Review: Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Colin Meloy
Balzer and Bray, 2011

Wildwood is the debut novel of Colin Meloy, better known as the singer/songwriter of The Decemberists. Aimed at older children Wildwood is similar in many ways to C. S. Lewis’ Narnia books but with several twists all its own. Prue McKeel lives in Portland where the maps mark an Impassable Wilderness at the edge of the city. This is fact Prue has come to live with, and mostly ignore, until the day the crows come a snatch her baby brother. With that act Prue sets forth into that Impassable Wilderness, called The Wildwood by its inhabitants, to find her baby brother and rescue him by any means necessary.

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Review: Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan

Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan
Wintertide by Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan
Ridan Publishing, 2010 (to be republished in The Heir of Novron by Orbit Books in 2012)

Wintertide is the penultimate volume of Michael J. Sullivan’s The Riyria Revelations, out of print as a single volume (thankfully provided to me for review by Robin Sullivan) it will be available alongside Percepliquis as The Heir of Novron next month. The events of Wintertide spawn directly out of The Emerald Storm with Royce and Hadrian having finally tracked down Degan Gaunt, the supposed Heir of Novron (I remain a sceptic) to the capital city of the Novron Empire where he has been captured and is awaiting trial. Also in the city, the damaged Empress is awaiting her marriage and the Princess of Melengar, Arista is also awaiting execution. To make matters worse it turns out that Melengar is under seige by the Imperial army and isn’t doing so well. It is this revelation that prompts one of the greatest mistakes any group of heroes can make: they split the party. Royce heads back to Melengar to check on his lover Gwen leaving Hadrian to extract Gaunt on his own.

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Review: Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rosemary and Rue (October Day #1)
Seanan McGuire
DAW, 2009

I have a soft spot for urban fantasy. Plucky heroines, luckless detectives, murder, magic, and mayhem. When an urban fantasy is done right, when an author manages to blend our own mundane reality with other realities both strange and magical it is a wonderful experience that, long after the book is closed, will leave you looking askance at your everyday life. So yeah, I might scoff at the tramp-stamp be-speckled covers, I might groan at the paranormal romance plots that suffuse the genre but at the end of the day I’m still going to read the book and, even if I wouldn’t want to admit it, I’ll probably enjoy it. So when I heard good things about Seanan McGuire’s October Day novels I decided that it was worth a shot and nabbed a copy of the Rosemary and Rue via with bonus benefit being that it was read by Mary Robinette Kowal (an accomplished editor and author in her own right).

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Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book
Neil Gaiman
HarperFestival, 2008 (audiobook edition)

A children’s book for adults? An adult book for children? A children’s book with some mature themes? It is difficult to describe precisely where Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book falls with regards to audience. Truth is it is one of those rare volumes that defies any one particular label. It is one of those books I feel like parent and child should experience together. The Graveyard Book is a bildungsroman very much in the tradition of Dickens. The young boy whose family is murdered is adopted by the ghosts of a nearby graveyard, christened Nobody Owens (or Bod to his friends), and raised by this strange new family. Nobody is looked after by someone who may or may not be a vampire, taught by a werewolf (or Hound of God), and even dance with the Pale Lady herself.

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Review: The Native Star by M. K. Hobson

The Native Star by M. K. Hobson
The Native Star by M. K. Hobson

The Native Star
M. K. Hobson
Spectra, 2010
As I’ve said in the past I’m a bit of a sucker for tales of the “weird west.” So it shouldn’t much of a surprise to note that I picked up and listened to the audiobook version of M. K. Hobson’s The Native Star. Set in Reconstruction Era America The Native Star,the first in the series of the same, follows small town witch Emily Edwards. The novel opens with Emily, desperate to take care of her mentor and adoptive father, placing a love charm on a local businessman. This desperate act sends Emily on a path that unites her with titular artifact and attaches her to the mannered and formally trained warlock Dreadnaught Stanton. The novel follows Emily and Dreadnaught as they attempt to understand the mystery of the Native Star.

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Review: Predatory Instinct by Michael McBride

Predatory Instinct by Michael McBride
Predatory Instinct by Michael McBride

Predatory Instinct
Michael McBride
Delirium Books, 2011

Back in October I was looking for some lesser known horror to read when I stumbled upon Michael McBride’s Predatory Instinct. The premise: scientists discover a heretofore unknown “proto-human ancestor” that is not-so-extinct. Said discovery is captured by a power-hungry head of a Blackwater like mercenary company but of course things go wrong and the creature escapes to the streets of Seattle where it is up to Elena Sturm of the Seattle PD and Grey Porter of the FBI to track the creature down. What ensues is a by-the-numbers creature novel that shows brief flairs of originality but never manages to rise above its cookie-cutter characters.

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