A sci-fi book recommendation: The House of Binding Thorns (A Dominion of the Fallen Novel) by Aliette de Bodard

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2zMOdg4.
The characters’ arcs were explored in more depth, the story moved forward, there was plenty of action, a lot of questions were answered (but not all of them), and there is no cliffhanger. All in all, it is the best book I have read so far this year.
Book description from Google Books:
The multi-award-winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…. As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by Fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital. House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal–to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear. In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom–and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…. As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength–or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
The book is rated 3.98/5 at goodreads.com, from 282 ratings. See 79 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iZEZVV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iXFSxS.

A sci-fi book recommendation: The House of Binding Thorns (A Dominion of the Fallen Novel) by Aliette de Bodard

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2zMOdg4.
The characters’ arcs were explored in more depth, the story moved forward, there was plenty of action, a lot of questions were answered (but not all of them), and there is no cliffhanger. All in all, it is the best book I have read so far this year.
Book description from Google Books:
The multi-award-winning author of The House of Shattered Wings continues her Dominion of the Fallen saga as Paris endures the aftermath of a devastating arcane war…. As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by Fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital. House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal–to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear. In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom–and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear…. As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength–or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.
The book is rated 3.98/5 at goodreads.com, from 282 ratings. See 79 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iZEZVV.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iXFSxS.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Pantheon: The True Story of the Egyptian Deities by Hamish Steele

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h6PHJl.
Steele’s gods sometimes look like Simpsons characters, but he also captures real grandeur, as a boat packed with animal-headed gods sweeps through the cosmos. This take on ancient Egypt is educational as well as hilarious.
Book description from Google Books:
The most important myth in Ancient Egypt is faithfully retold in glorious color! Horus, son of Isis, vows bloody revenge on his Uncle Set for the murder and usurpation of his Pharaoh father. Based on elements from various versions of the famous Osiris myth, Hamish Steele has resurrected this fantastic story in all its symbolic and humorous glory. Pantheon contains: incest, decapitation, suspicious salad, fighting hippos, flying cows, a boat race, resurrections, lots of scorpions and a golden willy. Hamish Steele is a freelance animation director and illustrator from London. He graduated from Kingston University with First Class Honors in 2013 and since then has worked for the BBC, Frederator Studios, Blink!Ink, BOOM! Studios, Random House and Nickelodeon and Big Finish.Pantheon is his first graphic novel.
The book is rated 4.28/5 at goodreads.com, from 201 ratings. See 64 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h78rsj.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2ixfE5r.

A sci-fi book recommendation: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

A critic review (source NPR) can be read at: http://n.pr/2zxJKgU.
This is a book that writes the story of itself into its smallest corners. The prose is so purely delightful that I kept folding down pages to return to. I laughed at exceptional turns of phrase, only to find myself tearing up a few passages later…
Book description from Google Books:
‘Everyone should read Frances Hardinge. Everyone. Right now.’ Patrick NessA Face Like Glass is an astonishing and imaginative novel from the Costa Award winning author of The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge.In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare – wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear – at a price.Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .
The book is rated 4.23/5 at goodreads.com, from 3031 ratings. See 630 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iIzw5C.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: .
Google Books preview available in full post.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2hbZJsG.
The result is a sharp critique of medieval social strictures, with stunning battle scenes, monsters and blood. My nephew devoured all 134 pages of it.
Book description from Google Books:
In his first graphic novel, National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson turns to Arthurian lore, with captivating art by Andrea Offermann bringing the classic legend to life. Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chr�tien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain’s role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.
The book is rated 3.36/5 at goodreads.com, from 502 ratings. See 148 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2harj9Z.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2hc052u.

A sci-fi book recommendation: River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

A critic review (source NY Journal of Books) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h7WW3N.
While River of Teeth’s ending is somewhat abrupt, leaving many questions in its wake, the fact that this is designated as Book 1, justifies its sudden finish. It does, however, engender the wish that the novella had been lengthened into a novel with a better conclusion.
Book description from Google Books:
Sarah Gailey’s wildfire debut River of Teeth is a rollicking alternate history adventure that Charlie Jane Anders calls “preposterously fun.”In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.This was a terrible plan.Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.
The book is rated 3.62/5 at goodreads.com, from 1659 ratings. See 536 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2h8ozK1.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h8oIgx.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D by David Kushner

