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Book Review: Fall of Thanes by Brian Ruckley

Chaos fills the world as the followers of the severe Black Road creed have overwhelmed the Glas Valley and threaten Kolkry and Vaymouth, the political strongholds of the True Bloods. The mad rage of Aeglyss the na’kyrim, once the tool of the invaders, has now taken over the hosts of the Black Road and threatens to engulf everyone. Can Kanin, a thane of the Black Road Bloods, find a way to stop the half-blood Aeglyss, whom he helped unleash and who cost him the life of his sister?

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Viva l’Other: Jerome Stueart

But if someone wants to write a character which is “other” I wouldn’t stop them. Instead, I would encourage them to stretch themselves. I certainly don’t immediately identify with, or always find accurate to my experiences, the white, rural, college-educated, religious gay male characters I find. And I don’t always want to write that character. I would hate to stop someone else from writing them though.

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Book Review: Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev

One of the joys of good young adult literature is its leavening — not like the turgid, dense rye of a 19th century Russian novel or the artisanal whole-wheat of Anne Tyler, but puff pastry and pudding like George McDonald or C.S. Lewis, cookie-d Joan Aiken, the delicious, moist cakery of Diane Wynne Jones or candied comic books.

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Book Review: Buyout by Alexander C. Irvine

To say Martin wrestles with the morality of his labor is an overstatement; he and morality play pattycake, at best, and Martin becomes the face of the buyout program. The benefits are financial, immediate and tangible; the costs include his rapidly dissolving marriage, his privacy, the respect of his private eye buddy Charlie, and eventually, the life of his brother, a cop gunned down in the line of duty.

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Book Review: Xenopath by Eric Brown

The pace is smooth and fast, and the author’s vision offers a keen projection of what current techology might become, without glossing over typical flaws. For example, Vaughan’s wrist phone, the description of which put me in mind of Dick Tracy, has poor reception while Vaughan is underneath the spaceship. (Well, duh!) That tiny detail made the video wrist-phone much more believable for me.

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Book Review: Wildfire by Sarah Micklem

Her world-building treatment perfectly straddles the line between derivative and inspired, between historical and fantastical; but on exposition alone, the story is not entirely different. Her people are dear, vicious, and real, right down to the piss and the dislocated shoulder; but on characterization alone, the story is not entirely different. What Micklem has done, in creating such a different novel, is do everything (mostly) right rather than one thing brilliantly, another passably, and the last poorly.

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Book Review: Longeye by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

…it is possible to enter a series later in the story, and skilled writers can make the reader feel at ease about having missed the first book. Such is not the case here. Lee and Miller assume that its readers have read the first book. I had not, and so was lost from the very first page. Nonetheless, it is always my practice to give every novel the benefit of the doubt…

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Book Review: Dandelion Fire

Young Adult fantasy: making kids look forward to trips to Uncle Joe’s creaky old farmhouse since the Pevensies popped into Narnia. N.D. Wilson’s Dandelion Fire, the second entry of the 100 Cupboards series, goes beyond the call of YA duty with believable characters and sardonic prose, while dragging tension and half-painted worlds keep it from transcending the genre.

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I Love Good Romantic Comedy: Stephanie Burgis

Stephanie Burgis (stephanieburgis.com) is an American writer who lives in England with her husband, Patrick Samphire, their baby, and their crazy-sweet border collie mix. Her short fiction has appeared in several magazines including Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Black Static. Her Regency fantasy trilogy for ages 10 and up, The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson, will be published in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Her story, “Offerings,” runs this week at Fantasy Magazine.

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Offerings

That Wednesday, the witch found five silver paperclips laid across her doorstep, next to an apple and a sharpened No. 2 pencil. She regarded them gravely as the breeze from the lake swept up through the pine trees and ruffled her upswept black hair. Then she turned to see if she could spot any signs of who had left them.