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[Book Review] False Value

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  False Value (Rivers of London #8) / Ben Aaronovitch "Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. Rather than sit around, he takes a job with √©migr√© Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner's brand new London start up - the Serious Cybernetics Company. Drawn into the orbit of Old Street's famous 'silicon roundabout', Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant's favourite son. Because Terrence Skinner has a secret hidden in the bowels of the SCC. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological - and just as dangerous." As much as I love a good Hitchhiker's reference, it's disorienting to read about Peter Grant

[Book Review] Battle Ground

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Battle Ground (Dresden Files #17)  / Jim Butcher Out Today - 9/29! Previously Reviewed Cold Days (Dresden Files #14) Peace Talks (Dresden Files #16) (Spoiler/Rant Edition here ) Dresden Files: War Cry (Graphic Novel) Dresden Files : Down Town (Graphic Novel) Brief Cases (Short Story Collection) Peace Talks  marked the beginning of the end for life as we know it in Chicago.  When a Titan announces she is bringing a doom to the city (and humanity), without any care for secrecy, things are going to get messy.  What's left is what do you do about it?  Do you fight, do you run, do you hide? Battle Ground is Dresden's Endgame , Ethniu cast as Thanos with the Eye of Balor in place of the Infinity Gauntlet.  Representatives across the Accorded races and factions are present, standing against the Fomor, and there is an 11th hour rally around reinforcements.  Credit where credit is due, Butcher manages to keep the pace going strong in a novel that is 80% combat.  This is not an easy batt

[Book Review] A Killing Frost

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  A Killing Frost (October Daye #13)  / Seanan McGuire Previously reviewed: Rosemary and Rue Once Broken Faith The Brightest Fell Night and Silence The Unkindest Tide A Killing Frost is a story about marriage and family, from the consideration of what does the bride wear when she assumes she'll end up covered in blood, to familial law.  Toby doesn't so much seem to get Happily Ever After so much as Happy For Now, due to a mix of inescapable bad situations, Toby sense of duty and loyalty, and her indestructibility.  However, Toby does generally complete her Quests, so going into the story, no matter how impossible, we have reason to believe that she will pull through even if there's a cost to pay. When Toby learns that she has to invite her mother's husband, Simon Torquill, to her wedding lest someone claim insult against her and demand a price she cannot pay, her task seems particularly impossible. He is lost, has sacrified his way home until he finds Oberon, and unt

[Book Review] Peace Talks (Spoiler Edition)

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Alright ya'll. Spoilers ahead. And a bunch of grousing. If you want my spoiler free and more neutral review, please check out my original review here: https://libromancersapprentice.blogspot.com/2020/03/book-review-peace-talks.html Alright... spoilers and complaints below the cover art. What I can say about Peace Talks  is that I did race through it, but I need to mitigate that with the fact that I kept finding my eyes sliding over whole passages without really absorbing any of it.  The writing isn't quite as tight or as connected as his last few novels, with the parts struggling to add up to a whole that led to unintentional skimming.  This was most noticeable in the power fantasy level descriptions of Harry and in a lot of the combat scenes.  By "power fantasy" descriptions I mean the fact that it's mentioned that he can now bench press a truck, which sure, is super strong, but there's been so many other better "show, don't tell" examples of ho

[Book Review] Harrow the Ninth

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Harrow the Ninth (Locked Tomb #2) / Tamsyn Muir This book people. This book. Where to start? At the beginning, I suppose.  Or a little bit further than that with Gideon the Ninth . "In the myriadic year of our Lord -- the ten thousandth year of the King Undying, the kindly Prince of Death! -- Gideon Nav packed her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and she escaped from the House of the Ninth." Gideon is sarcastic, irreverent, and stubborn.  She's in your face and demands your attention, tempestuous and bold.  We start with a laugh as we dive into this twisting murder mystery adventure about lesbian necromancers in space.  We end with tears. "One flesh, one end." The prologue is titled "The Night Before the Emperor's Murder," told from a second person narrator that makes it very clear that something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Next we get the parados (from Merriam-Webster : "t he first choral passage in an ancient Greek dram

[Book Review] A Deadly Education

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A Deadly Education (Lesson One of the Scholomance) / Naomi Novik You ever finish a book and end up furious that it's over?  That there's not more?  That you have to wait for the next book to come out? Yeah, that's me with this book. The fact that I got to read this book several months early just makes it worse, because it means I have to wait that much longer for book two. I wanted to throw my phone across the room in frustration that I'd read the last page and there was no more to read. Don't get me wrong.  I knew there was going to be at least a second book, if not more, and not just because the cover says "Lesson One."  You can tell early on that this is a story too big for a single book. When the story gets started you're OK that it's not going to be contained to this single volume, but then before you know it the story is barrelling forward and you're caught up in the action.  You can see the end coming, the story arc is utterly satisfy

