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The Spirit Thief The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron
an audiobook review by Sarah Trowbridge
In the kingdom of Mellinor, in the deepest dungeon below the castle Allaze, the master thief and gifted wizard Eli Monpress uses his talents to their best advantage to break out of prison and kidnap King Henrith right out of his own throne room. Eli is asking a king's ransom but this operation is just one part of an elaborate scheme that unfolds gradually over the course of the entire book. It turns out that Eli's goal is to force the bounty on his head higher and higher, aiming to become the thief who summons the price of one million gold standards.

Broken Homes Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Broken Homes is book four in the adventures of PC Peter Grant, Britain's first trainee wizard in a generation. So, any prospective new readers should stop and seek out book one, Rivers of London. This time around, the story is centred on Skygarden, an architectural experiment in high rise construction, by legendary designer Erik Stromberg. A building later noted for its catalogue of design errors. When information reveals that something untoward and possibly supernatural is occurring in or around Skygarden, PC Grant is tasked with finding out what.

Whispers Under Ground Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This third outing for PC Peter Grant, Britain's first trainee wizard in more years than anyone cares to remember, bears the legend 'If you've been on the underground you know what horrors await...' As astute readers will infer, this means that large chunks of the novel are set in or around London's underground system. Nathan recently reviewed another third book by a best-selling author that he said was akin to rock stars making their difficult third album, and Ben Aaronovitch's third novel in his urban magic series goes some way toward proving that point. But is it another corker of a tale, or more like something the cat coughed up?

Moon Over Soho Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Moon Over Soho is the second novel to feature British Detective Constable Peter Grant, the UK's only trainee wizard. Those who picked up on the first novel, Rivers of London, will know that Grant's department, the Folly, has a staff of two policemen, and a female creature of indeterminate supernature. This time around, DC Grant and colleagues are on the trail of Jazz Vampires! The novel begins with the death of Cyrus Wilkinson, a part-time jazz saxophonist and full-time accountant, who apparently has a heart-attack just after a gig.

Rivers of London Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The central character is Peter Grant, a young, mixed race British PC, who encounters something supernatural during the course of his duties; specifically, a talking ghost. Taking this in his stride he is soon immersed in a world where magic is real, and supernatural critters a fact of life. So far, not much different to a dozen other titles, you may think. However, as with the majority of fiction, the difference is not in a well trod theme, but all about the skill and imagination displayed in its execution.

Rivers of London Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Peter Grant, a probationary constable with the London Metropolitan Police, has issues with focus and faces a move to the Case Progression Unit, a group that does paperwork for the real cops when a conversation with a ghost changes his destiny. Returning to the scene to recontact the ghost, a detective inspector asks him what he was doing and he answers with the truth and becomes the first trainee wizard in fifty years under Inspector Thomas Nightingale.

Turning Points Turning Points edited by Lynn Abbey
reviewed by Steven H Silver
In her recent novel Sanctuary, the editor resurrected the dormant titular city which starred in anthologies and several novels during the 80s. There, she brought the reader up to date on the changes which have occurred since the various wizards, warriors, and thieves had battled for supremacy in its streets. With the stage set, she turned the city over to the authors who had made such a mess of it once before. Fortunately, those authors are more than willing to destroy Sanctuary all over again.

Jerlayne Jerlayne by Lynn Abbey
reviewed by Jeri Wright
Jerlayne has always felt herself in the shadow of her legendary mother. When Faerie was facing its greatest crisis, Elmeene discovered the cure for blooddeath and saved the people of Faerie from iron's poison. 2000 years later, Jerlayne is determined to surpass her mother as any independent, strong-willed daughter would.

Red Country Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
Shy South lives on her farm with her gentle stepfather Lamb and the rest of her siblings. While away, Shy and Lamb return to find their farm has been attacked and destroyed and her brother and sister Pit and Ro, have been stolen. Shy has never been one to take anything lying down so she and Lamb set off after them. Eventually, they are joined by a host of colorful supporting characters and their fellowship begins their long journey into the untamed far country.

Best Served Cold Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
His fantasy is very much "blood and guts" fantasy, some may call it dark fantasy or Noir fantasy, but one thing is for sure, it's certainly not for the squeamish. If you're looking for the tale of a knight in shining armor who saves a princess, it's probable that you're not going to like his writing. If you like tales of betrayal and vengeance, laced with violence, sex and dastardly deeds, you're going to love Best Served Cold.

