Review: Ancillary Sword By Ann Leckie


If at first you don’t succeed… abandon your revenge and work for your dissociative disorder afflicted nemesis?


Book CoverAncillary Sword
(Imperial Radch, Book 2)

Ann Leckie

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 384 Pages
Date: 7th October 2014

ISBN-10: 0356502414
ISBN-13: 978-0356502410

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

If you cast your mind back to 2013 you may not recall that Ann Leckie’s début novel, Ancillary Justice, was published with little in the way of fanfare or hype. Yet you’ll have no difficulty remembering that the book quickly garnered great critical acclaim, which translated into significant commercial success. The book went on to win both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for Best Novel, as well as the Arthur C. Clarke Award. These plaudits, in addition to the other awards and nominations, were well deserved because Ancillary Justice was a breath of fresh air. The space opera genre had for many years been a stale wasteland of tedious novels weighed down by their bloated, cliché-ridden narratives. But Leckie conspired to bring something more original and satisfying to the table than most of her contemporaries were producing.

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Quotable: The Left Hand Of God, “Solitude Is A Wonderful Thing…”


There’s no arguing with the insightfulness or truthfulness of these memorable words.


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“Solitude is a wonderful thing in two ways. First, it allows a man to be with himself, and second, it prevents him being with others.”

Paul Hoffman
The Left Hand Of God

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Review: Blood Song By Anthony Ryan


The self-published phenomenon that went mainstream is a welcome addition to the ranks of essential epic fantasy tales.

Book CoverBlood Song
(Raven’s Shadow Trilogy, Book 1)

Anthony Ryan

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 768 Pages
Date: 20th February 2014 (First Published 2010)

ISBN-10: 0356502481
ISBN-13: 978-0356502489

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

In recent years there have been a number of notable examples of self-published books which have garnered considerable critical praise and admirable sales, turning their authors into “overnight” sensations. This success, for some, has led to traditional publishing deals, helping their books to reach a larger prospective audience of readers. Hugh Howey and Amanda Hocking are probably the best known beneficiaries of the now more viable self-publishing market. But you can also include the name of British fantasy author, Anthony Ryan, to the growing list.

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Quotable: Nylon Angel, “…I’m Not Planning On Dying Yet.”


Proof positive that even an average novel is capable of providing a memorable quote.


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“All right, Mei. But I’m not planning on dying yet. So don’t get any ideas about helping things along. Or you might find yourself closer to the spirits than you figured.”

Marianne De Pierres
Nylon Angel

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Review: The Last Stormlord By Glenda Larke


A water resource war is brewing in a land where whoever controls the scarce water supply, holds the reins of power.


Book CoverThe Last Stormlord
(Stormlord Trilogy, Book 1)

Glenda Larke

Genre: High Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 640 Pages
Date: 4th March 2010 (First Published 2009)

ISBN-10: 1841498114
ISBN-13: 978-1841498119

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you ever pondered why the villains in literature, particularly in fantasy and science fiction are invariably defeated? Why their schemes are constantly thwarted at every turn? Personally, it’s not something I ever gave much thought to. But reading the first book of the Stormlord Trilogy inadvertently brought both the question and the answer into sharp focus for me. The villains, even when their motivations make sense (which is very rarely), their decisions and actions in pursuit of their aims are so stupid and counterproductive that it almost seems as though they want to fail. The principal antagonist of Glenda Larke’s, The Last Stormlord, certainly appears intent on following in that fine tradition of incompetent villainy.

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Review: Recursion By Tony Ballantyne


An absurdly implausible take on the potential threat posed by artificial intelligence.


Book CoverRecursion
(AI Trilogy, Book 1)

Tony Ballantyne

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Tor
Format: Paperback, 352 Pages
Date: 17th June 2005 (First Published 2004)

ISBN-10: 1405041390
ISBN-13: 978-1405041393

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

There have been numerous science fiction stories in different mediums that have explored the idea of artificial intelligence, and the potential threat it may pose to humanity if it were ever to attain sentience/self awareness. That being the case, there is little in the central premise of Tom Ballantyne’s début novel, Recursion, that hasn’t been done before by other writers. So it should come as no surprise that the book adheres to the general consensus that artificial intelligence is bad news. But perhaps the one aspect of the novel that sets it apart from other tales that have tackled the subject is the structure of its narrative.

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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: Ancillary Justice By Ann Leckie


A multifaceted protagonist embarks upon a mission impossible, to right a terrible wrong. A quest that may bring down an empire.


Book CoverAncillary Justice
(Imperial Radch, Book 1)

Ann Leckie

Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback, 386 Pages
Date: 1st October 2013

ISBN-10: 0356502406
ISBN-13: 978-0356502403

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

I am always wary about reading a novel that has won multiple prestigious awards, and garnered copious amounts of critical praise. Admittedly, much of this caution is the by-product of my cynicism. All too frequently I harbour suspicions that the awards and praise is the result of bandwagon jumping; that once a handful of influential reviewers have published glowing, rave reviews, numerous other people subsequently feel obliged to do likewise, making everyone else reluctant to be the dissenting voice. There is no question in my mind that this can and does happen. If you don’t believe me, then ask yourself how many people erroneously parrot the opinion that the wildly overrated, Citizen Kane, is the best film ever made; some of whom have probably never even watched it. Or how many people falsely claim that the glorified boy-band, The Beatles, are the greatest band of all time.

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Quotable: Mindstar Rising, “Hindsight Must Surely Be…”


The most memorable line from Peter F. Hamilton’s cyberpunk début novel, Mindstar Rising.


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Hindsight must surely be the most useless function of the human brain, torturing yourself over the unalterable past.

Peter F. Hamilton
Mindstar Rising

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Review: Mindstar Rising By Peter F. Hamilton


A near future, conspiracy thriller that won’t have you guessing, with its all too predictable twists and turns.


Book CoverMindstar Rising
(Greg Mandel Trilogy, Book 1)

Peter F. Hamilton

Genre: Science Fiction, Cyberpunk
Publisher: Pan
Format: Paperback, 480 Pages
Date: 7th October 2011 (First Published 1993)

ISBN-10: 0330537741
ISBN-13: 978-0330537742

Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository

The future. A subject matter that countless authors have speculated upon in their writings, since time immemorial. The predictions of what the future may have in store for humanity are as numerous as they are varied. Yet regardless of the endless possibilities that can be imagined, there are a small number of ideas that have gained so much traction in science fiction literature that they have become well established tropes. Perhaps one of the most common of these predictions of the future, that you might reasonably expect to encounter in a science fiction book, is the advent of the amoral mega corporation engaged in nefarious schemes, not just in pursuit of profit, but in order to exert political control over society. So for those of you who are well read in the genre, it probably won’t be much of a surprise to learn that the future depicted in, Mindstar Rising, deals rather extensively with corporate shenanigans principally motivated by political objectives.

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