Kestrel is the daughter of General Trajan, the Valorian general who conquered the Herran peninsula and enslaved its people. She leads a comfortable, even pampered life in the subjugated Herrani capital. Her real love is music, but with her eighteenth birthday approaching, she will soon be forced to choose between enlisting in the army or marrying. In the first chapter of the novel, Kestrel finds herself purchasing a young male Herrani slave named Arin, who comes advertised as a blacksmith as well as a singer of some talent…
One of the signs you’re reading a good—or at least interesting—book is that you can’t wait to discuss it with friends. So it went with The Winner’s Curse, a promising new YA novel by Marie Rutkoski. I ended up reading it at more or less the same time as fellow Tor.com reviewer and all-round excellent critic Liz Bourke. In the process, we started chatting about it in great detail, and after a while we decided it would make more sense to turn this into a collaborative review of sorts.
So, here we go.
I’m currently working on my review of Her Husband’s Hands and Other Stories, the new short story collection by Adam-Troy Castro. While re-reading the title story and trying to formulate my thoughts about it in one or two short paragraphs, I remembered that I’d already written a long review/analysis of the story, about two years ago now, as a guest post for the excellent Speculative Scotsman blog. I’m re-posting that article here, as a warm-up for my upcoming Tor.com review of the entire collection and, possibly, as a launching point for a series of full-length reviews/discussions/analyses of individual short stories I’ve been vaguely planning for a while now.
Important note: you can read the entire story for free here at the excellent Lightspeed Magazine. I strongly recommend doing this before reading the rest of this post, because, well, going about it the other way around will significantly reduce your enjoyment of both.
I don’t usually get this effusive about books, but I’ve rarely had as much fun with a Young Adult SF series as I have with Ian McDonald’s Everness—now up to three books with the brand new, shiny addition of Empress of the Sun, possibly the best book of the bunch so far.
Quick intro to the series: young Everett Singh is a math whiz who, early in the series, gets access to the Infundibulum, which is essentially a map of all the parallel universes and alternate Earths. Combined with the Heisenberg trans-dimensional gates, this allows for travel to the Nine Known Worlds: alternate versions of our planet where, for example, there’s no oil or everyone has a telepathic twin or there are five different species of mankind.
The winners of last week’s giveaway are:
Brittany S. of Oneonta, NY
Brad H. of Roy, UT
Chris H. of Apple Valley, MN
Congratulations to all three winners! Your copies of Shadow Ops: Breach Zone by Myke Cole will be sent out soon, courtesy of the good people at Ace.
And if you didn’t win this time, make sure to keep an eye on Far Beyond Reality. In addition to the usual slew of reviews and other SF&F-related ramblings, I’ll also have a few more juicy giveaways coming up in the next few weeks…
Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons is presented as the (fictional) memoir of Isabella, Lady Trent, who is the world’s preeminent authority on dragons. In these pages, Lady Trent looks back on her early life and career from the vantage point of the experience and maturity she has gained over the years.
Isabella’s family expects her to pursue the life and hobbies of a typical girl in Scirland’s landed gentry—sketching, maybe the piano, definitely a well-to-do husband from an appropriate family. Instead she finds herself drawn to such unladylike hobbies as building a collection of the tiny insect-like dragons known as scarlings.
The self-professed “ink-nosed” girl (love that term) doesn’t read romances and adventures, instead raiding her father’s private library for books about natural history. Filled with an indomitable curiosity about all things scientific (but dragons in particular), she wants to lead “the intellectual life of a gentleman” in a time when women are expected to stick to their households, child-rearing and idle gossip.
This giveaway ended on Sunday, February 9th.
Still need to get your copy of Breach Zone by Myke Cole? Well, you’re in luck! Thanks to the generosity of the kind folks at Ace, I have three copies of the excellent third installment in Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series to give away to three lucky readers in the US and Canada.
If you’re not familiar with the series, check out my reviews here: Control Point, Fortress Frontier and Breach Zone. (Spoiler: they’re great, and you should read them!)
To enter the giveaway, simply send an email with subject line “BREACH” to fbrgiveaway AT gmail DOT com with your full name and mailing address. One entry per person, please: multiple entries will result in immediate disqualification, but please feel free to tell your friends! Please note again that, at the publisher’s request, this giveaway is limited to the US and Canada.
The giveaway ended on Sunday, February 9th.