Katharine Coldiron Reviews Gather the Fortunes by Bryan Camp

Gather the Fortunes, Bryan Camp (John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 978-1-328-87671-3, $24.00, 384pp. hc) May 2019.

Last year, I reviewed Bryan Camp’s first novel (and the first of his Crescent City novels), The City of Lost Fortunes. Even though I found that novel flawed, I still looked forward to the next one in the series. Camp had invented an interest­ing alternate New Orleans, and his idea of the ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Moon of the Crusted Snow, Waubgeshig Rice (ECW Press 978-1-77041-400-6, $14.95, 224pp, tp) October 2018.

Moon of the Crusted Snow is a book on the cusp. It’s not a preface to apoca­lypse, and it’s not the postscript; it takes place during the moment in which a society realizes that one kind of life is over, and another kind of life is going to be the norm. Rice isolates and ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

The Gutter Prayer, Gareth Hanrahan (Orbit 978-0-316-52531-2, $15.99, 560pp, hc) January 2019.

From the first pages of The Gutter Prayer, it’s obvious that Gareth Hanrahan has a background in writing game books. Read­ing it feels like sitting at a table with an especially long-winded dungeon master who is telling his players everything he possibly can about the world they’re moving through, whether it’s interesting or not. After the ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg

Smoke & Summons, Charlie N. Holmberg (47North 9781503905436, $24.95, 332pp, hc) February 2019.

Charlie Holmberg has carved out a suc­cessful niche as a writer of speedy, fan-pleasing novels in a small constellation of fantasy genres. Smoke & Summons, the first book in the new Numina series, continues her work in the same field: it’s an urban fantasy set against a sooty metropolis, making use of religious corruption, ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull

The Lesson, Cadwell Turnbull (Blackstone 978-1-5385-8464-4 $26.99, 272pp, hc) June 2019.

Although I could be wrong, I think The Lesson, Cadwell Turnbull’s debut novel, is an allegory for white interference in Black cultures, whether in Africa, America, or the Caribbean. I’m cautious of assigning this idea from inside my white skin, because I could be making a deeply insulting assumption. But if I am wrong, I’m listening to ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Tides of the Titans by Thoraiya Dyer

Tides of the Titans, Thoraiya Dyer (Tor 978-0-7653-8598-7, $19.99, 320pp, tp) January 2019.

The first book in Thoraiya Dyer’s unusual fantasy series, Crossroads of Canopy, took place primarily in Canopy, the highest of three levels of a titanic forest filled with gods and their servants. The second book, Echoes of Under­storey, took place primarily at the middle level, Understorey. It stands to reason that her third book, ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

What Should Be Wild, Julia Fine (Harper 978-0-06-2684-13-4, $26.99, 368pp, hc) May 2018.

The central conceit of What Should Be Wild, an intense and surprising novel, is that Maisie, a young woman raised in almost total isolation, has the power to kill or to resurrect anything she touches. One touch will kill a live thing or revive a dead thing, and a second touch will have the opposite ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Lost Gods by Micah Yongo

Lost Gods, Micah Yongo (Angry Robot 978-0-85766-737-3, $12.99, 448pp, pb) July 2018

One of the daunting aspects of epic fantasy is the double duty it must do: it must be a genre novel with its own setting, ideas, and language, and it must be a historical novel, offering a well-thought-out contextual backdrop of nations, epochs, and ruling figures on which to project its characters’ actions. The grandness of this ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Empire of Sand, Tasha Suri (Orbit 978-0-316-44971-7, $15.99, 480pp, tp) November 2018.

A reliable way to revive epic fantasy, which seems to be going through many of the same motions it’s been tracing for 60 years, is to set it in a culture other than a West­ern one – other than a thinly disguised United Kingdom, to be uncomfortably specific – but if a white writer does this, she ...Read More

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Year in Review by Katharine Coldiron

By the time the clock hits 11:59 on December 31, my list of books read for 2018 will tally about 150. Because I review a wide variety of books, a small minority of those books will have been SF/F (only about a dozen, in fact). I like reading and reviewing genre books, and I especially like doing so for Locus, but it’s just a sliver of what I do as ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Cloven by B. Catling

The Cloven, B. Catling (Vintage 978-1-101-97274-8, $16.95, 512pp, paperback) July 2018.

The problem with The Cloven, the third book in B. Catling’s intense fantasy trilogy, which began with The Vorrh and contin­ued with The Erstwhile, is the same problem that dogged the first two books: Catling is not very experienced, and it shows. These books, imaginative and daring as they are, make rookie mistakes, and for whatever ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Rending and the Nest by Kaethe Schwehn and Moon Brow by Shahriar Mandanipour

The Rending and the Nest, Kaethe Schwehn (Bloomsbury 978-1-63286-972-2, $26.00, 304pp, hardback) February 2018.

A blurb of The Rending and the Nest could position it as a combination of Station Eleven and The Leftovers, but that would do the novel a major disservice. In structure, it resembles Station Eleven, because the struggle to endure after most of the world’s resources are no longer available is the main ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The City of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp

The City of Lost Fortunes, Bryan Camp (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 978-1-328-81079-3 $24.00, 367pp, hc) April 2018.

If Neil Gaiman wrote a post-Katrina novel about New Orleans, it just might be The City of Lost Fortunes. It’s stuffed with more-than-meets-the-mortal-eye cityscapes (Neverwhere), immortal schemes and meddling (American Gods), and historical myth and meaning (Norse Mythology). Although many of the novel’s fantasy elements are ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Echoes of Understorey by Thoraiya Dyer

Echoes of Understorey, Thoraiya Dyer (Tor 978-0-7653-8595-6, $16.99, 350pp, pb) February 2018.

Readers who enjoyed the first book in Thoraiya Dyer’s Titan’s Forest series will probably enjoy the sequel, Echoes of Understorey. The two books have in common a breathtakingly complex world, magic and ability tied to animal and natural realms, a powerful and self-sabotaging female protagonist, and potent political and racial allegories. Readers who found Crossroads of ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron reviews MEM: A Novel by Bethany C. Morrow

MEM: A Novel, Bethany C. Morrow (Unnamed 978-1-944700-55-3, $25.00, 175pp, hc) May 2018.

MEM is a short novel with so many complex elements, so many wild and wonderful ideas, that summarizing it proves difficult. Yet the circumstances of its world are set forth so gracefully and confidently that understanding it is easy. In its opening pages a woman walks into a vault and explains to the receptionist waiting there ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Daughters of the Air by Anca L. Szilágyi

Daughters of the Air, Anca L. Szilágyi (Lantern­fish Press 978-1-941360-11-8, $16.00, 260pp, tp) December 2017.

Until just a few years ago, I was barely aware of Argentina’s Dirty War, which purged tens of thousands of its “subver­sive” citizens from 1974 to 1983. These people usually vanished, traceless, leaving behind fami­lies who had no idea what happened to put them at the mercy of the repressive government. The whole affair ...Read More

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