100 word review: The Rock and the River, by Kekla Magoon

100 word review: The Rock and the River, by Kekla Magoon

1968, Chicago. Thirteen year old Sam is the son of a prominent civil rights activist, a protegée of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but the Black Panthers have come to town; his older brother Stick believes in their message. What’s amazing about this book is how it does not fulfil expectations: Hollywood will […]

100 word review: Osiris, by E. J. Swift

100 word review: Osiris, by E. J. Swift

I came to this first-in-a-trilogy after reading its sequel Cataveiro – there isn’t much in the way of spoilers and it’s perfectly comprehensible. Osiris is a city at sea, cut off from a world presumed dead. It’s overcrowded but Osiris’ hereditary families live lives of unimaginable luxury whilst the western poor struggle, staying awake at […]

100 word review: Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle

100 word review: Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle

This is an odd creature of a book: it’s based around Trace Italian, a massive turn-based story game, created by a recluse who became terribly disfigured as a young man. Imagine Zork, but played by post. The world and the game sound fascinating as the story uncovers the past of Sean Phillips – it’s not […]

100 word review: Delete, by Kim Curran

100 word review: Delete, by Kim Curran

These books shouldn’t be my thing, but I enjoyed this very much. The first two were enjoyable in the way that you could watch the craft of the writer evolve – the second book just felt more polished than the first – and Curran’s Glaze is a triumph, but this took me by surprise. The […]

100 word review: The Fever, by Megan Abbott

100 word review: The Fever, by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott is the queen of creepyweirdawfulcompelling. The last book I read of hers made me want to take my skin off and scrub the inside of it clean before putting it back on – this one’s no different. An illness taking hold of girls in a school – it could be an STD or […]

100 word review: Department 19: Zero Hour, by Will Hill

https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/18590476-zero-hour The fourth in Will Hill’s excellent Department 19. Horror and action aren’t really my cups of tea. NEVERTHELESS I’m a fan of Will Hill’s books. They fill the gap that can be read as “mindless fun”, but they’re more than that. The crux of the story: Van Helsing et al were real – and […]

100 word review: Vermilion, by Molly Tanzer

100 word review: Vermilion, by Molly Tanzer

Lou Merriweather is a psychopomp in 1860s San Francisco: She’s androgyne, (allegedly) unattractive, mixed-race Chinese and English, and she unhaunts houses for a living. The first scene shows us her personality: a bit of a rogue, and a woman who isn’t afraid to be mistaken for a man. She has to leave San Francisco, however, […]

100 word review: The Incorruptibles, by John Hornor Jacobs

100 word review: The Incorruptibles, by John Hornor Jacobs

Beautifully enjoyable dustpunk (very) weird western: In an alt-American-Western setting, instead of science you have demons bound up. They heat water for steam. They expand and push bullets. They may – or may not – corrupt a bit of your soul each time you use it. Jacobs has honourable mercenaries riding alongside a ship filled […]

100 word review: The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

100 word review: The Lie Tree, by Frances Hardinge

In Victorian England, a famous Reverend scientist has secrets, and a personal shame. He has a series of sickly sons, most of whom have died, and the last of whom is writing left-handed. He is driven away from his home by scandal. His daughter, Faith, remains steadfast despite any evidence she has against him. She […]

100 word review: Day Four, by Sarah Lotz

100 word review: Day Four, by Sarah Lotz

Sarah Lotz is disgustingly good, and the worst part of it is how easy she makes it look. This is a follow-up to The Three and, while it’s definitely in the same creepycrazywtfisgoingon universe, the story is built in a completely different fashion – told from the point of view of a handful of central […]