Oct 31
2014

PW’s Best Books of 2014

lake-ourladyOur Lady of the Islands by Jay Lake and Shannon Page has been chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best SF/Fantasy/Horror books of 2014!

PW says: “Sian Kattë and her husband have an amicable empty-nest marriage and a thriving business, but that all changes when a god’s emissary assaults Sian and gives her mystical healing abilities that threaten the dominance of the male physician-priests. Longtime short fiction collaborators Lake and Page worked closely on this intimate novel (set in Lake’s Green universe) before Lake’s death in mid-2014, and their styles intersect with smooth perfection.”

Oct 22
2014

Starred Publishers Weekly review for new Jay Lake novel

lake-ourladyOur Lady of the Islands by Jay Lake and Shannon Page

This satisfying feminist tale ­set in an underexplored corner of Lake’s lush, mythical Green universe (Green, etc.) but entirely accessible to new readers­features an empathetic middle-aged, middle-class protagonist managing the roles of businesswoman, mother and grandmother, fugitive, and unwilling savior with realism and grace. Clothing merchant Sian Kattë is assaulted by the charismatic rogue priest of the Butchered God, an encounter that grants her the unwanted power to heal by touch. Sian and her new abilities are misunderstood by her husband, lover, and daughter. She is hunted by the Mishrah-Khote physician-priests, who believe only men can be healers and accuse her of fraud, and manipulated by politically-minded relatives who insist that she stay away from both the public and her distant cousin’s dying son. Undaunted, Sian pursues her divine mission and encounters unexpected help from a woman in disguise; together they turn the second half of the book into a celebration of female friendship and cooperation. Page (Eastlick and other Stories) has done a phenomenal job of completing Lake’s work after his death, honoring his contributions and vision while giving the novel an emotionally authentic, coherent voice. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Sep 25
2014

RT Book Reviews on Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

lake-lastplanetoheavenLast Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection by Jay Lake

This posthumously published collection of Lake’s short stories, spanning decades, was planned and put together by Lake himself. At first I was worried that I’d be unable to disconnect the emotion of Lake’s personal story with the impartiality required of reviewing, but Lake’s fantastic writing and worldbuilding made that worry irrelevant. This collection is well worth the time and investment; even the weakest story stands out. Readers will find themselves justifying the read of one more story before bed and discover they are awake well into the wee hours of the night. None of the stories are less than well-written and Lake’s voice is strongest in the stories where he ties in military roughness with his impressive imagination. — RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

Jul 30
2014

Library Journal on Last Plane to Heaven by Jay Lake

lake-lastplanetoheavenLast Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection by Jay Lake

VERDICT: Perhaps inevitably this collection has a sense of yearning to it: a desire for escape, a wish for broken things to be fixed, a longing for more time. Here both literal and metaphoric narratives deal with Lake’s struggles with terminal cancer, but readers will enjoy plenty of adventure and pure flights of fancy as well.

Lake (1964-­2014) was a well-known author of sf and fantasy novels (Green; Mainspring), but he was also a prolific short story writer. This final collection shows the range of styles that Lake was comfortable with and showcases his clever way with words. There are pieces from the worlds he created in his novels, including “From the Countries of Her Dreams” about a priestess from the Copper Downs and “Promises,” a haunting tale of the City Imperishable about a young woman on a difficult path. Subtly steampunk is “The Woman Who Shattered the Moon,” centered on an old woman who was once a supervillain. “West to East” describes a landing crew trapped on a wind-scoured planet and their ingenious efforts to get one last message back to their ship. There are also two Lovecraftian stories that are perfect little gems in their own ways. — Library Journal

Jul 22
2014

Starred Publishers Weekly review for final Jay Lake collection

lake-lastplanetoheavenLast Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection by Jay Lake

The prolific Lake’s death in 2014, after a long, harrowing, and very public battle with cancer, gives extra weight to these 32 epitaphs. Lake’s command of language is strong and sincere, and his stories of everyday heartaches, filled with secret fears and self-delusion, whisk readers from inner geographies of mind to limitless gulfs of space. Lake’s characters emotionally embody the doomed heroism of Nordic gods sneering at grim fates, finding bittersweet redemption in dark byways of human ignorance. Reality is shattered when an alien controls a hardened mercenary’s dreams in the darkly romantic “Last Plane to Heaven: A Love Story.” Cynical humor greets oblivion in “The Speed of Time.” In surprisingly intelligent space opera (“Permanent Fatal Errors”) and a visit to the City Imperishable (“Promises”), revelations eschew oversentimentality for moral complexity. “Such Bright and Risen Madness in Our Names” injects pathos into the Cthulhu mythos, questioning identity and raising hackles. Malevolent faeries face metaphysical annihilation in a dying young woman’s cancer cells in “Her Fingers Like Whips, Her Eyes Like Razors.” And in “The Cancer Catechism,” Lake discovers faith in the inevitability of death. As he states, “In the end, words are all that survive us”; his fans and friends may find some comfort in the hope that his words will live on forever. — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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