Tag Archives: Orbit

Retro Review: Wings of Wrath (2009)

Celia (CS) Friedman

Orbit (2009)

ISBN: 978 1 84149 533 0

The Magister Trilogy #2

Kamala is the only female Magister in a brotherhood of magicians – except that most of them don’t know she exists and has accessed the secret of their power. Outsiders don’t know the secrets of the Magisters, so Kamala is a massive threat to their supremacy, being not only a woman, but not being as constrained by the rules that bind the rest of them to keep their secrets. Kamala has secrets of her own, and is forced to keep her powers hidden under the guise of witchery, the only other option for a woman with her abilities. She has proven to herself and her master that she can hold her own as a Magister, but the events unfolding before her test her will and her own self-belief. Continue reading

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New Review: Imprudence (2016)

Gail Carriger

Orbit (2016)

ISBN: 978-0-316-21219-9 

The Custard Protocol #2

I’m a big fan of Gail Carriger’s work, that’s no secret. I thoroughly enjoy the alternate historical reality she has created and find her books easy yet often thought-provoking reads. The links between the Parasol Protectorate, Finishing School and Custard Protocol books are clever and nicely twisty, and I very much appreciated seeing characters who appeared as protagonists age and evolve as side characters in other work – the glimpses to old favourites at different stages of their lives gives this fangirl’s heart glee.

Imprudence picks up quite soon after the end of the first book of the series (Prudence – if you didn’t know, the book is about Prudence, mostly known as Rue, the now grown-up birth daughter of Alexia and Lord Maccon, heroes of the Parasol Protectorate series, partly raised by her adoptive father, the vampire Lord Akeldama). Rue is a preternatural, the only one of her kind, able to steal the immortality of any supernatural creature with a touch, and hold it until the “tether” snaps (usually with distance), and this has at times made her a target for those who fear her, or those who want to utilise her ability. But Rue has other things to worry about, for her father, the alpha werewolf, needs her help, and the journey she will take has more danger than she could have realised.

The cast of characters in this book is vivid – I adored learning tantalising tidbits about old favourite Akeldama’s past, and seeing the changes other Parasol Protectorate protagonists have gone through. Rue and her friends are also fun. I was worried that maybe Rue and her best friend Primrose might turn into a rerun of their mothers, but they have quite distinctive characters and perspectives on their world. I very much appreciated the way Carriger wrote Rue’s deliberate sexual awakening – the way the character is written is powerful and self-aware, while still being sometimes a bit silly as young people can be, which is something we don’t really see enough of. This characters was complemented by that of Prim, who is cut from quite a different cloth, and the werelioness Tasherit, whose immortality makes her somewhat unknowable, but whose catlike traits render her something different again (she’s fantastic). It was nice to see this balance of different women who work together to play on each others’ strengths and it’s one of my favourite things about all Carriger’s books, because she writes women well, and writes them OFTEN.

I have to be honest and say I haven’t engaged quite as much with this series as with earlier books, and I’m not too sure why. I adore the characters, and the comedy of manners style Carriger employs – I hesitate to say it but I wonder if perhaps it’s simply that my reading tastes have started to change. It’s certainly happened before, so it’s possible. Still, once I was immersed in Rue’s adventures, I read the book swiftly and didn’t get distracted, so I’m guessing there’s still hope for me yet!

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Retro Review: Deep Water (2008)

Pamela Freeman

Orbit (2008)

ISBN: 9780733622120

Castings #2

In this second book of Pamela Freeman’s Castings trilogy, we continue the story of the three main characters, Ash, Bramble and Martine, on what is almost a journey of discovery for them. The three characters, apparently only recent companions, are following a trail to stop a sorcerer who is raising the ghosts of the long-dead in rebellion of an historical conqueror.

Freeman has continued the unusual style premiered in Blood Ties (the first book), in which each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character, including a great many by secondary, sometimes almost incidental, characters. This technique can be challenging to read, as the main thread of the story is frequently interrupted by these digressions. Oddly, in this book, I personally found the incidental vignettes the most enjoyable, particularly the “flashbacks” to ancient times that Bramble experiences when she inhabits another body in the past, and the accompanying inserts encapsulating the lives of the minor characters there. Continue reading

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Retro Review: Once Bitten, Twice Shy (2007)

Jennifer Rardin

Orbit (2007)

ISBN 978-1-84149-637-5

I hate to say a book is “in the tradition” of anything, because saying this can give a false impression of the writing style. So, while Once Bitten, Twice Shy is in a similar vein (heh) to the Anita Blake series, this should not unduly influence your decision to read it. The similarities between Hamilton’s world of vampires and Rardin’s work in this novel are there, but at a superficial level. In both worlds, vampires are a known race and co-exist, to some extent, with humans in a world that is very much like ours.

And that’s about where the similarities end. Rardin takes this trope and successfully builds a complete world of intrigue and back story that draws in the reader and leaves you begging for more. Continue reading

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Retro Review: The Parasol Protectorate

Gail Carriger

Books 1, 2 and 3, The Parasol Protectorate

Soulless

Orbit (2009)

Changeless

Orbit (2010)

Blameless

Orbit (2010)

ISBN: 978-0-316-07415-5

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

I was first exposed to what’s become known as The Parasol Protectorate series (the books are subtitled as being “Alexia Tarabotti novels”) a number of months ago, via a great video showing the creation of the cover of Blameless. This did the rounds on the ‘net showing how cover design comes together in a very cool way. I watched it a few times, thinking how clever it was, but that the book itself didn’t look like my sort of thing. HOW WRONG I WAS! When Tansy and Alex started raving about the books, I knew I had to try them. Then I received a review copy of Blameless and that decided it – Soulless and Changeless became my only Aussiecon 4 prescribed purchases, and when I finally got the chance to read them, it was to the exclusion of all else. Continue reading

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