Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kris Longknife: Mutineer

The quick and dirty:
Rating: 2.5 stars
Length: On the high end of average (389 pages)
Publication: January 27, 2004 from Ace Books
Premise: The book opens with Kris Longknife, a Navy ensign fresh out of officer training, commanding a frantic hostage rescue mission. She struggles to balance her own doubts and the shadows of her own past with her drive to succeed and prove that she's deserving of her family's oldest histories. As soon as the mission ends, she's put on leave. She thinks that going home for a short visit with her parents will just kill time, but instead it introduces her to plots that were moving long before her birth and to the stirrings of a potential interstellar war.
Warnings: recounting of a past gang rape against many one-shot characters, past death of a child close to the protagonist 
Recommendation: If you really adore space opera with a dash of politics then you might enjoy this, but I can't honestly endorse paying full price for it. Take a look on your next used bookstore run if you're interested. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Something from the Nightside

The quick and dirty:
Rating: 3.5 stars
Length: Snappily short (230 pages)
Publication: May 27, 2003 from Ace Books
Premise: John Taylor, a washed-up private detective, is trying to get by in his dull London office when a woman walks in and promises him a small fortune for finding her runaway daughter. Unfortunately, there's a catch: the girl has vanished into the Nightside, London's dazzling dark mirror realm. John last saw the place five years ago when he was fleeing it, covered in blood and swearing never to return. But he can't turn down the money or the lady in distress, so they venture forth and find old friends, old enemies, and some people who are both. John wields a magical gift for finding things and still has a reputation in the Nightside, but his five-year coating of rust and that very reputation put him in more danger than he'd anticipated.
Warnings: Lots of blood and horror, but not to an excessive extent
Recommendation: Buy the first one for popcorn reading and go back for seconds on the rest of the series if you like it. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dragon Keeper

The quick and dirty:
Rating: 3 stars
Length: Long, but not a doorstop (493 pages)
Publication: June 25, 2009 from Harper Voyager
Premise: The story centers on three women of very different backgrounds: Alise, a young scholar of dragon history; Thymara, an outcast at home only in the tallest trees; and Sintara, a flightless dragon chasing after faded ancestral memories. The three of them are drawn together on a journey upriver to resettle the dragons in their lost ancestral home. For each of them, it's also a journey to find freedom and a place in the world despite the many dangers of the road.
Warnings: Emotional abuse in spades (both familial and in sexual relationships), non-graphic sexual assault
Recommendation: Try to find it on sale in mass market if you're in the mood for something slow-paced and detailed. If you're not normally enthralled with dragon books, try used bookstores, libraries, or borrowing from friends.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Broken Blade

The quick and dirty:
Rating: 3.5 stars 
Length: Moderate (288 pages) 
Publication: November 29, 2011 from Ace Books
Premise: Aral, one of the last of an order of assassins for Namara, the goddess of divine justice, is living in the bottom of a bottle with a price on his head when he gets offered a seemingly simple delivery job. He runs into a former friend and a new enemy, both of whom should have him running from the city where he earned the name of Kingslayer. Instead, with the help of his familiar and a client in need of justice, he tries to right a wrong in the way he used to; things get complicated very quickly. Along the way, he starts to edge back to the remnants of who he used to be.
Warnings: brief bout of torture (largely beating) described in moderate detail, not terribly graphic
Recommendation: Buy it, then be prepared to lend it out. I had friends hounding me for my copy before I finished it.