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review 2017-10-22 20:32
My Review of The Stone in the Skull
The Stone in the Skull - Elizabeth Bear

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear is the first book in the Lotus Kingdoms trilogy. Gage is an automaton mercenary created by a wizard. He is carrying an important message to the sorcerer of the Lotus Kingdom.


This story was not what I was expecting. I couldn't get into the story. It was too slow paced for me. It was written well, but just not the book for me.


I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2017-09-09 02:12
Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear - My Thoughts
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

I really enjoyed this book!  I'm a fan of Elizabeth Bear's, even thought sometimes I think her writing is too smart for me to actually get.  *LOL*  I had been looking forward to reading Karen Memory since it was published and finally, it went on sale and I could afford the ebook.  All I knew about it was that Elizabeth wrote it, it was steampunk, the heroine was lesbian, and all the buzz was really good. 

But when I started it.... OMG, my stomach sank because there were two things that are generally a 'no way José' type of thing for me.  The character speaking in dialect, hell, the whole narrative in dialect when it comes to that because it's a 1st person POV and the heroine being young, like YA/NA young.  This did not bode well. 

But you know what?  I soon forgot that the heroine was of tender years, so to speak.  Yeah, she was young, but she wasn't that annoying young that so many of the YA/NA characters I have read are.  And the dialect?  Well, I can see how it might be problematic for some - the should haves and could haves and would haves were all should of, could of and would of, which would normally drive me absolutely apeshit, but oddly enough, it didn't bother me.  Shocking, I know.  (Had she thrown in a verse in place of versus, I may have felt differently.  *LOL*)  But the character of Karen had come alive very quickly and this is how she talked and it was okay.  :)

What we have here, is the tale of Karen Memery (that's the actual spelling of her name), and what happens when a badly injured girl comes begging sanctuary at the door to the bordello where Karen works, setting in motion adventures and mysteries.  The action is exciting and seldom lets up.  The characters are all terrific - the girls and staff of the bordello, the lawmen, the villains.  Even the animals!  *LOL* 

Karen Memory is one of those books where I wish I could write decent reviews to do it justice.  Suffice it to say that it's a rollicking adventure with a diverse and fascinating cast and a real sense of humour and fun

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text 2017-07-19 19:27
re-read to clear my head
Hammered - Elizabeth Bear

damn i forgot how much i liked this one.

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review 2016-06-04 17:38
The Tempering of Men by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear - My Thoughts
The Tempering of Men - Elizabeth Bear,Sarah Monette

The first thing that pops to mind is that this book is perfectly titled and that's not something you'll really get unless you read it.  :)


Once again, Monette and Bear throw you in the deep end of their intricate and perfectly wonderful worlds.  The names are strange to the tongue and eye, there are words that on first, quick look appear to be the most alien of languages, but soon you're immersed because the storytelling is just that good.  


I have to say, that this volume of the Iskryne Saga, the second one, seemed fairly calm and almost uneventful, compared to the first one, A Companion of Wolves.  But a ton of stuff really happened, things that 'tempered' the young men we met in the first book.  


See, 'tempering' means the following:


1. To modify by the addition of a moderating element; moderate: "temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom" (Robert H. Jackson). 
2. To bring to a desired consistency, texture, hardness, or other physical condition by blending, admixing, or kneading: temper clay; paints that had been tempered with oil.
3. To harden or strengthen (metal or glass) by application of heat or by heating and cooling.
4. To strengthen through experience or hardship; toughen: soldiers who had been tempered by combat.
So you see why the title is perfect.  :)
I love how the authors present the wolves.  They're wolves.  Not people in fur.  They are wolves and they act appropriately for wolves.  Yes, being as they're trellwolves, they are smarter than your average lupine, yet still wild and unpredictable and, well, wolfish.  :)
The characters we follow are all superbly drawn and real.  They all have flaws and as they grow, as they are tempered, they don't lose the flaws that are so much a part of them - rather, they come to acknowledge and come to terms - for the most part - with them.  


One of my favourite TV shows is Vikings and I found in reading this book, the world felt far more familiar to me than the first volume did when I read it before Vikings.  Things were a little easier to picture in my mind's eye.  :)


I have the 3rd book of the Saga in my TBR.and I'm very much looking forward to reading it.  :)

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-02-29 17:25
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear
Karen Memory - Elizabeth Bear

Being perfectly honest, I think in other circumstances this book would have got 4 stars from me, but the egregious use of 'could of' when they meant 'could have' made my inner English teacher wince so frequently I couldn't allow it to pass by without comment. Anyone who's been reading my reviews will know I have An Issue with first person narrative, to the point where I have recently used Amazon's 'Look Inside' feature to check the first few pages and see if something is written in the first person before deciding whether or not to buy it. I hadn't done that with Karen Memory, so I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that this was the case and that wasn't the best of starts...


Karen Memory is set in faux-19th century Seattle (or at least a version of the town that will become Seattle) and our eponymous narrator is a prostitute who finds herself in the middle of a number of events - there are folks making a good living out of exploiting what are essentially trafficked women at the docks and we meet a couple of those women early on when a rescue mission for one of them backfires and they seek sanctuary at the house where Karen lives and works. There is also a serial killer on the loose, targetting prostitutes, and a US Marshal has arrived in town hot on their trail (said Marshal being Bass Reeves, who many believe to have been an inspiration for the character of the Lone Ranger). Thirdly, there are all sorts of political shenanigans going on in terms of who will control the town and how they'll use that new-found power over everyone else. 


This is all set in a world which has a lot of steampunk elements to it - airships and clockwork or steam-driven mechanisms for everything from medical work through to construction. However, unlike many steampunk books, the people who inhabit that world are diverse in background and experience, though some licence has been taken with what was historically going on. 


As for Karen herself, she's got plans for her future and they come to include one of the women who's been rescued from the 'cribs' in which they were forced to prostitute themselves. I'm still struggling a little with the dichotomy in this book between those settings and the place where Karen works, which she at least seems to accept as being very different. From an outside perspective, the difference is in the surroundings in which things happen rather than the acts that take place there, and having sex because you have no other choices is still coerced. So, probably not one that I'm going to re-read, even before you get into the whole first person issue, but entertaining enough, particularly in the appearance of Bass Reeves and his posseman. 

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