The Heroes The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
Joe Abercrombie is to fantasy literature what Quentin Tarantino is to action films. They are both decidedly twisted, prone to moments of extreme violence and write very real characters and acrid dialogue that doesn't pull any punches. High on any wish list is to see Quentin Tarantino direct an adaptation of The First Law Trilogy.

Last Argument of Kings Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by John Enzinas
This final book in the First Law trilogy pushes forward like an avalanche through to the bitter end of the various events taking place from the wars in Angland and with the Gurkish to the internal secret wars of the ruling Closed Council. Like the avalanche, it is powerful, mesmerizing and unstoppable. However, also like an avalanche, the only way things can end is in a crush at the base of the mountain with luck being more likely than skills or bravery to save you.

Before They are Hanged Before They are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by John Enzinas
Inquisitor Glotka has to deal with a city besieged by the forces which made him what he is. It leads to the consequences of his success in the role given him by his superior. Meanwhile he keeps finding threads of the conspiracy hinted at in the previous book. His struggle is set against the war in Angland between the Union forces and the invading Northmen. as we follow West, an officer of the union.

The Blade Itself The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
reviewed by John Enzinas
This is the first book of The First Law trilogy. As with many trilogies, the first book is used to introduce us to its variation of the typical fantasy cast. We have the Savage Barbarian with the dark past, the Nobleman with no sense of altruism, the Beautiful Feisty Commoner, the Inept Apprentice, the Cynical Intellectual and, as always, the Mysterious Magus to drive the plot forward. However, the author takes these conventions and filters them through the lens of Noir.

Primeval: Extinction Event Primeval: Extinction Event by Dan Abnett
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Many readers will be familiar with the British TV show Primeval, that deals with anomalies, holes in time, which allow creatures from the age of the dinosaurs, and occasionally things from the future, to cross into the present. The TV show has returned for another series, with lots of glitz.

Ravenor Returned Ravenor Returned by Dan Abnett
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
Having narrowly survived their encounter with agents trafficking in the addictive glass shards known as flects, Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor and his team limp back to where their problems began; Eustice Majoris. Ravenor is an unusual lead character, in that he is a paraplegic, confined to a fully enclosed support chair. This severe physical disability is offset by his formidable psyker powers, which enable him to roam in an etheric form, or wear the flesh of one of his team.

Titan: God-Machine Titan: God-Machine by Dan Abnett
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is a series omnibus, book-sized graphic novel. Reproduced in black and white for half the book, the artwork changes to greyscale for the second half. The subject is the adventures of the Warlord Titan Imperius Dictatio and its crew. Titans are the ultimate in 41st Millennium war machines, standing over 100ft tall and armed with volcano cannons, turbo lasers and gatling blasters. They have but one purpose; to kill anything that potentially threatens the God-Emperor of mankind.

Ravenor Ravenor by Dan Abnett
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
The story concerns Gideon Ravenor, Inquisitor, Ordo Xenos Helican, and his team, as they seek the origins of a new drug called flects. An ingenious invention, with a suitably fascinating origin, flects come in the form of glass shards which have a psycho-narcotic effect on users. Due to an earlier incident, Inquisitor Ravenor is seriously crippled in body, and exists within a special chair-like environment. Ravenor's mind is free to roam, guiding his team of special operatives, and occasionally wearing them, like suits of flesh.

Riders of the Dead Riders of the Dead by Dan Abnett
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is the story of two young men, Gerlach Heileman and Karl Reiner Vollen, who begin as vexillary and clarion in a company of Empire demilancers. Heileman is drawn as a typically arrogant son of a noble, whose future is all mapped out. Vollen, on the other hand, is from a noble family whose heritage has been lost. He owes his position to favour, and his family are in service to the Heilemans. What they have in common is their training, and firm belief that the forces of Empire will easily repel the invading armies of Northern savages.

A Game of Thrones, The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 A Game of Thrones, The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 by George R.R. Martin, adapted by Daniel Abraham, art by Tommy Patterson
reviewed by Dominic Cilli
A Game of Thrones in comic form does suffer. It is not exactly "lost in translation," but trying to recapture the magic in this format is one tall task and the author gave it one hell of a try, but sadly missed the bullseye. If you're familiar with Martin's work, you may not have trouble "filling in the blanks" but this graphic novel wouldn't be enough to capture the brilliance of his original vision and, unfortunately, it could never be an adequate substitute for the book.

