Dec 22

Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory is a RT Book Reviews Top Pick!

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory is a book that gets going right away and never stops. Surreally captivating, Bear’s latest melds the genres of steampunk, fantasy, adventure and dime-store western together perfectly, thanks mostly to the charming voice of the protagonist. Karen’s rough edges and obviously wicked intelligence are highlighted by nuanced details that establish her already likable voice as even more relatable; her charming (self-taught) misuse of phrases and terminology, and reflexive bravery and morality are just a few examples in this fantastic read.

Summary: Karen Memory is a seamstress — she’s been trained on the Singer machines sitting in the parlor of the Hôtel Mon Cherie — and she’s one of the best seamstresses in town. She works hard to service her clients, and pays her dues. But a girl knows when something’s wrong, and girls falling down at her doorstep practically torn to bits, followed by evil men with mind-control machines trying to capture them is just wrong. And Karen’s not about to let that happen, not while she’s around. — RT Book Reviews, Top Pick! 4 1/2 stars

Dec 19

Starred Library Journal review for new Elizabeth Bear novel

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Verdict: Bear (Steles of the Sky; Blood and Iron) pumps fresh energy into the steampunk genre with a light touch on the gadgetry and a vivid sense of place. Karen has a voice that is folksy but true, and the entire cast of heroic women doing the best they can in an age that was not kind to their gender is a delight. Ably assisted by a U.S. Marshal and his Comanche posseman, Karen and the ladies kick ass.

The Gold Rush town of Rapid City is just about what you would expect in a frontier community catering to the mining trade: rough, violent, and full of prostitutes. Karen is a “soiled dove” working at Madame Damnable’s establishment, where she and her sisters in trade serve a more respectable crowd than the poor girls who work the cribs at the waterfront. When one of those young women escapes and runs to Madame’s for help, she brings the wrath of the crib owner, Peter Bantle, on the house. Bantle, in addition to bring a vicious bully seems to have a device that can control people’s minds. — Library Journal, Starred Review

Dec 15

Booklist on Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

If contemporary Seattle is an apt setting for cyberpunk thrillers, it stands to reason that nineteenth-century Seattle should serve just as well for a steampunk adventure. Bear’s new novel follows the title character’s life as a bordello girl working along Puget Sound, from which steam-powered airships take gold prospectors up and down the western mountain ranges. But in the seedy dockside world of the Pacific Northwest frontier, the opportunities for criminals with powerful technology in their hands are ripe. Fans of the steampunk aesthetic will appreciate Bear’s affectionate treatment of the style. Weapons, gadgets, and their places in the characters’ lives put together a charmingly inventive fictional Seattle, ­especially for those readers bringing along some knowledge of the city’s nascent history. Karen’s first-person narration can feel a bit inconsistent with her swapping between eloquence and intentionally ungrammatical slang, but she always manages to hit the spot when her descriptions need to set the mood. — Booklist

Dec 12

Jim Butcher’s WAR CRY graphic novel is a NYT bestseller!

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files: WAR CRY, a graphic novel collecting the critically acclaimed five-issue series in one volume, has debuted on the New York Times hardcover graphic books bestsellers list at #4!

Dec 9

Starred Library Journal review for new Alex Gordon novel

Gideon by Alex Gordon

VERDICT With the pacing of a thriller, this debut supernatural tale does a solid job of portraying the menace of small-town evil. While the demonic figure of Blaine is scary, the petty viciousness of the townsfolk is even more chilling. This will appeal to fans of books such as Katherine Howe’s The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane or Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches.

The death of her father sets Lauren Reardon on a collision course with a family legacy in this dark blend of fantasy and horror. Finding a strange book with a faded photograph tucked inside, Lauren realizes her father hid his past in a small, isolated Illinois town called Gideon. When she impulsively drives across the country to see Gideon for herself, she encounters hostile locals and the diabolical influence of long-dead Nicholas Blaine, who believes Lauren is the key to winning his way back to this world. — Library Journal, Starred Review

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