Welcome to Elitist Book Reviews!

We're a small group of people that just happen to have better taste in books than you. :) Aside from being completely awesome, we also read lots of books and love to give out our opinions like candy. What's your favorite flavor? Science fiction? Check. Fantasy? Double-check. Horror? Can't do without a little of that. So find yourself an awesome chair or comfy nook quick, because you're about to find a whole lot of recs for a whole lotta great books.

Recent Posts
Review

Unity

Unity

I need to read more science fiction. I keep telling myself this, and then keep steering away from picking up anything from within the genre. I found this book in among the pile of those that publishers throw at us, in the hopes of garnering a beneficial review. From what I remember, the bright colors and slim spine is what caught my eye here, and the fact that it was not only science fiction but had been marketed as a story that would “resonate with LGBTQ+ readers” sealed the deal for me. I’m still trying here. Trying to find good story in science fiction. Good story from marginalized authors. I can’t say that I’ve succeeded much yet though. Maybe someone else out there has a decent suggestion?
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Review

A Deadly Education

Posted: July 19, 2021 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Naomi Novik, Fantasy, Young Adult
A Deadly Education

Galadriel, or in A DEADLY EDUCATION she’s known as “El”, is a junior at The Scholomance, a school of magic. You can think Hogwarts if you want, but instead of summer holidays or weekend trips for butterbeer, the students must ward their bedroom or else be eaten by magical creatures who consider young students a tasty snack. When students graduate, they face a gauntlet of the worst magical and student-eating baddies the school has to offer, and if they don’t have an alliance or an arsenal of spells ready, they won’t make it. The school matriculation rate is pretty abysmal.

At least until Orion Lake came along, whose affinity for fighting magical baddies has kept the student population, if not at 100%, has at least given the kids inside a fighting chance. Even El has been saved from the occasional baddie by Orion a few times now, even when she didn’t need it, and it’s made her downright cranky. Who does he think he is, anyway? If only he knew about El’s affinity. Think “love me and despair.” Which, actually, isn’t too far off from Orion’s suspicion that she’s siphoning off the life force of her fellow students to power her own magic, so he sticks close to keep an eye on her. What he doesn’t expect (or El, either) is that her annoyed attitude toward him–compared to the fawning of the rest of the student population–is refreshing and honest. Will this lead to friendship? Or maybe something more?
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Review

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Posted: June 30, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Dennis E. Taylor, Humor, Science Fiction
We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

So, yeah. This one is a little older, but between seeing a bunch of references to and comments about this one over the last year or so and then getting a very positive personal reference from a guy at work, I decided to take the plunge. In fact, I went all-in and even bought the dead-tree version. A decision that I am, oddly enough, regretting at this stage of the game. Though I do have to say, this read was a good bit of fun, and seemed to be just the thing I needed in order to take the edge off, after the recent spate of mediocre books I’ve made my way through recently.
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Review

Station 11

Station 11

If you’re looking for a book that focuses on character development, then STATION 11 is the book for you.

Or maybe plot isn’t so important and you like meandering through a setting that is both familiar and foreign.

It may also be that you like books with elements that don’t seem important to the plot as a greater whole OR maybe you find satisfaction with plodding through 280 pages before you start seeing the connections between the characters and plot points.

If this is the case, you might just enjoy STATION 11. Alas, those aren’t the kinds of things I look for in a book. I definitely wasn’t the target audience.
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Review

The Goblin Emperor

Posted: June 22, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Katherine Addison, Fantasy
The Goblin Emperor

A while ago we published a new page on the site that listed out a few handfuls of books that we thought were the best examples of fantasy fiction to be had (EBR Page). One of the comments we received on that page suggested that our list was missing this exact book. I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly enthralled by the cover or the title though, and so I passed it by as I did so many others that just didn’t tickle my fancy.

Recently, however, the audiobook was released, and so I figured that I might as well give it a go. After all, I’m always up for another suggestion of a great read.

