the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Nancy Kress’ Category

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, by Nancy Kress

Published in March 2012

Where I got it: received review copy from Tachyon Publications









This is my first Nancy Kress, and I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect title of hers to start with.  The title is a mouthful, and the story packs quite a punch. Complete with a doubled edged twist, Kress’s After The Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall is sure to make more than a few best of the year lists in nine or ten months.

For the most part, the story follows two story lines; one in 2013, and the other in 2035.

In 2013, Julie Kahn, mathematician, professor, and sometimes consultant, has been tasked with crunching the plot points and algorithms for a rash of child kidnappings and strange burglaries on the East Coast.  Her math predicts where the next kidnapping is most likely to occur, but should she include the Wal-Mart burglaries in her math? Seriously, what kind of thief steals shopping carts and blankets, but leaves the diamond rings untouched? And the crying mothers of the missing children couldn’t possibly have seen what they claim: a physically deformed teenager grab their children and then disappear in a flash of light.

In 2035, the remnants of humanity live inside the Shell. A few survivors of the original disaster, their physically mutated children, and a growing quantity of infants and toddlers, grabbed from earlier times.  As the original survivors slowly die from mysterious diseases, they pass on as much knowledge of the Earth of their youth as they can remember. It’s believed that the Shell and the Grabbing Machine were created by the alien Tesslies.  Fifteen year old Pete is one of six children born in The Shell. Pete’s entire life has been living and learning inside the Shell, one tiny porthole through which he can see a devastated Earth, a burning hatred for the Tesslies, and ten minutes in the grab machine every few days.

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something old and something new,

something borrowed and something, umm, not blue.

Here are some recent goodies purchased, borrowed, and otherwise acquired:

oh wait, look! There is something blue!

All blurbs are yanked from Amazon. We’ve got:

The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman – a not quite sequel to Kushner’s Swordspoint (which I adored), The Fall of the Kings takes place in the same world but follows different characters. It promises sword fights, intrigue, strumpets, witty repartee, and probably some damn good drama.:

This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner’s cult-classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself–and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it….

Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown – It’s super shiny cuz it’s a library book.   I’m about half way through, and so far the plot feels like a traditional fantasy, but with some added complications of racism, religious propaganda and secret societies.  There’s some neat magic here, so I’m curious to see how the author wraps it all up:

Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person’s life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal days from man and beast, know the secrets of this power.

Now a being of awesome power, whose Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle, feeding on their souls, has arisen in secret. And her monstrous, murderous pawn, a soul-bound creature created of wood and grass and rock roams the land. A massive and mis-directed hunt for soul-eaters is launched and Talen finds himself a target.  Trapped in a web of lies and secrets, Talen must identify his true enemy before the new Mother takes back what is rightfully hers.

Cast in Shadow, by Michelle Sagara – After meeting Ms. Sagara at ConFusion in January,  I knew I needed to start her Elantra series, so when I saw this copy at the used bookstore, I grabbed it! Like, I didn’t want to let go of it long enough for the lady at the counter to ring it up!  It looks to be some nice and edgy urban fantasy thriller/mystery:

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowingthat something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin.…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders…and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!


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FTC Stuff

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.