Book Review: Cold Counsel

Cold Counsel
By Chris Sharp

Not My Edition:
Paperback, 270 pages
2017, Tor
ISBN: 9780765393296

Slud is one of the last trolls after his clan was slaughtered by enemy elves. But he was spirited away as an infant by Aunt Agnes, who took him into hiding and trained him to become a weapon against all who stood against the Blood Claw Clan. After Agnes’s death, Slud is set upon the path to revenge, starting with the nearby goblin clan, the Rock Wolves. With a remarkably unkillable goblin assassin at his side (via blackmail), Slud plans to take down the thousands of goblins who would claim his old home as their own.

This book was so much fun!

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Book Review: Arabella and the Battle of Venus

Arabella and the Battle of Venus
By David D. Levine

My Edition:
Hardcover, 416 pages
2017, Tor
ISBN: 9780765382825

Arabella’s wedding to her beloved Captain Singh is disrupted when his ship is captured by the French and taken to their war camp on the swamp-ridden planet of Venus. Arabella finds passage aboard the ship of handsome privateer Daniel Fox, but is saddled with a chaperone, preventing her from resuming her comfortable life a ship’s mate and instead relegating her to the life of a lady passenger. In her impatience to reach her fiancé, Arabella makes a bet with Fox and finds herself building a clockwork navigational device in order to plot a faster route and often wonders if she’s truly up to the challenge. But once on Venus, Fox’s ship is taken prisoner and all aboard are stranded in the same war camp. There, Arabella finds her fiancé, but also the secret that the French army has been working so hard to hide – the ultimate warship. If Arabella and her friends can’t stop the French from completing the deadly airship, Napoleon could very well control the entire galaxy.

As you may recall from my previous review of Arabella of Mars, when I first picked up the book I thought it was already part of a series. I’m so pleased I didn’t have to wait a year before this actually became true!

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Judging A Book By Its Cover: Clockwork Century Series

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

I borrowed Boneshaker from the library some time ago and shortly thereafter purchased the entire Clockwork Century series. I’ve yet to read any of the other books (surprising no one), but perhaps I will this year! They’re lovely editions to my shelves nevertheless, though it does bother me to no end that Clementine doesn’t match the rest of the series. For whatever reason, this story wasn’t picked up by Tor, so it does ruin the effect slightly. However there’s nothing I can do, so I try not to think about it too much.

Here are the details – despite two different cover artists, I think the art styles do resemble each other enough to make the books match, part of this is possibly because the design is all done by the same artist:

Boneshaker – cover art by Jon Foster and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2009, ISBN: 9780765318411
Clementine – cover art by Jon Foster, Subterranean Press 2010, ISBN: 9781596064959
Dreadnought – cover art by Jon Foster and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2010, ISBN: 9780765325785
Ganymede – cover art by Jon Foster and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2011, ISBN: 9780765329462
The Inexplicables – cover art by Cliff Nielsen and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2012, ISBN: 9780765329479
Fiddlehead – cover art by Cliff Nielsen and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2013, ISBN: 9780765334077

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Charles de Lint

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Here I have three of my (vast collection of) Charles de Lint books – these are all illustrated by John Jude Palencar and I love his art style to pieces. Fun fact, Onion Girl was the first de Lint book I read and I recall it was the cover that first caught my eye in the library, followed by the strange title. If you’re looking for urban fantasy, I can’t recommend de Lint and his world, Newford, highly enough. You might be surprised to find I’ve read two of these three books! xD They’re all published by Tor. Onion Girl – 2001, ISBN: 9780765303813, Forests of the Heart – 2000, ISBN: 0312875681, The Mystery of Grace – 2009, ISBN: 9780765317568.

Book Review: The Voyage of the Basilisk

Voyage of the Basilisk
By Marie Brennan

My Edition:
Paperback, 348 pages
2015, Tor
ISBN: 9780765375094

Lady Trent has released another volume of her enthralling memoirs, dedicated to her voracious appetite for dragon-related knowledge. This time, readers set sail with Trent, her partner Tom, and her son Jake as they set off on a two-year trip around the world to study any type of dragon they can find. However, fans of Isabella know her penchant for finding trouble, and this voyage is not without setbacks.

It’s a form of self-torture that I make myself wait for the paperback editions of these books before buying and reading them (but my series must match!) because I love these books so much and the wait is hard. As always, I enjoy Lady Trent’s voice and her strong personality.

This book has a bit of a slow start, as it details how Trent and her crew get started on their nautical adventure, but it picks up the pace once she supposedly commits a blunder in a foreign country and she and her comrades are expelled from the island. From there, Isabella has some of her most fantastical adventures and discoveries yet.

Semi-shipwrecked on a foreign island and reluctantly receiving help from the natives, Isabella can’t help but think that something is being hidden from them. She also notices how strangely the islanders are acting towards her personally and soon discovers they feel she has a dragon’s soul and that her strange ways (ie: wearing pants, having short hair and being unmarried) are because of this. To appease the locals and keep her, her son and her friends safe, Isabella must agree to an unconventional marriage. Amidst all this, she manages to ride sea serpents and make an amazing discovery regarding local dragon lore.

These books are a lot of fun and I also enjoy the process by which Isabella tries to differentiate how certain types of dragons could have evolved into others, or whether or not a certain species could even be considered a dragon. I’m also finally getting used to the names of the countries and types of people that inhabit them, so they feel much less foreign to me, compared to when I was reading her first two volumes.

As with the previous book, you don’t necessarily need to read the first two books to enjoy Basilisk, however, I strongly recommend doing so.

I, of course, also have to dote on the blue ink used for this edition! As always, the illustrations by Todd Lockwood are fabulous but too few! These too, are done in blue. Love it. Little touches like this always heighten my reading experience.

Now to endure the torture of waiting for the fourth book in paperback so I can enjoy that as well!

You can visit Marie’s website or find her on Twitter.