Fantasy Review: ‘Kings of the Wyld’ by Nicholas Eames

Also posted at Booknest

“Leaves are falling all around, It’s time I was on my way.  Thanks to you I’m much obliged, such a pleasant stay.” kings-of-the-wyld

Humor is tough to pull off.  Inside jokes can fail if they are too deeply buried to be noticed or so obvious they are less a joke and more a reference (hello Scary Movie and all of its knockoffs).  Running gags can fall flat if used too often; or worse if they were not even funny in the first place (look up a Nakumara).  So when an author proves within pages to be a deft hand with the dealing of jokes I already know I hold a book worth reading.

Dark fantasy can likewise be hit or miss.  Without some sort of levity, be it through hope or humor, it has to be damn near perfect to justify the grimness or risk losing a reader who tires of nothing but bleakness.  Kings of the Wyld is a book that knows how hold the balance and as such proves to be a stand out debut. Continue reading

Q & A: Lara Elena Donnelly talks Amberlough

lara-donnelly_credit-debra-wilburnCrossposted to Booknest

Earlier this week I raved about Amberlough, the amazing debut from Lara Elena Donnelly.  I was not even halfway through the book before I realized I absolutely had to ask the author for a chance to do a Q & A session.  Graciously she agreed!  No further ado needed; I present to you you good readers… Lara Elena Donnelly.

First of all. Thank you for agreeing to do a quick Q&A. I loved Amberlough and wasn’t even halfway through it before I was contacting your publicist to ask for this opportunity.

LD: Thanks so much for saying so! I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

This was both a political and character driven book. Which came first; Amberlough City or the characters who live in it?

LD: Aristide Makricosta came first, fully formed and standing alone in a desolate mountain pass. And then I had to figure out who he was and where he’d come from. So Amberlough city was born. I figured only a place that crooked and glamorous could produce someone like Ari, and that he’d only ever leave it for the mountains if it was well and truly doomed. Continue reading

Fantasy Review: ‘Amberlough’ by Lara Elena Donnelly

amberlough-picCross Posted at Booknest

Both timely and timeless. Wonderful yet heartbreaking. Completely fucking awesome. Oh, and debut of the year.

A nationalist fervor has empowered the One State Party though they still lack the votes to control Amberlough City. Cyril DePaul once enjoyed the spy game but is now a man who doesn’t quite want to admit he may be broken. Called back into field work he is sent to investigate the One State Party (better known as Ospies) and quickly finds himself way over his head. Soon enough he must make some tough decisions as the ‘game’ puts everything (and everyone) he cares about in danger. Continue reading

Sci-Fi Review: ‘The Stars are Legion’ by Kameron Hurley

Originally Posted to Booknest

Living world ships move through space; if there is any destination the people on the ships don’t know it nor any history of another way.  Sadly for these women the worlds are dying as entropy finally seems to be beating out their long living systems.  Rival factions war for resources; recycling what they find in an effort to extend the life of their own piece of the sky.  Zan wakes among one of these factions and slowly learns she has an ambitious plan for a rebirth of kinds.  Problem is an almost complete memory loss gives her no idea what the plan is.

The way Hurley uses such a short page length to build multiple worlds and still have space for a story should be taught in school.  No spare time is spent on wasted details yet characters’ travels and conversions tell the reader everything that is needed to be known and more.  This dying earth space opera checks all the right boxes.  It is unique and alien.  Dark, occasionally gross, and full of mystery.  Strong imagery lets you see experience what Zan and her collected group of outcasts are experiencing.   The world ships are a thing of wonder; but also horror as the curtain is pulled back to see exactly what it takes to keep them living for so long. Continue reading

Sci-Fi Review: ‘Binti’ by Nnedi Okorafor

Another review over at Booknest (which after some technical issues appears to be up again).  This time for Binti, a nice little novella by Nnedi Okorafor.

Simple but worth reading.  Binti was perhaps not everything I hoped for but as the start of a serial story it is a great 25667918start.

Binti is a novella about Binti, mathematical genius and first of her Himbi village to be accepted to a prestigious off-world university.  This is a big step in more than one way; the Himbi people do not leave their isolated village.  This not being an old colonial fantasy it must be noted that the Himbi are not backward, nor primitive, and are in fact quite technologically apt and Binti was training to join her families technology business.  But the Himbi do keep their own ways and said ways are seen as strange when Binti journeys afar.

Please head on over to Booknest and check it out!