Category Archives: alternate history

Book Review: Copperhead by Tina Connoly

TOR
316 pp.

In Copperhead, the sequel to Ironskin, Jane’s sister Helen must navigate a tangled web of conspiracy when Jane disappears during a disastrous face lift procedure that goes terribly wrong. (It might have gone less wrong if it hadn’t been taking place during a party where a weapon meant to be used against the fey was being exhibited.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, Review: Book, Tina Connolly

Book Review: 1636: The Devil’s Opera by Eric Flint and David Carrico

Baen
510 pp.

1636: The Devil’s Opera involves the use of music as propaganda. (This is actually more interesting than the first line would indicate.) With Emperor Gustavus Adolphus non compos mentis and with Chancellor Oxenstierna attempting to take over the government, it suddenly becomes very important to make sure Magdeburg, the capitol city of the USE remains prominent in the minds of the populace. It’s decided that the best way to do this is with an opera showing support for the emperor. Various people are assembled to make this happen, including Marla Linder and her company of downtime musical partners. (Marla also decides to sing a song from Les Miserables which has some dangerous political sentiments guaranteed to ruffle the feathers of the nobility.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, anomaly/nexus, David Carrico, Eric Flint, Review: Book, science fiction

Book Review: 1636: The Kremlin Games by Eric Flint, Gorg Huff & Paula Goodlett

BAEN
408 pp.

The events of The Kremlin Games actually stretches between 1631 (the arrival of Grantville in Germany) and 1636. Our main protagonist is Bernie Zeppi, a former auto mechanic who is not quite sure what to do with himself in the strange new world that is the 17th Century. He gets hired as a technology consultant by a Russian noble who has been sent by the czar to investigate Grantville. Russia of the 17th Century is about two centuries behind the rest of Europe, and Bernie is kind of the bargain basement version of a consultant but is the best Russian rubles can buy. Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, anomaly/nexus, Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, Paula Goodlett, Review: Book, science fiction

Book Review: Without a Summer by Mary Robinette Kowal

TOR
357 pp.

In Without a Summer, Jane and Vincent return to Jane’s family home for a visit. The visit turns sour due to an unseasonably cold spring that might translate into a financial setback for Jane’s family. In addition, Jane’s sister Melody is suffering from a combination of a lack of marital prospects and melancholia. Jane and Vincent decide to take Melody with them to London for the social season after accepting a commission from Lord Stratton. (It turns out they are Irish, which gives Jane some serious misgivings.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, manner punk, Mary Robinette Kowal, Review: Book

Book Review: Burdens of the Dead by Mercedes Lackey, David Freer and Eric Flint

BAEN
438 pp.

The Children of Alexandria series has the following premise: Due to the libarian/philosopher/teacher Hypatia mysteriously converting to Christianity after a debate with a mysterious figure, she is able to save the Library of Alexandria and avoid being torn apart by Christian monks. With this significant change in history, magic and magical creatures exist and continue to share a somewhat uneasy existence with the mortal world. (Magic users are accepted by the Hypatian Order, and this version of Christianity is slightly less horrible to non-Christians during this time period. Jews and other non-Christians are still confined in ghettoes but you get the feeling there are fewer pogroms.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, David Freer, Eric Flint, fantasy, Mercedes Lackey

Book Review: Timeless by Gail Carriger

Orbit
386 pp.
Timeless is the final book in the Parasol Protectorate series. Our Heroine has been living in one of the closets of Lord Akeldama’s home so she can be close to her daughter. (If you will recall, Akeldama is supposed to be the primary caregiver, so a certain amount of subterfuge is required.) She needs to be close to her daughter because Prudence does not actually possess the quality she is named for and has the distressing habit of being wild, reckless and nearly uncontrollable. (A toddler with the ability to become whatever supernatural person she touches is especially difficult to handle if you are say, a vampire, especially if you are a vampire who is now mortal because the kid stole your powers.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, Gail Carriger, Review: Book, steam punk

Book Review: Naamah’s Blessing, by Jacqueline Carey

Grand CentralPublishing
610 pp.

Naamah's Blessing (Kushiel's Legacy)In this book, Moirin briefly returns to Terre d’Ange with her husband Bao, then ends up traveling through Central America (or rather, Terra Nova) in search of the missing Dauphin of Terre d’Ange. She also ends up acting as a sort of godparent to Jehanne and Daniel’s daughter Desirée and locks horns with her ex-lover Raphael who has put his ability to communicate with ants to very sinister use. Moirin also does her by now usual “fix a society by having sex with a ruler” shtick and manages to make friends in unusual places. (Yes, I am being flippant.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, Jacqueline Carey, Review: Book

Book Review: Blameless by Gail Carriger

Orbit
355 pp.

