This is a blog with spoiler free reviews. Most will be Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror, but there will be some books in other genres, including the occasional Non-Fiction review. There is an ongoing series of Cover Reveal Round-Ups, and sometimes I'll write an article on something that interests me.

23 April, 2011


 Cover Art and Design: Joe Roberts


ISBN: 978-1-84901-587-5
  Pages: 252
Publisher: Robinson
Publishing Date: 24 March 2011

On the cover:

From humble beginnings in November 1963, Doctor Who has become a quintessential element of British popular culture. Exploring the adventures of all eleven Doctors; their faithful companions, both living and robotic; a universe of monsters and villains from Helen A to Prisoner Zero, including Daleks and Weeping Angels. With a comprehensive guide to every episode, Mark Campbell puts the show under the microscope with facts, figures and opinions that will entertain long term fans as well as Time Lord fanatics.

   This is a brilliant little guide to Doctor Who. I say little, but it does cover every television appearance up to the end of season five. And it also has a list of every CD and book appearance up to 2009. Add to that the list of missing episodes and a reference list that includes both books and the Internet, and you get a pretty comprehensive guide to most things about Doctor Who.

   For every TV episode Campbell gives a list of the cast and crew, a(very) brief description of the episode, some observations and finally his own verdict on the episode in question.
   I found this to be a great format for this kind of guide. Although every episode gets only a brief mention, it is more than enough for quick reference. And the observations are almost always fascinating, and includes such information as where it was filmed and often information on cut scenes etc.
   Campbell includes his own verdict on each of the episodes and adds a score of 1-10. This part is not really necessary, but it works well. But I must say I did not always agree with Campbell, but that is to be expected -it is after all his personal opinion.

   As a quick reference guide this works wonderfully. I had already checked out several episodes I saw mentioned when I started reading the whole thing for this review. There is lots of information here, and I'm sure almost anyone will learn something new by reading it. 
   I also found that if you want a quick overview of what an episode is about this book beats the Internet for speed. -Yes, I tried it.
   The lack of any pictures may be a turn off for some, but I don't think it should be. The small format (B-format paperback) makes it very handy to have near by, and the information is excellent.

   This book should be present in every Doctor Who fan's library. Whether you have come to the series after the turn of the millennium or you have followed it since the beginning.

NOTE: A copy of this book was supplied to me by the publisher.

05 April, 2011


   I don't usually post about covers on the blog. But I found this one very interesting. And to be fair, I am a fan of Gail Carriger's books too. So here are some thoughts on the cover for Heartless.

   This is the cover that was originally revealed:

  A good cover, nothing wrong with it. And it fits perfectly with the covers for the other books in the series, Soulless, Changeless and Blameless.

   But there were some differences in the final cover, that Gail Carriger revealed on her blog:

   Can you spot the differences? 
   The cover has gotten a bit steampunked with the adding of an antenna and two other devices to the left of the model's head. These replace the two chimneys from the earlier version. And we also have two wolves added at the top of the stairs. 

   I think the final cover is an improvement. It shows that the book is steampunk, the first cover could be any Victorian novel really - not that it was bad. And the two wolves have significance to Alexia's world. 
   What do you think of the changes?

For both covers: Model: Donna Ricci, Design: Lauren Panepinto, Photo: Pixie Vixen Productions.

The book will be out July 2011 from Orbit.

04 April, 2011


Cover Art: John Coulthart


ISBN: 978-0-85766-099-2
Pages: 384
  Publisher: Angry Robot Books
Original Publishing Date: 1987
Re-issue Publishing Date: 7 April 2011*

On the cover:

But George has little talent for watches and other infernal devices. When someone tries to steal an old device from the premises, George finds himself embroiled in a mystery of time travel, music and sexual intrigue.  

   This book is a bit of a peculiar acquaintance. It is written in a style that is distinctly Victorian, and I would not have been surprised if it was originally published in 1897 based only on how it is written.
   It is written in a style that is reminiscent of both Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, and to some extent H.P. Lovecraft's tales. We get a protagonist that tells the story himself after everything is over. Not as a diary, but as if he himself was writing this story of what happened.
   And I found this helped a great deal to set the mood, and transport me to the time when the story is set.

   There is absolutely no doubt that this is a steampunk story, the whole story revolves around clockwork creations. But Jeter has not limited himself to just this aspect, there is also a distinctly Lovecraftian(-ish) element here. Both elements are handled very well, and they compliment each other rather than taking attention away from each other.

   Jeter is great at getting the reader going. The narrator's hints at things that for him has happened, but is still to come for the reader, makes you want to read on to find out what has happened. And there are several mysteries introduced early on, and there are more to come.
   The story takes several twists and turns I did not see coming, and you will never quite know which characters will turn out to be friend or foe.
   When there is action, and there is quite a bit of it, it is handled very well. The first person narration puts you in the middle of what is happening and at times this takes you on quite a ride.

   The only problem I had with the book was the ending. It felt a bit rushed, and although it was pretty fulfilling, I felt it lacked a bit compared to the rest of the novel. But that being said, it is by no means so weak as to make the novel anything less than highly enjoyable.
   If you are the least bit interested in steampunk this is certainly a must-read novel. And it is Victorian enough that it should be in the collection of everyone who likes science fiction from that period.

NOTE: An ARC of this book was supplied to me by the publisher.

* 7 April 2011 is the UK and e-book release date. USA and Canada release date is 26 April 2011.

LINKS: K. W. Jeter  Angry Robot Books