Ernest Cline

I gave this a re-read to see if it improved on a second go-through. It really didn't
I really have nothing new to say about the book so read my earlier review.

Rating: B-



The Collapsing Empire

John Scalzi

This is easily Scalzi's best book since Zoe's Tale.
The story is set in the Interdependency which is a collective of planets controlled by aristocrats and guilds and connected by a FTL network called the Flow. We arrive to find this fictional world in the midst of political upheaval and finding itself on the brink of disaster. Unusually for a book with many point-of-view characters I enjoyed spending time with all of them. It has to be said, though, that Kiva Lagos is my favourite. I definitely want more of her in the rest of the series.
Indeed the only real flaw of the book is that it feels very much like the set up for a series. I can't wait for the next one to come out so Scalzi's got me hooked already.

I should note that I read an advance copy of this book provided by NetGalley

Rating: B+



Heroine Complex

Sarah Kuhn

heroine complexEvie Tanaka is the sidekick of San Francisco's beloved superhero Aveda Jupiter (formerly Annie Chang and Evie's best friend from school).
When Aveda is injured and has to rest up for a couple of weeks Evie is persuaded to take Aveda Jupiter's place in public.
Of course Evie has superpowers of her own that she's suppressed for years and when danger strikes during at an event she's forced to use them to save lives.
A very enjoyable story of self-discovery, healing sibling and friend bonds featuring several very kick-ass Asian-American ladies.
What's not to like?
I'm definitely looking forward to whatever Kuhn releases next.

Rating: B+




Daniel O'Malley

stilettoStiletto is the long-awaited follow up to The Rook. As you can see in the linked review I was a bit worried about how sequels could add anything worthwhile to the world of the Chechquy.
I'm happy to report that this is a fun book in it's own right. It earns much of it's appeal from the way that it dives into the history and motivations of the Grafters (Centuries old enemies of the Chechquy) as the two groups enter formal negotiations.
Unlike the first book very little of this tale is told from the perspective of Myfanwy Thomas. Instead the lead characters are a junior member of the Grafters and the agent assigned as her bodyguard.
It certainly isn't without flaws - there's an unnecessary subplot and one of the action set pieces is rather confusing - but it is still very enjoyable.
I'd happily recommend it to fans of the first book, though I'd read The Rook first if you haven't come to the series yet.

Rating: B+



Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Alan Dean Foster

force awakensThe novelization of the latest Star Wars tale is a very enjoyable translation of a very enjoyable film.
As with all books of this type there's a few things that make it into the book from the script that didn't end up in the finished film. They're pretty minor in this case for the most part but still worth checking out if you're hungering for more after seeing the film
Recommended for fans of the film.

Rating: B+



Only You Can Save Mankind

Terry Pratchett

Only You Can Save MankindThis is the first of the Johnny Maxwell young adult series and the first of Terry Pratchett's books I've been able to read since his death.
I stayed over at my parents on Christmas Eve and I woke up early on Christmas morning before dawn. As I sat, slightly cold, watching the sun rise over the Forth I borrowed this ebook from Edinburgh Overdrive.
I first read it a long time ago before this blog existed and never again since I started keeping a record of my reading.
This short book retains all of Pratchett's humour, insight, and empathy while squarely viewing the world from a the perspective of a twelve year old boy.
I don't want to spend a lot of time on the plot of this one - I just want to recommend it.
Everyone should read Terry Pratchett. If the fantasy trappings of Discworld are putting you off this is as good a place to start as any.

Rating: A-



The Girl With All The Gifts

M.R. Carey

the girl with all the giftsThis is an extremely good post apocalyptic novel.
I don't want to spoil the book in any way but I will say that it's about a very gifted young girl, a teacher, a soldier and a scientist.
The world building is magnificent, the main characters are very well drawn and the plot is utterly involving.
It's horror and it's science fiction all at once.
I strongly recommend this book.

Rating: A



Lock In

John Scalzi

Lock InScalzi steps away from his Old Man's War series and SF comedies to deliver a near future procedural.
In a world where a disease traps victims minds in their immobile bodies but government funded research allows the victims to communicate and work using telepresence robots or by piggy backing in the bodies of specially trained individuals a bizarre suicide is investigated by a rookie FBI agent.
I really enjoyed the world building in this one and as always Scalzi writes in a fast paced and entertaining fashion. Unfortunately when it gets to the meat of the investigation the mystery is way too predictable.
It's still worth reading but don't be surprised if you know what's going to happen at the end by the halfway point of the book.

Rating: B+



The Martian

Andy Weir

the martianThe hype finally got to me. I've been avoiding this book for a long time because my limited knowledge of the plot made it sound like another depressing space exploration book.
I finally get round to reading this to discover that it's one of the most solidly written and life affirming pieces of traditional Science Fiction I've read in years.
I enjoyed so much I'm keen to see the film and might even download the audiobook.
Highly recommended if you have any interest in human space exploration.

Rating: A



Off To Be The Wizard

Scott Meyer

off to be the wizardThis is a comic science fiction novel about a hacker who discovers the secrets of controlling the universe via a garbage file on a server he's broken into.
He quickly finds himself in trouble after changing reality to suit his own needs and he escapes into the past of medieval England.
The premise is more entertaining than the actual story and while I wouldn't mind reading the sequel it's certainly not something I'm super keen to acquire.

Rating: B-