Grac's Never-ending TBR Pile of Doom

Grac's Never-ending TBR Pile of Doom

Mostly science fiction and fantasy, though the odd non-fiction book will crop up now and then...

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Annihilation - Jeff Vandermeer
Annihilation - Jeff VanderMeer

From reading the other reviews of Annihilation, this seems to be one of those books which people either love beyond reason or are underwhelmed by and I've definitely fallen into the latter category more than the former. Not that it's a bad book and I certainly wanted to know what the hell was going on, not that I felt that I got any kind of resolution and, for me at least, that's one of the problems with it...

 

The basic premise of Annihilation, which is the first of a trilogy, is that there's a part of the world called Area X which is apparently encroaching on the rest very slowly and the folks of the Southern Reach have been sending expeditions in to find out what's going on. This requires some kind of hypnotism, as apparently it's impossible to cross over without it, and it's also unclear exactly how many expeditions have been sent even though none of them seem to have been either successful or to have survived unaffected. Partway through the book our main character finds a room full of journals which suggests hundreds of expeditions rather than the dozen or so she's been told about, but she's seriously losing the plot by that time so how reliable is her perspective anyway?

 

Yes, this is serious unreliable narrator territory, right from early on. There is 'something' living in an underground tunnel which is slowly writing post-apocalyptic ramblings on a wall going down into the earth, writing which turns out to be made of fungus and our protagonist breathes in some spores. From that point she begins to change, firstly in that she can no longer be controlled by the leader of their expedition who has been using hypnotic suggestion (the title of the book being one of them) to get her own way all the time. Anyway, bad things happen to the other expedition members and our hero (if she can be called that) starts to suspect that folks from other expeditions never really left Area X even though they supposedly returned home afterwards. 

 

This was one of the points where things broke down a little for me, as our protagonist is pushed to join an expedition to find out what happened to her husband, a doctor on a previous expedition, but a lot of the time she seems quite flat as a character. Still, I read the entire thing even though it doesn't really have a resolution, and will probably read the next one (Authority) since my library has a copy. 

Review
4 Stars
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, volumes 1-3
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 1: Squirrel Power - Ryan North, Erica Henderson The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 2: Squirrel You Know It's True - Marvel Comics The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol. 3: Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now - Erica Henderson, Ryan North

I really only got into graphic novels in recent years, but I'm heartened (or possibly concerned, I'm not sure which) to see them creep across the shelf of my bookcase where they all live as time passes. While it's true that graphic novels don't have to be about superheroes (and if you don't take my word for that, go read Saga or The Wicked and the Divine and see if you're not convinced) some of the best still are...

 

Which is where we come to talking about Doreen Green, star of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, whose adventures I've been reading with much enjoyment - I recently read volume 3, with collections also having the virtue of gathering together assorted issues of other comic runs which might be relevant (so, for volume 3, an issue of Howard the Duck since there was a crossover).

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is another example of talented writers and artists taking a character and making it their own, much like the current Ms Marvel run which has introduced and developed the amazing Kamala Khan. Doreen Green lives in the attic at Avengers Mansion and has recently started college, but still has time to battle against and alongside a wide range of classic Marvel villains and heroes. To date, by volume 3, we've already seen Doreen deal with Dr Doom, discuss her X-Men fanfic with Wolverine and travel back in time to the 1960's.

 

For me, the highlight of any issue is the footnotes, which can be found at the bottom of pretty much every page, full of in-jokes and references back to previous events. It's this, along with the liveliness of the writing and sheer obvious pleasure taken by everyone involved in making a viable superhero out of someone with the relative powers of a squirrel, that makes Unbeatable Squirrel Girl such a pleasure to read every time I get my hands on another volume. So, get ready to eat nuts and kick butts! :P

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Gunpowder Alchemy - Jeannie Lin
Gunpowder Alchemy (The Gunpowder Chronicles) - Jeannie Lin

I recently picked up Gunpowder Alchemy (and its sequel, Clockwork Samurai) in a two-for-one deal that looked like a bargain - I've always been interested in reading steampunk which isn't just reworked Victorian London, so these books seemed to be ideal for me. They're both set in China, for starters, around the time of the Opium Wars and both the Chinese and their unwelcome visitors (that'd be mostly the British, but also others from the West, in case you're not familiar with the period) have steampunk-style technology.

