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With each section being told from a different point of view and narrative style, Coyote explores how humanity's first interstellar colonization effort might form its own culture and mythology when separated from Earth by an impossible distance. The entire five-book series is rich, each telling the story of a subsequent generation on Coyote and the trials they face, but this first entry is the strongest. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis
Reading sci-fi and fantasy books usually makes me want to be the characters. Cool space marine on the front lines; master swordsman on the frontier; expert detective on a robot city murder case. But A Memory Called Empire adds one to the list I hadn't thought of - foreign ambassador to the center of an expansive empire.
Yet it somehow seems so natural. Mahit Dzmare is born and raised on a space station outside the Teixcalaanli Empire, and her job is to keep her tiny home nation's secrets and sovereignty safe. Along the way she wrestles with a malfunctioning proprietary neural implant, forms friendships with those whom she should be keeping at a distance, and struggles to retain her identity in the presence of the civilization she unabashedly loves, an Empire steeped in poetry, elevated by meter and rhyme, and... yes, enough intrigue to fill any number of epic poems. Yet she navigates it all with the poise you'd hope for and at times the vulnerability you believe, and you want to be her, wrapped up in the intrigue. Heck, I'd settle for being announced the way she was when she attends the Emperor's poetry banquet. (Yes. Emperor's poetry banquet. I want it.)
With a complicated and living setting, a central cast of characters who you can't help but cheer for, and that little machine in Mahit's head that causes her so many headaches (both figurative and literal), A Memory Called Empire is well worth the read for anyone fascinated by the workings of an imperial court. And if you're not already fascinated? You might be after reading this. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis
Necromancers. Ladies with swords. Swords wielded by lady necromancers. Listen, if this isn't hooking you, I don't know what will. Gideon herself is the most self-assured protagonist I have read in a long time, with wit and actual competence to match. Mix in a conspiracy involving the immortal emperor, eight houses vying for supremacy, and a dash of LGBT+ representation naturally woven throughout and you have, hands down, an early contender for my favorite book of the year. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis
Recycling isn't pretty, and on Silicon Isle the burden falls to the "waste people" who have to sort everything, their lives forfeit to the three main clans. As an American company tries to enact a subtle economic takeover, a waste girl gets wrapped up in the intersection of the past and future. At its best when it blends science and spirituality, Waste Tide is beautifully written and translated, starting slow and ramping up until before you realize it you're racing through the final pages. ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis
The entire run of the Battlepug webcomic in one beautiful collection! A lone warrior reluctantly gathers allies, including a crazy old man, a foul-mouthed youngster and, yes, a pug the size of a small house, and sets off on a thrilling, funny, and heartwarming quest for revenge against the evil Catwulf! ~ Reviewed by Andrew Bugenis