This was a novella about a philosopher named Saloninus that sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for 20 more years of life to pursue his intellectual pursuits. The demon that barters the deal is an actual fan of Saloninus’ writing about morality and if there is actual good and evil. Saloninus gets his way and begins to build himself an empire because the demon can grant him whatever he wants. The demon in return is very hesitant of Saloninus because Saloninus never tells the demon what he is going to be up to in the next 20 years. Soon the demon gets paranoid and believes that Saloninus is trying to find a loophole out of the contract.
I found this to be an interesting novella and something interesting to read about what is evil and how to identify evil. I ended up actually being on the demon’s side in the later parts of the novella because Saloninus is just so sneaky. It was funny to see the demon get all paranoid and try to figure out what Saloninus was up to. The pay off at the end was pretty apparent to me early on but the questions of morality were what kept me interested.
I enjoyed this novella, though I wasn’t blown away by it. Parker’s writing style was relaxing and fun to read, so I’m excited about getting into more of his work. I think this will be amazing for readers that like philosophy. There are definitely layers to this novella that I need to pick at for awhile in my brain and could be rereadable in the future.
Re-rated to a 2 from a 3. After some time I realized how mediocre this book was.
A Darker Shade of Magic should have been called Blood, and More Blood, as our main character bleeds all over, not one, but 3 different Londons. Kell is our main character and he is able to travel between 3 different Londons in 3 very different worlds. Grey London is our world, next to no magic in it. Red London has a ton of magic and ruled by royalty that Kell works for. White London is a totalitarian world ruled by 2 powerful sibling overlords that use force to rule. When Kell finds a mysterious magic stone from the destroyed forth London, things get out of hand.
I enjoyed this novel. It was a quick and easy read that did everything good enough to get by but nothing fantastic enough to make a huge impression. The world building was probably the best part but I wanted to see more rules and regulations with the magic. The characters were alright but we didn’t learn a lot about their history. The plot was decent but there were moments of happenstance that annoyed me. When you could put the world “conveniently” in front of a lot of the sentences to describe how a character gets out of a jam, then it wasn’t the most tightly woven plot.
There was a ridiculous amount of blood in this book. Because the main character uses blood magic, he has to cut himself to cast a spell. That isn’t that big of a deal but our main character also gets injured non-stop through the entire book. He bleeds everywhere on everything. After awhile it just got a little ridiculous and I wondered how he was still upright. One of the antagonists was amazing at tracking people, but only when it was convenient to the story. If there was a lull in the story, the antagonist found the two main characters, but when the two main characters were busy with something else, the bad guy didn’t seem to find them all that great.
I think I’ll read the sequel at some point because I did enjoy the book. It is your typical fantasy book with not a whole lot new. I’m hoping for a more wider arc of a story in the sequel as I thought this book wrapped up too nicely for my tastes. I’m hoping the magic settles down a little bit and makes more sense too. Way too many people almost dying and coming back for me.
10/25 Possible Score
Plot – 2(OK)
Characters – 2(OK)
World Building – 2(OK)
Writing Style – 2(OK)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 2(OK)
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is the perfect entry point for young adult readers into science fiction. I think going into this book blind is the best, like I did, but if you want more detail read further on.
Kady and Ezra are having a rough day, not only did they just break up, but their mining colony is getting invaded. Both Kady and Ezra escape the invasion in separate ships but the small fleet of survivors are still being chased by the invaders. Things go from bad to worse when the survivor fleet realizes that the invaders used a chemical weapon that changed normal people into murdering psychopaths. Kady and Ezra have lost so much and realize that their love for each other, becoming a couple again, is the hope they need.
I liked this book because it is a fun science fiction book that is told uniquely. The book is told from a series of documents, recorded footage, and chat messages. This gives the book a very tangible feel of authenticity that heightens the reader’s enjoyment. Kaufman and Kristoff mess with the formatting of pages and even add pages without words, just pictures. This is probably the best alternative style formatting of a book since House of Leaves. It is a quick read but an engrossing read. My only issue is that the sections where someone is taking notes on a video they watched is a bit awkward.
I think the break up, get back together relationship is one that most teenagers will connect to. I enjoyed that they realized how much they meant to each other. I really liked how Kady was the techie hacker in this story. Girls doing science stuff should be in books more often. This is definitely a book that showcases her abilities and Ezra seemed more of a side character. The chat messages between the teenagers can be a little cringey at times but I can see where younger readers would giggle from it.
I absolutely loved the A.I. in this book and the idea of a damaged A.I. is one I always enjoy in science fiction. The virus weapon that is spreading ramps up the danger and tension nicely. Overall, it is just a solid plot that is told at a brisk speed. There is more complexity and nuance with things happening than what can be found on the surface and I think more experienced SF readers will appreciate that. This is just a solid book for new and old science fiction readers both.
18/25 Possible Score
Plot – 4(Strong)
Characters – 3(Good)
World Building/Setting – 4(Strong)
Writing Style – 4(Strong)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 3(Good)
This is an exceptional novella from Angela Slatter that focuses on the lives of extraordinary, magical women in a society that is afraid of magic. Patience is a witch that helps people in Edda’s Meadow with issues that most people can’t. She finds herself in trouble when she has to rescue some naive girls that got caught shape-shifting. Patience must decide between doing what is right, helping these young girls, or what is easy.
Of Sorrow and Such is a deep novella that focuses indirectly on a lot of women issues. There are hints of reproductive rights issues, mistreatment in dating, falling for the wrong man, abuse, and misogyny in this novella. All of these topics are very subtle and well done. I personally really liked the plot line of Patience, a witch, finding a young girl, non-witch, and raising her as her own. Her daughter, Gilly, wants so much to be like her mother, but she just has no magic. Regardless of the two of them not sharing a bloodline, they are fiercely loyal to each other. Highlight section for me was when Patience and Gilly make up to each other. It is just so well written and completely within their characters.
I really enjoyed this novella and want to read more by Slatter. This is probably my second favorite TOR.com novella I’ve read so far. The writing style was a little difficult for me to get completely immersed in but I think that was just my mood.
I’ve lived a sheltered life. I’ve also lived a rather privileged life as well. Sure, I had a few obstacles in my life but nothing compared to most people, and certainly nothing compared to Roxane Gay. This was the right book at the right time with me. I have been feeling pressure about how to think about feminism and issues that black Americans have to struggle with every day. I read internet articles on gender equality, race issues, and the harassment that women go through often, but nothing comes close to understanding the struggle from a black woman’s perspective than reading an entire book describing her life. This is what I was missing when it comes to understanding feminism, and that is connecting to an author, and gaining more empathy than what I previously did.
I definitely recommend this to people like myself, that don’t really have someone in their life to explain the struggles that women and black women specifically go through in their lives. A very easy to read collection of essays that are both entertaining and heartfelt. After reading this I realized I still have a very long way to go to think correctly. This will not be the last book I read on women’s issues.