I think I’m going to start a category of ‘things I read lately’ where I’ll talk about things I’ve read and what I liked about them. I’m not going to talk about stuff I didn’t like, because that sort of negativity doesn’t help anyone. Everyone likes different things, and if me saying I didn’t like something keeps you from checking it out, I may have helped you rob yourself of a great experience. These aren’t really reviews, because I’m not going to go into detail and rip them apart or talk about themes and such; I’m just going to summarize and say why I liked them. So, without further ado:
Promise of Blood, a Powder Mage novel by Brian McClellan. This sizable novel is an epic fantasy set in a flintlock fantasy world with Powder Mages who can do cool stuff with gun powder, Knacked who can do low-level magicky things like go without sleep forever, and Privileged who are straight up magic wielding bad-asses. It centers around a small cast who are well developed, follows some well though-out political intrigue, and throws in some deities stirring things up, to really create a mess. A fun read, that I recommend. The rest of the trilogy is forthcoming, and in the meantime Brian has some short-stories on his website you can buy for your e-reader. I reviewed one of them here.
The Darwin Elevator, first of the Dire Earth Cycle by Jason Hough. For one reason or another, I spent the whole time reading this thinking it was an Angry Robot book, which has nothing to do with how good or bad it was, I was just surprised when I looked on the spine and saw Del Rey/Spectra there. For clarity, I have nothing against either publisher, in fact, the folks at Angry Robot are extremely nice people, and their books are top-notch. Moving forward. Darwin Elevator follows Skyler Luiken (did I spell that right? I’m not sure), a smuggler of some renown, as he tried to save the remnants of humanity from a nasty disease called SUBS that has generally made the Earth a shithole. The only safe-haven for people is a space elevator that some aliens sent to Darwin Australia that keeps the disease from advancing while you’re near it. Jason does the infected zombie thing well, giving the disease enough of a uniqueness that I don’t just think ‘ugh, really, zombies?’ The characters, story, and conflict are well built, which helps, because he isn’t just relying on the existence of zombies to create the plot. They are A problem, not THE ONLY problem. As I said before, this is the first book in the Dire Earth Cycle. I think the last installment just dropped last week. We should look into these.
What I’m working on next: I’m currently in the middle of the audiobook version of The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett, and I have started on John Horner Jacobs’ short story collection Fierce as the Grave, which is also very good and currently on sale for 99 cents in the Kindle Store. I’m on a bit of a horror kick, I guess.