[Book Review] Imaginary Numbers

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Imaginary Numbers (InCryptid #9) / Seanan McGuire Previously reviewed Chaos Choreography (InCryptid #5) Magic for Nothing (InCryptid #6) Tricks for Free (InCryptid #7) That Ain't Witchcraft (InCryptid #8) So... it's been a long time since we've spent time with Sarah.  Several years since Ch aos Choreography , in fact.  Finally healed enough to risk venturing out into the world again, she's going home.  To the Price family, and to Artie.  It would be a perfect homecoming, being accepted into the family in ways she never has been before... except for one thing. There are other cuckoos in the area.  Not just one, a worrisome concern on its own in normal circumstances, but several of the notoriously solitary predators.  Telepathic predators that are effectively clones of each other at that.  Who want Sarah for their own plans. Things devolve further as Sarah, and the Prices, learn more and more about what's going on, and try to figure out the truth.  But none of it b

[Book Review] Smoke Bitten

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Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson #12) / Patricia Briggs Previously reviewed: Fire Touched Silence Fallen Storm Cursed Ooof, it's been a minute since I've written a review, and I have a pile of books waiting accusingly for me to correct that.  It's been hard to focus enough to read these past few months, let alone write. Smoke Bitten is a book that I loved but that is difficult for me to read on a deeply personal level, and will likely be so to anyone that has experienced a long term relationship fracture.  I don't know much about Briggs' personal life, but she captures what it's like to know that something is wrong but not what and the desperate attempts to break through to an increasingly distant partner. But what matters is what comes next, that hope is not lost, that the source of the problem is attacked. That goes for the monster of the week that the book is named for.  Briggs gives us something unexpected here, a threat that seems outside the better known l

[Book Review] Peace Talks

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Peace Talks (Dresden Files #16)  / Jim Butcher Previously Reviewed Cold Days (Dresden Files #14) Dresden Files: War Cry (Graphic Novel) Dresden Files : Down Town (Graphic Novel) Brief Cases (Short Story Collection) OK. It's been six years  since Skin Game came out.  A lot has happened since then, both to me as a reader and to Butcher as an author.  And there's been one heck of a lot of anticipation and expectation for this book, which presents a challenge.  So this is going to be a first pass review, I intend to read and review it again closer to it's release date, hopefully in final print and not e-galley format. When the Supernatural nations of the world meet up to negotiate an end to ongoing hostilities, Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, joins the White Council’s security team to make sure the talks stay civil. But can he succeed, when dark political manipulations threaten the very existence of Chicago–and all he holds dear? I applied for

[Book Review] Stars Uncharted (Series)

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Stars Uncharted (Series) Stars Uncharted / S.K. Dunstall Stars Beyond / S. K. Dunstall I first became aware of this series thanks to kudos from Charles Stross who provided a cover blurb.  "An absorbing Space Opera in the tradition of The Expanse and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet ."  S. K.  Dunstall, two sisters writing under a single name, provide the reader with several engaging writing and and compelling hooks right off the start.  The initial threads seem far flung, but they are skillfully braided together. Space Opera can be many things, but one thing I need from it is an expansive story and adventure, and Stars Uncharted delivers.  Some elements are recognizable genre standards, such as a notorious ship, a rag tag and fiercely loyal crew, characters with dangerous secrets, and plot that spans across the known (and unknown) universe of the setting.  Others are fresh takes on science fiction elements, such as the nature and execution of genetic a

[Book Review] How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

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How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse   (Thorne Chronicles #1)  / K. A. Eason It turns out describing a book as "Princess Leia meets The Princess Bride" is pretty much a guaranteed way to get my interest. The tale of Rory Thorne is an utterly delightful space romp told by a smart narrator with a sardonic sense of humor.  It takes on the mantle of a familiar fairy tale (with the titular character's last name of "Thorne" it's not a hard guess) and makes something new.  We have the "fairies" with their gifts, our royal princess, a curse - but noting quite as traditionally expected. Rory's curse is not to die (nor is the amelioration to simply fall asleep), but instead she is cursed to always see the unvarnished truth of things, what people actually mean.  Considering how much of society runs due to polite fictions, that is no insignificant burden on a precocious child, particularly when among adults who may not believe in such things as

[Book Review] The Library of the Unwritten

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The Library of the Unwritten (A Novel from Hell’s Library) /  A. J. Hackwith From the cover: Join the Library. Raise Hell. Well... that sure as shit hits me as a target demographic. The Library of the Unwritten  gives us a mythology infused contemporary fantasy as a Librarian and her assistants attempt to prevent a war between Heaven and Hell, and defend the library from those who would use it for their own gain. The Ensemble we follow is made up of characters that don't so much grow as are revealed and discovered.  They also exist in shades of grey, with internally conflicting needs and wants, adding depth to the story.  The span of the book is not so long in time, and the cast is new to both the reader and to each other.  The story itself makes referential use to literary tropes, but does not rely heavily on pop culture to convey ideas. Over all it was a very enjoyable read, one that I have not only recommended to friends but we have added it to the collection at th