DEquinox

My Goodreads review: The Beautiful Ones

The Beautiful OnesThe Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm not quite sure what to call this: fantasy novel of manners? Razor-edged Jane Austen with a side order of telekinesis? Whatever this strange hybrid is, it managed to keep this non-romance-reader close to her Kindle until the very last plot twist had been unraveled.

The overall plot arc (which other reviewers have done a wonderful job on, so I won't) covers two Grand Seasons in a fantasy variant of London/Paris/Elsewhere. There's an intelligent and nonconforming young woman, a somewhat older and equally nonconforming romantic hero, and one of the nastiest highborn villainesses one could ask for. The first two have a "talent" (i.e., telekinesis) which is regarded as Not Quite Respectable. The third has a love/hate history with the hero stretching back over a decade. Add a full set of Austen-style social strictures, a few juicy scandals, and stand back.

I can't say that all the plot twists were complete surprises for me, but I've read a little more science fiction than some. And I wasn't disappointed, just glad to be right.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia doesn't seem to write the same book -- or even the same genre of book -- twice, but one thing she does write with great reliability is excellent summer reads. I don't mean brainless beach books, either . .. just compelling, character-forward spec fiction that I have a hard time putting down on long midsummer evenings.




View all my reviews
DEquinox

My Goodreads review: The Assassins of Thasalon

The Assassins of Thasalon (Penric and Desdemona, #10)The Assassins of Thasalon by Lois McMaster Bujold

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I'm always a little apprehensive when a series known for shorter works (novellas, in this case) produces a full-length novel. The two forms are significantly different, and stretching a novella's worth of plot over more pages isn't always satisfying.

In this case, I shouldn't have worried. Bujold uses the extra length well, allowing for some much-needed world-building in the Pen & Des universe. The divine magic system based on Temple (or not!) sorcerers and their ride-along demons is explained in some detail, as Pen acquires an unexpected apprentice & must deal with her training . . . as well as with some very nasty abuses of this type of magic. Court intrigue plays a larger role than in previous Pen tales -- there's room for that here, too -- and several interpersonal loose ends from previous installments are woven together into a satisfying, though not entirely surprising, conclusion.

Five stars for delivering in full what Bujold's readers come to her work expecting.




View all my reviews
DEquinox

An interview with me on The Obsidian Mirror blog (Italy)

I don't get a lot of requests for interviews, let alone requests from other countries! When Severino Forini, blogger at The Obsidian Mirror (Italy) , wanted to ask me a few questions about my work in Robert W. Chambers' King In Yellow mythos, I was very happy to respond -- but I was also expecting to be unable to read the finished product.

Fortunately, this interview appears on his blog in both Italian & English:


https://insidetheobsidianmirror.blogspot.com/2021/06/a-queen-in-yellow-intervista-con-ann-k.html
DEquinox

The Unquiet Stars have turned right!

My latest collection of dark verse, Unquiet Stars, is in stock now & shipping from Weird House Press.

This one features a new sonnet sequence -- "Faces From the House of Pain" -- along with plenty of cosmic horror, dark archaeology, and grim SF themes.

Signed copies are available -- & better yet, it's on sale!

81 pp., perfect-bound, with color cover art by Skinny Gaviar.

For more information, or to order:

https://www.weirdhousepress.com/product/unquiet-stars/
DEquinox

My Goodreads review: Fugitive Telemetry

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This sixth installment of The Murderbot Diaries returns to the more effective (to me) novella length, with Murderbot and his associated humans investigating a mysterious death on Preservation station. Since this particular station doesn't get a lot of mysterious deaths, station security can use all the help it can get -- even the assistance of a rogue SecUnit with an attitude and a mouth to match.

What follows is a well-crafted but rather low-key (until the end!) investigative procedural, limited to the station itself. Murderbot's personality still shines through, and the case itself makes for some interesting worldbuilding, but this one doesn't deliver as much excitement as most previous installments. Also, for whatever reason, Murderbot's penchant for F-bombs approaches carpet-bombing at a few points. (This may be more noticeable on the Audible version.)

I still very much enjoyed Fugitive Telemetry, but I'm hoping for a bit more travel and action next time around. Four stars because Murderbot . . . is still Murderbot, F-bombs and all.





View all my reviews
DEquinox

Dreams & Nightmares #118 is out

I'm very happy to report that Dreams & Nightmares #118 (edited by David Kopaska-Merkel) is out & available to order.

This issue features a poem by Jane Yolen (!) . . . & also one by Yours Truly, in addition to a fairly lengthy list of Usual Suspects & newer talent.

Dreams & Nightmares lists itself as "the oldest extant speculative poetry magazine, other than Star*Line." For a look at the latest TOC, or to order via PayPal, check here:

https://dreamsandnightmaresmagazine.blogspot.com/2021/05/050921.html
DEquinox

Abyss & Apex #78 is up

Just in time for the last bit of National Poetry Month, the 78th issue of Hugo-nominated Abyss & Apex is up! There are nine poems in this quarterly issue, & I'm very happy to report that one of them -- "Red Waking" -- is mine.

Find the current issue here: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/

"Red Waking" (a sonnet of Mars, volcanoes, & Pompeii paranoia) is here: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/2021/04/red-waking/
DEquinox

My Goodreads review: Powerful Women of the Medieval World

Powerful Women of the Medieval WorldPowerful Women of the Medieval World by Dorsey Armstrong

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This short ( 10 lectures) series was entertaining & highly informative throughout, though somewhat lacking in non-Western subjects. Dr. Armstrong does include one lecture on the Mongol queens, though, & it's one of the liveliest of the series. Otherwise, at least a few of the women discussed will be somewhat familiar to anyone with a major interest in women's history. There's a good mix of political, literary, & religious subjects, however; & a lot of solid content in each 30 minute lecture.

Dr. Armstrong is a witty & enthusiastic speaker, & I found myself wishing this course were at least twice as long as it is. Since it's available free to Audible members, I'd recommend it to anyone else missing Women's History Month already.



View all my reviews