Review: Shades Of Milk And Honey By Mary Robinette Kowal


A derivative tale of an unappreciated spinster who unexpectedly finds love with someone who can appreciate her magical talents.


Book CoverShades Of Milk And Honey
(Glamourist Histories, Book 1)

Mary Robinette Kowal

Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Corsair
Format: Paperback, 272 Pages
Date: 3rd October 2013 (First Published 2010)

ISBN-10: 1472102495
ISBN-13: 978-1472102492

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Some authors, whether knowingly or unknowingly, wear their influences on their sleeves. It is often possible to read the work of any given writer then accurately deduce who and what has influenced the story. Anybody who reads Mary Robinette Kowal’s novel, Shades Of Milk And Honey, the first book of the Glamourist Histories series, won’t need to guess the who and the what that provided the inspiration for her writing. She unabashedly embraces her fondness for Regency era literature in general, and her love of Jane Austen in particular. In fact, if you strip away the book’s fantasy element, Shades Of Milk And Honey could very well have been authored by Austen herself.

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Review: Temeraire By Naomi Novik


A stoic naval officer embarks upon a swashbuckling journey of duty, honour, loyalty, and above all else friendship.


Book CoverTemeraire
(Temeraire, Book 1)

Naomi Novik

Genre: Alternate History, Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Date: 16th June 2011 (First Published 2006)

ISBN-10: 0007451423
ISBN-13: 978-0007451425

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Imagine, if you will, that you are a writer with an interest in a particular period of European history; the Napoleonic Wars, for example. You know that you would like to write a story about, and set during this period. But you have no interest in writing historical fiction. Instead you want to create an alternate history take of this time but want to avoid producing a conventional “what if?” story which simply changes the outcome of one or more specific events. You decide that you will write something much more to your liking by incorporating elements from a genre you do have an interest in writing; High Fantasy. What are the chances that your idea to make this alternate history tale a little more fantastical, amounts to: “just add dragons”? Not very likely. Yet this is essentially what author, Naomi Novik, has done with her début novel, Temeraire. (Also known as His Majesty’s Dragon.)

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Review: The Fallen Blade By Jon Courtenay Grimwood


An alternate history tale that promises so much, but delivers so little.


Book CoverThe Fallen Blade
(The Assassini Trilogy, Book 1)

Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Genre: Historical Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 432 Pages
Date: 5th April 2012 (First Published 2011)

ISBN-10: 1841498467
ISBN-13: 978-1841498461

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Having picked up the book on a whim, knowing next to nothing about its premise, ergo having no expectations going in, there is a part of me that feels almost guilty for being disappointed with The Fallen Blade. So much so that I read it twice hoping that a second reading would dispose me to viewing the book more favourably; it didn’t. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Review: Romanitas By Sophia McDougall


Romanitas, a début novel with an alternate history premise that promises more than it delivers.


Book CoverRomanitas
(Romanitas Trilogy, Book 1)

Sophia McDougall

Genre: Alternate History, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 608 Pages
Date: 24th February 2011 (First Published 2005)

ISBN-10: 0575096926
ISBN-13: 978-0575096929

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

It is almost a certainty that anyone who picked up this title did so because of its central premise; the Roman Empire never declined and fell, instead it endured, encompassing two thirds of the world, and continues into the 21st century… Now! Such a simple, yet intriguing premise inevitably creates a high level of expectation in a reader due to the endless story possibilities; expectations that Sophia McDougall as a first time author had almost no chance of meeting with her début novel.

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Trivia: The Inspiration For, The Man In The High Castle


Would you like to know what inspired Philip K. Dick’s alternate history classic, The Man In The High Castle? Of course you would!


As you may already know, The Man In The High Castle is the Hugo Award winning, alternate history novel in which the Allies lost the Second World War, by American science fiction author, Philip K. Dick. What you may not know, is that the writer cited the primary influence for his work was the 1953 novel, Bring The Jubilee, by Ward Moore, which occurs in an alternate history, twentieth century United States wherein the Confederate States of America won the American Civil War in the 1860s.

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You learn something new everyday! (Assuming, of course, that you weren’t already aware of this fun and cheerful fact.)

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