Turns out, I probably should have just passed it by.
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Review

The Girl and the Mountain

Posted: June 18, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Mark Lawrence, Fantasy
The Girl and the Mountain

The other day I was admiring the long stretch of Mark Lawrence books on my bookshelves, and I realized just how many great stories this guy has pumped out for us in the last decade. He’s currently working on closing out his fifth trilogy–that’s pretty impressive, given the timeline–and so much of what he’s brought to the table has just been awesome. If you haven’t checked his books out yet (EBR Archive), you should.

However, I have to admit that I felt somewhat trepidatious (an adjective that Wordpress’s spellchecker apparently doesn’t recognize) in approaching this next book. The first book in the series, while entertaining, had a few aspects to it that made me worry about the evolution of the story to come. Where it might go. How it might tackle the perspectives it was trying to bring together.

And I’m afraid that my concerns ended up being quite justified.
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Review

The Court of Broken Knives

The Court of Broken Knives

Back during one of my interminable years of college, I was able to take Sanderson’s Creative Writing course. This was before things took off for him with the Wheel of Time. Mostly I just took the class because I’d begun to dabble with writing my own stuff–instead of just reading–and the teacher happened to be a local author of some minimal renown. Deal. One of his lectures that semester was about how to use perspective and point of view in our stories, and we talked about all sorts of things, not the least of which was the several options we had to choose from.

I remember one question in particular from our discussion being about mixing first-person and third-person POVs within a single book. My recollection is that he said something along the lines of “being careful” but that you could do it, if you wanted to. That’s not something you come across very often though: first- and third-person POVs in the same book. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I read a book that did things that way.

Well, not before this one, anyhow.
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Review

Demons, Ink

Posted: June 2, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Clayton Snyder, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Demons, Ink

Sometimes, all you have to do is ask, and someone will listen.

That’s essentially what happened to me for this book. The author threw out a tweet about needing reviews for his books that made me laugh, and so I told him I’d oblige. Figured out later that the book of his that I bought was self-published and recently entered into the SPFBO that Mark Lawrence runs. Funny enough, he got lumped into the same initial group of books as ALONG THE RAZOR’S EDGE (EBR Review). So, while I’d suggest that Mr. Snyder not hold his breath at the possibility of moving on to Round 2… this was still a pretty good book, and something I’m glad I found my way to.
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Review

Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Posted: May 27, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books We Hate Meta: Marlon James, Fantasy
Black Leopard, Red Wolf

I find it interesting just how wide and varied the opinions given for a single book can be. This concept has been rattling around in my brain ever since I started reading this book. Prior to deciding to pick it up, I’d seen a decent amount of buzz about it making the rounds on social media. Nothing too excessive. Some people bandying it about as an “African Game of Thrones”. But then it showed up on a list of books. Well, not just any old list, but a list from Time Magazine of “The Best 100 Fantasy Books of All Time” put together by a selected panel of “well-esteemed” fantasy authors. I mean yeeeeesh. How could I not take them up on that opportunity? At the time though, I somehow completely missed the fact that the author of this book… was actually on the panel.

[side_eye]

Yeah. Okay, I’d say that’s a pretty good primer for one of the most tedious books I’ve finished reading in a long, long time.
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Review

Machine

Posted: May 24, 2021 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Elizabeth Bear, Science Fiction
Machine

Seriously, how does Elizabeth Bear come up with such mind-blowing, thought-provoking stuff on the regular? There’s RANGE OF GHOSTS (EBR Review), there’s THE STONE IN THE SKULL (EBR Review), there’s KAREN MEMORY (EBR Review)–all of which are very different, yet all crazy weird and engaging and fun to read.

Bear does it again with THE MACHINE, only this time it’s science fiction with a dose of medicine. (Even if you didn’t read the linked but not necessarily series ANCESTRAL NIGHT you’ll get caught up relatively quickly).
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