 

The main character is Jin Soling, the oldest child of a disgraced engineer working for the Emperor who subsequently paid with his life for perceived failure to prevent the West from encroaching on China. Soling and what remains of her family are in semi-hiding in a small village, where Soling's mother is dependent on opium and Soling herself is struggling to feed them all. She has taken up medicine as a profession, but even this isn't enough to make ends meet and so she's forced to sell what few possessions they still have in the nearby town - it's during the latest expedition to do so that she's arrested and her family's history comes back with a bang. 

 

Although her father had been disgraced, his work is still being studied and Soling finds that she's thrown into the middle of a plan by the Crown Prince to use the technology her father was developing. This brings her into contact with people she had known as a child: the man she was due to marry before her father was executed, as well as others who had worked for her father. Soling's own reticence to speak her opinions (which is fairly understandable considering her now precarious position and what happened to her father) means that there's a putative love triangle out there, with Soling the centre of attention for both the dutiful former betrothed Chang-Wei and the more rogueish Lang.

 

Anyway, this is all very much secondary to lots of angsting about her family, a storyline about everyone getting stuck in the nearby fortified town while it's under attack from rebels who are digging tunnels beneath it, and various uses of steampunk ingenuity along the way. Gunpowder Alchemy was an entertaining enough story to keep me reading, but I have to admit I found Chang-Wei a bit too upright and noble for my liking, while Soling had her moments but was overall a little frustrating to root for. Yes, she's probably appropriate for the period and culture, but I found Soling a bit of a wet blanket and would have liked more backbone along the way. 

Publication date & details finally announced for Thief book 5
Thick As Thieves - Megan Whalen Turner

Yep, it's finally coming out - Thick as Thieves, the fifth book in Megan Whalen Turner's series is going to be published next year (May 2017), according to this interview, which also showed the first images of the cover. 

 

The only downside? With the re-design, the new book isn't going to match the four I already have, but I guess that's a small price to pay... 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Clariel - Garth Nix
Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen - Garth Nix

Fans of Nix's Abhorsen books have been waiting for a while for him to get back to writing about the Old Kingdom, so news of this book and another upcoming (Goldenhand) was surely welcome - these books cover two different periods of that land's history, with Clariel being a prequel to everything we already know and Goldenhand being the further adventures of Lirael and Nicholas.

 

The main character is the eponymous Clariel, daughter of a master goldsmith, who is also related to the King and the current Abhorsen. If you've not read the other books, this is a world filled with two types of magic, Charter and Free, with the Abhorsen using the former to deal with the Dead when they won't stay put and also Free Magic creatures, who tend to be destructive. Clariel's mother is ambitious and single-minded, focussed on her craft to the detriment of all else, and the family has recently moved to the capital from Clariel's beloved Great Forest. We know Clariel loves the forest because she tells us this repeatedly, as well as telling anyone else who'll listen in a lovely teenage 'nobody will let me do what I want' way. 

 

I'm sure if I'd read this book when I was a teenager I'd have empathised with Clariel and her plight, as she is pushed into dealing with people she doesn't like and meanwhile trying to make plans to run away, back to the forest where she's going to live as a hunter even though she has no money or resources. The one thing that seems positive is that Clariel's parents insist she continues to study Charter Magic, even though it's sneered at by the well-to-do, even though her study of it seems to consist of one trip to visit a Charter Mage, who then ropes her into a plot to deal with a Free Magic creature living nearby. 

 

Things are generally Going Wrong, with the local governor attempting to usurp power from the King who has himself retreated into semi-retirement after the disappearance of his daughter. We later discover too that both the Abhorsen and his apparent heir are more interested in horses and hunting than in doing their job, so the country appears to be in a bit of a mess. Clariel ends up running from the capital after the governor kills her parents, assisted by her cousin Bel (who also wants to be Clariel's love interest, though Clariel is very clear all along she has no interest in either boys or girls that way) and she then spends some time as a prisoner of the Abhorsen himself. Here we see the return of a fan favourite character, the mischievous and double-dealing Free Magic cat Mogget, who helps Clariel engineer an escape as she tries to take revenge on the governor. 

