the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘demons

Not sure I’m ready to “come back” to blogging, but I have a lot in my head about this book, and I wanna get all the words outta my head, ok?

I also need Netflix or HBO to make a TV show of The Grace of Sorcerers. Because reasons.

Non-spoilery stuff:

the Hua’s are purveyors of the impossible. No other family of warlocks and sorcerers are willing to take the risks the Hua’s are willing to take. How else to touch the impossible, but by doing that which no one else has every tried? From mother to daughter the arcane knowledge of sorcery is passed down. The Hua children need no outside tutors, who could possibly know more than their mother?

As purveyors of the impossible, it makes sense that the Hua women will be drawn towards that which can destroy them. This event is so common that there is a prophecy that promises it. Children laugh at prophecies, saying “that’s silly. That will never happen to me, I’m smarter than that”. Their mother’s too, once believed the same thing.

The Grace of Sorcerers by Maria Ying is a story about what we do for love. It’s a story about secrets, and promises, and that we can change without dying. Also? Hot as fuck.

Obligatory BLUNT and I AM NOT KIDDING adult content warning: if you don’t enjoy intensely hot lesbian sex scenes that were written by women, for women, thank you for playing please exit stage left, this is not the story for you. For those of you still here, this book gonna spoil you. You a can thank me later. If even one person asks me if this would be a good book for their 14 year old who is an advanced reader, you know what? Yes, I do in fact recommend this book for your teenager.

The secret to making me love your story is to tell me just less than I want to know. As the writer, you of course are welcome to know all that stuff. But don’t tell me all those details, keep me wanting, keep me looking for everything. Make me want it so bad I start making up my own stories. Maria Ying pulls that stunt not with world building, or magic systems, but with characters. These are people I want to follow around, I want to sneak into their houses and see what books they’re reading. I hate people, and I want to actually be social with these people. I want to be Dallas when I grow up.

I was not expecting the back-to-back-to-back kicks in the feels at the end of this book. I can’t wait to read it again and rip my heart into a million pieces all over again. The entire book pushed all my buttons, so I should have seen some of the kicks in the feels coming? You know, I did see one bit of it coming, but I was in denial because I didn’t want that to happen.

Spoilery stuff:

In the spirit of Choose Your Own Adventure and No One Needs a 3500 Word Blog Post, you are invited to read the following word soups in any order you please. This is how my brain works. There are spoilers. Have fun.

Click here to read about my obsession with Dallas.

Click here for a whole buncha obsessive word soup about Yves, true names, secrets, and the nature of time.

Click here to read about me fawning over with Elizaveta and Fahriye. I love them so much!

Click here for all the spoilers about Olesya

Click here to read all about how I got kicked in the feels by Dallas and Viveca, and the power of myth, grief-madness, and our inability to let go.

Who the heck is Maria Ying? Not only is she a character in The Grace of Sorcerers, she is the joint pseudonym of Benjanun Sriduangkaew and Devi Lacroix. This is my first time reading something from Devi. This is not the first time I’ve described Benjanun’s work as decadent, or been spoiled by the sex scenes she writes.

It would be a crime not to mention that last scene. You know the one I mean. How any other sex scene in any other book is supposed to live up to this, I have no idea.

I have high expectations of the fanfics that will be born out of that scene.

Penric’s Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold

published in May 2016

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher (Thanks Subterranean Press!)

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Everyone has heard of Lois McMaster Bujold. Creator of the beloved and long running Vorkosigan space opera series, and creator of the World of the Five Gods fantasy series, among other series and stand alones. I imagine she has multiple mantles in her house to display the myriad awards she has won during her long career.
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When Subterranean Press sent me advanced reading copies of her new novellas that take place in her World of the Five Gods series, my first thought was how many additional novels will I have to read for these to make sense? New novels and stories in the Vorkosigan series make me nervous because I am so under read in that series that I miss more than half the jokes. So as more Penric novellas showed up on my doorstep, I got more and more nervous. But? The first one was scarecly 200 pages, and if I read 20 pages and nothing made sense, I could always put it down, right?
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So, the good news is that I had nothing to worry about, because Penric’s Demon is a pleasure to read, and requires zero knowledge whatsoever of the world.
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The better news is that there are now four novellas in this group (not exactly a series?), so if you like what you read in Penric’s Demon, there’s plenty more for you to enjoy.
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Ok, I lied. You need to know a smidgen about the World of the Five Gods for Penric’s Demon to make sense. You need to know it’s a medieval secondary fantasy world with a feudal government and sorcerers receive formal educations to best use their powers. Also, there are five gods. There. That’s all you need to know to go into these novellas and enjoy yourself.
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Penric, the son of a country baron of dwindling fortune, is nineteen and naive. On his way to his formal betrothal ceremony, he stops by the side of the road to help an ailing old woman. She doesn’t make it, and this is the end of Penric’s boring provincial life. She wasn’t just any old woman. Learned Ruchia of Martensbridge was a physician, high sorceress, and she was carrying an old demon. When she died, the demon had to go somewhere. It went into Penric.

