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Archive for 'Alternate History'

The Far West

The Far West (2012) Patricia C. Wrede There are plans for a new expedition to explore and research the Far West, and they’re looking for scientists and others with experience to join. In my experience, the things everybody knows are just exactly the ones that are most likely to be mistaken in some important way […]

Across the Great Barrier

Across the Great Barrier (2011) Patricia C. Wrede Eff Rothmer has returned to Mill City, and much to her chagrin, people are calling her a hero, for the work she did in coming up with a way to destroy the mirror bug infestation. BEING A HEROINE IS NOWHERE NEAR THE FUN FOLKS MAKE IT OUT […]

Thirteenth Child

Thirteenth Child (2009) Patricia C. Wrede This story is set in an alternate US (North Columbia) in the mid-1800s. (T)he Columbian Presidents past the first five—George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Eduard Baier, and Herman Augustus Morton. Eff is the twin of a seventh son, and also a thirteenth child. EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT A SEVENTH […]

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent

A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent (2013) Marie Brennan After publishing many scientific papers upon the natural history of dragons, Lady Trent has finally decided to write her memoirs. This is a fantasy set in a world somewhat like ours, only with dragons, and at a time and place comparable to […]

River of Stars

River of Stars (2013) Guy Gavriel Kay I had forgotten just how melancholy the end of this book was. That doesn’t make the book any less good, but it did leave me craving something happy when I finished it. As with all Guy Gavriel Kay books, there are a variety of characters you follow over […]

Lord of Emperors

Lord of Emperors (2000) Guy Gavriel Kay The sequel to Sailing to Sarantium. The second half of this story opens in Bassania, with the King of Kings suffering an arrow to the shoulder. Had any other patient been shown to them in this state, the physicians would all have spoken the words of formal withdrawal: […]

Sailing to Sarantium

Sailing to Sarantium (1998) Guy Gavriel Kay Guy Gavriel Kay is an incredible writer. He doesn’t wrote epic fantasy in the sense of swords and sorcerey–in fact there is often no magic in his stories. He instead researches a subject an a time period and grounds his story in those elements, while writing of a […]

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy

Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells: An Anthology of Gaslamp Fantasy (2013) Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells by Delia Sherman The Fairy Enterprise by Jeffrey Ford From the Catalogue of the Pavilion of the Uncanny and Marvellous, Scheduled for Premiere at the Great Exhibition (Before the Fire) by Genevieve Valentine The […]

Valour and Vanity

Valour and Vanity (2014) Mary Robinette Kowal Set in Alternate Regency Venice in 1817. After traveling with Melody, her new husband, and Jane’s parent’s for part of their wedding Tour… “You must not go!” Mrs. Ellsworth came to a stop in front of them with a hand pressed to her bosom. “Charles, tell them they […]

Without a Summer

Without a Summer (2013) Mary Robinette Kowal Set in Alternate Regency England in 1816, during the Year without a Summer. The third Glamourist History finds Jane and Vincent back in London, with a new commission and with Melody as a visitor, in the hopes she’ll find a husband. There were some interesting bits about Glamour […]

Glamour in Glass

Glamour in Glass (2012) Mary Robinette Kowal Set in alternate Regency England in 1815. Following their marriage, Jane and Vincent have come to the attention of the Prince Regent, and commissioned to create a Glamour for his ballroom, which makes them even more popular, so it is a surprise when they leave for the Continent […]

Shades of Milk and Honey

Shades of Milk and Honey (2010) Mary Robinette Kowal Set in Alternate Regency England ~1814. The first time I read this, it was immediately following a Guy Gavriel Kay book, and so this story suffered in comparison. Nothing against Mary Robinette Kowal, it’s just that Guy Gavriel Kay is that good. So searching for something […]

Magic and Manners

Magic and Manners (2016) C.E. Murphy Set in alternate Regency England, with magic. First, I really liked the magic and world-building. Magic is stigmatized in England, worked only by the lower-classes who are useful to the crown in warfare. The new Mrs Dover marked no complaints about a home   where the tea remained mysteriously […]

Tremontaine: Season One Volume One

Tremontaine: Season One Volume One (2016) by Patty Bryant, Joel Derfner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ellen Kushner, Malinda Lo, Racheline Maltese and Paul Witcover Let me explain… No, let me sum up. There is a book called Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner that is one of my favorites–a comfort read. After Swordspoint came The Fall of the […]

The Escapement of Blackledge

The Escapement of Blackledge (2016) Mary Robinette Kowal Set in alternate Regency London The Duke of Blackledge does NOT want to attend his coming-of-age birthday party, however, his mother is insistent. But there is only so much he can take, so he escapes to his laboratory where he works on his automatons, only to find […]

A Matter of Magic

A Matter of Magic (2010): Mairelon the Magician (1991) and The Magician’s Ward (1997) Patricia C. Wrede Kim has been living on the streets, hiding the fact she’s a girl, and living by her wits as best she can. When she is offered a small fortune to check out the wagon of a traveling magician, […]

Sabriel

Sabriel (1995) Garth Nix Sabriel is the daughter of Abhorsen–the Charter necromancer who puts the restless dead beyond the ninth gate. She has been sent outside of the walls of the Old Kingdom for her education, seeing her father in person only a few times a year, but seeing him in death more frequently, as […]

