Helene Wecker's début, The Golem & The Djinni, is a masterfully told tale of magic, mystery and a little bit of romance, set to the backdrop of late 19th century New York. It tells the story of two magical creatures, one a a Djinni recently released from a lamp after hundreds of years of captivity, let loose on an unfamiliar landscape thousands of miles from home, the other a Golem, brought to life but left masterless, terrified and alone. Despite these mythic protagonists and a plot with plenty of spells and sorcery, what makes it such a special book is just how human the Golem and the Djinni are. It's a raw and emotional tale, one that needs to be experienced.
Recently released in audiobook through Audible for the first time, The Unsettled Dust by the late Robert Aickman is a collection of "strange stories" by the old master of the supernatural.
Lucy Brown writes: I'm not really into vampires. Don't get me wrong, like every nineties teenager I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it was always more about the human characters for me, the vamps were an amusing backdrop. When Angel finally did the right thing and buggered off to LA I certainly did not join in the wailing and gnashing of teeth, I'm actually one of the minority that really liked the first 'college' season. I went to see the first Twilight movie because a friend had read the e-book and said that sparkly vampires were hilarious. We snickered, we chuckled, we slowly realised - with growing horror - that we were the oldest people in the cinema (at 23) and everyone else was taking it seriously...
I digress, but the point I am trying to make is that when I was sent a book called Anno Dracula by Kim Newman there was this little internal groan and suddenly a lot of books that I wanted to read instead. Just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover (especially when it's on Kindle and doesn't even have a cover) because I really liked it.
Countdown City by Ben H. Winters is the follow up to 2012's The Last Policeman, and continues the adventures of ex-detective Hank Palace. Hank's on a mission to 'Do The Right Thing', even in the face of the end of the world.
Lucy Brown writes: I had a lot of trouble writing this review. Not because the book is bad, that would have been easy, but because it's so good that I couldn't think of anything else to say about it. After all, it's a new book by Neil Gaiman. What more do you need to know? 'May (or may not) contain witches' and 'sorta-kinda based on a true story' were some of the other notes I had jotted down but forming my scribblings into a coherent whole was a real challenge. It's a new book by Neil Gaiman. His first novel since The Graveyard Book in 2008. In fact why are you bothering to read this when there is a new book by Neil Gaiman out there for you to shove into your eyeholes?
The Machine was my first foray into the work of James Smythe, and as such I didn't know what to expect. What I discovered was one of the most interesting, compelling and affecting novels I've read in some time...
Brandon Sanderson first came to my attention thanks to the award-winning Writing Excuses Podcast, which he hosts. Then IWIWAB had a guest review from Lucy Brown of The Final Empire, which was glowing to say the least. So when offered a review copy of the audiobook of The Rithmatist, Sanderson's first Young Adult book, narrated by Michael Kramer, I snatched it up.
We're once again delighted to offer a guest review from Slipstream editor Lucy Brown, this time of Chuck Wendig's brutal Urban Fantasy The Blue Blazes.
Lucy writes: Below the bright lights and bustle of New York City, men toil in the vast network of tunnels that keep the city alive. One day, they dug too deep...
The Kobo Aura HD is the next generation of ereader. Unfortunately, no one was really complaining about the previous generation, and this new device from the Canadian company feels a little... pointless.
That's not to say there aren't some fantastic features, such as the beautiful high definition screen and the super-responsive touchscreen, but it seems like traditional, eink devices are as good as they need to be. And that's before we even start on the design of the thing.
I'm delighted to introduce a brand new guest reviewer for your reading pleasure! Lucy Brown is the editor of Slipstream fiction, and is an Epic Fantasy reading, chemical mixing, white lab coat wearing, comic-con attending legend, and she's here to tell you why you should read The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson...
Lucy writes: I first discovered Brandon Sanderson the same way as most people on the tea-drinking side of the pond when he was chosen to complete Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time. A quick Google brought up the Mistborn trilogy, all with very recent UK release dates, and thus a new love affair was born.
The very concept of a time-travelling serial killer is enough to send a shiver down this reviewer's spine, and the knowledge that it's a concept being explored by Lauren Beukes, author of the fantastic, award winning Zoo City, means that The Shining Girls was the first absolute must-read of 2013.
The Drowning of Arthur Braxton by Caroline Smailes is an odd little book. Described, quite rightly, as an urban fairy tale, it tells the story of the eponymous Arthur, an outcast teenager with an absent mother and a distant father, and the solace and companionship he finds in the strangest place imaginable.
We're pleased to present a short guest review from new reviewer Maj!
Action packed from page one, The Slither Sisters by Charles Gilman is sure to be a big hit with younger readers...
What would you do if the end of the world was months away? That is the question at the heart of The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters, and what a question it is. Would you drink and take drugs and party the last of your life away? Would you quit your job and go "Bucket List" with your savings? Would you just continue on as normal? Or would you end it all that little bit sooner?
By Light Alone by Adam Roberts is a most interesting book. The prose is flowing and beautiful, the setting is futuristic and intriguing, and the plot is, in part, fresh and intriguing.
Despite all this, it is not a very fun read. In fact it is quite challenging, and not in a good way.
The Kobo Glo ereader was launched in October 2012, and I've had mine since November. Ereaders have come a long way since I started ereading in 2010, and the Kobo Glo is an example of one of the fastest, most advanced eink ereaders on the market today.
Read on for the full review...
Go into The Prestige by Christopher Priest without preconceptions, without knowledge of the plot, and with an open mind and you will be rewarded with a complex, challenging and intriguing mystery that spans two centuries and delves deep into the psyche of two elite magicians of the 19th century with a deadly rivalry.
Guest reviewer Sheryl Tongue writes: Justin Gustainis has a knack for creating characters and situations that are truly creepy and disturbing. In his first book in this series, Hard Spell, he created what I considered two of the creepiest characters that I have seen in print—the Witch Hunters. In the second book, Evil Dark, he's back with a story that may make your skin writhe a bit. It also introduces characters that took my already tenuous faith in the goodness of people and mashed it into a small black hole.
Afterlife Inc. - Dying to Tell by Jon Lock is the first book in a new series of graphic novels set in an afterlife with a twist. The book showcases the writing skills of up and coming comic book writer Lock, as well as a host of fresh and exciting artists.
I think I can confidently say that Afterlife Inc. is one of the best comics I've read in some time.
Read on to find out why...
We are very pleased to welcome back guest-reviewer Sheryl Tongue:
If you have ever wondered why it is that Eurasians came to conquer most of the world, Guns, Germs & Steel by Jared Diamond will be a fascinating explanation.