Reviews

Bloodshot by Cherie Priest — book review

August 26, 2011

Bloodshot: Cheshire Red Reports Book1 by Cherie Priest. Titan Books '7.99

Reviewed by Jan Edwards

First in a new series in which the Queen of Steampunk moves into vampire territory. And Priest's vampire, Raylene Pendle, is neither weary soul searcher or rapid animal. Her vampire is very, very cool, a professional 'finder' who acquires (steals) works of art, jewels etc, and occasionally papers and documents, to order. And it is secret papers logging experiments carried on vampires that she is looking for this time around, and it isn't long before the men in black are hunting her down. Raylene is a kickass vampire with a refreshingly cool persona. No angst, no hang-ups, she just wants to go quietly about her business with as little fuss as possible, the way she has been doing for almost 100 years. This kind of trouble she does not need. Fast and furious with enormous quantities of wit and style, I can quite see Raylene as the next big TV vampire. Bloodshot is great fun; I'm looking forward to the next volume, Hellbent, which is due out very soon.

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Recent and forthcoming books

August 26, 2011

  • Reviews should appear on the BFS website in due course...

Temptress Legacy. Book 3 of the True Jane Novels by Nicole Peeler. Orbit '7.99. Paranormal

Blood Rights by Kristen Painter. Orbit '7.99. Vampires

Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Orbit '7.99. Urban fantasy, third in series

Darkness Unbound. Dark Angel Book 1 by Keri Arthur. Piatkus '7.99. Paranormal fantasy

The Black Prism. Lightbringer Book 1 by Brent Weeks. Orbit '7.99. Heroic fantasy

The Business Of Death by Trent Jamiesen. Orbit '8.99. Urban fantasy

Fated by S.G. Browne. Piatkus '7.99. Comic fantasy

Cold Fire. Spiritwalker Book 2 by Kate Elliot. Orbit '13.99. Victorian fantasy with dragons

The Measure Of Magic. Legends Of Shannara Book 2 by Terry Brooks. Orbit '18.99. Heroic fantasy

Conan the Barbarian by Robert E Howard. Gollancz '7.99. Short story collection (classic fantasy)

Of Men and Monsters by William Tenn. Gollancz '7.99. SF Masterworks series

The Sookie Stackhouse Novels. Trueblood Omnibus III by Charlaine Harris. Gollancz '16.99. Three Sookie novels in one volume

Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh. Gollancz '12.99. Psy-changeling novel ' vampires

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Gollancz '8.99. High fantasy

The Japanese Deil Fish Girl & Other Supernatural Attractions by Robert Rankin. Gollancz '7.99. Comic fantasy

Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni Kelner. Gollancz '14.99. Short fiction anthology

Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Gollancz '18.99. Heroic fantasy

By Light Alone by Adam Roberts, Gollancz '12.99. Science fiction

Shadow's Lure. Shadow Volume 2 by Jon Sprunk. Gollancz '12.99. Fantasy

Bringer Of Light by Jaine Fenn. Gollancz '12.99. SF/fantasy

A Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan. Gollancz '9.99. YA fantasy

Supernatural: Coyote's Kiss by Christa Faust. Titan '6.99. TV tie-in

Beyond The Frontier:Deadnaught. Lost Fleet Series by Jack Campbell. Titan '7.99. Military SF

Star Wars ' The Jedi Path. A Manual For Students Of The Force by Daniel Wallace. Titan '12.99. Spoof training manual

Doctor Who. The Complete Guide by Mark Campbell. Robinson '6.99. Dr Who episode guide.

Deeper Than Midnight by Lara Adrian. Robinson '7.99. Vampires

Witness by Cath Staincliffe. Robinson '18.99. Crime/horror

Mammoth Book of Best British Crime edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Robinson '7.99. Crime anthology

Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Quercus '17.99/'12.99. Horror

Johnny Mackintosh. Battle for Earth by Keith Mansfield. Quercus '6.99. YA SF/fantasy adventure

The Lost Angels. Avenger's Angel by Heather Killough-Walden. Headline '6.99. Paranormal fantasy

Johanned Cabal. The Fear Institute by Jonathan L Howard. Headline '19.99. Dark comic fantasy

Succubus Revealed by Richelle Mead. Bantam '6.99. Vampire series

Everyone's Just So So Special by Robert Shearman. Big Finish '14.95. Short story collection

The Third Section: Russia 1835. Danilov Quintet Part 3 by Jasper Kent. Bantam Press '12.99. Heroic/historic fantasy

Black Light: Don't Look Too Deep by Patrick Melton, Marcus Dunstan & Stephen Romano. Hodder/Mulholland '12.99. Horror

Red Gloves. Volumes 1 & 2 (in one book) by Christopher Fowler. PS Publishing '19.99. Short story collection

Nested Scrolls: A Writer's Life by Rudy Rucker. PS Publishing 19.99. Autobiography

Redlaw by James Lovegrove. Solaris '7.99. Vampires

House Of Fear edited by Jonathan Oliver. Solaris '7.99. Horror anthology

Darkness Falling by Peter Crowther. Angry Robot '7.99. Horror

Son Of Heaven. Chung Kuo Volume 1 by David Wingrove. Corvus '7.99. Apocalyptic oriental SF

Alt-Dead edited by Peter Mark May. Hersham Horror. Horror fiction anthology

The Eighth Black Book of Horror edited by Charles Black. Mortbury Press. Horror anthology

Mrs Darcy Versus The Aliens by Jonathan Pinnock. Proxima Classics '8.99. Mash up horror/fantasy

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Recent book reviews

August 23, 2011

The following reviews have been added to the BFS website.

