Review of Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

29960675Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller. ★★★1/2

I saw the words “gender fluid assassin” and was sold. I immediately requested an ARC, even though I already had a number of other books to read. Then I saw the back blurb comparing it to Throne of Glass, and I started getting nervous. I hated Throne of Glass. Turns out, I shouldn’t have been worried. Mask of Shadows is way better, and it delivers practically everything I want from a YA fantasy book about a battle of assassins.

Sallot Leon makes a living as a thief, but Sal doesn’t plan on staying a thief forever. They are still haunted by memories of their family and homeland… and the twisted Shadows that destroyed them both. Sal planned on joining the army to try and gain their vengeance, but then they find a flyer announcing that the Queen is holding trials for her new Opal, one of her four most trusted assassins. And Sal spies an opportunity. But it’s not until they’ve already joined the competition that they realize this is a fight to the death.

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Review of Rapture by Kameron Hurley

13575986Rapture by Kameron Hurley. ★★★★

Rapture is a satisfying end to Kameron Hurley’s Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy. If you’re at all a fan of gritty science fiction with world building that examines gender roles or complicated female anti-heroes, you need to pick up the first book, God’s War, right away.

Rapture takes place seven years after Infidel. Nyx has gone into retirement on the coast. She’s living with a friend and her friend’s kids, and she even has a girlfriend. Then, she gets pulled out of retirement to complete one last job. If she does, Fatimah makes it clear that everyone in the life Nyx has built for herself will be killed. The job? Nyx, the killer, must save her old nemesis Raine, now a political leader of the men who’ve returned from the war front. What follows is a long bloody journey that explores the world as never before.

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Review of Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

6567835Hogfather by Terry Pratchett. ★★★★★

Hogfather is the twentieth book in the Discworld series, and the fourth following Death. However, I think it’s one you can probably pick up even if you’ve read none of the others.

In Hogfather, Pratchett satirizes the commercial and secular phenomena of Christmas – namely Santa Claus, who’s Discworld equivalent is the Hogfather, a merry gift giver who arrives on the longest night of the year.

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Review of Yendi by Steven Brust

Horrible 80s cover art…

Yendi by Steven Brust. ★★★

Yendi is set sometime before the events of Jhereg. The books are independent and can be read in any order.

Vlad Taltos, the protagonist and narrator, is a member of House Jhereg, which seems to be the criminal organization of this world. Vlad controls his own area of the city, but another member of House Jhereg starts muscling in. What results is a war between them over territory which comes to be connected to a conspiracy of the highest order.

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Review of Pyramids by Terry Pratchett

Did I mention that I hate the font these covers use?

Pyramids by Terry Pratchett. ★★★1/2

Pyramids is a stand alone and the seventh book in the Discworld series. It’s also always been one of my least favorites. I would recommend starting with Guards! Guards!Going PostalThe Wee Free Men or Small Gods instead.

Teppic was sent off to be trained as an assassin in Ankh-Morpork, but now his father’s dead and he’s the pharaoh of a small river kingdom obsessed with pyramids and the past, Djelibeybi. Obviously, this kingdom is inspired by ancient Egypt.

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Review of Infidel by Kameron Hurley

I love this cover. Just look at the how the light interacts with the cloth and figures…

Infidel by Kameron Hurley. ★★★★

Infidel is the sequel to God’s War and takes place six years after it. I recommend reading God’s War first, but it is not unfeasible to read Infidel without having read God’s War. However, you will have missed out on the world building introduced in the first book and may have difficulty catching up.

From the back cover: “Nyx is a bodyguard in Mustallah, the capital city of Nasheen. The centuries-long holy war between Nasheen and Chenja is taking its toll, with shortages and rationing causing the Queen to lose power and popularity. While protecting the daughter of a Ras Tiegan Diplomat, Nyx is attacked by a group of assassins… Caught up in a whirl-wind of intrigue involving Bel Dam Assassins plotting against the Queen, Nyx must learn who the rouge Bel Dam is… 

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Review of God’s War by Kameron Hurley

I really love the cover design (great movement!), but Rhys looks way too big.

God’s War by Kameron Hurley. ★★★1/2

Opening line: “Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.”

I really liked this one, but a few issues hold it back from being a four star or higher book.

The planet of Umayma has been settled for roughly three thousand years. For the last few centuries, it has been consumed by a holy war between two of its countries. It’s an all consuming sort of war that sucks in the vast majority of young men through a mandatory draft and spits out bodies and scarred survivors.

Nyx is a former bel dame, a government assassin who takes the heads off deserters. She is mostly focused on her own survival, but when aliens come to Umayma claiming to be able to end the war, Nyx becomes wrapped up in something she never expected.

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