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Review

Broken Angels

Broken Angels

So, a few months ago, one of our readers commented on my review for ALTERED CARBON (EBR Review) that I should look into the second and third books in this series. If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t too high on the idea, as I’ve never really been overly enamored with Richard K. Morgan’s books. Still I thanked the reader for the comment and proceeded on my merry way.

Then, randomly, I found a copy of the second book in the series at one of the second-hand bookstores that I frequent, and the thing was only two bucks. The thickness of the spine made it look like it was going to be relatively short too. So, I picked it up with no real intention to read it any time soon. But the opportunity to dive in was quickly afforded me when I was asked to chaperone for a couple days at a girl’s camp my daughter was attending. All I needed to do was be present. So I figured, why not grab a quick read and see what came of it?

And here we are.

I mention all this mostly because at no point in this whole process did I think there was going to be any chance that I might actually like this book.

Man, do I love being surprised.
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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

The Shadow Saint

Posted: May 19, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Gareth Hanrahan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
The Shadow Saint

Potential. Potential. Potential.

This was my mantra after having read the first book in this series, THE GUTTER PRAYER. In what ended up being the most influential ways, that single repeated word kept me from picking up this second book in the series for quite some time. Then I came across a picture of Rob J. Hayes (EBR Archive) on Twitter where he was reading a copy of this book… and for some reason, I couldn’t get the freaking thing out of my head. Something about the way he was looking at its open pages almost haunted my reader brain. Thus, when I came across an announcement that the third in the series had an upcoming release date (yesterday, as it happens), I bit the bullet and bought all three. I just couldn’t help myself.

And, man, am I glad I did.
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Review

How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It

Posted: March 12, 2021 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: K.J. Parker, Fantasy, Humor
How to Rule An Empire and Get Away With It

I remember, as a kid, finding out that Ronald Reagan was an actor before he became President of the United States. That really took me for a loop at the time. Mainly because I had this overwhelmingly positive impression of what he’d been able to accomplish as President, and the guy hadn’t even been a politician beforehand? Obviously I’d been missing some of the details of his life between his time acting and when he became President. The story in this book though, is about just such an instance, with no details-missing, where an actor is pulled–almost from the very stage where he made his living–and forced to play the part of the leader of the Robur Empire.

And is this actor able to succeed in not only playing that part true, but leaving a positive impression upon his people as well?

The title of the book might give you the clue.
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Review

Of Mice and Minestrone

Of Mice and Minestrone

I love reading speculative fiction. So much so, that I hardly ever read anything that isn’t at least somewhat speculative in nature — at least not by choice — but when I do read something that is just “fiction” I always find myself pining for that little bit of made-up tomfoolery. So this read was a bit out of the ordinary for me, because there really wasn’t anything to do with the speculative in it. However, when we got the book, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to read it because of how much Steve enjoys this guy’s stuff. We have pretty similar reading tastes, Steve and I. And so even though this was straight-up fiction, I was surprised in the least to find that I *really* enjoyed reading it. There’s something to be said for masterful story-telling, and these stories are completely riddled with it.
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Review

Wool

Wool

Living on the surface has become life-threatening, and as a result humanity has retreated to underground. We open WOOL with Sheriff Holston, the law for the silo and the underground city that lives there.

But the silo’s population is strictly controlled. Couples aren’t allowed to even try to have a child without permission unless they win a lottery placement that gives them a chance at a year of trying. They only have a chance at this lottery when another inhabitant dies of old age, accident–or by cleaning.
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Review

Empress of Forever

Posted: March 31, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Max Gladstone, Fantasy
Empress of Forever

Viv is a powerhouse of a woman. Entrepreneur. Uber computer programmer. Rich. Powerful. But lonely. In the opening pages of EMPRESS OF FOREVER, Viv finds herself being pursued by people who would stop her from using her genius and influence to change their hold over the world economy. And in the process of using her hacking skills to stop said evil ones she is plucked away from the earth by a green goddess and transferred to another galaxy.

Not exactly the results she was expecting.
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Review

Along the Razor’s Edge

Posted: March 27, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Rob J. Hayes, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Along the Razor’s Edge

So here I stand with another self-published fantasy novel at the completed end of my reading schedule, ready to write a review for you our reading public. What ho! you might say, “knowing” that we here at EBR would never deign to dip into the slush pile of self-publication by choice and thus thinking, perhaps, either us liars or yourselves the subject of a slip in the space-time continuum. But don’t worry your pretty little heads. There’s a part of me that is, as well, equally surprised to be bringing you my thoughts and feelings about such a book, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because more than anything else, I like to be pleasantly surprised. Only problem is that this read was anything but a pleasant surprise. Instead…

It was a bloody brilliant evolution of sheer story-telling genius.

And now I get to share that experience with you.
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Review

Gideon the Ninth

Posted: March 17, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Love Meta: Tamsyn Muir, Fantasy
Gideon the Ninth

I had to restrain myself from writing this review in all-caps. That’s how much I enjoyed Tamsyn Muir’s novel, GIDEON THE NINTH (Amazon). It was spiky and weird, with magic that kept surprising me and the kind of characters I love–a little too smart for their own good, sarcastic, and tragic.

Gideon Nav has two goals in life. The first is to escape the smothering, incessant gloom of the Ninth and become a soldier in the Emperor’s Cohort. But Gideon is indentured and without the permission of Ninth House, she’s stuck. So she spends her days planning (and failing) to escape and training with her sword.

Her only other desire is to do everything in her power to make Harrowhark Nonagesimus, the powerful necromantic heir of the Ninth, absolutely miserable. Harrow has tormented Gideon unceasingly since childhood, and Gideon hates Harrow as much Harrow hates her.
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Review

Spinning Silver

Posted: January 21, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Naomi Novik, Fantasy
Spinning Silver

I loved Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series (even during the trudging years), but when she departed from the dragons and wrote UPROOTED (EBR Review) I admit I didn’t jump on board as quickly as I ought to have. When I did finally read it, I loved it and recommend it to anyone who would listen. I went into SPINNING SILVER with the hope it was just as good, bought it, and carved out holiday me time so I could focus on the anticipated deliciousness–even though it’s been released for over a year (my bad).

It was everything I hoped it would be and more.
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