Review: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) – Gail Carriger

2013, Hachette Atom
320 pages
RRP: AU$16.99
ISBN: 9781907411588

Reviewed by Liz Grzyb

Being a big fan of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, I was looking forward with much excitement to the release of Etiquette & Espionage, Carriger’s new young adult series focusing on the adventures of fourteen-year-old Sophronia, who is covertly introduced to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. This finishing academy doesn’t just focus on pouring tea and flirting over a fan, but also trains young ladies to become highly accomplished spies and assassins.

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Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor
2012, Hachette Hodder
448 pages
RRP: AU$14.95
ISBN: 9781444722659

Reviewed by Kate Smith

I hate it when this happens. While there was really no way to finish the story in a single book, and I’m really glad that Taylor didn’t try to do so, I hate having to wait for the next part of the story. However, looking on the positive side of matters, my wait for the continuing story allows me to go back and read again to see how people and events fit together having the knowledge gained by the end of the novel.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)
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Fictions: Fertile Earth

Nicole Tanquary

 

It was early morning when Sand woke up from dreaming about the ocean, the smell of brine still seeming fresh in his nose. He blinked, then wriggled under his blanket, flexing first his fingers, then his toes, then his wrists. The night had been a cold one. There was a wet, decaying odour in the air, of dead things buried beneath drifts of leaves.

Still numb, Sand threw off his blanket and dug around in his satchel for a chunk of bread, tearing off pieces with his teeth and chewing quickly. He gathered his things into the satchel, which he flung across his shoulder. Since leaving the ocean, he had crossed sparse moor-grass fields, then richer, golden plains, which now gave way to trees. Sand made his way back to the path, his sandals clapping down against hard-packed earth. According to a wheat-planter he’d met the other night, these weed-trees would give way to denser forest soon.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)
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Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)

Fictions: Cruisy

Simon Petrie

 

Up until now, it’s been cruisy, but you get the sense things are beginning to turn.

For starters, there’s the discomforting recognition that, for all the bonhomie still somehow coursing your veins, you’re not here by choice. You’ve been abducted. You, of all people. For long enough now, that your chin has started to stubble. And you notice, too, which you somehow hadn’t before, that your hosts are, to put it mildly, butt-ugly. And then some.

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Rating: 4.4/5 (7 votes cast)
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Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)

Review: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

The Dead-Tossed Waves – Carrie Ryan
2010, Hachette Gollancz
416 pages
RRP: AU$49.95 (HB)
ISBN: 978-0575090897

Reviewed by Gillian Polack

There are two important things I need to state up front. Firstly, I have not read the book The Dead-Tossed Waves follows (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) – The Dead-Tossed Waves therefore stands alone for me, and all the knowledge I have of the world and the characters is from within the novel itself. Secondly, this is a zombie novel. For the most part it is a great deal more than a zombie novel, for the focus is on the coming of age and into the wisdom to survive of Gabry, the protagonist. While it has far more to it than zombies and while the zombies are seldom given that name, it’s still a zombie novel and it covers the bases that a zombie novel must cover: how does one kill a zombie, what happens when one is infected, what happens when one’s friends are no longer the humans they were, how does the world live through a zombie apocalypse.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
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Review: Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked – Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
2012, Hachette Gollancz
336 pages
RRP: AU$29.99
ISBN: 9780575096585

Reviewed by Ruza Foster

Deadlocked is the penultimate novel in the southern vampire mysteries series, and while I’m a fan of this series I think Harris has really started scraping the bottom of the barrel with this latest release. Perhaps she should have put Sookie and Eric to rest much earlier.

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Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)
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Review: The Fallen Blade by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

The Fallen Blade – Jon Courtenay Grimwood (Assassini #1)
2011, Hachette Orbit
432 pages
RRP: AU$29.99
ISBN: 9781841498454

Reviewed by Kate Smith

On picking up the book and reading the blurb on the back, I was immediately interested. The combination of what appeared to be a period political thriller combined with supernatural elements appeared very promising, and I began reading with relatively high expectations. Unfortunately, for me, this hope was not met.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Fictions: Ginger Fred, the Pavement Artist

Gerry Huntman

 

I owe my life to Ginger Fred, but I can’t thank him because he’s gone.

I’m a real estate agent, and I’ve lived in Rievesport for ten years, lured by the prospect of the growing value of sea-side properties, and the increasing willingness of workers to commute the long distance to Melbourne—the Big Smoke. I used to work in the BS (as Lisa and I frequently call it) as a well-paid commercial lawyer, but the rat race got the better of me with a triple-bypass. I’m not disappointed with my sea-change; I’ve done well in my adopted town. I even have an office on the top floor of the four-storey Chamber of Commerce Building, the only structure with more than two floors in the entire town.

For all of my time in this locale I’ve been witness to a regular ritual carried out by the town’s itinerant dero, Ginger Fred. It was hard for me to miss, because his activity took place on the large cement paving area directly in front of the Rievesport Chamber of Commerce Building, in perfect view of my office window.

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Rating: 4.6/5 (5 votes cast)
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Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)

Review: Habibi by Craig Thompson

Habibi – Craig Thompson
2011, Allen & Unwin Faber
640 pages
RRP: AU$39.99
ISBN: 9780571241323

Reviewed by Liz Grzyb

Habibi is an incredibly detailed graphic novel, telling the story of a young girl and a young boy who grow up in a world of power, lust and punishment. The story, reminiscent of Scheherezade’s Thousand and One Nights, takes us from a seemingly exotic past to a horrifyingly familiar present.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

Review: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott

Cold Magic – Kate Elliott (The Spiritwalker Trilogy #1)
2010, Orbit Hachette
502 pages
RRP: AU$22.99
ISBN: 9781841498812

Reviewed by Gillian Polack

Two cousins are each other’s best friend. They are at school together and plotting mischief as intelligent (and bored) girls do in their late teens. Cat is ripped from both the emotional comfort of a poor family with status to maintain and from her best friend’s company, and forced into marriage. The marriage is not what it seems. Nothing is what it seems. Cat’s whole world is turned upside down over and over again. This is the basis of the story. It provides a very strong underpinning for the adventures that Cat has, for the relationship with her cousin is firm enough and developed enough so that we have a clear understanding of who she is and what she’s leaving behind. At one stage Elliott cheats with this, and adds to the background so that we begin to doubt those relationships: this detracts from that lovely emotional solidity that she establishes early on, but she is a fine writer and, it shifts the tenor of the novel rather than destroying it.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)