Absolute Magnitude, Issue #15 Absolute Magnitude, Issue #15
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Short, sweet, and packed with quality material -- this magazine is one to keep an eye on, to keep abreast of the state of science fiction. Surely the strangest selection here is Sawicki's "Invisible Friends," but if you are familiar with his writing this comes as no surprise...

Guide to the Sabbat Guide to the Sabbat by Justin R. Achilli, et al.
a gaming accessory review by Don Bassingthwaite
You think you know the Sabbat? You think you know the real Sabbat? Monstrous, cruel, inhuman, vile to the core, war to the core, "no, I'm sorry, you can't talk to the elders today... we ate them last night." Think again...

Kindred of the East Kindred of the East by Justin Achilli et al.
a gaming module review by Henry Harding
Designed as an Asian exploration of Vampire: The Masquerade, this supplement isn't a stand-alone game. But it is a fantastic storytelling platform on which to explore Oriental culture and art... Plus it's neat to have your Devil-tiger Kuei-jin rip the snot out of a haughty Toreador from Boston who thinks sake is just hot wine.

Science Fiction Classics Science Fiction Classics edited by Forrest J. Ackerman
reviewed by Georges T. Dodds
Since the stories appeared between 1918 and 1963, and half the movies were released in the 50s, you cannot expect the latest in cyberpunk or VR. OK, so the science in some of the stories is ludicrous today, but much of this material was written in an age when SF had a sense of optimism and wonder that enthralled teenagers and adults alike, when science could solve anything, aliens bent on world domination were thinly veiled communists/fascists, and swashbuckling heroes fought for liberty and the American way.

BJ: A Supernatural Horror Story BJ: A Supernatural Horror Story by Kimile Aczon
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
Something happened at 12:42 p.m., on the 6th of September. Actually, many things happened and, for some people, life changed forever at that exact instant. Aczon mixes in plenty of nightmarish episodes, some gory moments, and just the right, natural measure of love and lust. The mixture adds up to a believable, tense tale of good versus evil.

Douglas Adams

Timeless Moon Timeless Moon by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Josette Monier has been living alone, in self-imposed exile for many years, in order to keep her immensely strong psychic abilities under control. To most of her fellow shapeshifters, those known as the Sazi, she's both a legend and a hermit by choice, one of the oldest and most powerful of her kind. Unfortunately, what she's just become is a target.

Howling Moon Howling Moon by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
reviewed by Michael M Jones
Once a top agent of Wolven, the organization dedicated to internally policing the hidden society of shapeshifters known as the Sazi, Raphael Rameriz has lived in quiet obscurity ever since a deadly political scandal forced him into retirement. He thought he was out for good. He was wrong.

The Clown Service The Clown Service by Guy Adams
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This is the tale a man so out of favour with his boss at Her Majesty's Secret Service, that he finds himself forcibly reassigned to the most obscure among obscure units. This is Section 37, a department charged with protecting the country from preternatural terrorism. Long since written off by the mainstream, the unit has just two full-time employees, counting the new recruit. A slang term for the Secret Service is the Circus, and Section 37 is said to be where they keep the clowns.

The Good, The Bad, and the Infernal The Good, The Bad, and the Infernal by Guy Adams
reviewed by David Maddox
The Old West. A time romanticized by many; wide-open plains of adventure, hardship, murder, heroes, and villains. A world very similar to our own, yet slightly askew. The legendary town of Wormwood is rumored to reappear, very soon. And many people are going to meet it, some whether they want to or not. The title alone is enough to tweak any cross-genre fan's interest.

The World House The World House by Guy Adams
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
It is a rollercoaster of a story set in a world within a box -- a world-within-a-world that is itself a Divine Comedy. For the box is, for most of those inside, a kind of after-life -- those humans who enter the box do so at a moment of imminent death in this world -- and it is certainly more an Inferno, or at best a Purgatorio, than a Paradiso. This is a world created out of the nightmares and fears of humans themselves, contained inside a box that is in fact a prison, with a very special prisoner.

