Reviews and Comments

David Bremner Locked account

Joined 1 year, 5 months ago

computer scientist, mathematician, photographer, human. Debian Developer, Notmuch Maintainer, scuba diver

Much of my "reading" these days is actually audiobooks while walking.

FediMain: is also me. Trying a smaller instance to see if the delays are less maddening.

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Monsters We Defy (2022, Orbit) 5 stars

Washington D. C., 1925

Clara Johnson talks to spirits, a gift that saved her during …

Fascinating view of black DC in the 1920s, along with a decent fantasy novel.

5 stars

First, I really appreciated that this book was not set in NYC, despite the author's initial intentions. NYC is cool and all, but not the only city.

The hero is based on a real young black woman who killed a cop in self defense during the 1919 riots in Washington. That incident is not central to the plot, but it does play an important part in explaining how the protagonist got to be who she is.

The book really centers the black characters, both heroes and villains. In a broader sense it includes a lot of discussion of the divisions of colourism and classism within the black community at that time. The external structural causes (hello white people!) are noted, but people have agency for good and ill.

Politics and history aside, the characters are fun and the plotting solid. If you squint at it the right way it turns …

Swordheart (2018, Argyll Productions) 4 stars

Halla is a housekeeper who has suddenly inherited her great-uncle's estate... and, unfortunately, his relatives. …

Formulaic, but in a good way

4 stars

I think I read somewhere about a panel on "Comfort Fiction" that included T. Kingfisher, and the describes this very well. I think if you have read the Paladin series some of this will feel suspiciously familiar, but at the time it was just what I needed.

Goliath (2022, Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom) 5 stars

In the 2050s, Earth has begun to empty. Those with the means and the privilege …

Sure to be banned in Florida, and probably Tennessee as well.

5 stars

Content warning mild spoilers about story arc

The City Inside (Hardcover, 2022, Tordotcom) 5 stars

“They'd known the end times were coming but hadn’t known they’d be multiple choice.”

Joey …

If this is optimism, I'm not ready for pessemism.

5 stars

In an afterword the author describes the setting as a best case near-future (paraphrasing). I think that means the present is pretty bad.

Anyway, if you're up for contemporary fascism and ubiquitous surveillance, the book is worth reading just for a kind of "uncanny-valley" flavour of India, which is almost like our own contemporary mess, but not quite.

I found myself re-reading the last chapter or so to make sure I understood the ending. Compared to some of the more dramatic plot threads, the ending is a bit subtle.

Paladin's Strength (Hardcover, 2021, Argyll Productions) 4 stars

He’s a paladin of a dead god, tracking a supernatural killer across a continent. She’s …

Fluffy but clever

4 stars

I thought the first book was a bit fantasy-autobiography with the nerdy heroine a stand-in for the author. That was probably silly (and maybe a bit condescending) of me. The characters in this are quite different, and I doubt that both heroines (or some combination of protagonists from both books) can be autobiographical.

Kingfisher's writing oozes cleverness, but in a fairly undemanding way. The romance tropes occasionally verge on the self parody, but I can't swear that isn't intentional.

As a fantasy (in the non-romantic sense), the world building and characterization are rather good.