A critic review (source National Post arts) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2iy1twU.
Koren Shadmi’s art and the pacing of Rise of the Dungeon Master combine to create a palpable tension; reading it, you can almost feel these guys on the verge of discovering something big.
Book description from Google Books:
Rise of the Dungeon Master tells, in graphic form, the story of Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most influential games ever made. Like the game itself, the narrative casts the reader into the adventure from a first person point of view, taking on the roles of the different characters in the story.Gygax was the son of immigrants who grew up in Lake Geneva, WI, in the 1950s. An imaginative misfit, he escaped into a virtual world based on science fiction novels, military history and strategic games like chess. In the mid-1970s, he co-created the wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons game. Starting out in the basement of his home, he was soon struggling to keep up with the demand. Gygax was a purist, in the sense that he was adamant that players use their imaginations and that the rules of the game remain flexible. A creative mind with no real knowledge of business, he made some strategic errors and had a falling out with the game’s co-creator, his close friend and partner, David Arneson. By the late 1970s the game had become so popular among kids that parents started to worry — so much so that a mom’s group was formed to alert parents to the dangers of role play and fantasy. The backlash only fueled the fires of the young fans who continued to play the game, escaping into imaginary worlds. Before long, D&D conventions were set up around the country and the game inspired everything from movies to the first video games. With D&D, Gygax created the kind of role playing fantasy that would fuel the multibillion dollar video game industry, and become a foundation of contemporary geek culture.
The book is rated 3.52/5 at goodreads.com, from 275 ratings. See 66 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iy1zog.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2h8ox52.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Tilly and the Time Machine by Adrian Edmondson

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2h61kQN.
Folksy, funny illustrations by newcomer Danny Noble (who Edmondson signed up after spotting her on Twitter) add to the charm. But the book also provides a touching examination of childhood loss.
Book description from Google Books:
Tilly is seven and a half – and about to make history. When Tilly’s dad builds a time machine in the shed there’s only one place she really wants to go: back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was still here. But then something goes wrong! Tilly’s dad gets stuck in the past and only she can save him . . . Will they make it back in time for tea?

Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iyjHyr.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Thick as Thieves (Queen’s Thief) by Megan Whalen Turner

A critic review (source Dear Author) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2had30O.
I think the only downside (if it is a downside) to Turner’s style is that I’ve come to expect that things aren’t as they seem in the course of the story, so the surprises have become less surprising. Still, Thick as Thieves was entertaining and enjoyable, and even surprisingly poignant in its depiction of an enslaved man’s mindset.
Book description from Google Books:
Discover the world of the Queen’s ThiefThick as Thieves is the eagerly anticipated new stand-alone novel set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. New York Times-bestselling author Megan Whalen Turner’s entrancing and award-winning Queen’s Thief novels bring to life the world of the epics and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations and intrigue, battles lost and won, dangerous journeys, divine intervention, power, passion, revenge, and deception. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and George R. R. Martin.Kamet, a secretary and slave to his Mede master, has the ambition and the means to become one of the most powerful people in the Empire. But with a whispered warning the future he envisioned is wrenched away, and he is forced onto a very different path. Set in the world of the Queen’s Thief, this epic adventure sees an ordinary hero take on an extraordinary mission. The Queen’s Thief novels have been praised by writers, critics, reviewers, and fans, and have been honored with glowing reviews, “best of” citations, and numerous awards, including the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a Newbery Honor, the Andre Norton Award shortlist, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Discover and rediscover the stand-alone companion stories The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings, all epic novels set in the world of the Queen’s Thief. Thick as Thieves includes two maps, a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map of Kamet’s journey. “The Queen’s Thief books awe and inspire me. They have the feel of a secret, discovered history of real but forgotten lands. The plot-craft is peerless, the revelations stunning, and the characters flawed, cunning, heartbreaking, exceptional. Megan Whalen Turner’s books have a permanent spot on my favorites shelf, with space waiting for more books to come.”—Laini Taylor, New York Times-bestselling author of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone novels and Strange the Dreamer “Unforgettable characters, plot twists that will make your head spin, a world rendered in elegant detail—you will fall in love with every page of these stories. Megan Whalen Turner writes vivid, immersive, heartbreaking fantasy that will leave you desperate to return to Attolia again and again.”—Leigh Bardugo, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom”Megan Whalen Turner has constructed a clever world filled with suspense and intrigue and characters that will never be forgotten. Once you dive into the world of the Queen’s Thief, prepare to have your life stolen from you until you finish them all.” —Joelle Charbonneau, New York Times-bestselling author of the Testing trilogy
The book is rated 4.20/5 at goodreads.com, from 3324 ratings. See 802 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2iBSeMi.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iBSpqW.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A sci-fi book recommendation: Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/2iBcugS.
Some of the stories are slight…The best stories, though, pry open the impassive surfaces of human behavior to reveal “the bloody weight of desire and the rusty anchor of remorse.”
Book description from Google Books:
A dazzling new collection of short stories–the first major new work of fiction from the beloved, internationally acclaimed, Haruki Murakami since his #1 best-selling Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.
The book is rated 3.77/5 at goodreads.com, from 14210 ratings. See 1708 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/2hbZMF5.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2iCvpIh.