 

Anyway, my overall thoughts on Clariel: to be honest, I'm not sure it's a book I'll want to read again even though I've re-read the other books in this series. I think it's a book that benefits greatly from a knowledge of the universe in which it stands, which is a difficult thing to get around, and I liked the fact that although there was some pressure internally for a romantic relationship to form, this was clearly something the main character had zero interest in and didn't waver on that. In the end, Clariel makes a big mess and effectively has to be rescued by Bel, which I found a bit frustrating and predictable. Anyway, maybe Goldenhand will be more to my liking?

A new serial to check out - Orcus in Summer

I know some folks on here have been reading the various serials published by Serialbox Publishing (and maybe some are also waiting eagerly for Tremontaine season 2, like me?) so while you're waiting you might also want to check out Summer in Orcus by T. Kingfisher...

 

When the witch Baba Yaga walks her house into the backyard, eleven-year-old Summer enters into a bargain for her heart’s desire. Her search will take her to the strange, surreal world of Orcus, where birds talk, women change their shape, and frogs sometimes grow on trees. But underneath the whimsy of Orcus lies a persistent darkness, and Summer finds herself hunted by the monstrous Houndbreaker, who serves the distant, mysterious Queen-in-Chains…

 

Summer in Orcus is a free serial released twice weekly.

 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
3 Stars
Spirit Gate - Kate Elliott
Spirit Gate - Kate Elliott

I have a confession to make: as far as I can remember, Spirit Gate is the first book by Kate Elliott that I've actually ever read. Don't misunderstand me, I've picked up a bunch of her books, to the point where she almost has a shelf to herself on one of my bookcases, but the sheer heft of each one has made me reluctant to get on with reading them - anyway, I decided that this was ridiculous and that I ought to get on with this trilogy at least, since it's the background for one of the series of books she's writing now. 

 

Spirit Gate is the first book of the Crossroads trilogy, based in a world where part of it had a system of justice dealt out by the Guardians, a semi-mythical bunch of folks who apparently disappeared some time ago, and aided by folks who use giant magical eagles as transport. Those folks, known as reeves, had been respected by the population but now it seems that something is going on with that system as more and more villages are starting to bar their doors instead of welcoming them. One of the reeves in particular has all the typical Detective With A Tragic Past tropes going on: made a bad decision, got his partner/lover killed, now a semi-alcoholic mess who sometimes has good days and is still attractive at times.

 

In an adjacent country, the Qin are conquering all who stand in their way and we meet them in the shape of one of their captains and the woman he falls in love with in the market, a woman from the people they've just conquered and now rule. Anji and Mai are soon married but then have to flee the country as Anji's heritage is discovered and his life is in danger from his extended family. Anji and his soldiers end up escorting a caravan into the land where the reeves are and eventually coming to the aid of a beleaguered city as it faces total destruction. Mai's brother also comes along on the journey and we get some perspective on all of this from him as well. 

 

Thirdly, there's also a storyline featuring Keshad and his sister Zubaidat, who'd been sold into slavery as children: as time goes on, we discover Keshad is now working for a merchant in the city Anji and his soldiers are protecting and Zubaidat plays a significant role in rescuing the reeve Joss when he's thrown into prison by its corrupt officials. 

 

Anyway, as you can imagine there's a lot going on and at times it gets quite complicated. Maybe it's that which makes me give Spirit Gate 3 stars instead of 4, the feeling that it's all been made a little more complicated than it actually needed to be for the story to make sense. I think if the overall writing and characterisation hadn't been so good, then I probably wouldn't have stuck with it at all and I already have Shadow Gate, the next book in the series, so it's quite likely I'll continue and see if my tolerance for hefty epic trilogies has a limit. 

Books read (or not!) in September
Rivers of London: Body Work - Ben Aaronovitch, Luis Lobo-Guerrero, Lee Sullivan Hill, Andrew Cartmel Those Above - Daniel Polansky An Accident of Stars - Foz Meadows The Kraken Sea - E. Catherine Tobler The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin Goblin Moon: Mask and Dagger 1 - Teresa Edgerton Of Sorrow and Such - Angela Slatter A Case of Possession - K.J. Charles Night Broken - Patricia Briggs Dark Horse - Michelle Diener

Books started: 13 (including the 2 I'm currently reading)

Books finished: 11

Books not finished: 1

 

Genre: Pretty much SFF, with one foray into historical m/m where there's magic so that probably still counts as SFF too. 

 

What progress on Mount TBR?: Got a few finished off, added a few... 

