I love me some Harry Dresden, so Jim Butcher’s new collection of three short stories featuring my favourite wizard was a must-read. And read it I did – head over to SFFWorld to see my full review!
The events of the stories in Working for Bigfoot follow the same supporting characters over a period of time. Due to this they fit in to different points of the series: B is for Bigfoot takes place between the second and third novels (Fool Moon and Grave Peril); I Was a Teenage Bigfoot takes place around the same time as the seventh novel (Dead Beat); Bigfoot on Campus takes place after the eleventh novel (Turn Coat). Those familiar to the Dresden Files will see this through some aspects of the stories, while anyone new to the series (or only partway through) will have no trouble picking them up for a quick read. There are very few spoilers for later novels present, with only Bigfoot on Campus giving some details on recent events, and as such this makes the collection a very good taster of Harry Dresden.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is a debut released by Tor UK in January, and is pitched as ‘Doctor Who with librarian spies’. Suffice to say that this in itself was enough for me to pick up the book, not to mention the enthusiasm of the publisher and that many a reviewer were singing its praises. This can lead to higher than normal expectations for a novel, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go in with high hopes. I wouldn’t say I was disappointed, but The Invisible Libraryis both more and less than that initial impression.
For me, The Invisible Library worked well as an alternate investigative novel that throws many things into the pot. My issue is mainly with the setting, though I freely admit that is down to personal preferences. I sincerely hope to see more of this group in future novels, and also some expansion to the underlying foundation of the library. Cogman has written an idea-filled novel here, and one that keeps the pages turning.
Poltergeeks is the story of Julia Richardson, a teenage witch. It runs in the family, and while they aren’t part of a coven, Julia and her mother get by just fine by themselves. That is until, one day, Julia steps in to stop a poltergeist from terrorising one of her neighbours, and in doing so sets off a chain of events that not only lead to danger and tragedy, but also to discovery, and the reason behind her mother’s often strict rules on Julia and her use of magic. Continue reading “Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings”
I’m a little bit of a Justin Gustainis fan, and considering he writes urban fantasy that should tell you something if you know my tastes. I really enjoyed his first two Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain books (Black Magic Woman and Evil Ways), and then I heard that he was starting a new series for Angry Robot – it went straight to the top of my to-read list. And here it is, Hard Spell, a brand new book full of occult goodiness – or evilness, depending on your view of it. And did it measure up? A resounding YES! Continue reading “Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis”
As you might expect with a book that starts at the end of someone’s life, a portion of the story will revolve around what came before. The main part of the novel is focused on what recently happened to Harry, but what I wasn’t expecting and was delighted by was the call-backs to very early moments, characters and places that were scattered throughout the book. I’m a fairly big fan of the series and I spotted a few moments of serendipity, but I’m sure there are probably some less obvious Easter eggs for the super fans out there. Continue reading “Ghost Story by Jim Butcher”
Side Jobs is a collection of short stories that not only chronicle moments of Harry Dresden’s life in between the novels, they also show the growth of Jim Butcher as a writer. Before each story there is a brief note from the author outlining where it sits chronologically, but also how the project came about and what he thinks about each story, looking back with hindsight. The first story is a bit rough, which Butcher admits, but you can see the core of the story follows a similar pattern to future installments, and while it needs a bit of a polish it is still an interesting early adventure of Harry Dresden. Continue reading “Side Jobs by Jim Butcher”
This is the second fabulous outing for Brenda and Effie in Whitby, England’s answer to Sunnydale. Whitby sits on top of the Bitch’s Maw, which sounds much worse than the Hellmouth of Buffy fame, but is more or less the same. Whitby, like the bubbly blonde Slayer’s town of Sunnydale, is full of all manner of ghostly, ghastly and creepy things that come out to play at night. But instead of the Slayer, the monsters must face a dangerous duo of old biddies who regularly battle the supernatural. Continue reading “Something Borrowed by Paul Magrs”
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”
The Naming of the Beasts is the fifth book in the Felix Castor series, so there will be some mild spoilers from the previous four books. At the start of the first book we learnt that Castor did something terrible to his friend Rafi Ditko. Something so horrible that he’s never been able to move past it, and as a result Rafi ended up in a mental institution because he has a demon bonded to his soul. The story of the why and how is covered in the other books, but at the start of this fifth book you know this major story arc must come to an end, because Rafi has escaped his incarceration and the demon, Asmodeus, is in the driving seat. In the hands of another less accomplished author, this could turn out to be a predictable story with a happy ending, but Carey never disappoints and you never see it coming. I also took nothing for granted when I started this book, because characters can and do die, and I had been told it was probably the last in the series. With all of that in mind, and after the nail biting cliff-hanger at the end of book 4, I eagerly got stuck into this book. Continue reading “The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey”
This is the 11th book in the series so there will be some spoilers for previous books and minor ones about this book. Given that the next novel in the series is called Changes, I thought it would be the one that shakes everything up, but in Turn Coat there are some serious, and perhaps irreparable, changes. Continue reading “Turn Coat by Jim Butcher”