Required Reading

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Owl and the Electric Samurai by Kristi Charish



In this third book, Owl is still a disgruntled, dismayed, frequently clueless, misunderstood and disgraced anthropologist.   She is an antiquities thief who can’t seem to avoid tripping over dangerous supernaturals.  Owl is still working for a dragon, Mr. Kurosawa and his aide Lady Siyu.   Alix seems a little less clueless in this book but still ends up in serious trouble.  The bulk of the plot is centered around dealing with the Electric Samurai.

The author does a nice job setting the stage and introducing the protagonist as a bright, talented, strong and impulsive character.  Luckily she has some level headed friends who bail her out of most of the jams she initiates.   Rynn, incubus, is still on again and off again as Alix’s boyfriend.  Captain, her Egyptian Mau cat proves that cats actually help with thievery.  A hapless elf and the creators of a RPG also play a part in this story.

Owl seems to gather enemies like a dog boarded in a kennel gathers fleas.  They seem to reproduce geometrically.   She and Rynn are battling mercenaries as well as IAA thugs.  Tombs and traps play a part in this book as well.

I enjoyed the character and the book.

Web: http://www.kristicharish.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang


This story seems to combine mythology with history.  The setting seems to be countries like Japan and China.   The Nikara being the Chinese and the Federation of Mugen being the Japanese.   The book depicts a war and its participants including gods.

The focus of the story is Rin who hopes to carve a new life by becoming a warrior.  To do so she must pass a test to get to the military academy.   She meets Altan who is the last of his race, the Speerlies.  

There is a wealth of action and introspection.   It seems like all of the characters want to self analyze, almost to distraction.   Rin’s experiences are colored by her impoverished background.   The military school is not what she expected and she is taught things she had never imagined.

Hatred is explored and with it the blindness that allows inhumane bigotry.

This was a thought provoking book while still being entertaining.

I recommend it.

Web: https://rfkuang.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Breach of Containment by Elizabeth Bonesteel


This is the third book in an excellent series.  Bonesteel has crafted a future that is exciting and dismaying as it clearly shows the foibles of today are also the foibles of tomorrow.  She also provides hope with her characterizations.

Elena, former Chief Engineer of Galileo is back as well as Captain Greg Foster.   There is still romantic tension between the two but the main focus of the story is the collusion between political and corporate entities.  The colony of Yakutsk is the primary setting where two domed cities are embroiled in petty competitiveness.  

Scavengers are depicted as hardy pioneer types while corporate is shown to be sleazy and corrupt.   Considering the amount of space junk currently in orbit around Earth it isn’t a stretch to think a couple of hundred years in the future a living could be made off of all the electronic waste we generate.  Look at the tons of plastic floating in our oceans.  

Artificial intelligence is depicted in various degrees of sophistication.   It adds to the flavor of the book.

This book stands alone okay but I would recommend reading Remnants of Trust and The Cold Between for background and for sheer enjoyment.

I highly recommend the book and the series.

Web: elizabethbonesteel.com
This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Spirit Mage by Layton Green



Repeating myself, I enjoyed Layton Green’s previous books but he has stepped up his game with this one.  Three brothers and their friend are thrust into a thoroughly unbelievable situation and forced to cope with the supernatural.   This book is even better than Brothers Three.

Val, Will and Caleb are the three brothers.   The author does a great job in creating likeable and yet flawed characters.  Each one is a realistic example of how different and yet similar siblings are.   Val is more prominent in this book as is Will, Caleb is almost an afterthought.

The three are trapped in Urth which is an alternative universe or multi-dimensional aspect of Earth.  The new villain is the environment they are trying to master.   The Congregation runs a tight ship due to the fact that wizards used to be persecuted and they want to insure there is no threat to their authority.  This leads to paranoia and persecutions which inevitably leads to rebellion. 

There are in and out love interests but nothing approaching a romantic novel.  This is fantasy adventure with a wealth of interesting characters and creatures.

The author allows each character to mature and grow throughout the book.

I highly recommend the book.

Web Site:   http://laytongreen.com/

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.