Tag Archives: fantasy

Review of New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear

I bought a copy of Elizabeth Bear‘s New Amsterdam.

Description from Goodreads:
Abigail Irene Garrett drinks too much. She makes scandalous liaisons with inappropriate men, and if in her youth she was a famous beauty, now she is both formidable and notorious! She is a forensic sorceress, and a dedicated officer of a Crown that does not deserve her loyalty. Sebastien de Ulloa is the oldest creature she has ever known. He has forgotten his birth-name, his birth-place, and even the year in which he was born, if he ever knew it. But he still remembers the woman who made him immortal. In a world where the sun never sets on the British Empire, where Holland finally ceded New Amsterdam to the English only during the Napoleonic wars, and where the expansion of the American colonies was halted by the war magic of the Iroquois, they are exiles in the new world – and its only hope for justice!

Review:
This is a hard book to review. The writing is lovely, as are the characters. But I find I didn’t like it much, because it wasn’t what I wanted it to be and I completely disliked the ending. How do you separate that out and be objective in the rating of a book? I don’t know that I can. So, I’ll just reiterate, the writing is lovely, as are the characters.

Review of Witch Inheritance (Mackenzie Coven Mystery #1), by Sonia Parin

I downloaded a copy of Sonia Parin‘s Witch Inheritance from Amazon, as a freebie.

Description from Goodreads:
Lexie’s birthday has caught up with her, as have her cousins, Mirabelle Louisa Mackenzie – High Chair of the British Isles and all Circumferential Domains Pertaining to the Mackenzie Coven – and Catherine Marianna Mackenzie, her down under cousin (If she has a title, she’s not telling her). They’ve been sent to remind Lexie of her family obligations and also to give her a birthday gift. The type she can’t return, refuse or exchange. It’s her heritage and it comes with a job she didn’t even apply for. It’s actually more a way of life than a career and it comes with a snazzy new outfit only her cousins can see. Thank goodness for that…

Not surprisingly, Mirabelle and Catherine Mackenzie are short on details and time to explain. In fact, Lexie has less than two days to brush up on her skills and fly to England… at the blink of an eye. The Mackenzie Coven has been enlisted to assist with a rising concern at House St James. It comes in the shape of an inky black fog Lexie calls the menace. It might not be in corporeal form, but it’s somehow managed to murder one St James family member. Now it’s Lexie’s job to make sure it doesn’t strike again, but she’s fallen under a spell. Suddenly she’s tearing off her beloved denim jeans and Rock Hard t-shirt and donning bespoke designer dresses and sipping ‘delish’ champagne. Even her accent has changed and her cousins can’t do anything about it because a covenant prohibits all three Mackenzie Coven witches from gathering in the house together. They must somehow circumvent the seal and guide Lexie through her first official task as a Mackenzie Coven witch and find the murderer before all the heirs meet their end…

Review:
That was…..that was a decent outline of the dialogue for a future book. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like it was then fleshed out into an actual novel (or even a novella). It is literally like 80% dialogue, with no world or character building. The reader is dropped into the middle, characters appear and aren’t introduced or explained, the plot make no sense and the narration is cheesy. I mean, the villainous evil is called the “inky black fog.” And while I sense this was meant to be humorous, it wasn’t. Then the climax arrived abruptly and the book ended on a cliffhanger. I will not be continuing the series.

Review of the Mad Hatters and March Hares Anthology

I won a copy of Mad Hatters and March Hares through Goodreads.

Description:
From master anthologist Ellen Datlow comes an all-original of weird tales inspired by the strangeness of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.

Between the hallucinogenic, weird, imaginative wordplay and the brilliant mathematical puzzles and social satire, Alice has been read, enjoyed, and savored by every generation since its publication. Datlow asked eighteen of the most brilliant and acclaimed writers working today to dream up stories inspired by all the strange events and surreal characters found in Wonderland.

Featuring stories and poems from Seanan McGuire, Jane Yolen, Catherynne M. Valente, Delia Sherman, Genevieve Valentine, Priya Sharma, Stephen Graham Jones, Richard Bowes, Jeffrey Ford, Angela Slatter, Andy Duncan, C.S.E. Cooney, Matthew Kressel, Kris Dikeman, Jane Yolen, Kaaron Warren, Ysbeau Wilce, and Katherine Vaz.

Review:
I think it took me a decade to listen to all of these stories. Like most anthologies, I liked some of them quite a lot and others not so much. Some seemed to just take the excuse of being about wonderland to dash non-sense on a page and call it ‘artistic.’ The narrators did a lovely job though. I thought the male narrator (Summerer) was the better of the two.