Thursday, May 31, 2012

Gabriel's Ghost by Linnea Sinclair

After a decade of piloting interstellar patrol ships, former captain Chasidah Bergren, onetime pride of the Sixth Fleet, finds herself court-martialed for a crime she didn’t commit–and shipped off to a remote prison planet from which no one ever escapes. But when she kills a brutal guard in an act of self-defense, someone even more dangerous emerges from the shadows.

Gabriel Sullivan–alpha mercenary, smuggler, and rogue–is supposed to be dead. Yet now this seductive ghost from Chaz’s past is offering her a ticket to freedom–for a price. Someone in the Empire is secretly breeding jukors: vicious and uncontrollable killing machines that have long been outlawed. Gabriel needs Chaz to help him stop the practice before it decimates Imperial space. The mission means putting their lives on the line–but the tensions that heat up between them may be the riskiest part of all.

Where to Buy

**May contain mild spoilers**

I had mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, the romance between Chaz and Sully that takes up most of the first 2/3 of the book (and a fair bit of the last 1/3) was really annoying in many ways. On the other, the bigger story that only really came out, or started to come out, in the last 1/3 of the book proved to be interesting and promising for the future books of the series. It's a shame really that it got so eclipsed by the disfunctional romance story for so much of this volume.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dance of the Goblins by Jaq D. Hawkins

At the centre of goblin society is The Dance, the spiritual exaltation of life itself which is central to the goblins' existence. In the human world above, life is austere and goblins only a myth. When Count Anton is drawn into the rhythm of The Dance, a clash between two worlds is about to begin...

Haghuf, respected elder among the unseen goblins, has only scorn for humans. Yet he is drawn into friendship with a human aristocrat by the Dance, the celebration of life that holds the goblin society together.

Count Anton — human, magician, shapeshifter — rules the human world above.

When an unwitting human wanders accidentally into the caverns, a series of events is set into motion that will lead him to betray his loyalty to his own people to avoid a war that the humans cannot possibly win.

Hunted by humans who feel he has betrayed them by his friendship with the goblins, and unwelcome in the goblin world where all humans are considered the enemy, he will be thrown into a deeper world, where even the goblins have reason to be afraid.

Where to Buy

An intriguing story that pulls you into its world from the beginning and keeps you somewhat bemused while reading. From the start, it's clear that the author's sympathies are with the goblins, and, as we soon find out, for good reason. Set in what is apparently some sort of post-modern world, human society has regressed into something resembling the middle ages, with the majority of humans having become ignorant and superstitious, falling back onto extreme religious beliefs and bigoted and sexist practices that most of modern society has left behind, with only small groups of humans having retained more egalitarian and intellectual views. Throughout her tale, Ms. Hawkins shines a harsh light on the mindless superstitions and fanatical behavior that the commoners are prone to, and demonstrates how they can create and perpetrate greater evils than the things which they would name evil and seek to destroy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations.

First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire--and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Where to Buy

A fun, lighthearted read that manages to make mortal danger and evil plots seem almost amusing. While the danger does indeed feel real, and one truly worries for the characters at times, the fact that they can still be concerned with things like whether or not a man's cravat it tied fashionably or not takes some of the tension out. Indeed, the constant detailed descriptions of what the characters are wearing and the oh-so-serious manner in which following the dictates of the current trends is regarded help to maintain an amusing tone throughout. It's as though the narrator is constantly poking fun at the characters, but at the same time is quite impressed by the dapper ones, as well as duly horrified by the unfashionable. It's almost a pity there weren't illustrations to go along with the descriptions of the couture.