Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: more mini-reviews of The Widow's House, Full Fathom Five, The Leopard, Rogues, and The Causal Thief

If you're not already reading the Dagger and the Coin series, I can't help you.  It's not Abraham's best series, but it's very good and enjoyable.  Definitely a must for all fans of epic fantasy.  One of the things I liked about the fourth book was how the re-appearance of a dragon did not become the "deux ex machina" plot device it could have been.  Abraham's ability to play on the tropes of the genre is one of the things I like about these books.

Rating: 8/10.

Full Fathom Five is the third book in the loosely connected Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone.  One of the really interesting things about these books is how closely interconnected gods and mages are their world.  Gladstone does this by using a very legalistic component in his books so that there are lawyers, contracts, courtroom drama, etc.  This gives the books a very unique feel in a genre that sometimes feels stagnant.

This particular book features people who create idols for foreign businesses on an island much like Hawaii.

Rating: 8/10. 

This is my second book by K.V. Johansen.  The first was 2011's Blackdog, and while the world was interesting, the story felt too long and drawn out for the plot.  The Leopard is an improvement, featuring some characters from Blackdog as well as new ones.  The writing feels stronger and never gets bogged.  The two books written so far have a very mythic feel to them with gods, demons, sorcerers, curses, and quests.

Rating: 8/10.

After the disappointment that was last year's Dangerous Women, Rogues was quite a relief.  It is clearly a much stronger anthology than the other.  Most of the stories are quite strong and entertaining.  Even the authors I don't generally read or like managed to write decent stories.  This anthology may not be quite as impressive as Warriors, but it's certainly worth a look.

Rating: 8/10.

This is another sequel and third book for a series that doesn't seem to have a name, I think.  This loose series is very much on the science fantasy scale, like the Clarke quote, where any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  In this future, matter and information are interchangeable and virtually indistinguishable.  

This third outing was not quite as enjoyable as the first book, but I liked it a lot.  Rajaniemi is an author to watch.

Rating: 7.5/10. 

I've seen this one called a "side-quel" to Blindsight, which doesn't make much sense to me.  What I think is more accurate, it that it's a companion piece to the 2006 book about sentience and intelligence.  This tackles some of the same ideas, but in a different way that is kind of hard to describe.  In the appendix to this book, the author suggests, "faith-based hard sci-fi", which is certainly interesting.  I didn't enjoy Echopraxia quite as much Blindsight, but then a lot of ideas in this one were over my head.  The two books together are certainly full of fascinating ideas and just beg for multiple re-reads.

Rating: 8.5/10.

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