A World of Secrets Review

A World of Secrets Review

by James Maxwell

Publisher 47North

Print Length: 304

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Special thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with an eARC.

A World of Secrets will be available on Amazon July 16, 2020

Taimin and Selena must discover the truth about their world—before it’s too late.

In a world of secrets, Taimin and Selena are desperate for answers. They need to discover the truth about their origins and the firewall that borders the wasteland. If they don’t find the hidden path they seek, the citizens of Zorn will die.

As they make the perilous journey to the distant firewall, Taimin and Selena are joined by three companions: a young healer, a weapons trader, and an old rover. Together the five are in constant danger, unable to rely on Selena’s powers as she has lost the ability to farcast—and she doesn’t know how to get it back.

Now Taimin finds himself hunted by a new enemy—a strange creature on a bloodthirsty quest of his own. Taimin and Selena get ever closer to the answers that are essential to their survival. But will they learn the truth in time to save themselves? (Goodreads)

An exciting sequel to The Girl from Nowhere, A World of Secrets is a follow-up readers dream of. The story is interesting and well-paced and isn’t hard to understand if you’ve read the first book (which, in the case of this series is 100% required reading). The first book was an enjoyable read, but the second is only an improvement. It’s quick read and almost impossible to put down. With much of the world-development layed out in the first book the second takes the time to develop its characters more. With that said there is still more of this world to discover. And though the story at times comes off as predictable, it’s predictable in the sense that the events make sense to the story and the reveals are exciting “I knew it!” moments. 

There is always room for improvement, of course, in the realm of writing. There are a large number of redundant descriptions as well as unnecessarily ones. Additionally some developments in character relationships seemed sudden and which added to a disconnect between the reader and the characters. Some revelations could have been handled better, but suffice regardless. 

I would recommend this series to any science fiction fan, especially readers who are interested in series that include humans interacting with other species. The first book was good, the second great, and I have high hopes for the conclusion of the series.

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The Book of Dragons Review

The Book of Dragons Review

Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Print Length: 576 pages

Release Year: 2020

Genre: Fantasy, Anthology

Special thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins publishers for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Here there be dragons . . .

From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.

Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today— Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K. J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J. Y. Yang—and illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales. (Goodreads)

Upon hearing about the Book of Dragons I was immediately curious.  A collection of short stories and poems about dragons by a plethora of renowned authors? Count me in!

What we end up getting is a collection of primarily mediocre stories with a few gems thrown in. An overall advantage this book has regardless of its falling short story wise is that the stories are all diverse re-imagining of dragons. Many of the stories include truly unique depictions of dragons that only a writer could imagine. From electric dragons to bee-like dragons and even using dragons more as a metaphor than in the literal sense. The stories aren’t based on the stereotypical western dragon, as we travel through various times around the world and through fictional lands. At the very least, it’s refreshing to read stories less euro-based than what much of fiction has become. 

Even if some of the stories are at their best quite “meh” I still find myself wanting to recommend the books to others and excited to see the final print edition. The illustrations will likely enhance the reading experience of even the most meh of the stories and the gems will only shine brighter. And I’m sure there are stories in the anthology for everyone. I also recommend the book to readers who want to broaden the types of writers they read, as you may discover a new author along the way and will definitely be introduced to a wide variety.

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