Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

There has been a trend in the last seven years or so of fantasy novels focusing on the criminal underworld with protagonists who are varying shades of grey. The covers often feature men in hoods and the quality of these books varies a great deal in my opinion. Given the wealth of material available in this sub-genre, I read from this segment very sparingly. Having said all of that, I think to date Among Thieves is my fantasy debut of the year. When I finished it I had the same vibe and buzz as when I finished reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch for the first time. Both are excellent stories bursting at the seams with brilliant characterisation and a story with many plot twists that keep the reader off balance. With some novels I have a general idea of where events are going and with others the author throws in twists that appear to be there only to shock the reader and there doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for them. The best written novels are those where the author lulls you into a comfortable place and then pulls the rug out from under you, but if you go back you can see the clues that led to the twist.

Continue reading “Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick”

The Dreaming Void by Peter F Hamilton

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

This was my Peter F. Hamilton novel and as previously mentioned I’m more of a fantasy fan than a science fiction fan. However, I had heard from a number of people (including Mark) that he was a fabulous writer and I was determined to read at least one of his novels to see how I got on with them. The book is a whopping 791 pages in paperback so I was slightly intimidated as there was a lot to get through, and if I struggled, it was going to be a long hard slog to get to the end, as I always make a point of finishing a novel. Thankfully I didn’t need to worry as it was just as good as everyone had been telling me. Continue reading “The Dreaming Void by Peter F Hamilton”

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay is the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I very much enjoyed the first novel, The Hunger Games, and its sequel, Catching Fire, was also quite good, but not up to the standard set in the first novel. Mockingjay, unfortunately, continues the downward trend and while it completes the trilogy and delivers a good story, it’s nowhere near as enjoyable to read. Continue reading “Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins”

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

Reviewed by Andy Venn

Someone has stolen the original manuscript of Martin Chuzzlewit. This is a serious crime as far as SO27, the Metropolitan polices literary crimes dept, is concerned. Investigating this theft falls onto the shoulders of Thursday Next, Literatech. Continue reading “The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde”

Changes by Jim Butcher

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

Changes is the 12 book in the Dresden files and not to sound like a broken record but this was a fantastic addition to the series and an amazing read. The Dresden Files are now one of my top ten series of all time. Also, if you’re reading this I’m assuming you’ve read the previous eleven books so there will be some spoilers about them but only minor ones about Changes. It’s also hard to talk about the book too much as the blurb actually gives away a massive spoiler, so I’ve not included it on purpose this time, but I can talk about some of the book’s themes and the characters. Continue reading “Changes by Jim Butcher”

Autumn: The City by David Moody

I read the first Autumn book while on holiday last year at Centreparcs, a deserted woodland that was just about the perfect place to read it. I enjoyed it, perhaps not as much as I was hoping, but the way that David Moody told a bleak and eerie tale struck a chord with me and I knew that I would have to get around to the sequel when it came out. Well, out it came in January and here I am a few months down the line finally getting around to it! I may not have been in the same surrounding to read Autumn: The City, but not only did I enjoy it more than the first book, I found that it gave me more chills too. Not good while reading it during the early hours of the morning at home, alone… Continue reading “Autumn: The City by David Moody”

On Basilisk Station by David Weber

On Basilisk Station is the first book in the Honor Harrington series, a series set in the ‘Honorverse’ that currently runs to over a dozen books that include the main series, spin off series and short collections, as well as a forthcoming young adult novel. David Weber is the author behind these books and writes at an astonishing pace. I’ve had On Basilisk Station sitting on my to-read stack for a while but after attending Eastercon in April and hearing Weber talk so enthusiastically about everything, and the fact that he came across as such a genuinely nice guy, I really wanted to read one of his books, and this was the one I choose. Continue reading “On Basilisk Station by David Weber”

Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley

Reviewed by Daniel Burton

If you aren’t paying attention, you might forget that Paul McAuley’s new novel, Cowboy Angels, is science fiction. Don’t get me wrong: there’s no doubt that it is science fiction. But McAuley has written a clever, quick, and fast moving novel that has all the elements of a great spy thriller, too. It’s a blend of genres that McAuley pulls off brilliantly, and it makes for an exciting and fast ride, a page turner perfect for a summer vacation or a rainy weekend indoors. Continue reading “Cowboy Angels by Paul McAuley”

The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett

Reviewed by Stephen Aryan

The Desert Spear is the second book by relative newcomer Peter V. Brett. This review contains some spoilers for the first book. At the end of the Painted Man there is a noticeable change in the world. The old battle wards have been discovered, Arlen has been transformed and many call him the Deliverer, even if he refutes it. So the landscape has shifted a bit, but if you boil the book down then at its core it’s still about fear. Fear of the dark and fear of what lurks out there. So now there is a fundamental shift in the world, or rather the possibility exists. But of course, people are still divided by their culture, their prejudice, desires and greed. A Deliverer, if not the Deliverer, a figure of myth and legend walks among them, who brings them weapons to fight back and yet, it’s still not enough for most people. Arlen’s approach is to arm people and leave them to fight back by themselves in their own time, but that’s not enough for some people. Just because they now have the weapons it doesn’t mean everyone will use them. The culture in the Free Cities that has existed for many years is to hide at night and wait for the dawn. Breaking that cycle is going to be incredibly difficult for some people as it is deeply engrained in them, whereas others, younger bolder people, eagerly embrace the new and want to be free of their fear. Continue reading “The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett”