Legacy of Kings – C. S. Friedman

Magister Trilogy #3 Kamala, a magician with surprising powers, finds refuge in the north, discovering a dark, forgotten secret. Legacy of Kings is something of a letdown for a series that started with so much promise. Friedman doesn’t quite reach the same depths of darkness that are shown in the best of her prior work, but the background and premise are intriguing enough to be worth reading. This third volume, as with the second, to…

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The Waters Rising – Sheri S. Tepper

Plague of Angels #2 Xulai, the soul carrier for a foreign princess, tries to get back home from a post-apocalyptic America that is substantially covered by rising water The Waters Rising is good, but not Sherri Tepper’s best work. It tells the story of Xulai, the soul carrier for a foreign princess, trying to get back home. It is set mostly in a post-apocalyptic America that is substantially covered by rising waters. Aside from the…

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Iron Angel – Alan Campbell

Deepgate Codex #2 The sequel to Scar Night examines the politics and mechanisms of the hell that lies below Deepgate. I spent a good part of the predecessor, Scar Night, trying to decide whether the book was fantasy, or SF disguised as fantasy. There were indications of the latter, with ‘angels’ having fallen from ‘heaven’ in a technologically advanced vehicle (‘the Tooth’). This book, however, steams ahead with straightforward fantasy approach, if with more engineering…

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Leviathans of Jupiter – Ben Bova

Grand Tour #13 Ben Bova revisits the curious, atmospheric creatures of Jupiter, in this continuation of his Grand Tour series. Ben Bova’s Grand Tour series is reliable, complex, and realistic. Here, he revisits Jupiter, and the curious creatures we met on the last visit. As always, this is a standalone novel with nice little connections to other books for the initiated. The science is credible, the human relations interesting, the plot intriguing. In short, this…

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The Left Hand of God – Paul Hoffman

Thomas Cale #1 Three boys grow up almost entirely in an inland monastery, as does a girl from a similar convent, in post-apocalyptic America. The Left Hand of God was a disappointment. Even allowing for over-hyping, I expected more from a book hailed as ‘ “Ender’s Game” meets the Inquisition.’ In truth, while it does deal with harshly, highly trained children, Daniel Abraham recently covered the same ground better (A Shadow in Winter). Overall, Left…

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Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction – Sharyn November

Firebird Anthologies #1 A collection of fantasy and science fiction stories. This is one of the better anthologies I’ve read. All anthologies are something of a mixed bag. The reader’s taste very seldom meshes exactly with the editor’s, or the editor has had to make some compromises along the way. Firebirds is substantially above average. The book is helped, of course, by having some very big names in SFF – Lloyd Alexander, Patricia A. McKillip,…

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