PositiveLocus MagHoneycomb drips with whimsy, mischief, and violent delight. Over the course of this dark, adult fantasy novel/collection (it’s truly a hybrid of the two), Harris offers us an astoundingly wide array of parables and tales that cover themes of power, love, empathy, self-sacrifice, and truth ... Harris imbues new meaning into various fairy tales without abandoning their sinister origins. From the cruel exploits of the selfish Lacewing King to the realpolitik of stubborn barnyard animals, she magicks a collection of dark fairy tales steeped in European tradition. Her strongest tales are those that remain within this cultural frame of reference, while those outside of it are weakened by exoticized descriptions of isolated religious desert societies. Charles Vess’s distinctive illustrations appear throughout the novel, enhancing the ancient, folklore-like feeling Harris evokes in each story.
PositiveLocus[The] snarky and (sometimes) cringey first-person point of view conveys Doctorow’s unsettlingly realist perspective on surveillance and internet freedom quite well ... The surprising things about this book are its heavy-handed technical descriptions and its willingness to confront present-day political events. The stakes are high and even more personal because they directly relate to current American and Eastern European politics ... Doctorow has his finger on the pulse of ethical technology use and data privacy – the research he has put into this project is astounding, but his knowledge of this technology’s real-world impact impresses me the most ... Doctorow asks questions that keep us up at night and exhibits real courage in trying to answer them ... an uncomfortable read. Whistleblowers are heroes (the front cover has a resounding endorsement from Edward Snowden), BLM activists are unequivocally good, police officers have gone too far, and anyone neutral about the issue is a bad guy. And I’m glad that it is uncomfortable. Neutrality on these issues is an incredible bore to read – anyone can look the other way when protests are happening, but Doctorow reminds (American readers, especially) that many citizens already live in dystopias, and these dystopias thrive when we stop trying to reform them.