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Review of The Road to Woop Woop, and Other Stories, by Eugen Bacon

I received a copy of Eugen Bacon‘s The Road to Woop Woop, and Other Stories from the publisher.

Description from Goodreads:

The Road to Woop Woop is a lush collection of literary speculative stories that lauds the untraditional, the extraordinary, the strange, the peculiar, the unusual that exist within and on the borders of normalcy. These tales refuse to be easily categorized, and that’s a good thing: they are dirges that cross genres in astounding ways.

Over 20 provocative tales, with seven original to this collection, and previous works, including: “A Pining,” shortlisted, Bridport Prize; “A Case of Seeing,” honorable mention, Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Award; “Mahuika,” highly commended, Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) National Literary Awards; “Swimming with Daddy,” shortlisted, Alan Marshall Short Story Prize.


Whenever I review short stories I often preface it with the fact that short form isn’t really my jam. I read it on occasion for various reasons, but it isn’t my first love. I tell people this so that they can take it into account when deciding how much credence to give my particular review.

Having said all that, I think Bacon’s stories were interesting and the writing was lyrical. I thought the collection thought-provoking and emotionally charged. There were times I wasn’t entirely certain what was happening or if I’d wholly grokked the underlying meaning of the piece, but I enjoyed most of them.

Book Review of The Wounded Ones, by G. D. Penman

I received an e-copy of The Wounded Ones (Witch of Empire #2) by G.D. Penman through Netgalley. You can find my review of The Year of the Knife, book one of this series, here.

Description from Goodreads:

Demons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumours of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse.

Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that seems to be trying to court her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of this war in one piece.


It took me a while to get into this book, which worried me a little. It’s been a while since I read book one, but I remembered liking it. So, I worried I was going to be disappointed when I didn’t immediately love this one. But I stuck with it and it paid off.

Once the action starts rollicking along it doesn’t stop. Mostly though, I love Sully. She’s just the sort of sarcastic, kick-ass broad I like to read about. I did think all the fighting got a little tedious and she does have a pretty serious case of unkillable. It reduces the tension of a book somewhat, knowing she’ll suicidally throw herself into danger but miraculously survive every time (often without any apparent emotional scarring). I also thought Marie was reduced to a mere plot device here, which was a shame.

Overall, however, I enjoyed this and look forward to more. And there must be more because this one ended with a pretty big loose end.

Review of The Year of the Knife, by G.D. Penman

I received a copy of G.D. Penman‘s The Year of the Knife from the author.

Description from Goodreads:
Agent “Sully” Sullivan is one of the top cops in the Imperial Bureau of Investigation. A veteran witch of the British Empire who isn’t afraid to use her magical skills to crack a case. But Sully might need more than a good education and raw power to stop the string of grisly murders that have been springing up across the American Colonies. Every one of them marked by the same chilling calling card, a warning in the form of a legion of voices screaming out through the killers’ mouths: “It IS tHe YEAr oF the KNife.”

Sully’s investigation will drag her away from the comforts of home in New Amsterdam, the beautiful but useless hyacinth macaw that used to be her boss, and the loving arms of her undead girlfriend, in a thrilling race against time, demonic forces and a shadowy conspiracy that will do anything to keep its hold on power and ensure that Sully takes their secrets to her grave, as soon as possible.

Generally really enjoyable. There is some good humor and the writing is fun. I liked the cast of characters and the little bit of softness Sully shows when it comes to Marie. Which is especially notable because the book does suffer a bit from tough woman must be tough syndrome. By this I mean the common occurrence where authors want to make a woman seem strong and capable, so they make her overly violent and prickly. Gleeful violence is Sully’s first response to everything and it leaves her a little hard to relate too.

Certain aspects of the book confused me. I never wholly got my head around the political and geographic landscape that the story occurs in, and the confines of the magic system are vague. So, I never understood the limitations of what is or isn’t possible.

All in all, however I really liked The Year of the Knife and look forward to more.