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Book Review

Artemis by Andy Weir

Artemis by Andy Weir

The global success of The Martian and its subsequent film adaptation, catapulted Andy Weir into the public eye. Whatever he chose to write next was always going to draw attention.

Set in our near future, Artemis is the story of Jazz Bashara, a young girl living on the moon. Struggling to make a life for herself, Jazz becomes embroiled in a criminal sabotage operation, placing herself, her friends and the whole colony in peril. Her experiences teach her more than she might ever want ...

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review written by Allen Stroud on Wednesday 17th January 2018
Book Review

Blackbird by ND Gomes

Blackbird by ND Gomes

It’s New Year’s Eve when the beloved and popular Olivia goes missing on the Orkney island that was her home. Of all her friends and family, it’s her little sister Alex, who takes it the hardest.

Blackbird is the claustrophobic account of Alex’s life immediately following her sister’s disappearance. Her search for answers, the reasons behind those she finds and her journey at the hands of grief are all depicted in excruciating first–person detail.

It’s an imp...

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review written by Alice Wybrew on Sunday 31st December 2017
Book Review

Blade Bound by Chloe Neill

Blade Bound by Chloe Neill

Blade Bound is the final instalment of Chloe Neill’s urban fantasy Chicagoland Vampire series.  It can be read as a standalone novel, but I recommend you start earlier in the series to get full enjoyment, reading them in reverse order will result in significant plot spoilers. 

The protagonist, Merit, is the Sentinel and protector of Cadogan House, a house of Vampires, perhaps reminiscent of a college in the UK or fraternity house in the US, but with daylight shutters and bags of...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Saturday 16th December 2017
Book Review

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi

Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi

Zoe’s Tale is one of the Old Man War series of books by John Scalzi and covers the same time period and events as The Last Colony, (the previous book in the series) but from a different character’s perspective.  Despite this, it can be read as a standalone novel. 

Zoe is moving to a new colony with her adopted family. She’s not an ordinary girl by our standards or by those of her peers.Zoe’s unique circumstances mean that she takes with her two alien bodyguards and the ho...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Wednesday 13th December 2017
Book Review

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

In short, this is a story set in a fantasy version of European renaissance including trade, religion and politics. You can draw parallels between different countries and religions in the book to real world versions of the same. 

But simply describing a book in this way is somewhat lazy and misses the author’s intention. 

The story is grounded in and inspired by real world history and culture, which gives colour to the story, so places and people seem familiar to the re...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Sunday 10th December 2017
Book Review

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby

Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby

Paul Kidby was Pratchett's artist of choice and once described his lively, colourful illustrations as:

The closest anyone's got to how I see the characters

He's been drawing Discworld for over fifteen years, including the superbly illustrated Last Hero, not to mention The Art of Discworld and Terry Pratchett's Discworld Colouring Book. Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium collects the finest of his discworld illustrations, including 40 pieces tha...

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review written by Ant on Friday 8th December 2017
Book Review

And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken by Kiersten White

This book, by Kiersten White, is a gender flipped historically based story of the early life of Vlad the Impaler or in this case, Lada  Dracul.

White takes the bones of the historical accounts and layers it with a rich imaginings of characters and quirks, to give the reader some insight into a belivable character that could have inspired the stories that followed. 

The gender flip is imbedded from the start, the character has all the nuances of a little girl, with many o...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Thursday 7th December 2017
Book Review

The Bastard Legion by Gavin Smith

The Bastard Legion by Gavin Smith

The Bastard Legion is the latest Military Science Fiction from Gavin Smith, very much in the style of his earlier book Veteran and its sequel War in Heaven, although not connected in terms of plot or characters. 

Smith’s hard hitting protagonist is Miska Corbin, a thief and hacker who steals a prison ship full of dangerous criminals to facilitate her new commercial concept or perhaps to fill the aching void in her life left by the her father’s death. 

Needless to say...

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review written by Karen Fishwick on Wednesday 29th November 2017
Book Review

Austral by Paul McAuley

Austral by Paul McAuley

Paul McAuley is a vastly under-appreciated author. His books are inspiring, hypnotic and inventive. Austral is all of these and more, a book set in a plausible, climate-changed future where the planet has a new continent with a partial thawing of the Antarctic. There are still vast vistas of ice but there's also large expanses of grass and trees and other flora.

The planet isn't the only thing that's changed, people have too - or at least some. Experiments in genetic eng...

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review written by Ant on Tuesday 28th November 2017
Book Review

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Strange Weather by Joe Hill

Strange Weather contains four stories that are subtly linked; each different in theme and style. They are tied together, as you might expect from the title, by some pretty unusual weather.

The book begins in 1988 with "Snapshot" which describes 13 year old Michael Figlione living in the Silicon Valley area. He discovers a character known as "The Phoenician", an odd, creepy, tattoo'ed guy taking polaroids of people with a very strange camera. Set in the 80's, for anyone wh...

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review written by Ant on Monday 27th November 2017
Book Review

Case of the Bedevilled Poet: A Sherlock Holmes Enigma by Simon Clark

Case of the Bedevilled Poet: A Sherlock Holmes Enigma by Simon Clark

Newcon Press’ second novella series continues with Simon Clark’s story, set in the middle of the London Blitz. The title gives away the nature of what we are to expect – a Sherlock Holmes story, occurring in the twilight years of Baker Street’s favourite detective.

During the 1940s, Jack Crofton, a poet and screenwriter is struggling to survive and make a life amidst the ruins of the city around him. He has a good friend in Bill Tulley and has found a girl he likes, an actre...

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review written by Allen Stroud on Thursday 23rd November 2017
Book Review

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

The best thing about Amanda Foody’s debut lies in the title itself. Her ‘Burning City’ is an immersive, sensory experience that rivets from the very first page. The smoke from her traveling circus wafts off the page, the dirt and ash from the trodden ground almost tangible on the tongue. The ‘freaks’ that adorn the main stage of her Gomorrah Festival are so gaudy and rich that no space is left in the imagination for error. It’s an engulfing and curious experience.

But a ...

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review written by Alice Wybrew on Monday 20th November 2017
Book Review

Body in the Woods by Sarah Lotz

Body in the Woods by Sarah Lotz

Newcon Press’ second novella series continues with Body in the Woods by Sarah Lotz.

This book is perhaps the least fantastical of the set. The story is in first person, our narrator is Claire, a single mother who has recently moved into a remote house that backs on to a swathe of woodland. One night, there’s a knock at the door. She answers, to find Dean, an old family friend, standing there and asking for her help.  Together, they bury a body in the woods and Dean disappears.<...

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review written by Allen Stroud on Thursday 16th November 2017
Book Review

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood

My second review of the Newcon Press Novella series released in Autumn 2017. This is a set of four stories. The Wind by Jay Caselberg, Cottingley by Alison Littlewood, Body in the Woods by Sarah Lotz and Case of the Bedeviled Poet A Sherlock Holmes Enigma, by Simon Clark.

Cottingley by Alison Littlewood picks up a tangential thread from the famous fairy mystery surrounding photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths that became known as the Cottingley Faeries. Littlewoo...

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review written by Allen Stroud on Monday 13th November 2017

Science fiction, fantasy & horror book reviews

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