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review 2018-05-22 18:24
Robots Vs. Fairies
Robots vs. Fairies - Sarah Gailey,Lila Bowen,Alyssa Wong,Jim C. Hines,Maria Dahvana Headley,Linda Howard,Seanan McGuire,Mary Robinette Kowal,Madeline Ashby,Ken Liu,Lavie Tidhar,Annalee Newitz,William Ewart Gladstone,Jeffrey Ford,Catherynne M. Valente,Jonathan Maberry,John Sca

Rampaging robots! Tricksy fairies! Facing off for the first time in an epic genre death match!

People love pitting two awesome things against each other. Robots vs. Fairies is an anthology that pitches genre against genre, science fiction against fantasy, through an epic battle of two icons.

On one side, robots continue to be the classic sci-fi phenomenon in literature and media, from Asimov to WALL-E, from Philip K. Dick to Terminator. On the other, fairies are the beloved icons and unquestionable rulers of fantastic fiction, from Tinkerbell to Tam Lin, from True Blood to Once Upon a Time. Both have proven to be infinitely fun, flexible, and challenging. But when you pit them against each other, which side will triumph as the greatest genre symbol of all time?

 

A perfect coffee break book for those who appreciate either robots or fairy tales. I could read 1, sometimes 2, short stories per break.

My particular favourites were Build Me a Wonderland by Seanan McGuire, Murmured Under the Moon by Tim Pratt, and A Fall Counts Anywhere by Catherynne M Valente.

I’m a McGuire fan girl, so it’s no surprise that I enjoyed her story. It reminded me of her last novel of the Incryptid series, featuring an amusement park as it does. Ms. McGuire seems to be a fan of these facilities and so writes about them enthusiastically. She also writes the October Daye series, so is firmly on Team Fairy, although the story also features some robotic elements.

I will definitely be looking for more work by Tim Pratt! He has combined two of my favourite things, libraries and the Fae. I really, really liked this story.

Catherynne Valente’s offering was great, in that it utilized both robots and fairies, involved in a WWE type competition, complete with a combat ring and loud commentators! Her names for the robot contestants were excellent and she had me smiling all the way through the story.

I enjoyed all the stories to one degree or another, but those 3 were my highlights. I like robots just fine, but count me on Team Fairy all the way! I love those treacherous, dangerous, beautiful beings.

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review 2018-05-16 02:49
I hate to say good-bye to the Tufa, but this is the way to do it.
The Fairies of Sadieville - Alex Bledsoe

For many years [the Tufa] were on the wrong side of the South’s color line, and suffered for it. Their secretive ways and legendary musical aptitude spawned rumor and legend, which in turn prompted more and more withdrawal.

 

But now the twenty-first century, with its pervasive interconnectedness, pushed against this isolation. More and more Tufa risked the consequences of leaving and sought their way in the world. They all knew they would someday have to come back, since all Tufa were inextricably tied to Needsville. But they also knew that the seclusion of the past was no longer practical. Like it or not, the world now knocked on their door. 

 

Such a depressing thought, but a pretty good summary of the State of the Tufa.

 

I still remember some of the reactions I had back in 2011 during my first read of The Hum and the Shiver and met the Tufa. There was something otherworldly, ethereal and haunting -- and yet, very human, and even fun. It was, in short, magic. I thought the same when I re-read it before the sequel, and maybe it impressed me more that time. Each book since has felt the same -- not all have them as successful as the first, but they've all had that same core magic.

 

When it was announced a couple of months ago that this was going to be the final novel in the series I was struck by two thoughts -- the first, and strongest, was lament. The second was, "how?" There's not an overarching narrative that needs tieing up, a goal to meet or anything. Partway through this book, I started to understand how Bledsoe was wrapping things up and concluding the series -- and it felt perfect. I should add at this point that I was wrong about what he was doing, and that the reality was better than my guess.

 

As it's the final book, all bets are off -- the first novel contained many hints about the nature of the Tufa, but the successive books were less and less subtle in that regard, and ended up telling more than the previous. At this point, there's no hinting, no suggesting -- not only that, Bledsoe answers many questions readers have had since the beginning, and probably a few we should've had. And he does so in a way that enriches the series and the Tufa, not just something that reveals. There were so many little tidbits that came out that just made me smile or utter a quiet "Ah ha!"

 

I actually haven't talked much about the plot yet -- how odd. There are a couple of graduate students from a university in Tennessee -- one in psychology (would be parapsychology if she could get away with it) and one in English with a focus in folk music as a way to improve his own music (minor spoiler: I spent a few pages waiting for him to be revealed to be a Tufa -- nope, just a kindred spirit). These two have come across an old film -- silent film old -- shot near Needsville, showing a young woman losing her glamour and flying off on wings. There's no way that it could be silent film quality FX, it's a woman with wings. This town it was filmed in, Sadiesville, disappeared shortly afterwards. The two want to find this town and explore what happened to it.

