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Yes, I know

I’ve done that thing where I’m reading, but not reviewing. And actually I’m not even reading that much – uni has kicked my ass this semester (I’m doing forensic anthropology post-grad full time) AND I managed to somehow smash my laptop while holding it, and then Avalon smashed my ereader the following week. Cue $550 in fix-it costs that there’s no way my poor student ass can afford that so fingers cross I get a job at QBD next week and we can soon return to our regular schedule.

In the meanwhile, go and read Assassin’s Fate coz it’s gooooooooood.

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Book review: Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

I’ve never read anything by Rachel Caine before because I’m not particularly interested in urban fantasy, and I picked this up purely because of the title. Super glad I did because I LOVED it.

Books.

Books and more books.

Books and steampunk and political intrigue that’s actually interesting and romance (and LGBTI romance without it being a BIG THING) and war and magic and learning and smuggling and drama and friendship and epic worldbuilding and a character who is just smug enough, but not too smug. Winning.

This book is about Jess, a reluctant book smuggler in alt-future London who really would rather be reading. His father sends him to apprentice at the Great Library at Alexandria (which in this world, has not only survived but now rules the world by limiting access to knowledge and outlawing the printing press) in the hopes of having a spy and ally inside the institution. This book, the first in a trilogy, tells about Jess’ time under the tutelage of the ¬†enigmatic and harsh Proctor Wolfe, who fails students at the drop of a hat.

At the end of the training, Jess and the remaining eight students are sent to besieged Oxford on a desperate mission to save hundred of rare original books. Not everyone will make it back, but was that what the Archivist of the Library had in mind all along?

This books goes and goes. I got to the point where I was getting sad that it was going to be ending soon, then checked and I was at 48%! I love a book that gets you involved, keeps you there and then goes for a long time. There was action, adventure and death without it being super gory. I enjoyed Jess as a character (other reviews say he’s bland and forgettable, which is annoying because so many times through the book I thought “ooh, he’s totally me at 16”) and I liked the interactions between the other characters.

The worldbuilding is great, I was totally right there with them the whole way marvelling at everything. The one place where I think the book falls down is it tries to touch on everything in that world. Smugglers – tick. Various factions within the library – tick. Heretics – tick. Garda – tick. Army – tick. Librarians – tick. I think Caine would have been better off diving into just one or two elements (for this book, perhaps the smugglers and the library factions), because just glossing over the surface of what the Burners are about, or what the Librarians actually do distracts from the rest of the story and doesn’t do those groups any justice. Mention them by all means, but don’t superficially go into history/politics/etc just for the sake of ticking boxes.

Now I’m off to find and read book two, because it’s raining and stormy and awful here and I need a distraction!

 

4/5 stars

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It occurs to me suddenly, that I was never the one walking down the aisle. I was always the one watching. Waiting. (..anti-ci-pating, say it ain’t so…)

It occurs to me that nothing was ever right when I was the soft one. And this does not make me masculine or ‘the boy’ or anything other than what I have always been (and I am definitely a mother, not a father. a daughter, not a son).

It just happens that it will be me that asks, rather than is asked. And that is why I have never been asked.

And it happens that I will wait, rather than come.

And it happens that on the best day of my life, she will walk down to me and say she will forever be with me and I will be more proud and more in love than in any other moment leading up to that, and that is honestly the natural path of things – the ‘of course I never imagined otherwise’ path of things.

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Book Review: Voodoo Doll by Leah Giarratano

it took me until the end of the book to realize why it’s called voodoo doll, and now I feel a bit sick..

Giarratano is a clinical psychologist and her second novel delves deep into sadism and victim hood. It’s the story of Jill, a damaged cop whose carefully controlled life is thrown out of orbit when she’s assigned a new precinct and a new partner, the enigmatic and clever Gabriel who has a rough past of his own. its the story of Joss and the life he made with his family after a reckless adolescence and the horrors or war and of Cutter, a boy forced into a life of depravity who threatens to take everything from Joss and from anyone else who gets in his way.

The story is brutal and unflinching in its atrocities. Giarratano has truly seen the full gamut of what humans can do to each other and doesn’t hold back from describing torture, sexual sadism, self mutilation and assault. It’s a book that turned my stomach on some pages, but at the same time, it seems an honest recounting. This is what the police deal with, what veterans and doctors and victims and psychologists must deal with on a daily basis.

The book does go over and over Jill’s kidnapping, but in a way that makes you feel sorry for her-you can easily imagine that those events run through her head constantly. You can empathise with these characters, despite their flaws. You understand why Joss drinks. Why Jill runs. Everyone becomes real, even the desperate old school mate in the bar who speaks with a voice that can be found in every seedy bar around Australia at closing time. It’s a hard read, but there is compassion there.

Giarratano had me in the edge of my seat (well, pillow) for most of this book, but I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. Why set the house on fire and then go upstairs to kill people rather than the other way around? Why would Cutter go to the house in Mosman when. It was so obvious the cops would be there? It’s as if Giarratano knew the book was at risk of carrying on forever, but losing all momentum if she didn’t end right there. Still, if you can handle the violent imagery (Warning: there are LOTS of childhood trauma/assault/rape triggers, so read in a safe place if you’re at risk) and you want an interesting read (the attention to detail in the psychology is awesome, not so much with regard to the police work) then give this a go. I think I have her debut, Vodka Doesn’t Freeze somewhere too, but I can’t remember if I’ve read it.

Apologies for any typos- I’m on my tablet at 1.40am with no contact lenses in so cut me some slack and send me new books!

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