Monday, March 11, 2024

Lake of Souls by Ann Leckie

I love single-author short story collections. I really enjoyed getting to see an author I like and admire flex their muscles in different ways. So I was very excited to get an eARC of Ann Leckie’s short story collection, Lake of Souls, from Orbit and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I have loved Ann Leckie’s writing from the first time I read Ancillary Justice (which I have reread and listened to the audiobook of several times). I so enjoyed the Imperial Radch universe and adored each book in that trilogy. Provenance surprised me by being so different while still being in that universe and being so wonderful and I thought Translation State was hands down the best 2023 novel I read last year. I also very much enjoyed The Raven Tower and thought Ms. Leckie was classy and generous when she demurred and turned down a Hugo nomination for it. 

I was not disappointed by this collection. Every story is a gem. Some of them didn’t click perfectly with me, but i thoroughly enjoyed each and every one. The titular story, Lake of Souls, was the epitome of what good, intelligent SF can be and it has stuck with me ever since I read it.

I cannot recommend this collection highly enough. 

Monday, March 4, 2024

Aftermarket Afterlife by Seanan McGuire


This book moved me in several ways. I got very mad, and very sad. It’s just that good!

I love Seanan McGuire’s body of work.  (Note: I review a bunch of her books so I am copying part of some of my other reviews here to save time.). She has quickly become my favorite living writer and I feel very lucky that she is so prolific. I was first introduced to her work when her book Parasite, written as Mira Grant, was nominated for a Hugo Award. I loved it and quickly devoured the Newsflesh series before I realized that Mira Grant and Seanan McGuire were the same person. 

I started reading her works under her own name, starting with Sparrow Hill Road, which is amazing, but I picked it because I was intimidated by her long running October Daye series. When Incryptid was nominated for the Best Series Hugo in 2018, I dove into that and I loved it! It is probably my second favorite series by McGuire (Velveteen Vs. holds a special place in my heart). 

I was overjoyed when DAW and NetGalley awarded me an eARC of the latest Incryptid book, Aftermarket Afterlife, in exchange for an honest review. Finally the fight with the Covenant, long promised since the ending of Chaos Choreography when Verity outed the family on national TV, was here! This has been building for so long, and I was happy to get an earthbound narrative after several reality-hopping adventures in previous books. 

The problem with long-promised fights is that they come with casualties. I’m not going to spoil things but this is where the mad and the sad will come from. There are some characters for whom I repeatedly thought “how will they go on?” at different points in the book. 

We also have a new narrator this time around - Mary the ghost babysitter has a star turn! With her ghostly traveling abilities, Mary is a logical choice for this role in a globetrotting story, and, thanks to being a Patreon supporter, I have already had a chance to read alot of Mary’s backstory, which made this novel even richer. 

This is a wonderful, wonderful book. A culmination of much that has come before, it lays several avenues open for the future. I can’t wait to see what happens next!