Carolyn Cushman Reviews Final Exam by Carol J. Perry and Marked by S. Andrew Swann

Carol J. Perry, Final Exam (Kensington 978-1-4967-1460-2, $7.99, 358pp, pb) March 2019.

A high school reunion goes wrong in this seventh mystery in the Witch City series set in Salem MA. Lee Barrett’s settling into her job as a TV news reporter, and she’s got a little extra time to help her Aunt Ibby prepare for her 45th high school reunion. But then a vintage car is discovered underwater in ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews That Ain’t Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire, That Ain’t Witchcraft (DAW 978-0-7564-1179-4, $7.99, 432pp, pb) March 2019. Cover by Aly Fell.

Antimony “Annie” Price’s adventures continue in this eighth volume in the InCryptid series. She and her cryptid friends, still on the road after their harrowing adventures at Lowryland theme park, finally find a safe place to stop for a while in Maine. But this is Stephen King country, where their rental house hides secrets, ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines and Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter

Jim C. Hines, Terminal Uprising (DAW 978-0-7564-1277-7, $26.00, 324pp, hc) February 2019. Cover by Daniel Dos Santos.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos and her Hygiene and Sanitation Services team take their stolen ship, the EMCS Pufferfish, on a mission to Earth in this second book in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series. In this future, the humans of Earth have all been reduced to zombie-like ferals, but some, like Mops and her ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Wild Country by Anne Bishop and Soulbinder by Sebastien de Castell

Anne Bishop, Wild Country (Ace 978-0-399-58727-6, $27.00, 480pp, hc) March 2019. Cover by Robert Jones.

A young woman dreaming of becoming a policewoman ends up working as a frontier deputy in this second book in the World of the Others series. It should be a great story – Jana Paniccia is a strong character, a woman determined to work in a field largely restricted to men in this world. She’s ...Read More

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Carolyn F. Cushman Reviews Death & Honey, Edited by Kevin Hearne

Kevin Hearne, ed., Death & Honey (Subterranean Press 978-1-59606-914-5, $45.00, 300pp, hc) February 2019. Cover by Galen Dara.

Murder and bees make an interesting topic for this original anthology of three fantasy novellas by Kevin Hearne, Lila Bowen (Delilah S. Dawson), and Chuck Wendig, each writing in their own popular worlds. Hearne offers “The Buzz Kill”, a peculiarly sweet and funny new tale in the Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries series, a ...Read More

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2018 Year-in-Review by Carolyn Cushman

There wasn’t much that really blew me away in 2018, but some entertain­ing titles turned up. At the top of my SF read­ing this year are Martha Wells’s Artificial Condi­tion, Rogue Protocol, and Exit Strategy, the last three novellas in the Murderbot Diaries quartet featuring the deadly yet oddly endearing android Murderbot, a corporate-owned security guard that apparently once went berserk and killed humans (hence its chosen ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Let Sleeping Dragons Lie by Garth Nix & Sean Williams, and Legion by Brandon Sanderson

Garth Nix & Sean Williams, Let Sleeping Dragons Lie (Scholastic Press 978-1-338-15849-6, $17.99, 256pp, hc) November 2018. Cover by Ross Dearsley.

Young knights Odo and Eleanor are back in their second middle-grade fantasy adventure, ready to take their talking swords and leave their village for more adventure – but they end up getting a lot more excite­ment than they counted on. A blind old man named Egda and a female ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Bartered Brides by Mercedes Lackey and The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty

Mercedes Lackey, The Bartered Brides (DAW 978-0-7564-0874-9, $27.00, 314pp, hc) October 2018. Cover by Jody A. Lee.

Though the title evokes the comic opera The Bartered Bride by Smetana, this latest novel in the Elemental Masters series owes a lot more to Sherlock Holmes, or maybe the Sherlock TV series. Holmes’s death at Reichenbach Falls has just been announced, but the Watsons (both Elemental Masters), psychic Nan Killian, and medium ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Breach by W.L. Goodwater and For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

W.L. Goodwater, Breach (Ace 978-0-451-49103-9, $16.00, 357pp, tp) November 2018.

Cold War espionage and magic mix in this fan­tasy spy thriller. Karen O’Neil is an American magician, a government researcher tired of dealing with men who don’t believe women can be competent. She’s excited to be assigned to a secret mission in post-WWII Berlin, where the Wall has developed a hole, small but growing. The Wall was erected overnight by ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman and Search Image by Julie E. Czerneda

Genevieve Cogman, The Mortal Word (Ace 978-0-399-58744-3, $15.00, 433pp, tp) Novem­ber 2018.

Irene faces a murder mystery in this fifth vol­ume in the Invisible Library series. Peace talks between the Fae and the dragons are disrupted when one of the dragon negotiators is murdered, and Irene and her great-detective friend Vale are asked to help. Fortunately, these secret talks are being held in Paris in a world very similar to ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch and Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Ben Aaronovitch, Lies Sleeping (DAW 978-0-7564-1513-6, $26.00, 293pp, hc) November 2018. Cover by Stephen Walter.

Major developments turn up in this seventh novel in the Rivers of London series, which finds police detective/apprentice wizard Peter Grant and a good-sized police team working hard to track down Martin Chorley, the second Faceless Man, and his as­sociate, former Police Constable Lesley May. Their efforts include tracking down members of an Oxford dining ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Way of the Shield by Marshall Ryan Maresca and Séances Are for Suckers by Tamara Berry

Marshall Ryan Maresca, The Way of the Shield (DAW 978-0-7564-1479-5, $7.99, 354pp, pb) October 2018. Cover by Paul Young.

Maresca keeps adding new series set in the city of Maradaine, all running more-or-less concurrently, each focusing on a different facet of the city. This first volume in the Maradaine Elite series follows a young man trying to join an archaic military order, one of two surviving orders from the past, ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews and Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

Ilona Andrews, Magic Triumphs (Ace 978-0-425-27071-4, $26.00, 327pp, hc) August 2018. Cover by Juliana Kolesova.

The Kate Daniels series wraps up in this tenth volume with some heartwarming bits, grave danger, and yet another epic battle. Kate and Curran have a baby, and Kate’s determined to keep her mad god of a father away from his grandchild. Meanwhile, she deals with Atlanta’s usual magical crises, but a new case involving ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine and Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

Rachel Caine, Smoke and Iron (Berkley 978-0-451-48921-0, $17.99, 432pp, hc) July 2018. Cover by Katie Anderson.

Jess takes the battle to the corrupt Great Library of Alexandria in this fourth of five volumes in the Great Library series. At the end of the last volume, Jess turned himself over to the Library – disguised as his brother Brendan, the heir to the Brightwell family of book smugglers. Jess also turned ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris, An Easy Death (Saga Press 978-1-4814-9492-2, $26.99, 306pp, hc) October 2018.

Harris turns to a different sort of Wild West set in an alternate-history world in which the US was shattered by the assassination of FDR and by the Great Depression. Sharpshooter Lizbeth “Gun­nie” Rose lives in the country of Texoma, a rough, near-lawless place barely hanging on between Mexico and New America, where gunslingers wish each other ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Competence by Gail Carriger and The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire

Gail Carriger, Competence (Orbit US 978-0-316-43388-4, $26.00, 309pp, hc) July 2018. Cover by Don Sipley & Michael Roberts.

The steampunk fun ramps up in this third volume in the Custard Protocol series, a spin-off from Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. This time, the main focus shifts to Primrose Tunstell, purser of the airship The Spotted Custard and style-conscious friend of Captain Prudence Akeldama. Their airship needs repairs, and the damage is ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Last Sun by K.D. Edwards

K.D. Edwards, The Last Sun (Pyr 978-1-63388-423-6, $17.00, 363pp, tp) June 2018. Cover by Micah Epstein.

The last scion of a once-powerful house works as an investigator/agent in this entertaining first novel, a sort of urban fantasy set in a world that mixes modern technology (cell phones) with a strangely different culture. In this world, refuges from war-torn Atlantis used money and magic to turn Nantucket into New Atlantis, mostly ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Chosen Ones by Scarlett Thomas

Scarlett Thomas, The Chosen Ones (Canongate 978-1-78211-930-2, £12.99, 368pp, hc) April 2018; (Simon & Schuster 978-1-4814-9787-9, $17.99, 374pp, hc) May 2018. Cover by Erwin Madrid.

Effie Truelove and her friends continue their efforts to understand the world of magic while working around obstructive adults, in this second book in the quirky middle-grade Worldquake tril­ogy. Effie Truelove wants to get back to the magi­cal Otherworld, but things keep going wrong; one ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Blood Orbit by K.R. Richardson

K.R. Richardson, Blood Orbit (Pyr 978-1-63388-439-7, $18.00, 492pp, tp) May 2018. Cover by Maurizio Manzieri.

Richardson, who has written urban fantasy as Kat Richardson, now turns to SF mystery in this first volume in the Gattis File series, set on the corpo­rate-owned planet Gattis, where corporate profits take precedence over justice. Rookie security ofiçe (not officer) Eric Matheson stumbles across a mass murder at a nightclub, and is assigned to ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews A Guide for Murdered Children by Sarah Sparrow

Sarah Sparrow, A Guide for Murdered Children (Blue Rider 978-0-399-57452-8, $27.00, 385pp, hc) March 2018.

Murdered children take over the bodies of re­cently deceased adults in order to get revenge on their murderers in this truly strange novel. Ex-police detective Willow Millard Wylde is retired at 57, messed up with booze and pain pills and iffy health, in rehab when first encountered. Trying to do better for his grown daughter ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Phantom Files: Twain’s Treasure by William B. Wolfe

William B. Wolfe, The Phantom Files: Twain’s Treasure (Dreaming Robot Press 978-1-940924-29-8, $12.95, 247pp, tp) July 2018.

Mark Twain provides the focus for this amusing middle-grade fantasy novel, which follows a boy trying desperately to hide the fact he can see ghosts. Alex April can’t always tell the dead from the living, and that gets him into trouble because the ghosts always want things from him, and aren’t necessarily rational ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw

Vivian Shaw, Dreadful Company (Orbit US 978-0-316-43463-8, $15.99, 323pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Will Staehle.

