RaveOpen Letters ReviewAs is the case with many eco novels and in the world today, humanity’s failure to combat climate change is layered across every inch of this novel. However, Appleseed is so much more than similar stories of the past ... deftly structured across three distinct timelines ... The narratives are told in a fantastical way, a modern way, and a science fiction way. Appleseed’s publicity materials tout it as part speculative epic, part tech thriller, and part reinvented fairy tale. This genre bender’s three tales feel distinct, yet tie together fittingly in the end, and not overly so ... no fast-paced read, with the three different timelines spread over such a vast time period, and with Bell throwing the reader into the deep end, expect to sit and ruminate with the novel. Some reader’s mileage may vary in terms of their patience, but seasoned genre readers will enjoy the pace if they stick with it ... Bell’s ability to bridge the connections between three distinct timelines and three separate genres in a way that is extremely readable and thought provoking is quite a feat. It would not be inaccurate to call this book a career achievement for many writers, but Bell is still early enough in his career, he just might surpass it. When adventurous readers wish to fulfill their Kim Stanley Robinson needs, perhaps they turn to Matt Bell.
PositiveThe Open Letters ReviewTo some, Liu’s concepts may seem wistful, but there is a sense of wonderment even within his introduction. To put it more simply, Liu’s stories read like parables, instructing the reader that tiny, seemingly unimportant actions can have a greater impact on the world than they might think, and despite the short time human beings have on Earth, the universe will continue on ... Fans of Liu’s epic, sprawling trilogy should fear not, for despite their length, there is conceptual weight behind these stories and their themes ... Other stories run the gamut with their peculiarity ... While the mileage may vary in terms of quality, there is enough strong storytelling here to make To Hold Up the Sky worth any science fiction fan’s time.
Stephen Graham Jones
PositiveOpen Letters ReviewAn interesting, often unsettling tactic Jones sprinkles into the narrative is the use of point of view from the elk. Getting a story from the killer’s point of view is not in itself unique, but Jones proves his ability to creep his readers out, with sudden, seemingly out of nowhere second person narrative. Two characters will be conversing and one of them will notice a sudden movement in the distance before Jones quickly jumps to the elk-spirit’s demented thoughts – indeed, the elk is always around, watching its quarry ... The strongest parts of this story shine throughout the middle act, with surviving characters realizing something is not quite right around the Blackfeet Reservation, that something is out there with a bloody agenda, and the paranoia surrounding them all. The elk-spirit is not one to simply ambush; it\'s intricate in its revenge plot, often setting up its enemies to do damage to themselves, emotionally and physically ... The novel’s final act mostly consists of a classic slasher horror movie trope with an elongated chase scene, but is nonetheless thrilling ... perhaps Jones’ most personal novel, for he is an elk hunter himself and is stringent about not being wasteful regarding the lives he takes ... feels like a fantasy for those who desire swift justice with a violent bent; wrongdoers are punished without learning much, but the audience hears the message, loud and clear.
PositiveOpen Letters ReviewWells could have easily written Murderbot as a typically alien-sounding robotic character, but she chooses to to make it a relatable protagonist instead ... Murderbot is, if nothing else, a funny companion for an afternoon of light-hearted reading ... The reader will yearn for each tale to last even longer.
PositiveOpen Letter Review...Filling his story with a multitude of 1960’s and 1970’s music and pop culture references with as much humor as possible, Eames managed to mix comedy with deeper themes such as the prospect of aging, wondering if the energy brought by youth stills remains, and bonds between friends reuniting - all the while setting his story in a typical fantasy land with kings, queens, and creatures of all sorts. At the center of this story was Saga, one of the most famous ‘bands’ in all the land and now well past their prime. Come back together to help rescue the daughter of Golden Gabe, the leader of the band, from a horde of monsters ... This was a difficult book to put down.
RaveOpen Letters ReviewFans who have been patient enough to wait and purchase this second collection will not be disappointed, as Butcher delivers his usual mix of sarcasm, geekiness, and darkness followers of Dresden and his adventures have come to expect from the wizard ... These stories show new sides of these characters ... Every story in both collections adds to the world Butcher created, but being able to get inside the minds of Dresden’s friends and enemies is a treat for any fan ... Brief Cases has a great balance of humor, imagination, and furthering the overall story. There are numerous references and inside jokes that Dresden Files enthusiasts will be excited to read.
RaveOpen Letters Review\"The scenes in the first half of the novel between Anderson and Maitland, once a coach to Anderson’s son, are some of the tensest of any of King’s past work ... King often has large casts of characters, and The Outsider is no different in that regard ... As with many of King’s works, The Outsider shows his talent for showcasing friendship, and bonds tightening between strangers to overcome evil. Despite some of the subject matter covered in his stories, King often has moments of sweetness between his characters once they begin to get closer ... Though not as tightly paced and with a finale less epic than 2014’s Revival, The Outsider should be enjoyable to King fans and is a quick read despite its 560 pages. The strongest part of the story is the mystery element, which is showcased in the first half of the novel. Over the last decade, King has made a bit of a transition toward both the thriller and mystery genres, with one-off classic horror tales like Revival being sprinkled in. As with the Bill Hodges trilogy, The Outsider is a solid combination of these genres. This mixing of genres serves multiple masters, as fans of classic King will like the otherworldly elements of the second half should they not care for the mystery parts in the first half. If a sequel is never produced, the idea of surviving characters making future appearances is still a welcome one.\