Book Review: The World We Make

Potential Spoilers Ahead: The World We Make is the last book in the Great Cities duology. As such, the blurb for this book and the following review will inevitably have some level of spoilers for the previous book. I’ve tried to keep those spoilers to a minimum, but you have been warned.

Every great city has a soul. A human avatar that embodies their city’s heart and wields its magic. New York? She’s got six.

But all is not well in the city that never sleeps. Though Brooklyn, Manny, Bronca, Venezia, Padmini, and Neek have temporarily managed to stop the Woman in White from invading–and destroying the entire universe in the process–the mysterious capital “E” Enemy has more subtle powers at her disposal. A new candidate for mayor wielding the populist rhetoric of gentrification, xenophobia, and “law and order” may have what it takes to change the very nature of New York itself and take it down from the inside. In order to defeat him, and the Enemy who holds his purse strings, the avatars will have to join together with the other Great Cities of the world in order to bring her down for good and protect their world from complete destruction.

The World We Make by N.K. Jemisin is the eldritch finale to her Great Cities duology, a triumphant ode to great cities, culture and New York. It fixes some of the flaws of the first book, but the struggles have even stronger parallels in the real world than last time, which may make this a difficult read for some.

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Book Review: Fractured Infinity

Film-maker Hayes Figueiredo is struggling to finish the documentary of his heart when handsome physicist Yusuf Hassan shows up, claiming Hayes is the key to understanding the Envisioner – a mysterious device that can predict the future.

Hayes is taken to a top-secret research facility where he discovers his alternate self from an alternate universe created the Envisioner and sent it to his reality. Hayes studies footage of the other him, he discovers a self he doesn’t recognize, angry and obsessive, and footage of Yusuf… as his husband.

As Hayes finds himself falling for Yusuf, he studies the parallel universe and imagines the perfect life they will live together. But their lives are inextricably linked to the other reality, and when that couple’s story ends in tragedy Hayes realises he must do anything he can to save Yusuf’s life. Because there are infinite realities, but only one Yusuf.

With the fate of countless realities and his heart in his hands, Hayes leads Yusuf on the run, tumbling through a kaleidoscope of universes trying to save it all. But even escaping into infinity, Hayes is running out of space – soon he will have to decide how much he’s willing to pay to save the love of his life.

Fractured Infinity by Nathan Tavares is a multiversal love-story, a genre savvy sci-fi with a strong emotional core. While not all of the choices made worked for me, I think this was a strong entry in the alternate dimension story canon.

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Book Review: The Godbreaker

Potential Spoilers Ahead: The Godbreaker is the last book in the God-King chronicles trilogy. As such, the blurb for this book and the following review will inevitably have some level of spoilers for the previous book/s. I’ve tried to keep those spoilers to a minimum, but you have been warned.

As the Black Keep Council prepares for war, journeying far to protect their lands and friend, The God-King and his sister try to keep Narida together in the face of betrayal while the Splinter King remains at large.

The Golden and his hordes of raiders press their advantage and sweep across the land with unholy powers.  

Sacrifices will be made, and not everyone will make it back to Black Keep alive… 

The Godbreaker by Mike Brooks is a solid conclusion to the God-King Chronicles, bringing together the themes and wider story arcs to a mostly satisfying finish. I have some quibbles about execution, but those were overwritten by how enjoyable a read it was overall.

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Top Twenty Favourite Series (2022)

It’s that time of year again, where I rank my top favourite series, trilogies and duologies by the nebulous qualities of ‘what I like’.

This time, the list is expanding! Last year there were a couple of series that didn’t quite make the list that I kind of wish did. This year there’s relatively little movement in the top ten, and I’m finding it less palatable to cut things off at ten. There’s too many great series that I want to highlight!

These series will be exclusively speculative fiction in nature, and I must have read at least two books in the series before it can make the list.

Like last time, this list is in order of least to most favourite, but really I love all these series, and any could move above the others if my feelings change. And there are so many other series and books that I really enjoy too! These are, for me, the best and most enjoyable.

You can find last year’s list here: Top Ten Favourite Series

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Book Review: Children of Memory

Potential Spoilers Ahead: Children of Memory is the third book in the Children of Time series. As such, the blurb for this book and the following review will inevitably have some level of spoilers for the previous book/s. I’ve tried to keep those spoilers to a minimum, but you have been warned.

Earth is failing. In a desperate bid to escape, the spaceship Enkidu and its captain, Heorest Holt, carry its precious human cargo to a potential new Eden. Generations later, this fragile colony has managed to survive, eking out a hardy existence. Yet life is tough, and much technological knowledge has been lost.

Then Liff, Holt’s granddaughter, hears whispers that the strangers in town aren’t from neighbouring farmland. That they possess unparalleled technology – and that they’ve arrived from another world. But not all questions are so easily answered, and their price may be the colony itself.

Children of Memory by Adrian Tchaikovsky is a sequel that stretches away from its predecessors, whilst also maintaining the themes (and some of the characters) of the previous novels. A dark and twisting mystery in a failing colony, a scientist grappling with their own monstrous tendencies and the introduction of sure to be fan favourite Corvids makes this entry hard to miss.

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