Review – The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

I understand that Historical 14th Century Russian Folk Fantasy might not be the selling point for others that it is for me, but regardless, the Winternight Trilogy is something special.  I can’t speak to the accuracy of Arden’s Rus, but the verisimilitude is impressive, from the frozen rural hold where the book starts, through to the proto-city of Moscow, all under the yoke of absent Tartar rulers.  It is a land of hard work, resilient people, and of course magic.

Read More

Review – Just One Damn Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor

Being a historian should be easier when you have a time machine and lots of tea…

It’s easy to set to set a single tone – juggling tones is a lot harder. The title and the start of One Damn Thing suggest a particular style that I love, wry British comedy, and when operating in the mode of hard work, punishing bureaucracy, farcical romance and endless tea, it’s a very enjoyable book. Unfortunately…

Read More

Review – Temeraire Series by Naomi Novik

The first book is in this series is pretty close to the platonic ideal of Napoleonic ships and Dragons. As the series continues however, Novik sets her sights on bigger things, and does something laudable that many fantasy authors never do – thinks through the consequences of her premise. Over the course of the next five novels, she examines the extension of the franchise, slavery, colonialism, mercantilism, and the conflict between honor and duty, through the prism of a world where power is shifted by the existence of Dragon’s weighing 10’s of tons.

Read More