Review of Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells

30688858Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells. ★★★★

I’m not sure how I found this book, but I’m so glad that I did. It’s a kick ass science fiction story with a great world and two female leads who are both strong in their own way.

Tanegawa’s World is a company planet, controlled by TransRifts Inc, which has a monopoly on interstellar travel. Those blacklisted by the corporation tend to wind up dead. Yet some resist the might of TransRifts. Hob’s a Ghost Wolf, a mercenary biker troop that does what TransRifts won’t. They’ve run under the radar of the corporation, never directly challenging them. Then Hob finds the body of her adopted uncle out in the desert, shot in the back. The reasons are unknown, but the culprit is clear. And worse than that, his daughter and Hob’s best friend, Mags, is missing.

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Review of City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault

34330728City of Strife by Claudie Arseneault. ★★★1/2

Trigger warning: abuse

I picked up City of Strife because I heard it was a second world fantasy that had a lot of aro and ace characters. Turns out the entire main cast is queer!

In the city of Isandor, merchant families vie for power. But a new threat looms… The Myrian Empire aims to expand, and the first step is to conquer the city-state of Isandor. Yet the merchant families will not recognize the threat the Myrian enclave poses. The only one willing to fight the Myrians are the House Dathirii, led by an idealistic young lord. People throughout the city — from the noble’s towers to the slums of the lower city — will find themselves charting the course for Isandor’s future.

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Review of River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

31445891River of Teeth by Sarah Gaiely. ★★★★

River of Teeth is more awesomeness than I thought could ever be packed into one novella. This little book is sheer fun!

I’ve been wanting to read this novella ever since I saw Sarah Gailey’s tweets about the history behind it. Basically, in 1909, America was facing two problems: a meat shortage and invasive plants in the Mississippi. Well, one U.S. congressman had a bright idea. We could import hippos to live in the Mississippi. They’d eat the invasive plants and provide a source of meat. Brilliant, right? The rest of Congress certainly thought so. The motion failed by only one vote. Presumably because someone finally pointed out that hippos are the most dangerous African mega-fauna. But if the vote had gone another way, what would America have been like? River of Teeth is a story of the American Hippo, although set earlier than the real world history that inspired it.

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Review of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

26006537The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss. ★★★★

In The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss mixes together some popular literature of the 19th century (particularly science fiction and horror) with an emphasis on female characters.

The story opens with Mary Jekyll burying her mother. Her mother’s death has left her penniless, and she has no idea what course her life will now take. Then she discovers that her mother paid a monthly sum for the care of “Hyde.” Mary immediately remembers her father’s old associate, who still has a reward out on him for information leading to his capture. She takes the information to London’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his associate Dr. Watson, who are themselves investigating a series of gruesome murders. Mary quickly learns two things. Firstly, “Hyde” is not her father’s old associate but his young and troublesome daughter, Diana. Secondly, the mysteries of her heritage may be bound up in the current murder case.

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Review of Black Wolves by Kate Elliot

20980680Black Wolves by Kate Elliott. ★★★★

Trigger Warning: Rape

This may be my favorite read yet from Kate Elliott, and I have the feeling that this trilogy will become one of my all time epic fantasy series. If non-Western epic fantasy with loads of ladies who do things sounds like something you’d like, then you need to read Black Wolves.

The first hundred pages of Black Wolves introduce many of the central characters, but everything then changes after a forty-four year time skip. King Anjihosh saved the Hundred from demons and conquered it in the process. The story starts with Kellas, a captain of the Black Wolves, the king’s elite unit of soldiers and spies. The king’s son, Atani, learns of a family secret and soon after disappears. Kellas is tasked with his retrieval. The first section ends soon after. In the time skip, Atani both became king and was murdered on one fateful night still shrouded in questions and mysteries. Now Atani’s son is king, and he fears that no one around him can be trusted. His aunt Dannarah enlists a now elderly Kellas to return to safeguard her nephew and his kingdom.

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Review of Wilders by Brenda Cooper

31246586Wilders by Brenda Cooper. ★1/2

Trigger warning: suicide

Reading Wilders was a struggle from the get go. It took me three weeks to finish. I haven’t had this much difficulty forcing myself to finish something since my senior English class read Faulkner. I may take Faulkner over Wilders.

The future is divided between the cities and the unincorporated land outside them, intended to be restored to nature and wilderness. Coryn Williams lives in the megacity of Seacouver but is left orphaned after her parents double suicide. Her sister Lou leaves her behind to become a ranger, working for an NGO on the outside. On her eighteenth birthday, Coryn is determined to reunite with Lou… so she ventures outside her city, accompanied only by her robot Paula.

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Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

60932Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler. ★★★★

Trigger warning: Sexual assault

Parable of the Talents somehow manages to be even darker than the first book, Parable of the Sower. Of course, I knew it’d be dark. Octavia Butler’s work is always intense. But even prepared for it, Parable of the Talents was difficult to read in places.

Like it’s predecessor, Parable of the Talents follows Lauren, a young woman driven by her religious revelations of something she calls Earthseed. At the end of Parable of the Sower, Lauren had formed Acorn, a small community based around Earthseed. Six years later, the world is a less chaotic place than it was during Parable of the Sower. Things are still bad, but they’re bad in a different way. Mobs of arsonists and looters are no longer the main threat to Acorn. The danger is instead in growing religious intolerance and the rise of a far right Christian group, Christian America, that wants to make “America great again.” And by “great,” they mean their type of Christianity.

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