Review: Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey

Caliban's War by James S. A. Corey
Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey

Caliban’s War (The Expanse)
James S. A. Corey
Orbit, 2012

I was a big fan of 2011’s Leviathan Wakes from duo known collectively as James S. A. Corey and was extraordinarily excited to get started with the sequel Caliban’s War. Picking up not too long after the events of Leviathan Wakes, in Caliban’s War the alien protomolecule has taken up residence on Venus and watching from a distance humanity watches with fear in trepidation as the incomprehensible lifeform seemingly bides its time building something. The fragile peace of the solar system is shattered as fighting between Earth and Martian forces seemingly breaks out on the moon Ganymede prompted by the violent revelation that the protomolecule is not as contained on Venus as everyone had thought. Fearing the worst Jim Holden and his crew aboard the Rocinante fly off towards Ganymede to investigate.

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Review: Unclean Spirits by M. L. N. Hanover

Unclean Spirits by MLN Hanover
Unclean Spirits by MLN Hanover

Unclean Spirits
M. L. N. Hanover (Daniel Abraham)
Pocket Books, 2009

Unclean Spirits by M. L. N. Hanover, a pen name for one of my favorite authors Daniel Abraham, is the first in urban fantasy series the Black Sun’s Daughter. While I didn’t have any major trouble reading Unclean Spirits it is a far cry from other works by Abraham. It stands head and shoulders above other urban fantasy books I’ve read, and its excellent pacing and smooth prose makes Unclean Spirits a quick read.

Unclean Spirits opens with the troubled 22 year-old Jayné Heller arriving in Denver as the inheritor of her uncle’s estate. Of course there was more, much more, to her uncle than Jayné ever expected and she soon finds herself dealing with the sinister Randolph Coin; the same man who orchestrated her uncle’s death. Turns out Eric and those he knew dealt with some of the nasty things that jump into our world from elsewhere. It isn’t long before Jayné takes up her uncle’s quest; mostly in the name of vengeance for the man who helped her throughout her life.

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Review: Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey

Leviathan Wakes
James S.A. Corey
Orbit, 2011

When I finally purchased The Dragon’s Path on my e-reader of choice I was pleasantly surprised (that is an egregious understatement) to note that it included a free advance copy of Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (aka Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck). Advance advance buzz, the bare whisperings often heard by those of us who stalk books on the web, was that this was going to be old school type space opera. Of course the truth is even better because not only is this old school space opera but it is also a little bit hardboiled detective fiction. Believe it or not but for this reader things only got better from there.

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Review: The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

The Dragon's Path
The Dragon's Path

The Dragon’s Path
Daniel Abraham
Orbit, 2011

Daniel Abraham is the author of the Long Price Quartet (of which I have one volume left to read) one of the most underrated, under-promoted, and just plain under-read series to have seen publication. Thankfully Abraham is back at it again, this time for the folks over at Orbit, a new book in a new series. The Dragon’s Path marks the first opening of The Dagger and Coin series a somewhat more traditional epic fantasy when compared to Abraham’s previous work.

The Dragon’s Path follows four main characters Marcus, Cithrin, Dawson, and Geder. Marcus, a war-hero turned merchant guard struggles with the memories of his past while attempted to forge a future. Cithrin, an orphaned girl raised by a bank seeks to define herself through action. Geder, a nobleman’s son raised far from the seat of political action suddenly finds himself thrust into the midst of his nation’s politics while Dawson is an old guard nobleman struggling against the rising younger nobles. Each of these characters are on a journey of self-discovery and the novel spends a lot of time carefully exploring who each of these characters really is. Of course, those explorations have ramifications far beyond our character’s personal spheres.

I tried to be as spoiler free as possible, be warned!

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Review: An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham

An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham
An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham

An Autumn War
Daniel Abraham
Tor, 2008

It has been over a year since I read the first two entries in Daniel Abraham’s Long Prince Quartet. Both A Shadow In Summer and A Betrayal In Winter are subtle, complex novels light on action but high on character in world that is wonderfully complex and refreshingly different from your everyday fantasy world. While each of the previous novels have primarily been about several deftly drawn characters and their personal relationships each novel has grown increasingly involved with examining how these characters’ actions affect the world at large. As in the previous two novels Otah and Maati remain central characters and it is the ripple of their actions in the previous two books that play an integral role in the threat unveiled in An Autumn War.  Some spoilers from the previous two books ahead (no more than what you’ll get if you read the jacket though).

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Review: A Betrayal In Winter by Daniel Abraham

A Betrayal In Winter by Daniel Abraham
A Betrayal In Winter by Daniel Abraham

A Betrayal In Winter
Daniel Abraham
Tor, 2008 (mmpb)

A Betrayal In Winter is the second book in Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet and is set fifteen years after the events of A Shadow In Summer.  A Betrayal In Winter is, if anything, a text book example of how to write a politic heavy novel in a fantasy culture.  While A Betrayal In Winter doesn’t chance the “slow burn” pacing Abraham employed in A  Shadow In Summer the familiar characters made it much easier for me to settle into the book and the new characters were complex, brilliantly drawn, and familiar enough that I found myself looking forward to their chapters/pov as much as Itani and Matti.

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Review: A Shadow In Summer by Daniel Abraham

A Shadow In Summer by Daniel Abraham
A Shadow In Summer by Daniel Abraham

A Shadow In Summer
Daniel Abraham
Tor, 2007 (mmpb)

I’ll confess that A Shadow In Summer is a book I started once before and just couldn’t get into.  While the series has been well received by readers it has largely remained below the radar despite its solid reviews.  While I certainly had my own difficulties in getting through the book, particularly the first hundred pages or so, in the end I found it quite a satisfying read and I plan on continuing on with A Betrayal In Winter within the next few weeks.

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