Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Memory
The Middle Shelf
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5d ago
Adrian Tchaikovsky, Children of Memory, Tor, 2022. Audiobook available. Children of Memory is the third instalment in the scifi series by Adrian Tchaikovsky which started with the Clarke Award winner, Children of Time. Like its predecessors, it offers a thoughtful and inventive take on progress, humanity and communication. The review is spoiler free and is followed by a Q&A with the author about his series. The Q&A includes spoilers for all three volumes in the series, but a large red banner will warn you that you enter spoiler territory. Heorest Holt was the captain of one of the a ..read more
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Darcie Little Badger, Elatsoe
The Middle Shelf
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1w ago
Darcie Little Badger, Elatsoe, Levine Querido, 2020. Elatsoe is a YA fantasy novel I enjoyed tremendously thanks to great characters, a wonderful worldbuilding and magic system, and meaty themes. Ellie is a normal American teenager, except for one thing: she can raise ghosts. The gift comes from her family who is Lipan Apache. So when her older cousin dies brutally, he contacts her to reveal he's been murdered. Travelling with her mother and father to visit his widow and their baby, Ellie finds herself in a strange town where nothing is as it seems. Thankfully, she can count on her ghost dog ..read more
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Eloghosa Osunde, Vagabonds!
The Middle Shelf
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1w ago
Eloghosa Osunde, Vagabonds!, Fourth Estate, 2022. Audiobook available. Vagabonds! is a remarkable magical realism story - or rather multiple stories of life in Lagos, and particularly stories of LGBTQIA+ persons and women. CWs: "Night Wind", child abuse.  "After God, Fear Women", domestic abuse. "There is Love at Home", graphic BDSM (consensual). Also, violence against LGBTQIA+ people scattered throughout (mostly references). Vagabonds! presents a colection of what seems to be loosely connected short stories. Connected because they're all taking place in Lagos, presented from the first ..read more
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Glenda Larke, The Tangled Lands
The Middle Shelf
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1M ago
Glenda Larke, The Tangled Lands, Wizard's Tower Press, 2023. The Tangled Lands is a very entertaining portal fantasy novel in two secondary worlds with endearing characters, lively prose and mysteries at its heart. Queen Thalia died and so did her baby, the heir of the throne. What people ignore though is that the baby was a changeling, disguised by magic to look like the prince when in fact it was a child from Kanter, a land of magic inaccessible without powers. Eighteen years later, Taygen, the younger son of the guard who last saw the queen befriends a young woman named Haze. Haze travels ..read more
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Andrew Knighton, Ashes of the Ancestors
The Middle Shelf
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1M ago
Andrew Knighton, Ashes of the Ancestors, Luna Press Publishing, 2023. Ashes of the Ancestors is a novella that begins as a deceptive cosy fantasy with a great world building and turns into a very topical story that makes it a must-read. Magdalisa is the last one working in the monastery. She takes care of the ashes that the spirits of the illustrious dead of the Empire use to take form and guide people who come seeking their advice. She's devoted to those spirits who have replaced the family she lost, and she admires their wisdom and the tradition she upholds. But the world is changing: the ..read more
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Samit Basu, The City Inside
The Middle Shelf
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2M ago
Samit Basu, The City Inside, tordotcom, 2022. The City Inside is a near-future dystopia set in Delhi, very much inspired by Indian politics and with a thoughtful take on action when faced by fascism. Joey manages the career of Indi, a rising star of the ubiquitous Flow, a video social media. Born in a family of liberal upper middle class parents, she doesn't protest the violence and inequalities she witnesses, focusing instead on her career. One day, she offers a job to the Rudra, the son of family friends. But things are changing and Indi's career, and by extension Joey's, are threatened ..read more
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Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic
The Middle Shelf
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2M ago
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic, Jo Fletcher Books, 2020. Audiobook available. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a modern masterpiece of supernal gothic, full of tension and deliciously creepy. Noemí is a young socialite in the early 20th century Mexico. One day, her family receives a distressing letter from her cousin who recently married. Noemí is sent to a mountainous area, where her cousin's husband's estate is located. She arrives in a formerly grand house, inhabited by her cousin's husband's family. Their habits are intriguing, and Noemí, a young woman full of life and int ..read more
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Simon Jimenez, The Spear Cuts Through Water
The Middle Shelf
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2M ago
Simon Jimenez, The Spear Cuts Through Water, Random House, 2022. Audiobook available. Let's be honest: I enjoyed The Spear Cuts Through Water less than I enjoyed Jimenez previous novel, The Vanished Birds. Nonetheless, it's a remarkable and ambitious fantasy novel, erring on the literary side, in which I found much to admire. You have nine brothers, a father, a great-grand-father and your grand-mother. When you were a child, she often told you the myths of the Old Country and said that one day, in your dreams, you might be called to the Inverted Theatre. And one day, you are. There you witne ..read more
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Stark Holborn, Ten Low
The Middle Shelf
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3M ago
Stark Holborn, Ten Low, Titan, 2022. Audiobook available. Ten Low borrows from the western genre but this very entertaining scifi novel also has a twist of its own that sets it apart. Ten Low escaped jail and now survives on a desertic moon, determined to save as many lives as possible to compensate for all the lives she took during the war. One day, she saves a child. But it's no ordinary child: Gabriela Ortiz is in fact genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier. Decided to protect her, Ten is going to face many foes and uncover some of the secrets of the moon. Space western not exa ..read more
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E. J. Swift, The Coral Bones
The Middle Shelf
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3M ago
E. J. Swift, The Coral Bones, Unsung Stories, 2022. In this scifi novel, three strands mingle to tell the story of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, in the past, in the present, and in the future. Hana is a marine biologist. One day, as she's on a dive to witness the fast decaying coral, she finds a dead man drifting on a raft. On his body, someone painted a message warning about the death of the reef. Judith escapes the proper society of Victorian Sidney to board her father's boat. Its mission is to map the Queensland coast. Judith has the prejudices of a white young woman of her time, b ..read more
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