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Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

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Changeless by Gail Carriger Recommended Ages: 16+ In Book 2 of the “Parasol Protectorate,” a racy supernatural riff on Victorian steampunk, something has taken the fangs out of London’s werewolves and vampires. No worries! Lady Maccon (formerly Miss Alexia Tarabotti) is on the case. In her role as the preternatural adviser to Her Majesty’s Shadow Council—a role she earned by being the only soulless, supernatural-powers-neutralizing, respectable married lady in town—she gate-crashes a reunion between her ... Read More »

Book Review: Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

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Tam Lin by Pamela Dean Recommended Ages: 14+ The author of the Secret Country trilogy, when asked to contribute a volume to a series of fairy-tale novelizations, delved instead into a traditional Scots ballad about a girl named Janet who saves her lover from being sacrificed to the powers of Hell by the Queen of Faerie. Transferring the setting to the campus of a small midwestern college in the 1970s, she weaves this eerie storyline ... Read More »

Book Review: The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen Recommended Ages: 12+ Jaron, alias Sage, proved to be more than as advertised in The False Prince. After convincing an ambitious nobleman he was the best impostor for a long-lost prince, Jaron proved to be the real prince after all—supposedly killed by pirates, but lying low in the guise of a street urchin. Now he has returned to claim his throne, just when his country’s aggressive neighbors are ... Read More »

Book Review: Soulless by Gail Carriger

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Soulless by Gail Carriger Recommended Ages: 16+ The first of (at present) five books in a series titled “The Parasol Protectorate” introduces a world that combines Victorian-era Steampunk with vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. It’s a romantic comedy of manners with a broad streak of sensuous eroticism, ripe for an Adult Content Advisory. How ripe? Let me tell you. One day on my way to work, while listening to the audio-book expertly narrated by Emily Grey, ... Read More »

Book Review: Seawitch by Kat Richardson

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Seawitch by Kat Richardson Recommended Ages: 14+ In the first six books of the Greywalker series, Seattle-based private eye Harper Blaine uses her unique abilities to interact with such paranormal beings as vampires, ghosts, poltergeists, necromancers, zombies, Chinese demons, Native American monsters, Egyptian gods, and Thames riverspawn. Her cases have taken her underground, into the ivory tower of academics, back in time (sort of), into the wilds of Twilight country, and back from the dead. ... Read More »

Book Review: The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez

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The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez Recommended Ages: 14+ I have a couple of friends with whom I like to discuss books. Our taste in fiction overlaps significantly, yet we somehow seem to have read entirely different things. One example is the work of this author, among whose books I have already read Too Many Curses, Gil’s All Fright Diner, Monster, Chasing the Moon, and In the Company of Ogres. My friends, on the ... Read More »

Book Review: The Drowned Vault by N. D. Wilson

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The Drowned Vault by N. D. Wilson Recommended Ages: 12+ In the second book of the Ashtown Burials, Order of St. Brendan journeymen Cyrus and Antigone Smith have survived the test that determined their right to seek shelter in the Order’s sanctuary at Ashtown, somewhere on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan. But they have also earned the distrust and resentment of many other members of the order, by losing the Dragon’s Tooth. Now the ... Read More »

Book Review: The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud

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The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud Recommended Ages: 13+ Some trilogies are open-ended. When the author decides to add a fourth book to it, we start to call it the So-and-So Quartet. Since fans of a series are unlikely to regret the arrival of a new installment, this sort of thing is usually embarrassing only to publishers who have invested money in packaging the first three books as the So-and-So Trilogy, and to unsparingly ... Read More »

Book Review: Downpour by Kat Richardson

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Downpour by Kat Richardson Recommended Ages: 14+ In the sixth Greywalker novel, Harper Blaine—a private eye who has one foot in the world of magic—is doing a little pre-trial footwork for a Seattle attorney when a ghost hires her to solve his murder. Joined first by her pet ferret Chaos, and later by her techie-spook boyfriend Quinton, she spends this book investigating two cases in the Olympic Peninsula, a region of Washington state that may ... Read More »

Book Review: The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry

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The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry Recommended Ages: 13+ Fantasy and hardboiled detective fiction have met before this novel—I cannot restrain myself from name-dropping The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon—but I don’t think any mash-up of the two has ever been quite like this book, its author’s first novel. It takes place in an unnamed, rainy city where the boundary between dreams and reality have become blurred. Here the forces of order are ... Read More »