Rule 34 by Charles Stross. Orbit

Stands a Shadow by Col Buchanan

The Ridge by Michael Koryta, Hodder and Stoughton

The Necklace of the Gods by Alison Goodman. Bantam Press

Cowboys & Aliens by Joan D Vinge. Tor

Rip Tide by Stella Rimington. Bloomsbury

The Nosferatu Scroll by James Becker. Bantam Press

Roil: The Nightbound Land by Trent Jamieson. Angry Robot

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Book reviews in the Journal

August 23, 2011

Reviews of the following books are lined up to appear in the Autumn issue of the BFS Journal ' due at the end of September:

The Thing on the Shore by Tom Fletcher. Quercus

Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s by Kim Newman. Bloomsbury

Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper. Gollancz

Veteran by Gavin Smith. Gollancz

Horns by Joe Hill. Gollancz

Fugue For A Darkening Island by Christopher Priest. Gollancz

The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding. Gollancz

The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas. Gollancz

The Shadow of the Soul by Sarah Pinborough. Orion.

The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham. Orbit

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher . Orbit

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey. Orbit

Ember And Ash by Pamela Freeman. Orbit

Desdaemona by Ben Macallan. Solaris

Dangerous Waters by Juliet E. Mckenna. Solaris

Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers. Solaris

Restoration by Guy Adams. Angry Robot

On The Third Day by Rhys Thomas. Doubleday

Greyglass by Tanith Lee. Immanion Press

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth. Hodder & Stoughton

The Mammoth Book of Dracula edited by Stephen Jones. Robinson

Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green. Abaddon Books

The Ritual by Adam Nevill. Macmillan

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Random House

The Book of Transformations by Mark Charan Newton. Tor

Family Portrait, The Pariah and Mirror, all by Graham Masterton. Hammer

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Roil: The Nightbound Land by Trent Jamieson — book review

August 23, 2011

Roil: The Nightbound Land by Trent Jamieson. Angry Robot '7.99

Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins

The land is under constant threat of the storm known as the Roil. It carries with it monsters and vicious infections as it rolls across Shale destroying cities and tearing lives apart. Margaret heads towards the Roil in search of her parents, seeking revenge for the loss of her home and everything she once knew.

David, hunted by the Council Vergers, orphaned and hindered by grief, guilt and the pains of drug dependency, finds himself in the power of the Old Man, Cadell, an ancient and powerful character whose motives are not always clear. Now, as the journey takes him closer to the Roil, David must discover what Cadell's friendship will cost him.

The tension had me almost yearning for the addictive drug Carnival myself as the story pressed on at a breakneck pace. Jamieson writes well, unhindered by much description, and focuses on tighter details, sketching out the trials and traumas of each character's journey. My only disappointment is that much of the strange Roil, its origins and intentions, are as yet unexplained in detail and I was left wanting more of a picture at times.

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The Nosferatu Scroll by James Becker — book review

August 23, 2011

The Nosferatu Scroll by James Becker. Bantam Press '12.99

Reviewed by Jim Mcleod

While on holiday in Venice our heroes Chris Bronson and Angela Lewis, discover a desecrated tomb containing a female skeleton and a diary that dates backs hundreds of years, a diary that promises to unlock the answer to an ancient secret. Soon the bodies of woman are being discovered throughout the city. They have all been killed in the same ritualistic manner. When Angela disappears, Chris must embark on a mission to find her before it's too late.

This is pure bubblegum fiction, albeit a rather well written piece of bubblegum fiction.  The action starts right away, and it doesn't let up right up to the cliff hanger ending; yes of course there is a cliff hanger. This is an enjoyable and fun read. It is clear that a lot of research has gone into this book; there is a lot given over to the building of the conspiracy. If you are looking for a thrilling summer beach read then this is the book for you. 

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Rip Tide by Stella Rimington — book review

August 23, 2011

Rip Tide by Stella Rimington. Bloomsbury '12.99

Reviewed by R A Bardy [@mangozoid]

If you're anything like me, you'll probably wonder why a book about MI5, secret services, British Muslims, and Somalian pirates would have any place in the review section of the BFS. Well, truth be told, there's not a single science fiction or fantasy icon of any description whatsoever in Rip Tide, but once I started reading this I simply didn't want to stop. It gripped me within the first couple of (very short) chapters and just pulled me along through every twist and turn, the pages flashing past in a blur ' certainly the sign of a cracking read in my book, if you'll excuse the pun.

