Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

This story could not have come at a more important time.  Given current politics, it is important to remember our history.  It is important to not repeat our actions in wars past.
Heather Morris takes this story and weaves it in a heart wrenching way.  This is the only book outside of The Diary of Anne Frank that reminds us that real people were affected by this.  That real people died.  And continue to do so as a result of a modern crusade.  This book is important because we need to put names on tragedies to understand them.  We need to see faces to understand death.
Lale is a man who may have been hated for cooperating.  He was trying to survive, to ensure his lover survived.  That strength of love, the power in love that grew under the worst possible circumstances saved them both.
Brilliantly told adaptation by Morris.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Clockwork Angels

This is the first time I’ve ever read a novelization of a music album, and it does not disappoint.  Neil Peart of the band Rush wrote the album Clockwork Angels with each track being a characterization or expression of an idea or experience in this steampunk world.  It’s told in third person in the perspective of Owen, a young man who dreams and imagines.  He’s tired of his small town life and jumps a train to adventure.  He falls in love, travels, explores, and learns about the world and his place in it.  While he thought it was all for the best and didn’t have a design for himself, the leader of Utopian Albion, the Watchmaker and his rival, the Anarchist were manipulating him to their own ends.
The story told is written by Owen as a grandfather, telling his family about all of his adventures, and watching over his own piece of paradise far away from the Watchmaker or the Anarchist.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Clockwork Lives

In this steampunk adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart create a world rich with character and adventure.
While the primary narration is told in the third person following Merinda Peake’s journey to fill her book with stories, the individual tales are told in the first person.  This is an unusual, but intelligent way to let the stories grow.  The characters become more real.  It’s not a book you can easily put down.
While this is the second book in the Clockwork Angels series, it does stand alone easily supported by the depth of characters whose stories are collected.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  Left me wanting more.

The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

In this first Novel of the Praxis, Walter Jon Williams beautifully builds the society, characters, family structure without sinking too far into significant “info dumps” that often lose a reader.  This story falls comfortably into the genre of science fiction epic, stylistically reminiscent of Star Wars.  While it’s a bit more linear than Tolkien, The Accidental War can sit proudly next to the Epics of Middle Earth as well.
While this is not the first book in this world created by Williams, it’s my first reading of his work.  Williams utilizes third person limited POV to weave a tale of political intrigue, action, and privilege.
He establishes his main characters early, building the society and politics around them and their relationships with each other and with the minor characters rather than planting them in an established world.  The growth when done this way, is more organic and centered on characters more than thematic and genre elements.  This is what will make The Accidental War stand out from other sci-fi.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

In this third person epic fantasy novel, Isle of Blood and Stone, Lucier speaks to a reader’s sense of wanderlust and curiosity.  It’s unique in that while Elias is an adventurer, geographer, and mapmaker, the actual story takes place in his home, St. John del Mar. 
Elias returns from a months long journey to find himself thrust into a mystery with personal and political repercussions.  The author sticks to Elias in her narration which is perfect for the story told, and until more than half way through the book, leaves romance out of the story entirely.  The way she gets the romance in is entirely organic and works for this story without weakening or altering the original goals of the characters.
I truly enjoyed this fun other-world mystery and look forward to more by Lucier in future.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien

This is the third book I’ve read by Caragh O’Brien and the start of a dystopia trilogy.  It’s definitely in a different vein from her Vault of Dreamers books, but still has an addictive story and amazing protagonist.  Written in third person, this character driven story is a steady jog into the future.
What sets this apart from most other dystopias is the ambiguity of the conflicting groups.  The reader can easily side with the protagonist or the institution she’s trying to escape, to a certain degree.  It’s completely addictive and I can’t wait to read more.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Invisible Library

The Invisible Library is Genevieve Cogman’s debut and the opening of a new series in fantasy.  Told in the third person with a focus on Irene, a Junior Librarian sent to retrieve a specific iteration of Grimm’s fairy tales.
Shuttling between alternate dimensions, Irene and other Librarians are bound to protect individual works of fiction by collecting them to a secret library that rests between all the dimensions available.  This work reeled me in almost immediately, as it would for any bibliophile or fantasy aficionado.  Cogman uses distinct and intelligent language without putting comprehension beyond the reader’s grasp.
Evocative of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and The Dresden Files stylistically, The Invisible Library is adventurous, magical, and fun.  I sincerely look forward to the next book in the series.