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Joined 1 year, 4 months ago

Science fiction and fantasy. Astronomical Data Scientist at STScI/MAST in Baltimore. Opinions are my own. Follow me on Mastodon at Longer reviews on my blog:

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The Lathe Of Heaven (Paperback, 2008, Scribner) 4 stars

“The Lathe of Heaven” ; 1971 ( Ursula Le Guin received the 1973 Locus Award …

Dreaming of a better world has consequences

3 stars

Overall, this was an interesting short novel. While deceptively simple, the premise makes you think about a lot its concepts, including dreams, reality, and the power to change it. The characters lead the conflict- there is an abusive relationship at its core as one takes advantage of the other. That was disturbing but the main character is a little too passive in working to get out of it.

For a full review, check out my blog:

The Goblin Emperor (Paperback, 2019, Tor Books) 4 stars

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant …

A personal story of a reluctant emperor

4 stars

Overall this was a good book. It was fairly straightforward in its plot and characters, which allowed it to have a more personal feel to the main character. The setting is hindered a little by aspects of the language which, while they add some depth, they also add a great amount of complexity. I can certainly see the similarities to The Hands of the Emperor, though I prefer that book for its broader story and the focus on the secretary rather than the emperor himself.

For a full review, check out my blog:

Yumi and the Nightmare Painter (2023, Dragonsteel) 4 stars

Yumi comes from a land of gardens, meditation, and spirits, while Painter lives in a …

A clever body-swap story set in the Cosmere

5 stars

This was probably one of the more engaging Cosmere novels that Sanderson has written thus far. It features a pair of very different artists from very different worlds. The story involves a bit of a body-swap with a twist, so each gets to see how their other world looks like and learns from it. Combined with an intriguing setting and a plot focused on the mystery of what is going on, you get a formula for a book that is hard to put down. It also features plenty of illustrations by Aliya Chen which further add to the story.

For a full review, check out my blog:

Witch King (EBook, 2023, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC) 4 stars

Kai-Enna is the Witch King, though he hasn’t always been, and he hasn’t even always …

Needlessly ambitious in scope, but an intriguing main character

2 stars

Overall, this was a decent book, though I approached it with expectations that were unreasonably high. On it's own, it's an interesting story and sets the stage for an interesting setting that could lead to further adventures. It does feel like you're coming in right in between the action so I felt a little lost as to what was possible and who the characters were, which I think is my biggest problem with the book- there is a lot to absorb, but we're only given tidbits in the interest of keeping the plot moving.

For a full review, check out my blog:

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A Master of Djinn (Hardcover, 2021, Tor) 4 stars

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe …

Gumshoes in steampunk Egypt

4 stars

Agent Fatma is called to investigate the deaths of all members of a secret society, and assigned a new young partner, the latest woman in an organization that is overwhelmingly male. So a bit of old-cop, new-cop, plays out throughout the story, where Fatma learns to trust her partner.

There’s plenty of sluething and subterfuge at play in this book, with a fantasy, sci-fi, and whodunit mashup. Clark keeps the pages turning, with occasional head-scratchers. For instance, why does Fatma routinely make mistakes in how she conducts her work with Djinn, when that’s her job?

However, the general grist of the story is strong, the characters are engaging, and the surprises are truly surprising. I recommend it.

The Frugal Wizard's Handbook for Surviving Medieval England (2023, Dragonsteel) 4 stars

1 New York Times Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson meshes Jason Bourne and epic fantasy in …

An unusual, but fun novella set in a pseudo-medieval England

4 stars

Overall, the book was a very fast read and very fun. Once all the pieces click together it's more waiting to see how much the main character will take it and how his unique personality will play into the narrative. At the end, I was left wondering about some details. There are some subtle hints that make me wonder if Sanderson will revisit this universe.

For a longer review, check out my blog:

Encounter with Tiber (Paperback, 1997, Aspect) 4 stars

An interesting take on a first contact hard sci-fi novel

3 stars

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed the Tiberian sections of the story quite a lot as it's a bit of a reverse first contact, where we see from their point of view what happens when they reach Earth and find Stone Age humans. The science and engineering concepts were interesting and always a hallmark of hard sci-fi stories. I found the cast too large for the narrower scope of the story (pretty much everyone is given a name, description, job, etc even if they never get any lines of dialogue) and the plot at times slowed down, but it was otherwise an enjoyable story. It makes me wish humanity was more united in its pursuit of knowledge and of a better tomorrow.

For a full review, check out my blog: