I just finished reading Manners and Mutiny, the fourth and final book in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series, which charts the education of Sophronia through her years aboard a floating school for young women intelligencers (spies). Set in the same world as Gail’s The Parasol Protectorate series and the Custard Protocol series, and before either, Finishing School is a YA (young adult) series every bit as wickedly intelligent and fun as her adult novels.
1—Manners Made Interesting
When fourteen-year-old tomboy Sophronia Temminnick learns she’s being sent away to finishing school, she’s horrified. But the lessons at Madamoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality are far from ordinary. Flower arranging is done with as much care to concealment as to beauty. Perfume is used for blinding the eyes as well as enticing the nose. And when choosing a dress, one must consider the event, the current styles, and if the fabric will show bloodstains. Continue reading “The Finishing School Series—Stylish Steampunk Espionage”→
The world needs more ass-kicking librarians and this novel by Jim C. Hines delivers. The first book in the Magic ex Libris series, Libriomancer is the first-person perspective adventure of Isaac Vainio, a disgraced and exiled Porter. He used a Martian death ray to burn down a house and barn and the people in it, so now he’s a librarian, stuck cataloging books and their dangers/uses for other active Porters. At least for the first few pages. Continue reading “Libriomancer—Another Kick Ass Librarian”→
One of my favorite things about Young Adult novels is that they often aren’t as bound to tropes as adult books are…adult in the sense of for adults, not in the sense of X-rated. Just to be clear. Anyways. Doll Bones by Holly Black, who also cowrote the Spiderwick Chronicles, is creepy as fuck—um, hell. Creepy as hell. So let’s start with that.
1—Quiet Dread and the Unquiet Dead
Ms Black creates a pervasive sense of unquiet through this novel, starting on page one. Zach, our viewpoint character, and his two best friends Poppy and Alice, live in a slowly dying small town. Each of their lives are out of their control—a fact not just of childhood but observed in those of the adults around them. The fear of growing up to be just as weary and beaten down as the adults in their lives underlies the more overt horror of the Queen—a doll that seems all too alive.
Despite cringing at the use of the word “till” instead of the shortening of “until”—’til—I sat down a few nights ago intending to watch just one episode of From Dusk till (cringes) Dawn: the Series. And then I looked up and realized I’d watched the whole season. Here’s why.
The first book in Jim Butcher’s new Cinder Spires series is everything I could hope of High Fantasy Steampunk. A new world to explore full of cultures, politics, airships, mystery, intrigue, war…if it seems like I’m gushing, I am, and will continue to do so. I got utterly lost inside this book and it was fantastic. This is what I crave from a book, to forget I’m holding a book at all.
1—A World Without Infodumps
Building a world is hard work. Effectively communicating that world to others is even harder, but Butcher does so seem-lessly—as only a master of craft can make such difficult work seem effortless. (Please forgive my terrible pun, I’m writing that at 5am—as noted in the title—after a long day on five hours sleep. I promise no such terrible puns mar the book I’m writing about.)
The first season of Killjoys ended a month ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. Most shows take a few episodes to find their footing but Killjoys runs full tilt from scene one. This show achieves the perfect trifecta—plotting, character, and world. We’ll start with that last one.
1—A Fully Realized World and its Moons
I cannot say enough about the world-building in Killjoys. We get plopped down right into the middle of the Quad, with it’s class distinctions, complex politics, intriguing religion, and the RAC and its eponymous Killjoys right in the middle of it. There’s no info-dumping or stops to explain, we just get swept along with the pieces and players in their intricate dance. There’s a tapestry of history we only catch teasing glimpses of but it’s never so little as to leave the audience feeling lost—at least I wasn’t, but I’m used to picking things up from context. And that context surrounds the stories and characters of Killjoys. Continue reading “Killjoys — SyFy’s Greatest Scifi Show Yet”→