Armored Armored edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This anthology is a nicely chunky collection comprised of twenty-three short stories based around the theme of powered armour. There are many well-known names represented here, but far more importantly the great majority have turned in superior works. The technology, necessarily, takes centre stage, but very much co-starring are those within the various armours. Characterisation here is almost always above average, and in at least a dozen instances of top quality.

Oz Reimagined Oz Reimagined edited by John Joseph Adams & Douglas Cohen
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Even if an author limits themselves to the version of Oz depicted in the 1939 Victor Fleming film, there are plenty of stories that can naturally branch out. However, John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen have invited their authors to use the complete written works of L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson to create stories which shed light on Baum's most famous creation in Oz Reimagined. These sixteen authors make full use of the inspirational works.

Oz Reimagined Oz Reimagined edited by John Joseph Adams & Douglas Cohen
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This anthology presents fifteen short stories by well known authors, delivering varied approaches and inconsistent quality. Some, are true to the original themes of L. Frank Baum, others go completely off the deep end and really have very little to do with what people think of when they hear the name Oz. One should note that this collection is not suitable for younger children, containing as it does several examples of very dark and very adult writing.

Under the Moons of Mars Under the Moons of Mars edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by David Maddox
John Carter, the former Civil War soldier turned Warlord of Barsoom, has been around for almost 100 years. His adventures have spanned multiple worlds, hordes of enemies, and countless adventures. His exploits have inspired numerous visionaries, from Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel to modern day filmmakers George Lucas and James Cameron. And he continues to spark imagination in all those who seek to journey beyond the mundane.

Brave New Worlds Brave New Worlds edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Dystopias have almost as long a history as their twin, the utopia. But it was the 20th century when dystopias really came into their own, in novels such as Zamyatin's We, Huxley's Brave New World, Orwell's 1984 and Karp's One. Indeed it is possible to view the 20th century as the dystopian century, not just because of the prevalence of dystopias as a literary form but also because of the political horrors that provided so much inspiration.

The Living Dead 2 The Living Dead 2 edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Never again will Mario read another zombie anthology. This is his last one, he promises. After such an indigestion of zombie tales (44 stories spread across almost 500 pages), he doesn't think he'll be ever be able to take more. Maybe the occasional tale in a non-themed anthology, but not a whole book such as this hefty volume (the sequel to the successful and critically acclaimed The Living Dead). Having said this, the book does address the subject of zombies from any possible perspective and situation the human mind can conceive and that many excellent tales are included herein.

The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams
an audiobook review by Gil T. Wilson
"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." The defining quote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote for Holmes is what guides this collection, which explores the improbable and bends the limits on improbability. There are 28 stories in this collection, written by authors whose specialties range throughout the science fiction, horror and fantasy realms.

Federations Federations edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Ask most people who don't read or watch much science fiction what it's all about and they'll probably mention spaceships and aliens, massive explosions and techno-babble speaking geeks, not necessarily in that order. Stories set in an interstellar space filled with competing civilizations have long played a part in SF of all kinds, whatever its format. That's the kind of science fiction celebrated here and the stories do a good job of illustrating just how wide a range of stories can be built around such a common theme.

Wastelands Wastelands by edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
One of the things that science fiction does is look at how it might be, if our dreams or nightmares came true. And one of the most persistent nightmares is the contemplation of loss, of all that we love, all that we know, all that makes us feel comfortable, being taken away from us. It is no surprise, therefore, that variations on the end of the world are as old as science fiction. Though the nature of the apocalypse, and our response to it, have changed depending largely on the cultural context from which the particular end of the world has emerged.

Wastelands Wastelands edited by John Joseph Adams
reviewed by Stuart Carter
This anthology collects 22 stories together, the majority from the 21st century, although some reach back to the mutually assured destruction of the 80s, and a couple even hail from the crazy 70s. Is this anthology a result of the new age of insecurity and Terror (with a capital "T") that we live in? It might be argued so, because nuclear armageddon seldom rears its ugly head here; instead the eponymous apocalypse is more likely to be biological, a post 9/11 war of attrition or even the Biblical Day of Judgment.

Animated Objects Animated Objects by Linda D. Addison
reviewed by Lisa DuMond
If you believe films and situation comedies, everyone's secret wish is to peek into other people's diaries. You can read from the author's personal journal and there won't even be a messy discovery/pouting/forgiveness sequence to sit through; she wants you to look inside.

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