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The Anvil of the World, by Kage Baker

published in 2010

Where I got it: library

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I’ve been unbeliveably lucky lately. Nearly everything I’ve read these last few months has been smack dab incredible. When I do get to some mediocre book, books like this one are going to make that poor blameless book even more of a let down.

Fantasy should be fun, it should be fantastical and magical, it should make you smile and laugh and think a little and maybe get a little choked up at the end. If that’s the kind of fantasy you’re looking for, The Anvil of The World is the book for you.  A little big farcical, a lot of fantastic, The Anvil of The World was pure joy to read.

Having retired from his profession of assassin, and possibly trying to escape a blood feud, our main character Smith gets a job as a caravan leader. Smith isn’t his real name, but he really  is part of the increasingly large Smith clan of the race of the Children of the Sun. Smith’s people have always followed their God, The Smith, and traveled the world building cities and creating things and generally smithing about. However  not every race on the planet is all about the smithing.

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The Fuller Memorandum (a Laundry Novel), by Charles Stross

where I got it: purchased new

why I read it: enjoyed the previous Laundry novel, The Jennifer Morgue

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Bob Howard has a problem. it’s that he’s too good at his job. The office manager leaves him alone; his boss, Angleton, is sending him on special errands; and his wife, Mo, has started bringing work home with her. When you’re a computational demonologist, none of those can be good things.  You see, Bob works for the ultra secret British government agency called The Laundry.  Think James Bond meets Torchwood, but instead of fighting the Russians and aliens, they’re fighting the Russians and unthinkable Cthonic soul sucking horrors from another dimension. When the end comes, make sure you’re armed with a shotgun (same goes for when playing Arkham Horror, btw).

Although The Fuller Memorandum is mostly action, usually involving Bob getting the crap kicked out of him, it was the slower parts that were some of my favorites. Things like getting to know more (perhaps too much) about the mysterious Angleton.  What Mo actually does with that bone white violin (she needs her own book. period). How to jailbreak an iphone in three easy steps (step one, allow a professional hacker into your house). How to handle Russian zombies and drunken cultists, and what the British secret service really thinks about Americans.  And Bob Howard, accidental computational demonologist, armed with a jailbroken unauthorized iphone running illegal apps, better solve all these problems before his soul gets sucked out by cultists who’ve awoken something far more evil than they were expecting. The slower bits might have been all interesting, but the crazy action bits? Totally over the top frakin’ awesome.

If you’re grinning, you can skip the next paragraph, however if you’re a bit confused, quit skipping around and stop feeling bad.

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The Damned Busters, by Matthew Hughes

Release dates-  US: May 31st 2011, UK May 5th 2011

Where I got it:  Received Review copy from the friendly folks at Angry Robot Books

why I read it:  Interesting premise + totally cool cover art = sign me up.

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Meet Chesney Arnstruther, diagnosed in childhood as a high functioning autistic, his social skills are limited to the occasional game of low stakes poker, reading comic books, ogling over women who jog in the park, and speaking on the phone to his televangelist obsessed Mother, Letitia. Employed at an insurance company, Chesney gets to spend his days doing what he loves: working with numbers. Averages, graphs, predictions, statistics, those are the things that sing in Chesney’s heart.  Logical and practical, he respects his mother’s religious leanings, but Chesney’s personal faith lies in numbers, percentages, and algorithms.

You can get the gist of how things get started by following the genius cover art:  Man stubs hand with hammer in presence of an inadvertent pentagram. Demon is summoned, offers man  his hearts desire in exchange for his soul. Man says “No thanks!”, and before long, all Hell breaks loose. Well, not so much “break loose”, as goes on strike. Yes, the Demons of hell are organized.  And Chesney suddenly finds himself smack dab in the middle of their union negotiations.  He never sold his soul or signed a deal with the Devil, so what are they do with him?  He’s a special case, so he gets a special deal, one named Xaphon.  With the looks, sound, and personality of a prohibition era gangster, the demon Xaphon is Chesney’s to command for two hours out of every 24.

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 This review was originally published here. And no, my feelings haven’t changed any.

Sandman Slim isn’t so much a novel as it is a revenge genre graphic novel with no pictures – plenty of action, violence, some flirtation, and not much else. A bastard child of The Crow, Constantine, Spawn and Sin City, it’s all the grit and action of a first person shooter adventure video game, with a less intelligent script.

When James Stark was 19 years old, he was a talented magician, in love with the beautiful Alice, and running with the wrong crowd. After a ritual gone horribly wrong (or right?) he ends up in hell. Alive and kicking, but in hell. An obvious novelty, Stark spends the next eleven years as a slave pit warrior, killing monsters left and right, and generally becoming a hellion himself. He eventually finds the magic key that gets him out of hell and back to earth. None of this is really explained, the reader learns of it through Stark’s scattered flashbacks.
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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.