In addition to my work for Orange, the National Trust, TechRadar and others, I’m also an occasional book reviewer for brilliant sci-fi/fantasy mag SFX. My recent reviews have included:
City of Dreams and Nightmare
On a foolhardy mission to reach the roof of Thaiburley, trespassing street-nick Tom witnesses an ambitious arkademic murder his rival.
Shrugging off magical attempts to restrain him, Tom flees down through Thaiburley’s Rows towards his home turf in the City Below. He’s pursued by Dewar, an assassin, and Tylus, a flying policeman with a cape that acts like a stunt kite…
Reading Trudi Canavan’s newest fantasy novel is like wrapping yourself up in a towel that’s been left on the radiator overnight. The Ambassador’s Mission has a warm, satisfying cosiness to it, wrapping you up in the continuing story of Sonea and Cery from Canavan’s earlier Black Magician trilogy.
Of course, this familiar feel doesn’t mean that it’s a great towel. To be honest, it’s a little thin. As the opening salvo in the new Traitor Spy series, you can’t help feeling that there are better towels to come.
The Griffin Mage trilogy: Books 1 & 2
Like an old Hitchcock movie, Lord Of The Changing Winds starts surprisingly quickly, confidently and revs into second gear before you’ve had time to put your feet up. By page 26, in fact, when a young farm girl named Kes is abducted from her village by a shape-shifting griffin mage…
Black Lung Captain
For anyone who hasn’t read Chris Wooding’s rip-roaring Retribution Falls, try to imagine Firefly meets Pirates of the Caribbean, a light-hearted dose of steampunkery that mixes cutlasses and grog with giant airships.
The sequel, Black Lung Captain, continues the tale of freebooting, quip-happy Cap’n Darian Frey. Also returning is hiscrew of rough-hewn characters who the description ‘rag-tag’ fits as snugly as ‘Shiver me’ does to ‘timbers’.