Tag Archives: Tor.com

the border keeper

Book Review: The Border Keeper, by Kerstin Hall

I borrowed a copy of Kerstin Hall‘s The Border Keeper from the local library.
the border keeper

She lived where the railway tracks met the saltpan, on the Ahri side of the shadowline. In the old days, when people still talked about her, she was known as the end-of-the-line woman.

Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, comes to seek a favor from a woman who is not what she seems, and must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.

The Border Keeper spins wonders both epic—the Byzantine bureaucracy of hundreds of demon realms, impossible oceans, hidden fortresses—and devastatingly personal—a spear flung straight, the profound terror and power of motherhood. What Vasethe discovers in Mkalis threatens to bring his own secrets into light and throw both worlds into chaos.

my review

Really marvelous. Spare in language, but rich in content. Circular in a really satisfying way. And have you seen that cover? So many little details that mean nothing until you read the book and realize they mean a lot. I would have been happy with it as a stand-alone. But now that I know there is a sequel coming out I’ll be waiting impatiently.

the border keeper

gideon the ninth, harrow the ninth

Book Review: Gideon the Ninth & Harrow the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

I’ve been on the library waiting list to borrow Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir, for a while. My turn finally came and I got to read it. Once I finished it, I put myself right on the waiting list for Harrow the Ninth, expecting to wait another several weeks. But ended up getting the notice it was available later that same night!

gideon the ninth

Description from Goodreads:

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

my reviewIt took me a while to sink into Gideon the Ninth. I was confused for most of the first chapters; it does kind of just drop you in it. However, once I caught on, I really enjoyed it. Gideon is such a character and I loved her. Harrow is a flaming bitch queen for most of the book, but did manage to redeem herself in my eyes by the end. And I enjoyed most of the side characters and the mystery. However, the end…THE END. I am so not OK with the ending! But I can’t wait to read book two.

gideon the ninth

Harrow the ninthDescription from Goodreads:

She answered the Emperor’s call.

She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.

In victory, her world has turned to ash.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her.

Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?

my review

It took a long time to get into this look—even longer than in book one, which took a while. I think it was a full 25% before I had any idea what was going on. To be fair, neither did Harrow and that’s sort of the point. But a quarter of an almost 500 page book is a long time to be confused (and without Gideon). However, I stuck with because I so enjoyed book one. And once it all finally did start making sense…or a sense of sorts, I really did enjoy it. I just love the snarky sarcasm in both the dialogue and the narrative. I’ll definitely be looking for book three.

harrow the ninth

remote control

Book Review: Remote Control, by Nnedi Okorafor

I borrowed and audio copy of Nnedi Okorafora‘s Remote Control from the local library.
remote control nnedi okorafor

“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death. Beware of her. Mind her. Death guards her like one of its own.”

The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­—a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.

Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks—alone, except for her fox companion—searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.

But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?

my review

I quite enjoyed this piece of Africanfuturism*. It has a near-future, Ghanian setting that is alive and real to the reader. The writing is sharp and visceral and the narrator brought it to life well. The main character, Fatima/Sankofa is marvelous to spend time with as she becomes a living myth. All in all, I seem to have no real complaints. It’s a short little thing, so I guess it gets a short, little review

remote control

*I have been using the wrong term and was corrected. I’ve learned something today, Afrofuturism vs Africanfuturism and I apologize to Dr. Okorafora for having gotten it wrong. She’s apparently spoken widely about this distinction.