Reviews by Writer Dan

Review

Akata Witch

Akata Witch

Do you know what the biggest problem is for an author trying to write a novel about kids that are caught in the middle of very dangerous events? Parents. Well, adults in general. How do you keep the grown-ups from coming in and hijacking the story completely while still making it all believable. I have a difficult time believing that any story that is told expressly about kids has a more important question to answer. This was a very interesting novel to read, given that perspective. Because on the one hand, this story totally has adults “dealing with the important stuff”, but on the other hand, there are also several adults that are more than willing to throw children into deadly situations, shrug their shoulders, and say, “If they live, they live. If they don’t, they don’t.” Was an interesting dichotomy to try and swallow, and not the only one I found in this read.
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Review

The Light Brigade

Posted: August 27, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Kameron Hurley, Military SF, Science Fiction
The Light Brigade

Every once in a while I go to the library looking for books. It seems somewhat ludicrous that between all of the books that I really want to read, and all of the others that publishers/agents/etc send to us, that I could ever find time to read something I found at a library. And yet, I do. Because I’ve found that I’ll still occasionally find something that pushes my buttons. In my profile for the site, I mention that I have no patience for “plots that don’t grab by the throat, the heart, or the funny bone”. Yeah. I judge. So anyways, I was walking through the library this one fine day, saw this book, and thought the cover art was pretty intriguing. So I picked it up. Then I opened the cover, flipped through the first couple sheets, and came across a nearly blank page with a single statement printed near the top:

“Don’t just fight the darkness. Bring the light.”

Instantly I found that both my heart and my throat had been grabbed. My decision had been made and another book added to my TBR list.
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Review

Children of Blood and Bone

Posted: August 20, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Tomi Adeyemi, Fantasy, Heroic Fantasy
Children of Blood and Bone

I think there are a lot of readers these days that are “coming to an awareness” of the fact that there are considerably more books written by people that belong to neither the male half nor the white portion of the world’s population. Whether they’ve come to that realization by dint of the more vocal portion of the reader/authorship populace, or just because of their own level of self-awareness, I think that it’s by-and-large a good thing. At least, if they decide to do anything about it. I’ve always been one to share my opinion that I’m a staunch supporter of this widening of our story-source base. At the same time, however, I do my best to never pull any punches expressly because of who the author of a book is or what they’ve decided to write about. If a story is good, I’ll crow about it. If I feel like it let me down, I’m going to say so. And why. I am trying to review these things, after all, right?

This book is the first of my concerted efforts to make sure that the books I choose to read are “diverse” enough. Prior to this point, I just plainly never paid attention. I read what I was given. Granted, there were definitely times when I steered away from cliched-sounding YA or those that looked like they were going to be primarily romantic in nature, but that was about the extent of my filtering. The decision to diversify my reading choices will by no means keep me from passing by a book that just doesn’t sound interesting, regardless of who wrote the thing. It will, however, encourage me to make sure that I’m looking for options that will widen my view of what is currently being written in today’s publication sphere. I know there are going to be some of our readers that will groan at this, and some that crow. I hope to be able to both disappoint and please all of you in turns and become better overall as a result. Wish me luck.
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Review

Reincarnation Blues

Posted: July 23, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Michael Poore, Fantasy
Reincarnation Blues

Had this one sitting on my shelf at home for quite a while. Picked it up to try and read a few times, and ended up putting it back down again. I finally decided that I was going to punch this one out though, as there were so many great reviews for it on Amazon. Wish I’d just listened to my first impressions of the opening sequence and forgotten the whole thing. Realistically, I should have been put off by the fact that the title includes the moniker: A novel. That’s pretty much always a dead giveaway that a book’s going to be exactly the kind of item to disappoint me.
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Review

Permafrost

Permafrost

I have to admit, I was really holding out for this story being a good one. After being supremely disappointed with what I found in the previous two (unrelated) hardback novellas that I read, I just wasn’t ready to find out that one of my favorite Science Fiction authors had written a dud as well. I should have taken a clue from the publication gods though when I saw that this one had not been put into a hardback. So obviously it was going to be different than the other two, right? After this whole hurrah of novellas from various authors, it really surprises me that those that were hardbacks really didn’t cut the mustard, and the one that probably deserved to be a hardback… didn’t get it. Man, the world’s funny sometimes, isn’t it?
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Review

Artificial Condition

Artificial Condition

If you read my previous review, you’ll know that I recently ran through a few novellas. This is the second of those shorties that I read. I was actually pretty excited to get to it. Although out of the bunch, it definitely sat near the bottom. I mean, the competition was Robert Jackson Bennett (EBR Archive) and Alastair Reynolds (EBR Archive), which both sit pretty high on my scale of READ-THESE-AUTHORS-NOW. I had recently read the first in the Murderbot series (Vanessa’s EBR Review) and liked it quite a bit. So this step was kind of the next natural one to take, yeah?
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Review

Vigilance

Vigilance

I recently found a rash of novellas at my local library from authors that I enjoy reading, and I picked up a few of them. This is the first of those, and was likely the one I was second most excited about to read. Robert Jackson Bennett has been a favorite of mine ever since I stumbled across his Divine Cities series (EBR Archive), and so picking this one up was a no-brainer.
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Review

Machine Learning

Machine Learning

So it’s been a little while since I’ve read any short fiction. In general, I tend to watch for anthologies with lots of new authors (so I can find new sources of awesomeness) or collections of authors that I already know are good. However, I’d heard so dang much good stuff about the Silo trilogy (but still never read it) that when this collection showed up in our pile, I was quick to snatch it up. As it turns out, I’m very glad that I did.
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Review

Every Dead Thing

Posted: June 18, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: John Connolly, Horror, Supernatural Thriller
Every Dead Thing

I forget when or how I first came across this book, and I’ve been wanting to read it again for quite some time now so that I could write up a coherent review of it. Just never got around to it. Well, the 17th book in the series that grew from the roots of this book was recently released in the UK (US release coming mid-October), and so I figured this was as good a time as any to dive back into this one, and find out if it would be just as good this time around as I remembered it being the first time.
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Review

Thin Air

Thin Air

So it’s been a while since we’ve had a new Richard Morgan book, yeah? Even longer since it was a science fiction book, as Morgan spent a bundle of time trying his hand at the grimdark fantasy genre with A LAND FIT FOR HEROES (EBR Archive). In general, we here at EBR haven’t been particularly enamored with any of his stuff. Fantasy, Science Fiction, or otherwise. It’s just all sat itself solidly in the middle of mediocrity for us. So, if I’m being completely honest… I put this off for a while. And when I finally decided to bite the bullet and pick it up, I wasn’t overly surprised by what I found.
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