Book Review: Smoke & Summons

Smoke and Summons (The Numina Series #1)Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book ahead of publication as part of Amazon’s Kindle First program for January ’19.

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. It’s the tale of Sandis, a young woman who has the ability to act as vessel to otherworldly creatures known as numina, and tells of her attempt to escape the slavery she finds herself in as a result of this ‘gift’. Helping her along the way is Rone, a streetwise burglar and thief with a magical secret of his own, while working against her is the summoner Kazen, the man who kept her locked up in his underworld lair. The story gallops along at a fair pace, with very few places for the protagonists to catch their breath, and along with the main plot there are also a few secondary elements woven through the narrative involving Rone’s mother getting locked up for a crime he committed and Sandis’ search for an uncle she never knew she had. There’s a lot going on in those 300 or so pages.

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Book Review: White Rabbit

White RabbitWhite Rabbit by K.A. Laity
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

James Draygo used to be a police detective but now he’s a fairy dust addicted psychic just trying to get by. When a well-to-do client gets murdered in his parlour things start to get a little more interesting than Draygo likes and he soon finds himself being dragged through a whole range of complications in an effort to clear his name. Helping him actually put some effort into this are his erstwhile manservant Jinx, the freelance journalist Helen Saunders, and the smart-mouthed ghost of the aforementioned dead client.

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Book Review: Child of an Ancient City

Child of an Ancient CityChild of an Ancient City by Tad Williams
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a remarkably good little book. It tells the tale of an ill-fated caravan journey between Baghdad and Armenia, and how the book’s protagonist and narrator, Masrur al-Adan, manages to survive bandit raids and the attentions of the vampyr stalking them.

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Book Review: The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction

The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science FictionThe Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction by Francesca T Barbini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to say, this one’s given me a lot to think about. It’s a small book, physically speaking, but it has some pretty big things to say about where African F/SF has come from, where it currently stands, and maybe even where it’s going. The book itself is a collection of academic papers on aspects of F/SF created in Africa or by African authors and makes for some interesting and eye-opening reading.

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Book Review: Dreaming in Smoke

Dreaming in SmokeDreaming in Smoke by Tricia Sullivan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an interesting read, albeit one which requires a fair bit of work from the reader. It’s a weird mix of cyberpunk meets colonial sci-fi meets social commentary, held together by some fantastic prose. Right from the first paragraph the writing comes across as a strongly jazz-influenced melange of images and ideas and perfectly sets the stage for what quickly becomes a confusing journey through an alien ecosphere, as seen through the eyes of our protagonist, Kalypso Deed.

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