November has been a relatively slow month on the book front, probably because at this time of year my day job begins to intrude more on my precious reading time. I run a small business, Dragonrat Jewellery, and while I’d usually be knee-deep in Christmas fairs by now Covid-19 has meant sticking to online events only, which are weirdly more labour intensive. If you’d like to see my wares, click on the photo below.
I was still stuck in the Thing-verse at the beginning of the month, and was thrilled to find that Frozen Hell, the original manuscript that Who Goes There? was distilled from, had been found and published. It’s well worth having a look at, because it completely changes the mood of the story, and even alters the genre. Unfortunately, I also discovered a putative sequel, The Things, which was so absolutely dire that I couldn’t force myself to finish it.
Anyway, December calls…
Delayed Covid-19 and other real-life issues, Old Fashioned is the latest tale in the Jack Daniels series. Given her appearance in The Nine last month, it’s going to be very interesting to see how J.A. Konrath returns to his least woo-woo characters having introduced them to clones, multi-dimensional beings, and the devil.
I read The Invisible Library back in 2016. When I saw that Genevieve Cogman was releasing a sequel, I requested the review copy, somehow not cottoning onto the fact that a five-year gap suggested that there might be other books in between. It was a bit of a shock, then, when I started to read The Untold Story and found that it was book 8 in the series. I really don’t know what’s happened to my sense of time; my only theory is that it must have escaped along with my brain cell.
I first came across Mira Grant (alter ego of Seanan McGuire) via her fantastic mermaid horror, Into the Drowning Deep (read it – I promise you you’ll never look at The Little Mermaid the same again), then tore through her Newsflesh series (zombies) and Parasitology trilogy (implanted medical tapeworms gone wrong). As fantasy author McGuire she is prolific, but the harder-hitting Grant books are fewer and far between, and I’ve been waiting for her next offering. I’d been hoping for more with the mermaids, but I’m happy to try Square3 in the meantime.
Reading update for the month (as of November 27th): 14 eBooks
Best read of the month: Frozen Hell, by John W. Campbell, Jr.
Worst read of the month: The Things, by Dan F. Brereton
Old Fashioned [Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels #14]
Former Chicago Homicide Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has finally left her violent past behind, and she’s moved into a new house with her family.
But her elderly next door neighbor is a bit… off.
Is he really as he appears, a kind old gentlemen with a few eccentricities?
Or are Jack’s instincts correct, and he’s something much, much darker?
And what is it he’s got in his basement?
Jack Daniels is about to learn that evil doesn’t mellow with age.
Released 20th December 2021
The Untold Story [The Invisible Library #8]
In this thrilling historical fantasy, time-traveling Librarian spy Irene will need to delve deep into a tangled web of loyalty and power to keep her friends safe.
Irene is trying to learn the truth about Alberich-and the possibility that he’s her father. But when the Library orders her to kill him, and then Alberich himself offers to sign a truce, she has to discover why he originally betrayed the Library.
With her allies endangered and her strongest loyalties under threat, she’ll have to trace his past across multiple worlds and into the depths of mythology and folklore, to find the truth at the heart of the Library, and why the Library was first created.
Released 28th December 2021
We think we understand the laws of physics. We think reality is an immutable monolith, consistent from one end of the universe to the next. We think the square/cube law has actual relevance. We think a lot of things. It was perhaps inevitable that some of them would turn out to be wrong.
When the great incursion occurred, no one was prepared. How could they have been? Of all the things physicists had predicted, “the fabric of reality might rip open and giant monsters could come pouring through” had not made the list. But somehow, on a fine morning in May, that was precisely what happened.
For sisters Susan and Katharine Black, the day of the incursion was the day they lost everything. Their home, their parents, their sense of normalcy…and each other, because when the rift opened, Susan was on one side and Katharine was on the other, and each sister was stranded in a separate form of reality. For Susan, it was science and study and the struggle to solve the mystery of the altered physics inside the zones transformed by the incursion. For Katharine, it was monsters and mayhem and the fight to stay alive in a world unlike the world of her birth.
The world has changed. The laws of physics have changed. The girls have changed. And the one universal truth of all states of changed matter is that nothing can be completely restored to what it was originally, no matter how much you might wish it could be. Nothing goes back.
Released 31st December 2021