-and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

I had heard this book in passing maybe a year ago or so when I was looking up books translated to English from Finnish (or any recent Scandinavian literature, actually). The premise sounded interesting but it was only a few months ago that I got around to checking it out. It falls more on the dystopian side of literature, but still works for this month’s Sci-Fi event as it’s set in a future ravaged by climate change.

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Review: The Causal Angel

Posted 11 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 4 Comments

The Causal Angel (Jean le Flambeur #3)
By: Hannu Rajaniemi
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterisation and his unrivalled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science Hannu Rajaniemi has swiftly set a new benchmark for SF in the 21st century. And now with his third novel he completes the tale of his gentleman rogue, the many lives and minds of Jean de Flambeur.

Influenced as much by the fin de siecle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF Rajaniemi weaves, intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of wild future and deep conjecture on the nature of reality and story.

And now we find out what will happen to Jean, his employer Mieli, the independently minded ship Perhonen and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung through the solar system.

And here we are, at the last book in the Jena le Flambeur trilogy. I’ve greatly enjoyed the first two books in the series (see author tag) even though I admit at times some of the hard science with the mathematical/statistical theories went over my head. Ideally I should’ve revisited the first two books before reading the final volume, but I think I remembered enough to just jump in head-on to the story. May contain some spoilers to the trilogy!

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Review: Ancillary Mercy

Posted 7 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 6 Comments

Ancillary Mercy (Imperial Radch #3)
By: Ann Leckie
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

For a moment, things seem to be under control for the soldier known as Breq. Then a search of Atheok Station’s slums turns up someone who shouldn’t exist – someone who might be an ancillary from a ship that’s been hiding beyond the empire’s reach for three thousand years. Meanwhile, a messenger from the alien and mysterious Presger empire arrives, as does Breq’s enemy, the divided and quite possibly insane Anaander Mianaai – ruler of an empire at war with itself.

Anaander is heavily armed and extremely unhappy with Breq. She could take her ship and crew and flee, but that would leave everyone at Athoek in terrible danger. Breq has a desperate plan. The odds aren’t good, but that’s never stopped her before.

Haha, it seems like my thing every year since 2014 to read one of the books from the Imperial Radch trilogy as part of Sci-Fi Month. Well, here we are, at the last book of the trilogy. Just a brief recap I really enjoyed the first novel (review) and thought the second one was all right (review) but got bogged down with some of the smaller-level politics happening on the station when really I wanted to know more about Breq’s struggle with Anaander Mianaai. With the trilogy wrapping up in this final volume, I’m hoping it’ll shift back focus to the larger conflict.

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Review: A Robot in the Garden

Posted 4 November, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 10 Comments

A Robot in the Garden
By: Deborah Install
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

What would you do if you found a rickety robot sitting under a tree in your back garden?

For floundering 34-year-old Ben Chambers the answer is obvious: find out where it came from and take it there to be fixed, even if it means risking his marriage in the process. Determined to achieve something for once in his life, Ben embarks on a journey that takes him and the endearing robot, Tang, to the far side of the globe…and back again. Together they will discover that friendship can rise up under the strangest circumstances, and that Artificial Intelligence can teach a man what it is to be human.

Funny, touching, charming, wise and a bit magical, A Robot in the Garden is a gem of a first novel, perfect for anyone who has ever found it difficult to connect with the world.

I think it was through GoodReads that I first heard of this book. The premise sounded whimsical, but I sort of went back and forth for a while whether or not to pick it up. In the end I picked it up as I was looking for something light to read 🙂

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