Blameless (The Parasol Protectorate)In Blameless, we spend a great deal of time wanting to hit Lord Maccon upside thehead with a brick. (Okay, that’s probably mostly just me who wanted to do that.The opinions of others may vary.) Alexia has gone home to her family (who don’t want her around because she’s an embarrassment), she’s been fired from her position as the queen’s mujah and she’s “expecting.” Also, someone is still trying to kill her and her friend Lord Akeldama has fled the city leaving behind an extremely cryptic message. Meanwhile, Lord Maccon is drinking formaldehyde and making a complete ass of himself because he believes his heart is broken.(Neither anyone in the narrative nor I am very impressed with his angst.) Continue reading

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Book Review: Changeless by Gail Carriger

Orbit
374 pp.

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate)In Changeless, Our Heroine is rudely awakened by her husband who rushes off without telling her what’s going on,which is quite a lot. The pack regiment is currently camped out on the front lawn, Alexia is once more being accused of random acts of exorcism and soul sucking while dodging mysterious assassins. Then Lord Maccon rushes off to Scotland todeal with a situation involving his former pack. To make things more interesting, the commander of the regiment is a insufferable twit, her best friend is having romantic adventures, one of her sisters is visiting and there is a hatter who is a mad scientist.

Not knowing what else to do and having a sincere desire to find out what the heckis going on, Alexia goes after her husband. Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, Gail Carriger, mystery, Review: Book, steam punk

Book Review: 1636: The Saxon Uprising, by Eric Flint

Baen
424pp.

1636: The Saxon Uprising: N/A (The Ring of Fire)
Available on Amazon

In this book, Gustav Adolph’s cousin quietly investigates the circumstances around Chancellor Oxenstierna’s power grab and the ensuing succession crisis, Gretchen, the Committees of Correspondence defend Dresden, and various other groups, rise in opposition to Oxenstierna’s attempt to take over the government. (And are able to play it quite convincingly that they’re on the side of the angels–because they are–since Oxenstierna is deliberately trying to change the entire system that had already been decided upon by everyone, and everyone else are continuing to play by the rules already deciding on and more or less  fighting back to maintain those rules.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, Eric Flint, Review: Book, science fiction elements, time travel

Manga Review: Chrono Crusade Volume One by Daisuke Moriyama

Chrono Crusade, Vol. 1
Available on Amazon

Chrono Crusade is an eight volume manga series with a twenty four episode anime series that is completely different from the manga. (The manga is superior to the anime series, in my opinion. The anime goes off in a completely different direction and generally weakens a lot of the character interactions and relationships.) Our Heroine and Hero are Rosette Christopher and her partner Chrono. Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, Chrono Crusade, fantasy, Review: Manga, science fiction elements, steam punk

Book Review: Soulless, by Gail Carriger

Orbit
357 pp.

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate)
Available on Amazon.

Soulless is the first book of The Parasol Protectorate and it takes place in a steam-punkish Victorian England with vampires and werewolves (and the occasional evil cabal of mad scientists). Our Heroine is one Alexia Tarabotti, a young woman with a great deal of intelligence and an equal lack of soul. She is a preternatural and this lack of soul enables her to nullify the characteristics or abilities of vampires, ghosts and werewolves. This is an ability known only to a very few people (not even her family or friends know) and it places her in danger when she accidentally kills a vampire at a dinner party.

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Filed under alternate history, fantasy, Gail Carriger, manner punk, Review: Book, steam punk

Book Review: New Amsterdam, by Elizabeth Bear

SubterraneanPress
267 pp.

 New AmsterdamNo one is going to believe that I dislike vampire stories, given the number of books with vampires I have reviewed. (Sadly, it is nearly impossible to avoid them.) If I have to put up with vampires, I would at least like them not to be of the “must kill humans to feed” variety, and that is what we have in this book. Of course, “vampires with harems” can have their own severely disturbing aspects to them when they appear in fiction, but at least I’m not confronted with an often badly handled kill-to-survive ethical dilemma. Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, Elizabeth Bear, fantasy, Review: Book, science fiction elements

Book Review: 1635: The Eastern Front, by Eric Flint

Baen
364 pp.

1635: The Eastern Front (The Ring of Fire)

I have mixed feelings about the Ring of Fire series. On one hand, I loved the first few books, especially the first book in the series, 1632. On the other hand, I began to lose interest due to a combination of not liking the collaborative author, and problems with the way the stories and other novels jumping around within a three year period of time, and showing the results of a situation, without showing out the results came about. (This in particular was deeply annoying to me, and ended up making me reluctant to read the series duet o the confusion.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, anomaly/nexus, book, Eric Flint, political intrigue, Review: Book, romance, science fiction

Book Review: Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Tor
302 pp.

 Shades of Milk and Honey I had been looking for this book for a while,and finally tried to put it on hold at my library. Apparently, it had been hiding in the romance section. (You cannot always tell where a librarian will put a fantasy novel. They will end up in the sf/f section, the fiction section or the romance section because of “supernatural romance” novels.) Continue reading

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Filed under alternate history, book, fantasy, Mary Robinette Kowal, Review: Book, romance