Thursday, January 24, 2013

Technogenesis



Rating: 3 stars
Length: Smoothly compact (326 pages)
Publication: January 1, 2002 from Roc
Premise: Not too far in our future, Jasmine Reese is a talented data miner, able to sift tiny pieces of information from the sea of information. When her data masks malfunctions, she has to live outside that insulated world-- when she looks around through her own eyes, she starts to notice that the connected are oddly coordinated, and that they seem to be watching her.
Warnings: forced control of the body via technology, mental hacking into the brains of others without their consent
Recommendation: Technogenesis is conceptually intriguing, but the characters and plot (particularly in the latter part of the book) can get a little odd. Try picking it up used or at a library unless cyberpunk is really your thing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Taint in the Blood

I picked up this one from Misanthrope, who bought it and got a few chapters in before giving it up and sending it my way. Getting to the end was worth it, but only barely.



Rating: 2.5 stars
Length: On the rambly side of average (502 pages)
Publication: May 4, 2010 from Roc
Premise: Adrian Brézé has spent years trying to forget his nature as one of the Shadowspawn, living as a mortal and refusing to continue the fight against his own kind. But when his mortal lover, Ellen, grows tired of his secrets and leaves him, she's kidnapped by Adrienne, who embraces her nature as a Shadowspawn. Adrian has to walk back toward his old life if he wants to try to keep the world, let alone Ellen, safe.
Warnings: rape, sexual assault, emotional abuse, mass murder of civilians
Recommendation: If you're absolutely stuck for new takes on vampires or werewolves, A Taint in the Blood has some intriguing ideas about how Shadowspawn powers work, but it's almost painful to read in places from the sheer melodrama.

There's some spoiler-laden discussion of the rape and abuse down in the red pen section, so steer clear if you're planning to read this and would like to be surprised. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Drowning City


Rating: 3 stars
Length: Comfortably moderate (370 pages)
Publication: September 1, 2009 from Orbit Book
Premise: Isyllt Iskaldur has been sent to the canal city of Symir, capital of Sivahra, to support the local resistance movement and thus weaken the occupying Assari Empire before it can invade her own land. That mission is complicated by the deep-rooted loyalties of one of her companions, the underlying tension is the city, and the close attention of an imperial nvestigator.
Warnings: unusual consent issues, gore
Recommendation: If you're interested in necromancy, a frank examination of the human costs of occupation and rebellion, or settings with a South Asian cultural influence, give this one a try. As a fantasy book in a general sense it could stand to improve, but it absolutely excels in those areas.

There are a few minor spoilers scattered down in the red pen section, particularly during the discussion of Xinai.
 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Nymphos of Rocky Flats

I'll be honest, I picked up this one because the title caught my eye and I couldn't resist my curiosity. Unfortunately, the title is a serious contender for the best aspect of the book. 



Rating: 1.5 stars
Length: On the longish side of average (354 pages)
Publication: March 14, 2006 from Harper Voyager
Premise: Felix Gomez entered Operation Iraqi Freedom as a solider and left as an embittered vampire. Now he's back in the USA, using his unique skills to solve mysteries while holding himself apart from other vampires by refusing to drink human blood. When an old friend from the Department of Energy asks him to investigate an outbreak of nymphomania, he finds himself up against vampire hunters....and other forces he doesn't understand.
Warnings: early graphic (but accidental) killing of civilians, consent issues, threatened sexual assault
Recommendation: If you really have a soft spot for conspiracy theories and government agencies, this one might be fun, but it falls a little too flat for a thumbs-up.

There's a bit of spoiler-ranting down in the red pen section, so steer away from that if you're planning to read the book yourself.