Reviews :: Book Genre :: Alternate Historical Fiction

Review

Summerland

Summerland

Mr. Rajaniemi has been on my watch list for a while now. Although I missed reading his Jean le Flambeur series (EBR Archive), I did read a collection of his short stories (EBR Review) back in 2015 and LOVED it. Then I didn’t hear from him for a long time. Not even a phone call, you know? 😉 But as soon as I saw this book in our pile, I was all over it. Didn’t want to pass up a read like I expected this one to be.
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Review

Tales of Ruma

Tales of Ruma

RPGs are for nerds.

You know it. I know it. They know it. Erm… well, I guess technically I should say “we” know it, because there ain’t no way I’m gonna skirt the issue on this one: we’re pretty much ALL nerds here at EBR. 🙂 And you know what? I think if more “non-nerdy” people would put their petty pride aside for one freaking minute and let themselves get lost in the imagination, adventure, and sheer brilliance of some of the good RPGs out there, the ranks of the RPGers would quickly swell. Because RPGs aren’t just a story; though indeed they are that. And they’re not just a game; though indeed they are that as well. They’re imagination and spontaneity and characterization in a form that you just can’t find anywhere else.

So don’t let anyone sway you from standing up for the oft-berated RPGs and RPGers alike. For it’s from those very annals that Steven Erikson gave us the Malazan Book of the Fallen. And Misters Abraham and Franck gave us the wide tapestry of The Expanse. And for all of you “non-nerdy” people: is there any way you’re going to nay-say the awesome goodness of Stranger Things?

<<crickets>>

I didn’t think so.
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Review

Outlander

Outlander

Romance isn’t exactly a genre that we here at EBR dip our toes into very often. In point of fact, I just looked up how many reviews of books we have that are labeled as being tagged as “romance”. Want to know how many there were? Two. And one of those, I was tricked into reading. Seeing as how having only one review in a given genre is kind of silly, and having two seems more like an excuse to remove the genre than even one did, I thought I’d add to that total and provide the third review in this oft-forgotten genre here at EBR. I know. I’m too much. You can thank me later for my generosity. No, in all seriousness I also kind of wanted to review this book because then I could mention the fact that the author of this book is none other than Sam Sykes’s mother, and if you don’t know who Sam Sykes is, then you should watch out for my next review. Until then, there’s this one, and it ain’t too shabby either.
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Review

The Liberation

Posted: January 28, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Ian Tregillis, Alternate Historical Fiction
The Liberation

Endings are always tough when it comes to book series. For readers, for authors, and quite usually for the characters as well. They’re the showdown, the climax of everything written thus far, the point where we as readers have to say goodbye. For many, the ending is the part of the book, or series, that will determine whether you like or hate it, despite everything that has led you as a reader to the point. I’m more in the camp of “joy in the journey” than “how-does-it-end”. So, a great read that has a decent ending gets higher marks than a ho-hum read with a brilliant ending. It’s really nice though when I don’t have to make that distinction; when I get to read something that was a great series, had a great last book, and a great ending.
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Review

Revisionary

Revisionary

Isaac Vainio, once-librarian and now major player on the world stage, helped reveal magic to the world along with certain Porters and allies. The Porters are an organization of magic-users founded by none other than Johannes Gutenburg himself. Libriomancy, discovered by Gutenburg, is magic using books and “libriomancers” are able to pull things out of books, things that real authors have imagined and in which a certain amount of belief exists from readers, which fuels the magic. These items–weapons and magic cloaks and healing elixirs–and even characters, have a profound effect on the real world, with mixed results and sometimes dire consequences. Jim C. Hines has taken this idea and developed it in a most satisfying way. He often references favorite sci-fi and fantasy classics, even some obscure geek favorites, and also simply makes books up when he needs them. These are some of the best, especially when they parody bad speculative fiction.
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Review

Freedom of the Mask

Freedom of the Mask

Matthew Corbett is missing. Following the events in the 5th Matthew Corbett novel, THE RIVER OF SOULS (EBR Review), our favorite problem-solver finds himself without memories of who he really is. So begins the 6th Matthew Corbett novel, FREEDOM OF THE MASK (Amazon).

Robert McCammon is in top form in this meaty novel. Yes, you heard that right. Meaty. As much as I loved the prior novel in the series, I felt like it was a quick adventure meant to set up the next several books in the series. A transitional novel. It was an excellent read, but with this 6th novel I hoped we would get something closer in scope to SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD (EBR Review) and THE QUEEN OF BEDLAM (Amazon). Turns out, this is exactly what we got.
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Review

The Shards of Heaven

The Shards of Heaven

Cleopatra and Antony rule Egypt via Alexandria. Octavian rules Rome. THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN follows the real people and events that lead to the Roman conquest of Alexandria and the end of the Ptolemic line.  But according to Michael Livingston, there’s more to the story.

And it involves magic.

Enter Juba, the orphaned prince of Numidia and adopted son of Julius Ceasar. Desperate to find vengeance for the death of his father, he seeks magical objects so he can have enough power to bring down Rome. At the start of SHARDS he finds what he believes to be the trident of Poseidon and discovers it’s as powerful as he hoped. But Juba is a mere teenager to Octavian’s experienced ambition and soon discovers he’s in over his head.
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Review

Speaks the Nightbird

Speaks the Nightbird

I recently went back to do a re-read of Robert McCammon’s SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD (Amazon). Though, I suppose, a “re-listen” is more accurate as I bought the audiobook. It’s been a long time since I read this novel, and with the sixth Matthew Corbett novel, FREEDOM OF THE MASK coming in just a few short months, I wanted to go back to Matthew’s origins as a refresher.

It is incredible how well this novel stands up to multiple reads.

SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD follows a young Matthew Corbett as he participates in the trial of Rachel Howarth, who is accused of murder and witchcraft. Th novel channels the fear, suspicion, and paranoia of the Salem witch trials which occurred just six years before the events of this novel. This is before Matthew’s days as a “problem-solver” that we see in QUEEN OF BEDLAM (Amazon) and beyond, and seeing the near-innocent (in adult matters) attitude and world-view Matthew has in NIGHTBIRD is so interesting.
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Review

The Rising

Posted: December 24, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Ian Tregillis, Alternate Historical Fiction
The Rising

At the time I had no idea how it might be possible, but when I got the email saying that this book was headed my way I was totally taken by surprise. As soon as I got it, I barreled through its pages, loving every minute and was completely impressed when I got to the end. Then, as I sat down to write this review, I casually glanced at the publication date of the first book in this series, THE MECHANICAL, and realized why the follow-up hadn’t even been on my radar: the first book was published in March of this year. Whoa. Then I got to be super impressed because not only had this book really entertained me, but it had been released a paltry nine months after its predecessor.
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Review

Rise of the Automated Aristocrats

Rise of the Automated Aristocrats

It was with a high level of excitement and healthy dose of trepidation that I dove into this book. Another Burton and Swinburne novel for me! But alas, it was the last of its kind. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first read that this would be the end of this amazing series. I’ve had so much fun reading this one, with each story building upon the previous one, and taking me further into the brilliantly detailed chaos of Hodder’s genius. The back of the book promised an explosive conclusion to the Spring-Heeled Jack series, and although I only wanted more! more! more! I still found myself curious how the tale I began a scant five years ago would resolve itself in the end.
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