 

Book of the month: As you would probably guess, the stand-out book this month for me is The Obelisk Gate. Like its predecessor, one of the best things I've read all year. 

Review
2 Stars
Dark Horse - Michelle Diener
Dark Horse - Michelle Diener

Partway through Dark Horse, I found myself hoping that I'd not spent much money on this book because it really wasn't all that good. I mean, I finished it so it wasn't eye-gougingly awful (though it could have used a bit of a copy-edit, for a self-proclaimed award winning publication) but there were things about it that really made me go 'huh?'.

 

The premise of the book was interesting enough - our protagonist is Rose, a human snatched up from Earth by visiting aliens along with a bunch of other sentient creatures, who forges a friendship with the artificial intelligence that runs the ship she's on in order to escape. Unfortunately, by the time we join the story, much of that donkey work has already been done (the sceptical part of me thinking 'yep, the harder part to write') and Rose is literally escaping from their custody. The AI, Sazo, has also lured a spaceship from another bunch of aliens, one who he thinks Rose will get along with and who have an abhorrence for the kind of treatment she received, but she promises not to tell them he even exists. 

 

Naturally, when Rose is rescued by representatives of the Grih, she is immediately smitten by their captain and he feels likewise. He and his people save her life and take her back to their ship, at which point Rose discovers that in order to help her escape, Sazo has killed the majority of the crew on the ship where she'd been held. He wants access to the systems of this ship too, still not telling Rose that actually the Grih had done the work which led to his invention but that they also banned said work after similar incidents in the past. 

 

There's then some convoluted plotting which revolves around various people trying to get hold of Sazo in order to control him and the ship to which he's linked, and Rose having various mini-freakouts along the way as she tries to recover from the treatment she received in captivity. One thing that didn't impress me was that one of those episodes is seen as a great opportunity for the alien captain to grope Rose's breasts and ask if all the women of her people have big breasts like she does. Seriously, dude, timing? Likewise, when the two of them are stuck together somewhere later with time on their hands, Rose seems to regard this as meaning they really ought to shag now and so they do, because of course their species are physiologically compatible.

 

Anyway, Dark Horse wasn't the worst thing I've ever read but the issues around consent and whether it's a good idea to trust homicidal artificial intelligences were significant bumps in the road for me. Oh, and Rose makes a real fuss early on about the other lifeforms which have been stolen from Earth with her but then everyone seems to completely forget about them later on. Not a major issue, but it stuck in my brain.

 

Apparently there are more books set in this universe, but skimming them they all seem to be 'human woman gets kidnapped by aliens, different aliens rescue her, there is sex along the way of fixing some plot issue or other'. Frankly, one was enough. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
4 Stars
Night Broken - Patricia Briggs
Night Broken - Patricia Briggs

Night Broken is book 8 in one of the few urban fantasy series I've stuck with - it features Mercy Thompson, auto mechanic and coyote shapeshifter, and her relationships with the local werewolf pack and other non-humans. 

 

In Night Broken, Mercy is now living with the werewolves and has become the mate of the pack's Alpha, Adam. This particular book starts with a frantic phonecall from Adam's ex-wife Christy, who has a stalker and is looking for somewhere to hide. What Christy doesn't tell Adam at this point he offers her sanctuary is that said stalker is not exactly human, being in fact a minor fire deity, complete with larger-than-life guard dogs. Christy is also a grade A manipulator and plays on the existing tensions within the pack, not all of whom have accepted Mercy anyway, to try and engineer a reconciliation with Adam. 

 

Alongside this, Mercy is also dealing with an ultimatum from one of the fae. In one of the previous books, Mercy had given a particular artefact (a walking stick with something of a mind of its own) to Coyote and now the fae want it back. So not only is Mercy dealing with Christy's attempts to sow dissent in the pack, she's also trying to track Coyote down so she can get the walking stick back because the fae aren't really folks you want having an issue with you.

 

There is both human and animal death in this book, which might be a deal-breaker for some, but it's set in an overall storyline that hangs together quite well. While some issues are resolved, others come to light during the overall plot and seem likely to be matters to which Mercy and her friends will have to return - the nature of her relationship with the vampire Stefan being one of them, as things are not quite as initially thought. The series continues in Fire Touched, which I look forward to reading, with another book due out next year to continue the series...

