Book Reviews · Science Fiction

Review: How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

From funerary skyscrapers to hotels for the dead, How High We Go in the Dark follows a cast of intricately linked characters spanning hundreds of years as humanity endeavours to restore the delicate balance of the world. This is a story of unshakable hope that crosses literary lines to give us a world rebuilding itself through an endless capacity for love, resilience and reinvention. Wonderful and disquieting, dreamlike and all too possible.

Book Reviews · Science Fiction

Review: Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky

After one great battle, the Architects disappeared. Yet humanity’s fragile peace is brief. For, forty years later, the galaxy’s greatest alien enemy has returned. This time, the artefacts that preserved entire worlds from destruction are ineffective. And no planet is safe. The Human Colony worlds are in turmoil as they face extinction. Some believe alliances with other species can save them. Others insist humanity must fight alone. But no one has the firepower or technology to ensure victory, as the Architects loom ever closer. Idris spent decades running from the last war’s horrors. Yet as an Intermediary, altered to navigate deep space, he’s one of humanity’s only weapons. He’s therefore forced back into action. With a handful of allies, Idris must find something – anything – to stop the Architects’ pitiless advance. But to do so, he must return to the nightmare of unspace, where his mind was broken and remade. What he discovers there will change everything.

Book Reviews · Science Fiction

Review: Seven Mercies by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May

After an ambush leaves the Novantae resistance in tatters, the survivors scatter across the galaxy. Wanted by two great empires, the bounty on any rebel's head is enough to make a captor filthy rich. And the Seven Devils? Biggest score of them all.  The Devils take refuge on Fortuna where Ariadne gets a message with unimaginable consequences: the Oracle has gone rogue. In a planned coup against the Empire's new ruler, the AI has developed a way of mass programming citizens into mindless drones. The Oracle's demand is simple: it wants its daughter Ariadne back at any cost. 

Book Reviews · Science Fiction

Review: Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

After Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as Princess Discordia – heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire – behind. But joining the Novantaen Resistance, an organisation opposed to the Empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray. Resistance fighter pilot Clo has been given a mission: infiltrate an Empire spaceship ferrying deadly cargo to gain vital intelligence. A task made all the more difficult when she’s forced to partner with an old enemy – Princess Discordia herself, Eris. They discover more than they bargained for on the ship: fugitives with first-hand knowledge of the Empire’s inner workings. With this information, these women might just bring the Empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: Eris’s brother Damocles, new heir to the throne, plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining free alien people, ensuring the Empire’s total domination. Unless this band of unlikely rebels stops him, millions will die...

Book Reviews · Science Fiction · Teen

Review: Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead. To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

Book Reviews · Fantasy · Science Fiction

Review: The Boy With Fire by Aparna Verma

Yassen Knight was the Arohassin’s most notorious assassin until a horrible accident. Now, he’s on the run from both the authorities and his former employer. But when Yassen seeks refuge with an old friend, he’s offered an irresistible deal: defend the heir of Ravence from the Arohassin, and earn his freedom. Elena Ravence prepares to ascend the throne. Trained since birth in statecraft, warfare, and the desert ways, Elena knows she is ready. She only lacks one thing: the ability to hold Fire. With the coronation only weeks away, she must learn quickly or lose her kingdom. Leo Ravence is not yet ready to give up the crown. There’s still too much work to be done, too many battles to be won. But when an ancient prophecy threatens to undo his lifetime of work, Leo wages war on the heavens themselves to protect his legacy.

Book Reviews · Fiction · Science Fiction

Review: Notes from the Burning Age by Claire North

a holy man, a keeper of ancient archives. It was his duty to interpret archaic texts, sorting useful knowledge from the heretical ideas of the Burning Age - a time of excess and climate disaster. For in Ven's world, such material must be closely guarded, so that the ills that led to that cataclysmic era can never be repeated. But when the revolutionary Brotherhood approaches Ven, pressuring him to translate stolen writings that threaten everything he once held dear, his life will be turned upside down. Torn between friendship and faith, Ven must decide how far he's willing to go to save this new world, and how much he is willing to lose.

Book Reviews · Science Fiction

Review: Artifact Space by Miles Cameron

Out in the darkness of space, something is targeting the Greatships. With their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city, the Greatships are the lifeblood of human occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume - and value - of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species. It has always been Marca Nbaro's dream to achieve the near-impossible: escape her upbringing and venture into space. All it took, to make her way onto the crew of the Greatship Athens was thousands of hours in simulators, dedication, and pawning or selling every scrap of her old life in order to forge a new one. But though she's made her way onboard with faked papers, leaving her old life - and scandals - behind isn't so easy. She may have just combined all the dangers of her former life, with all the perils of the new . . .

Book Reviews · Science Fiction

Review: Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Idris has neither aged nor slept since they remade his mind in the war. And one of humanity’s heroes now scrapes by on a freelance salvage vessel, to avoid the attention of greater powers. Eighty years ago, Earth was destroyed by an alien enemy. Many escaped, but millions more died. So mankind created enhanced humans ­such as Idris - who could communicate mind-to-mind with our aggressors. Then these ‘Architects’ simply disappeared and Idris and his kind became obsolete. Now, Idris and his crew have something strange, abandoned in space. It’s clearly the work of the Architects – but are they really returning? And if so, why? Hunted by gangsters, cults and governments, Idris and his crew race across the galaxy as they search for answers. For they now possess something of incalculable value, and many would kill to obtain it.