Dr. Greta Helsing goes to Paris for a medical conference on treating supernatural sorts and natu­rally runs into monsters, from an unexpected little wellmonster in her sink, to some overly cliché goth vampires with pretentious names and a leader with an old grudge against Lord Ruthven. He’s only in Paris long enough to take ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Hills Have Spies by Mercedes Lackey

Mercedes Lackey, The Hills Have Spies (DAW 978-0-7564-1317-0, $27.00, 360pp, hc) June 2018. Cover by Jody A. Lee.

Lackey returns to Valdemar with this first book in the Family Spies series, the ninth novel featuring Herald Mags, now a father with three children. His eldest, Perry, is only 13, but has been training to follow in his father’s footsteps all his life, and though he has yet to be Chosen ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff

Tanya Huff, The Privilege of Peace (DAW 978-0-7564-1153-4, $26.00, 342pp, hc) June 2018. Cover by Paul Youll.

Torin Kerr – and the alien plastic – are back in this lively third novel in the Peacekeeper trilogy, itself a follow-up to the military SF Confederation novels. Torin and her Wardens Strike Team Al­pha continue their work keeping the peace when things get violent, but they’re having continued trouble from the group ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Red Waters Rising by Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne Gilman, Red Waters Rising (Saga 978-1-4814-2975-7, $16.99, 350pp, tp) June 2018. Cover by Emma Ríos.

The Devil’s West trilogy concludes – sort of – with this novel, which finds Isobel and Gabriel head­ing south for the winter, ending Isobel’s training trip as the Devil’s Hand on the eastern edge of the Devil’s Territory, across the Big Muddy river from what would be New Orleans in our world. Isobel’s ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Rose Legacy by Jessica Day George

Jessica Day George, The Rose Legacy (Blooms­bury USA 978-1-59990-647-8, $18.99, 259pp, hc) May 2018. Cover by Kevin Keele.

Kids who dream of having horses should love this middle-grade fantasy novel about an unwanted orphan girl who ends up with an uncle she didn’t know she had, who raises forbidden animals: horses. This has an interesting setting in a king­dom vaguely reminiscent of an early-20th-century Great Britain, with trains and early ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist

Raymond E. Feist, King of Ashes (Harper Voyag­er 978-0-00-726485-8, £20.00, 545PP, hc) April 2018. (Harper Voyager US 978-0-06-146845-2, $29.99, 466pp, hc) May 2018.

Feist returns with the first volume in the new Firemane fantasy series, centered on a land that was once five kingdoms, until the Betrayal, which saw the king of Ithrace, known as Firemane, betrayed by some allies in a war with a neighbor­ing kingdom. One of the ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso

Melissa Caruso, The Defiant Heir (Orbit US 978-0-316-46690-5, $15.99, 515pp, tp) April 2018. Cover by Crystal Ben.

The second volume in the Swords & Fire fantasy trilogy finds Lady Amalia scrambling to stop a war with the Witch Lords of Vaskandar. Meanwhile, someone is killing Falconers and the magic-wielding Falcons they control, and reluctant Falconer Amalia and her powerful fire warlock Zaira are probable targets. Then Amalia meets a Witch ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Case of the Deadly Doppelgänger by Lucy Banks

Lucy Banks, The Case of the Deadly Doppelgänger (Amberjack 978-1-944995-47-8, $14.99, 328pp, tp) February 2018.

A woman wakes in the night to see a copy of herself and die – and all her husband vaguely remembers in the morning is “She’s been fetched.” Turns out she’s not the only victim and, even as the officials publicly play down any supernatural elements, they’re looking for help. This is the second book ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Night Fall by Simon R. Green

Simon R. Green, Night Fall (Ace 978-0-451-47697-5, $27.00, 453pp, hc) June 2018.

Green wraps up the Secret Histories and the Nightside series (and a few more) in a massive kitchen-sink of a battle between the righteous Droods and the lawless Nightside that brings together a host of old characters with a bunch of impossibly deadly weapons, a massive body count, and a healthy sprinkling of humor. Some­thing happens in the ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Reign of the Departed by Greg Keyes

Greg Keyes, The Reign of the Departed (Night Shade 978-1-59780-937-5, $14.99, 348pp, tp) June 2018. Cover by Micah Epstein.

Errol Greyson says he didn’t intend to commit suicide – but he wakes in a body carved of wood and joined by wire and bolts, and his classmate Aster tells him his real body’s in a coma. She’s originally from another world, and needs to re­turn there for the magic water ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher, Brief Cases (Ace 978-0-451-49210-4, $28.00, 437pp, hc) June 2018. Cover by Chris McGrath.

This new collection in the Dresden Files series offers 12 entertaining stories, some real gems. Three of my favorites, previously collected as Working for Bigfoot, are relatively light stories about Harry and a sasquatch who needs help for his half-human son. Several take the viewpoint of characters other than Harry Dresden, with a couple ...Read More

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