It wasn't until halfway through that I actually bothered to read the short author biog on the dust jacket, and realised it's the Dame Stella Rimington, formerly the first female Director General of MI5. Well if nothing else she knows how to engage the reader, and although I guessed one of the key protagonists relatively early on, I was still happy to be swept along and carried by the fluidity of her prose through to the inevitable conclusion and 'not so big reveal'.

So 'twould seem Somalian pirates, Birmingham mosques, and some well defined and very strong secret service characters do indeed a good book make. An excellent read and a genuinely pleasant surprise to boot. I enjoyed this thoroughly, and the short chapter lengths definitely had their part to play in maintaining that 'just one more chapter' feel... Highly recommended.

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Cowboys & Aliens by Joan D Vinge — book review

August 23, 2011

Cowboys & Aliens by Joan D Vinge. Tor '7.99

Reviewed by Mike Chinn

Now you'd think that a novelisation based on a movie featuring the titular cowboys blazing away at aliens would be a non-stop roller-coaster ride. So what happened?

It begins with our hero waking up in the New Mexican desert, naked but for a strange metal bracelet around his wrist and no idea how he got there, or who he is (a real Man with No Name). After killing and stripping a convenient trio of bad-asses, he finds himself in the town of Absolution.

(Incidently, there's little subtlety to names in this book ' the loner turns out to be called Lonergan, a gold-obsessed rancher is Dolarhyde; I wouldn't mind if they weren't so unlikely sounding. And there's not a Western clich' left untouched; I really hope it's deliberate.)

When the aliens finally arrive and snatch up half the town's population it's all curiously distant. Author Vinge spends so much time in Lonergan's head ' agonising over his self-doubt ' it's like we're viewing the attack through the wrong end of a telescope. In a set-piece an escaped alien carves its way through a pursuing posse. It should be edge of the seat stuff, but I really couldn't bring myself to care.

Too much introspection; not enough action. At the time of writing I haven't seen the movie ' but I hope it has more to recommend it than the novelisation.

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The Necklace of the Gods by Alison Goodman — book review

August 23, 2011

The Necklace of the Gods by Alison Goodman. Bantam Press, '12.99

Reviewed by Karen Stevens

Her previous disguise as a boy abandoned, Eona, the first Mirror Dragonseye in five centuries, narrowly escaped from the royal palace with her life when Sethron usurped the throne from his nephew. Eona has joined the resistance that hopes to put the true Emperor Kygo on the throne, and they believe the power of the mirror dragon, the largest and most powerful of the twelve dragons, will give them victory. But Eona is new and untrained ' she does not know how to control the power of her dragon, and every time she attempts to bond with it she is attacked by the angry, grieving spirits of the ten dragons who were murdered. Eona's only chance is to rescue her old enemy Lord Ido, the last surviving Dragonseye; but can he be trusted?

This is the sequel to The Two Pearls of Wisdom, and as I enjoyed that book I was extremely pleased to review this one. Drawing on several southeast Asian cultures, Miss Goodman has woven them effortlessly together to create a refreshingly unique and exotic fantasy world. The characters are equally well realised, solidly drawn and realistic with some very human failings, and the tension-filled plot draws the reader along effortlessly with beautifully written and extremely atmospheric prose.

In some respects this is a coming of age tale -- Eona must learn about trust, treachery and the corrupting influence of power to survive. Although classed as a YA book, it didn't feel like one; I thoroughly enjoyed it, and have put this on my 'books to keep' shelf. If you like your fantasy with an oriental flavour, you'd be well advised to read this duology.

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Rule 34 by Charles Stross — book review

August 23, 2011

Rule 34 by Charles Stross. Orbit '12.99

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan

This is the sequel to Halting State. Set in the near future where Scotland has seceded from the UK and entered the Eurozone it is related in multiple second person narratives. Five years down the line, DI Liz Kavanaugh has been put in charge of the department dealing with Rule 34 offences. This basically says that 'if you can think of it, there is a porn of it'. Towards the end of one of her shifts, she is called to attend what at first appears to be an unfortunate accident with an enema machine. Then others start turning up and not just in Edinburgh.

Anwar is on probation after serving time for internet offences. His friend Adam points him in the direction of what appears to be a legitimate job as honorary consul for the newly independent state of Issyk-Kulistan. He will be paid for doing practically nothing except hand out free bags of bread making flour to those who ask for it.

John Christie turns up at the first death scene by accident, having intended to recruit the corpse for his own nefarious Organisation. Already an unstable sociopath, he also finds the next body and is sent to Anwar for papers relating to a new identity. Liz's boss does not believe in coincidence and sets her looking for the links.

This is a future where the cops have easy and immediate access to all kinds of data through postulated advances in technology. Those unfamiliar with netspace terms may have some difficulty interpreting some of the background information.

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