MY RATING: (or 5 out of 5 Sparkly Hearts)
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Mellie is Snow White’s supposedly wicked stepmother, but she’s been misunderstood for centuries by the one-sided telling of the fairy tale. Now, she’s out to set the story straight and redeem the reputation of stepparents everywhere, but she’s going about it all wrong. Prince “Dave” Charming, one of the several Princes Charming, tries to help her, and they fall for each other.
PROS: Wonderful world-building and nicely drawn characters.; Wickedly Charming is a fun foray into the paranormal romance genre.
CONS: The limitations of the paranormal romance genre hobble Grayson’s story.
BOTTOM LINE: Grayson brings a sweet touch of reality to one of the most maligned characters in fairy tales.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Speculation on advances in physics, materials science, computer science, microbiology, biotechnology, botany, politics, climate change, spacefaring, etc., makes this stuffed-full and enjoyable novel feel like a future that could happen.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Jenny Ramos Kennedy, scion of the political family, attends her first year at Frontera College on the orbital station Frontera, where she battles single-celled alien ultraphytes, political gamesmanship, social stratification, science v. religion debates, college administration myopia, sexually violent frat boys, printed-out Ebola epidemics, cheating at Quidditch-like Slanball, etc.
PROS: Excellent scientific speculation across many fields; good characterization.
CONS: One major plot line was too obvious; so much speculation seems overwhelming at times.
BOTTOM LINE: An enjoyable, engrossing read and a promising start for a new series.
REVIEW SUMMARY: This competent twentieth installment in the Vorkosigan Saga pits Miles Vorkosigan against evil corporations in a business-world puzzle.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In his role as Imperial Auditor, Miles is dispatched to the planet Kibou-daini, where he is kidnapped by a splinter political group that is protesting against the corporations who control the government by casting votes for dead people and other nefarious means. Miles unravels a web of business deceit to understand the political implications for the Barrayaran Empire.
PROS: Miles is back! And we love Miles and all things Barrayaran!
CONS: Miles has little personal investment in the main problem, a subtle business conundrum that Gregor could undo by fiat.
BOTTOM LINE: A minor novel in the Vorkosigan Saga. If you’ve read Bujold’s science fiction, you will of course read it and love it, as I did. There’s very little forward motion in the overall series arc in the novel, except for the last 503 words.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Twenty-nine of the best science fiction and fantasy stories of 2010. While all are excellent, a few are spectacular. The editor did not shy away from longer pieces in this well-balanced anthology.
PROS: Includes longer stories; well-balanced, excellent choices.
CONS: Like many anthologies, it’ll hold a heavy door open.
BOTTOM LINE: An excellent, wide-ranging, balanced collection of the best speculative fiction of 2010.