Jul 13
2018

Kirkus on The Agony House

The Agony House by Cherie Priest

“A white family’s attempts to renovate a storm-wracked Victorian New Orleans house are complicated by bitterly contending ghosts.

The resident spirits aren’t particularly reticent either, readily manifesting not only to 17-year-old Denise and her newlywed mother and stepfather, but to visiting neighbors as well—as a whiff of perfume, creeping shadows, a falling ceiling, and other ominous portents. But rather than being a stereotypical screamer, Denise has much in common (characterwise, at least) with intrepid, gun-toting Lucida Might, girl crime fighter and star of a 1950s manuscript comic Denise finds in the attic. Priest (Brimstone, 2017, etc.) ably weaves contemporary issues and a feminist strand into this fantasy as, while briskly fending off ghostly visitations and searching out clues to the house’s violent past, Denise makes new friends and encounters pushback from some St. Roch neighbors rightfully leery of white gentrifiers. Highlighted by a wonderfully melodramatic climax, the author brings her plotlines to upbeat resolutions with a thrilling discovery, a revelation about the comic’s author, and a degree of general community acceptance of Denise and her family. Nearly every character’s race, white or black, is carefully but unobtrusively specified. O’Connor (The Altered History of Willow Sparks, 2018) inserts multiple pages from the comic and atmospheric stand-alone illustrations all printed in haint blue. Conflicts, ectoplasmic and otherwise, laid to rest in a deliciously creepy setting.” — Kirkus

Jul 12
2018

Library Journal on The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“In 1952, Elma York and her husband are celebrating their marriage in the Poconos when a meteor strikes, destroying Washington, DC, and most of the eastern seaboard. As a mathematician and WASP pilot, Elma knows the need for space exploration, but now that Earth is poised to fall owing to a climate change of apocalyptic proportions, that timetable has been pushed into the fast lane. Elma wants to be one of those to enter space, and when a program invites women to take the same astronaut training as men, she won’t let anything—not family, history, or the attitudes of men regarding the proper place for women—stand in her way.

VERDICT A fast-forward thrill ride, Hugo Award­-winner Kowal’s (“Glamourist Histories”) exciting alternate history, the first in a duology, highlights the space race and the sexism of the time. SF and space history buffs will enjoy this entertaining tale.” — Library Journal

Jul 11
2018

Locus on The Calculating Stars

The Calculating Stars (Book 1 of the Lady Astronaut duology) by Mary Robinette Kowal

“So much about how Kowal structures Elma’s journey works, from her early days as a math whiz and the effect it had on her psyche, through her growth as a competent and confident professional. Equally lovely is the supportive and charming relationship between Nathaniel and Elma. You can’t help but root them both on.

The back third of The Calculating Stars is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying—and nicely sets up The Fated Sky, which is the second half of Elma’s story. Just one month after The Calculating Stars’ release, we’ll finally learn exactly how Elma got herself to Mars.” — Locus

Jul 10
2018

Tor.com on Artificial Condition

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

“Martha Wells can always be relied upon for atmospheric novels with great voice and precise, gorgeously descriptive turns of phrase. In the Murderbot Diaries, Wells’ enormous talent for voice and atmosphere has full reign in a space opera setting—and her deft facility with characterisation makes Murderbot an incredibly appealing character. Self-conscious, awkward, and self-contradictory: we can all recognise ourselves in Murderbot’s struggles with acting like a person.” — Tor.com

Jul 9
2018

Booklist starred review for Temper

Temper by Nicky Drayden

“Drayden’s latest is a dark, riveting tale about two brothers at odds that explores what it truly means to possess virtues, what it truly means to possess vices, and what it truly means to be brothers. Auben Mutze is a twin. His lesser status as the inferior twin is marked by six brands down his arm, and each brand symbolizes a vice he possesses. In contrast, Auben’s twin brother, Kasim, possesses only one vice. The single vice marks Kasim as the supposedly superior twin. The twins’ different stations in life and Auben’s jealousy morph their brotherly relationship into one steeped in rivalry. Their brotherly bond is threatened to the point of breaking when Auben begins to hear dangerous voices that whisper of evil, heinous deeds, encouraging him to walk a dark path. If Auben doesn’t rid himself of the voices, he could completely lose himself to them. Drayden (The Prey of Gods, 2017) excels at making every twist and turn of the plot meaningful to the story. Moreover, the world-building is deliciously lush and complex; any possible initial confusion becomes part of the thrill of puzzling this world out.” — Booklist, Starred Review

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