Reviews :: Book Rating :: Books We Like...and Hate

Review

Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir

Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir

I am generally indifferent to superheroes. I actively dislike noir. Based purely on the title, this is a book I normally would have browsed past faster than a speeding bullet. It seems like a mash-up of superheroes and noir has the potential to be one big, self-important cliche.
Luckily, the EBR Fairy who sends you the books you’ve requested always includes a few surprises. And PINNACLE CITY:A SUPERHERO NOIR was a smart, entertaining surprise.
Edgar (Eddie) Enriquez is the epitome of a noir detective: addicted, cynical, and from the wrong side of the tracks. Despite all this, he’s still got a strong sense of right and wrong. Recruited by a supervillain at a young age, Eddie served time in prison and then tried to redeem himself by joining the army. He got out with a wounded shoulder and an implant that makes his super power even more useful. Eddie can see the history of anything he touches. Where the object was, who had it, what was happening nearby–and now […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Last Astronaut

The Last Astronaut

First contact is the kind of experience that’s ripe for miscommunications and misinterpretations that can literally reshape the world.
From more traditional hard sci-fi stuff, like Clarke to Reynolds, to the more literary offerings of LeGuin or Russell (she wrote THE SPARROW), first contact is a recurring theme in speculative fiction.
While there’s a million different ways to parse and taxonomize this (sub) genre, you can trace a big divide between texts that explore first contact with aliens who share fundamental premises of existence with humans (in psychology, if not in size or number of eyes) and texts in which the aliens are really, really… alien (think “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, which is portrayed in the movie Arrival).
David Wellington’s THE LAST ASTRONAUT belongs to the latter category. Let’s just say that there are no little green moon men here.
Sunny Stevens knows something that no one else does. There’s an object heading […]Read the rest of this review »

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.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Electric Forest

Posted: June 13, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Tanith Lee, Science Fiction
Electric Forest

At first glance you’d think ELECTRIC FOREST by Tanith Lee would be a fluffy YA Sci Fi short novel. You would be wrong. Tanith Lee doesn’t know how to do fluffy, that’s your first clue. Instead we get a dark, cyberpunkish, Science Fiction story with seriously flawed characters, a world that is beautiful on the surface but has a dark undercurrent, and a question about the ethics of life-extending science.
Read the rest of this review »

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.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Bloodwitch

Bloodwitch

After WINDWITCH’s exciting ending, you had to know the story continued, right? Now we’re at BLOODWITCH and the continuation of the stories of Safi, Iseult, Aeduan, Vivia, and Merik and their role in protecting the world against the machinations of The Raider King.

Who also happens to be Aeduan’s father. Poor kid.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

A Brightness Long Ago

A Brightness Long Ago

Imagine you’re a chef and at your restaurant you only make one meal. It’s beautiful and satisfying and no one’s complaining about the plate of gorgeous food in front of them. In fact, you have plenty of repeat customers, because hey, a lot of people go to restaurants and order the same thing every time. Why venture into the unknown towards probable disappointment?

But no matter how great your one meal is, some of your customers are eventually going to wonder what the dessert menu might look like.

And that analogy is close to where I find myself as a Guy Gavriel Kay fan. I’ve been reading him for close to a decade now and I’m a completist (except his poems, haven’t read those). His books make me cry. They’re lovely and poetic and full of ordinary and extraordinary people alike trying to make good choices when the world doesn’t seem to give them any.

Even as a fan, I’m cognizant that his books tend towards a certain… sameness. He works with archetypes — the poet, the warrior, the artist, the lover, the priest — and continually revisits themes of fate and choice. He does it well, but while reading his latest offering I found myself wondering what else he has to offer.
Read the rest of this review »

Review

Scourged

Posted: January 4, 2019 by Vanessa in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Kevin Hearne,
Scourged

SCOURGED is the final book in The Iron Druid Chronicles and we get it all: war (Ragnarok!), character growth, teamwork, comeuppance (multiple instances), and even a little romance. But how does Hearne deliver?Read the rest of this review »

Review

Dive Smack

Dive Smack

DIVE SMACK , Demetra Brodsky’s debut YA novel, is a fast-paced mystery that conveys both the exhilaration and exhaustion of teen life with a supernatural twist. In diving parlance, a ‘dive smack’ occurs when a diver mis-judges their entry and hits the water painfully instead of smoothly. It also describes the situation of Theo Mackey, who’s the captain of the dive team and has a good shot at a scholarship to Stanford–if he can keep the rest of his life from spiraling out of control.
When Theo is assigned a family history project at school he freaks out. Theo has a good reason though–hewas playing with matches the night his house burned down, killing his mother. He blames himself her death as well as his father’s, which followed three years later. So when Theo is assigned a family history project at school he…freaks out. The bad news is that the only way Theo can find out about his family history is by asking his alcoholic grandfather, or his Uncle Phil, […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

Mystic Dragon

Posted: October 4, 2018 by mtbikemom in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Jason Denzel, Fantasy
Mystic Dragon

I love traditional heroic fantasy. My best friend’s family took me camping in Big Sur, CA, long ago and we read THE LORD OF THE RINGS for the very first time together. Unforgettable, of course. So it was with bated breath and a slightly elevated heart rate that I opened Jason Denzel’s sophomore effort MYSTIC DRAGON. But first…

Tor created a lovely booklet-sized prologue to the entire Mystic series called THE NAMELESS SAINT and I was fortunate to obtain a copy. It is a nearly perfect essay-length gem and the stunning cover art continues to impress. Unfortunately, these are only available at MYSTIC DRAGON book signings. (I bet Jason might send you a signed copy if you ask nicely.)
Read the rest of this review »