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Book Review

Book Reviews

6/5/2024

By Vajra Chandrasekera
6/18/24
Tordotcom
$27.99

‘Rakesfall’

There’s a school of thought that there are only a handful of stories in the world, and everything else is just a retelling or mishmash of those few tales. I’m not philosophical enough to argue the concept, but something about this dark and glorious novel makes me think this couldn’t possibly be true. Something this unique must be brand new.

This is the fragmented tale of two friends, Annelid and Leveret, who become soul-bound in the midst of war. Together, they live through endless lifetimes — growing, changing, learning- and holding on to each other. This is a grand celebration of fantasy, science fiction and the strange. The story is nonlinear and doesn’t always follow a clear path, but it is worth the effort. The lyrical, astounding prose and glorious imagery give way to a stunning piece of literature that changed me for the better.

I like finding beauty in the shadows. There’s something grand and universally human in the urge to find a light in the darkest of times. For me, that light often comes in the form of stories — and this book blazes. ♦

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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By Robert Jackson Bennett
2/6/24
413 pages
$28.99
Del Ray

‘The Tainted Cup’

If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I have penchant for the weird. So, I was both thrilled and cautious to receive a book declaring itself a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Godzilla. When I finished it the next day after a marathon of compulsive reading, I was a thoroughly delighted, sleepless zombie.

The gruesome body of a high-ranking military official with a tree growing out of it is a problem for the Empire. So, reluctantly, they assign their greatest, and most irritating, detective, Ana Dolabra, and her brand new (terrified) assistant, Din, to the case. 

As the pair search for a murder in a city under siege from otherworldly beasts intent on destruction, it soon becomes clear there is a conspiracy set to undermine everything they believe in and put thousands of lives at risk. 

Full of wild twists, brilliant world-building and moments of suspense so taut I actually held my breath, this book absolutely enthralled me. I love the characters, the ominous setting and the complicated but familiar politics. Try this one if you’ve been bored with other books lately. ♦ 

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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