Review
4 Stars
Of Sorrow and Such - Angela Slatter
Of Sorrow and Such - Angela Slatter

At first glance, Of Sorrow and Such doesn't really appear to be a fantasy novella - the setting is a familiar, pastoral one, with women who know how to use herbs taken for practising witchcraft - but as we go on, there's more and more about magic being real. It is, however, written in such a matter of fact way that it doesn't jolt when something is revealed that pushes it closer to that genre. 

 

Our main character is Patience Gideon, long-time inhabitant of Edda's Meadow, where she makes a precarious living as a herbalist. She's well aware of how easily things could go wrong for her, having witnessed her mother being burned as a witch, but this doesn't stop her from also harbouring women who've been accused of witchcraft if they pass her way. The decision to involve one of those women with the aftermath of a terrible injury done to one of the locals, who is part of a small group of shapeshifters, starts a sequence of events that soon threatens to see Patience sharing her mother's fate. 

 

This is a novella primarily about women, with all the characters who appear being well-rounded and believable; they all have strengths and flaws, just like actual human beings do, which isn't always the case when they are written as fictional characters. In particular, Patience has to deal with the difficulties posed by her teenage adoptive daughter, who struggles with the fact that she doesn't have the same powers as Patience and also with more usual teenage issues around attention from the opposite sex. If there's one flaw (other than the fact it's only a novella, which could be considered a flaw, I suppose?) then for me it's how things get tied up in terms of Gilly, Patience's daughter, which seemed a bit of an afterthought. 

 

Anyway, I've enjoyed this author's short fiction, so I'm looking forward to getting my hands on something novel-length, though her first published novel (Vigil) is urban fantasy and that's not a genre of which I'm a massive fan. We'll see if Angela Slatter can convince me to overlook that and enjoy more of her writing anyway!

Review
4 Stars
Goblin Moon - Teresa Edgerton
Goblin Moon: Mask and Dagger 1 - Teresa Edgerton

First of a two-part series (concluding in Hobgoblin Night), there's nothing particularly ground-breaking going on in Goblin Moon but what's there is done so competently you find yourself not caring about that. 

 

Like many fantasy novels, Goblin Moon is set in a faux-Regency world of heiresses, mysterious guilds and masked balls, but one where dwarves and fairies (known as the Fee) live alongside humans in relative harmony. For much of the book there are effectively two story-lines running parallel, linked by the people involved: Jed, who starts off scavenging from the river with his great-uncle, and Sera whose grandfather is that great-uncle's best friend. Jed ends up bettering himself by landing a job with a dwarf glassmaker, while Sera is the companion to a young woman who everyone is trying to either control or marry off (or both!). Meanwhile their relatives have got themselves into trouble with something that Jed helped pull from the river at the beginning of the story...

 

There's also an element of the Scarlet Pimpernel going on here, with a nobleman character going about in (not always very good) disguise righting wrongs, who naturally falls for our main female character. I'm a little disconcerted whenever 'all he needs is the love of a good woman' comes up as a way of changing someone, but we'll see how it all works out in Hobgoblin Night before I start worrying about Sera. At the moment, she's a strongly-written and competent character who is quite capable of rescuing herself most of the time, unless the odds are truly stacked against her. 

 

Anyway, though I can't remember how it was I even came to download this particular book (thanks to whoever it was who first recommended it to me!), the sequel is now on my wishlist and will doubtless turn up being reviewed here at some point...

Review
3 Stars
Those Above - Daniel Polansky
Those Above - Daniel Polansky

I picked up a copy of Those Above as the result of two factors: firstly, that my local library branch had a copy in stock when I went in to collect something else and, secondly, that I'd enjoyed a previous book by this author (Low Town, the first of a series, which reminds me I've yet to read the rest of those books...).

 

Anyway, back to Those Above. Our basic premise is that the world is inhabited firstly by Those Above - a four-finger race who are like humans but pretty much human+ - and humanity itself. A while back, during the last effort of Those Above to maintain their rulership of humanity, one of our protagonists had been the first human ever to kill one of their kind, but there's still a significant part of the world under their rule.

