the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for June 2018

Latchkey, by Nicole Kornher-Stace

publishes July 10th 2018

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher (thank you Mythic Delirium!)

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Reading the second book in a series first is like getting to have dessert first.  More than likely the worldbuilding is already done, the characters know what they are about, the author has a clearer idea of where the story is going and what should happen. You might feel a little lost, and your mileage will certainly vary.  But then when you do go back and read the first book, you’ll feel like a psychic, because you’ll know all sorts of details the characters don’t know!

 

Suffice to say, the first thing I did after I finished Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Latchkey was order the first book in the series, Archivist Wasp.

 

Latchkey is part post-apocalyptic, part mythology, part ghost story, and and all perspective shift, told through the lens of  Kornher-Stace’s mastery of prose and evocatively transportive language. This is the kind of sharp vibrant prose that would translate beautifully to an anime or a movie.  Highly recommended for fans of Robert Jackson Bennett’s Divine Cities series, fans of N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth series, and anyone who enjoys a gorgeously told story about horrible things that should never have happened.

 

With metaphors that shouldn’t make sense but do, a poetry on the weight of stories that became legend that became religion, and a world where a hypervigilant 6th sense itch is the only thing that will save your life, nothing in Latchkey stays merely on the page. When Isabel was afraid, I was afraid. When she couldn’t breathe, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. When she is about to drop dead of exhaustion, I felt tired and fatigued. She never lost hope, so I didn’t either.  When I say this was an exhausting read, I mean that as the highest form of praise.

 

Latchkey takes place a few years after the events of Korner-Stace’s 2015 award winning Archivist Wasp.  Isabel and the other ex-upstarts are still getting used to the fact that they won’t have to kill their friends to survive, that they won’t ever again have to live a life of violence and fear.  The old tradition of the archivists has come to an end, even if the PTSD is still at the surface.  Isabel and the other girls need to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. In the meantime, they’ll still care for the Catchkeep Shrine, still say the words of their goddess, still have hope that the townspeople of Sweetwater can come to trust them.

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Acadie by Dave Hutchinson

published September 2017

where I got it: borrowed from a friend

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Acadie, by Davie Hutchinson, is a surprise package, and I mean that literally.

 

A tiny little novella, sexy space opera cover art, strangely generic back cover copy that seems to describe a story far too large to fit into this tiny book. It feels like something doesn’t quite add up. Of course I needed to learn this book’s secrets!

 

Your immediate enjoyment of Acadie will depend 100% on how you feel about the main character, Duke. Told in first person, if you enjoy Duke’s narrative voice, you will love the story. If you find Duke annoying, you should keep reading anyway.   I liked Duke’s narrative voice right out of the gate – he’s sarcastic, he’s a not scientist surrounded by mad scientists, and he’s resigned to the fact that he can’t avoid meetings forever.

 

With a strong narrative voice, a post-scarcity community,  humorous snark, and truly genius ending, Acadie will scratch your Iain M. Banks itch. Fan of Steven Brust’s Agyar? In a way, this book will scratch that itch too.

 

Duke is the ad-hoc President of a sort-of secret Colony.  A few hundred years ago, a famous geneticists got in all sorts of trouble for doing all sorts of stuff, because she could. Instead of turning herself in, she and her disciples stole a colony ship, and set off for the stars where they’d be safe to continue their generic experiments. The colony has been living quite happily ever since, breeding new Kids with fancy genetics, and recruiting norms with specific skill sets from home space as needed.  Duke is one of those norms, and he was chosen to run the joint because of his management background and his abhorrence for authoritarian leadership.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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