The Far West

The Far West (2012) Patricia C. Wrede The final book finds Eff grown up, but still unsure what to do with herself, even though she has come to terms with being a thirteenth child. Sometimes I couldn’t help thinking that the unluckiest thing about being a thirteenth child was having all those older brothers and […]

Across the Great Barrier

Across the Great Barrier (2011) Patricia C. Wrede The sequel to Thirteenth Child finds Eff coming to terms with her magic, and slowly discovering her dream–to travel the West, beyond the Great Barrier, studying the wildlife in that untamed area. Luckily for her, the events of the previous book have given her some leeway as […]

Thirteenth Child

Thirteenth Child (2009) Patricia C. Wrede Eff’s twin brother Lan is a seventh son of a seventh son, and a natural magician. “Wow,” Dick said, looking after Papa and Lan. He looked back at me. “Does that mean you’re a natural, too? Because you’re his twin?” I stared at him. “I don’t know,” I said […]

A Matter of Magic

A Matter of Magic: Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward (1991/1997) Patricia C. Wrede This is a reissue of two lovely YA novels, Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward. Kim is a thief in London, who hopes that this job will help her get off the streets for good–before those around her discover […]

The Lions of Al-Rassan

The Lions of Al-Rassan (1995) Guy Gavriel Kay This is fantasy, but it parallels the history of the Jews, Muslims, and Christians in the Middle ages. But the parallels aren’t complete, as women aren’t nearly as subjugated as they would have been in Europe at the time. Jehane is a Kindath physician, and in high […]

The Mislaid Magician: or Ten Years After

The Mislaid Magician: or Ten Years After (2006) Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer The third Cecelia and Kate book comes ten years after their Grand Tour. Both have offspring that seem to get into as much trouble as their mothers did when they were younger, and some of the children seem to be showing […]

The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia

The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia (2004) Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer We last saw our heroines married and getting ready to start their Honeymoon Grand Tour, or travel across Europe, which begins with the trip across the Channel. “Don’t fret,” Thomas told him, in what I thought was a most unfeeling […]

Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Sorcery & Cecelia: or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot (1988) Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer I had somehow managed to forget how marvelous this story is. Kate and Cecy are two young ladies in Edwardian England–where there is magic. Kate has been sent to London for her Coming Out during the Season, while her cousin […]

Farthing

Farthing (2006) Jo Walton I had forgotten how dark and depressing this this story is. Mind you, it’s good, but it has the feel of a dystopia without actually being a dystopia. It’s 1949, but not 1949 as we knew it. For England, World War II ended when England made peace with Hitler. Charles Lindburg […]

River of Stars

River of Stars (2013) Guy Gavriel Kay First, this cover is gorgeous. The picture links to a large version of the cover and NOT the book at Amazon. The link to Amazon is the title text (if you’d like to help me earn bits of a penny.) Like all his work, this is an immense, […]

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius (2013) John Joseph Adams “Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List” by Austin Grossman “Father of the Groom” by Harry Turtledove “Laughter at the Academy: by Seanan McGuire “Letter to the Editor” by David D. Levine “Instead of a Loving Heart” […]

Across the Nightingale Floor

Across the Nightingale Floor (2002) Lian Hearn I first read these several years ago, and, as I said at the time, couldn’t wait for enough time to pass so I could reread them. Far more time than I expected has passed, but when I came across other books in the series, I had to read […]

The Girl in the Steel Corset

The Girl in the Steel Corset (2012) Kady Cross Finley Jayne is about to lose her position as maid. The drunk son of the house–a dissolute dandy–has a reputation for taking advantage of maids and other young women in the employ of his house. But when he attempts to take advantage of Finley, he is […]

Clementine

Clementine (2010) Cherie Priest Captain Croggon Beauregard Hainey is mad as hell: someone has stolen his ship, the “Free Crow,” and he’ll stop at nothing to get it back, even if that means going back into Confederate territory, where he’ll be (at best) hung as a runaway slave. Maria Isabella Boyd has been discarded by […]

Garrett Investigates

Garrett Investigates (2012) Elizabeth Bear Five short Abby Irene short stories, covering most of her career, from 1897 to 1941. The first story, “The Tricks of London” has her investigating the return of Spring-Heeled Jack. Although the story set from the point-of-view of the Detective Sergeant Sean Cuan, we get to see Abby Irene early […]

Moonlight & Mechanicals

Moonlight & Mechanicals (2012) Cindy Spencer Pape I think the reason I’m enjoying the stories so much is because they’re only novellas so they’re not full price. I can justify a couple bucks for a whimsical short story/novella. That’s not to say these are bad stories, because they aren’t. I very much like the world-building, […]

The Far West

The Far West (2012) Patricia C. Wrede This is the conclusion to the Frontier Magic Series, that started with Thirteenth Child. Eff is a thirteenth child, a fact which plagued her when she was younger, because her aunts and uncles and cousins believed that she was unluckly. The fact that her twin is a seventh […]

Across the Great Barrier

Across the Great Barrier (2011) Patricia C. Wrede The sequel to Thirteenth Child, Across the Great Barrier continues the story of Eff Rothmer. Her twin brother is a seventh son of a seventh son, and a strong magician, but Eff–the old of the two–is the thirteenth child, and she grew up believing she was fated […]