 

In particular, they live in a place called the Roost, a city built in layers (which seems to be a quite familiar theme popping up in fantasy books nowadays) where a strict hierarchical way of living sees the inhabitants at the top almost becoming myth to those lower down. One of our other protagonists is a servant there, while another is a teenage boy trying to make his way in one of the lower rungs, by means of a mixture of anger and violence. To round it off, we also have one of the unsung rulers of another human kingdom, a woman who wants to rule and doesn't see why anyone should get in her way. 

 

This is the first of a two-book series and, sadly, one of the problems with it is how very little actually happens to propel the plot forward in 400 pages. We see preparations for a war that has yet to happen, the internal machinations of a would-be empress and disillusionment for those who live in the Roost, regardless of their level. But that's pretty much it and it takes a long time to happen. In all honesty, if my library didn't also have a copy of Those Below, I probably wouldn't bother and would definitely recommend Low Town as a more interesting read for anyone who wants to know what this author can do. 

!!! spoiler alert !!! Review
5 Stars
The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin
The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin

I have to admit, it took me a long time (for me, that is, so it's relative) to finish The Obelisk Gate but that was all about me and where my brain's been at recently and not a reflection on the quality of the book - this is the sequel to the Hugo-award winning The Fifth Season and I usually try and do a re-read before plunging into book 2 but knew that would cause even more delay this time around. 

 

The previous book introduces us to a world which has been regularly afflicted with cataclysmic events, ones which drive its human population to the very edge, and also to a world where some humans (known as orogenes, or more dismissively 'roggas') have the ability to control the forces of the planet and use it either destructively or protectively. Because of the power they potentially wield, there's a lot of prejudice towards them and also a whole set-up involving people who 'control' those individuals by what are quite clearly abusive means.

 

In The Obelisk Gate, we're dealing with the aftermath of events in The Fifth Season - our main character Essun, who is an orogene, finds herself part of a community and faced with the twin problems of mastering her powers for a particular mission and dealing with the death of one of her friends. Meanwhile, her daughter Nassun has been kidnapped by her father and taken; she's already witnessed the murder of her brother (by their father) because of his powers and Nassun is forced to manipulate Jija so she doesn't share the same fate. Jija is in search of a place that can supposedly 'cure' orogenes but finds something that's even less to his tastes, a place that is meant to help them learn to use their powers without the attendant cruelty. 

 

Since this is a trilogy, there's still a lot to be resolved and explained in the upcoming third book, and I hope it gets published on schedule next summer! As usual, Jemisin's writing is excellent and evocative; she's now writing full-time so I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future, though this series is going to be a tough act to follow! Highly recommended, though that'll come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, and unless some unexpectedly good stuff arrives between now and then, The Obelisk Gate will be on my Hugo nomination form next year for Best Novel.

Review
3 Stars
The Kraken Sea - E. Catherine Tobler
The Kraken Sea - E. Catherine Tobler

Jackson is an orphan, found in a box and brought to the foundling hospital, but an orphan unlike those who surround him: he has patches of scales and writhing something just under his skin. When a request is put in for orphans to travel West, since this is the 19th century, Jackson is unexpectedly one of those offered a place to live, travelling by train to an uncertain future at Macquarie's. 

 

In his new home, Jackson finds himself embroiled in a territorial dispute as Cressida, the woman who has adopted him, attempts to stake her claim on a bigger part of the city and (he discovers almost too late) also has even more sinister plans. And there's a woman, or two in fact as Jackson becomes smitten with the daughter of Cressida's biggest rival while also romancing a local bakery owner's daughter. 

 

Tobler's characters inhabit a strange world, one where stone and metal guardians can swallow the unwary and where nobody is quite who or what they seem. In all, The Kraken Sea wasn't perhaps quite what I was looking for as it took what seemed to be a long time to get the finale set up and then pretty much just stopped with what felt like an attempt to tie up all loose ends in a couple of pages. I also struggled a bit with Jackson's casual attitude towards the harm he does to other people - some justified by their behaviour, but not always; it wasn't really the ideal book for me, but I liked the writing and will keep an eye out for this writer to see if she puts out something that's more my speed in the future! 

 

 

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Apex in exchange for an honest review. 

Don't panic!

Don't worry, anyone who has me on their feed, I've not suddenly devoured a shed-load of Golden Age detective stories, I'm just tidying up my shelves (since I really have already read the entire Rex Stout, Dorothy L Sayers and Margery Allingham opus, at least twice over) and for some reason that means everyone needs to know about it... ;)