Author Archive

BOOK REVIEW: A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

REVIEW SUMMARY: An intelligent vampire/human romance set in post-WWI England.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Socially anxious and bored with high society life, Charlotte finds herself drawn to the vampire Karl, her father’s new research assistant. As their relationship grows, they find themselves under growing threat from Karl’s old master, the obsessive and twistedly-religious Kristian.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Intelligent social commentary; uncommon time period for such a novel; beautifully poetic writing.
CONS: Somewhat predictable plot; heavy use of what are now common vampire tropes.
BOTTOM LINE: It won’t revitalize the genre, but it’s a welcome addition to bookshelves that are filled with trite immortal romances — enough of a change from convention and with enough social and scientific commentary that it will keep readers engaged and entertained.

A classic vampire-human historical romance, set in England after World War I, is what Warrington sets up in A Taste of Blood Wine. Not an idea that hasn’t been done in a dozen and one forms over time, to the point where most offerings of this type are fairly derivative and don’t bring anything new or interesting to the genre. So right off the bat Warrington’s work faces some stiff competition in that it’s another vampire romance in a saturated genre, and thus, sadly, is likely to be overlooked and passed over.

Which would be a big mistake.
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BOOK REVIEW: We Will Destroy Your Planet by David McIntee

REVIEW SUMMARY: The how-to guide for extra-terrestrials and time-travelers bent on conquering Earth.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Intended as a guide for extra-terrestrials and time-travellers who have an eye to taking over the Earth, this book provides a run-down on the planet’s military defenses, terrain, and place in the universe, and gives advice on how to annihilate us all.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Filled with fascinating facts and pieces of trivia about Earth and the solar system.
CONS: Inconsistent audience assumptions; often switched from talking to prospective conquerors to people who’ve watched a lot of sci-fi TV; over-reliance on a hard-sciences approach to the exclusion of much biological and psychological data.
BOTTOM LINE: An interesting approach to the trivia presented; educational, even if it was lacking and suffered from a bit of an identity crisis.

Intended as a manual for extraterrestrial forces to aid them in taking over Earth, We Will Destroy Your Planet takes a look at the astronomy of our solar system, Earth’s best military forces, our ways of resistance, and various other pieces of information that would be invaluable to an invading conquering force.
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BOOK REVIEW: Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson

REVIEW SUMMARY: A coming-of-age tale set in Earth’s paleolithic period.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Following apprentice shaman Loon, Shaman is the ambitious story of a young man’s journey from boyhood to adulthood, with all the associated love, heartbreak, and adventure you’d expect.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Incredibly detailed; an immersive experience.
CONS: Slow pacing; characters do not feel real until about halfway through the book.
BOTTOM LINE: A slow but creative trip into the past that’s worth the required investment.

Where most speculative fiction explores the what if‘s of the present and future, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Shaman takes a step back…30,000 years into the past. Winters are cold, summers are late and short, Neanderthals share the land with early humans, and the cycles of life go ever on. There’s a joke about Canada in there somewhere, I’m sure…

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