The Will of The Many

James Islington

Set in a quasi-Roman fantasy world this is a satisfying read.
Vis is an orphan trying to do something impossible – find a way to avoid being forced to cede his will to the Hierarchy.
The Catenan Hierarchy has conquered the world and their will magic powered by a strict societal power class system in now unchallenged.
Under unlikely circumstances Vis finds himself adopted by a powerful Catenan senator in order to solve a mystery at the elite Academy.
Vis – who has a dangerous secret past – is force to ride a fine line to serve the interests of different groups who want to use him for their own ends.
I really did enjoy this one. The book is split into three parts and the first part is particularly strong. I enjoyed the rest a little less but where it left off is very tantalizing and I’m looking forward to getting the sequel when it comes out.

Rating: A-


How To End A Love Story

Yulin Kuang

This is the debut novel of writer/director Yulin Kuang whose work I have been following since “Kissing In The Rain” was released onto YouTube.
I was very lucky to gain access to an advance readers copy through NetGalley.
This is a very enjoyable romance with lead characters who are simultaneously both likeable and a little messed up.
The plot has Helen – a successful YA author – turning up in LA to take part in the writer’s room on the adaptation of her hit book series.
She discovers that one of the lead writers in the room is Grant. He was behind the wheel when Helen’s sister threw herself in front of car, leading to her death.
That tragic event informs every part of their interactions as they eventually move from being frosty colleagues to besotted lovers.
When the book ended I had that rare feeling of wanting to spend more time with the characters and I don’t think there’s a higher recommendation than that.

Rating: A-


Nona The Ninth

Tamsyn Muir

The third book in the Locked Tomb finds Nona living a simple life and working as a teacher’s aide while her found family try to work out the mystery of who she is.
Set on a ‘Blood of Eden’ held planet as Nona and her family try to save lives as deadline creeps up on them unawares. In flashbacks we hear John tell the story of the end of the world.
This was an enjoyable book but very much felt like a diversion on the way to the actual ending of the series. I’m glad to have spent time with Nona and it’s great to see old friends (and enemies) in a new context.
How long am I going to have to wait for Alecto the Niinth?

Rating: A-


Fast Forward

Stephen Morris

This book covers the career of New Order, the Hacienda nightclub, the music of The Other Two and the relationship between himself and Gillian Gilbert (also a member of New Order).
This book is just as good a read as the previous volume but it is a little more vague about the various ructions that happened in New Order particularly as it gets to the point where Peter Hook leaves.
There does seem to be a promise to one day cover the court case where Hook sued to wind up the band and the period where Gilbert rejoined after taking leave to care for their kids.

Rating: A-


Record Play Pause

Stephen Morris

This is a very good rock autobiography.
Morris recounts his wayward childhood, his burgeoning interest in alternative culture, drugs and particularly music.
He becomes a member of Warsaw who eventually rename themselves Joy Division.
He talks in frequently humourous detail about the trials and tribulations of being a band on the rise in the late 1970s.
The book concludes with singer Ian Curtis committing suicide and the remaining members deciding to carry on under the name New Order.
I’ve already bought the follow up to this where he covers the New Order years and I’ll be reading it next.
Very much recommended for anyone with an interest in Joy Division.

Rating: A-


Ancillary Mercy

Ann Leckie

A well written and enjoyable novel.
For all that it was a tiny bit of a disappointing end.
I was listening to the (excellent) audiobooks of this series and got so drawn in that that I needed the speed of reading it myself.
I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes science fiction. The first book in particular is of the highest calibre and the other two still very good.

Rating: A-


The Truth of the Divine

Lindsay Ellis

This is the sequel to Axiom’s End.
It’s an even better book than the first but by god is this one bleak.
I’m interested to see where the series goes from here. I hope there’s some uplift at some point though.

Rating: A-


The Last Graduate

Naomi Novik

El is no longer an outcast at the Scholomance school of magic.
She has an alliance and – even better – friends.
After the events of last year everyone is enjoying a breather from attacks by the Mals.
Everyone except El!
This is a very good second installment of this series. I really hope she sticks the landing in the last book.

Rating: A-


A Deadly Education

Naomi Novik

El is an outcast at the Scholomance school of magic.
This would be bad enough in a normal boarding school but this magical school is full of monsters called Mals looking to snack on unprepared students and the outcasts are the easy marks.
Luckily El is no easy mark.

Rating: A-