 

Which brings them into contact with the people of Needsville -- and the night winds have instructed them to help these two find what they're looking for, despite the fact that no one in Needsville has a clue about the town. For readers, the idea that Tufa have forgotten anything that happened in their area is pretty astounding the kind of thing that piques your curiosity.

 

What happens next is wonderful, and horrible, and beautiful -- awful in every sense, archaic and otherwise. I loved it and hated it while admiring how Bledsoe played this out. Structurally, tonally, thematically different from the rest (as each book in this series has been), yet undeniably part of the series. I loved seeing friends who've been around since The Hum and the Shiver or those as fresh as Gather Her Round just one last time (not that the new characters are slouches. For example, Veronica, our aspiring parapsychologist, is someone I'd hope to see if there was going to be a book 7).

 

There are a million little touches here -- none of which I can talk about without ruining something, that make this good-bye the best installment of this series since The Hum and the Shiver. This is a must for Tufa fans (not that they need me to say it), and one more chance for me to suggest that people who haven't started the series yet get on it. I don't believe in actual magic -- but Bledsoe's series make me want to, especially if it looked like this. I hate to say good-bye to this series, but this is the way to do it.

 

Bravo.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/05/15/the-fairies-of-sadieville-by-alex-bledsoe-i-hate-to-say-good-bye-to-the-tufa-but-this-is-the-way-to-do-it
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text 2018-05-15 14:03
Meh- Three Stars
Kill Me Softly - Sarah Cross

Meh. This was okay. I thought the story had a great premise.

Setting:
I really loved the idea of Beau Rivage. But I think there was so much more that Cross could have done to give it more personality. I mean, she had this FAIRY TALE TOWN for goodness' sake. Liven it up. Instead the kids spent their time at concerts and beaches and getting drunk at parties. Seriously? Couldn't they do something more fairytale-ish? What? Was Cross trying to show the readers that the story characters are just like regular teens? Then there is no point. I just wish there could have been more. Except for the candy cottage, there wasn't much to say that it was very different than any other town.

Characters:
There is a slew of characters here, and some I like more than others. Obviously. But it is more because of how they are written than because of the characters themselves. Take Viv for instance. There is so much more that could have been done with 'Snow White'. Like, I don't know. Make her actually like SNOW WHITE instead of some spoiled brat. Or make Freddie more three dimensional instead of a doormat who just wants to be a hero. Give these characters some depth.

Relationships:
This is new for me. I usually don't focus on them as much, but since this book was nothing but relationships, here we are.
Blue/Mira- They're both dumb. Blue was wasting his time, pining over a girl in love with his brother. Honestly, if it took her that long to figure Felix out, she deserved to have the life sucked out of her.
Felix/Mira- What an idiot! All the signs were there. I get that he could 'charm' her, but she even considered the truth and still rejected it. I wanted there to be a spin so badly. Like maybe Felix saving Mira from Blue, but no. Predictable.
Freddie/Mira- Basically everyone and Mira. I mean, come on. He was like a wet, sad puppy. And even worse, that's all he was meant to be. I really wanted some closure for him. Like for him to get with a fairy or something. Just so he isn't the nice loser at the end.
Viv/Henley- What kind of messed up relationship is this? Basically, he is destined to simultaneously love and hate her. She teases and drags him around. It was just annoying.
Layla/Rafe- Honestly, I think this had the potential to be the most interesting relationship in the story, but they nearly completely ignored it. Barely gets a mention. Of course, Beauty and the Beast was always one of my favs, so I'm biased.

Plot:
So predictable. The only surprise would have been Mira finding her parents. Otherwise, you knew who the bad guy was. You knew what he was going to do. You knew who was going to save her. I kept hoping that something would pop up and surprise me, but no. 

Overall:
I really really liked the idea of this book, which is how it earned the three stars. But the execution left something to be desired.

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text 2018-05-10 17:54
Reading progress update: I've read 83 out of 373 pages.
Robots vs. Fairies - Sarah Gailey,Lila Bowen,Alyssa Wong,Jim C. Hines,Maria Dahvana Headley,Linda Howard,Seanan McGuire,Mary Robinette Kowal,Madeline Ashby,Ken Liu,Lavie Tidhar,Annalee Newitz,William Ewart Gladstone,Jeffrey Ford,Catherynne M. Valente,Jonathan Maberry,John Sca

 

"Murmured Under the Moon" by Tim Pratt was enchanting.  I do love a tale about a fairy library!

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text 2018-04-26 14:57
TBR Thursday
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Dragonfly in Amber - Diana Gabaldon
The Magic of Recluce - L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Stations of the Tide - Michael Swanwick
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn
A Plague of Giants - Kevin Hearne
Robots vs. Fairies - Sarah Gailey,Lila Bowen,Alyssa Wong,Jim C. Hines,Maria Dahvana Headley,Linda Howard,Seanan McGuire,Mary Robinette Kowal,Madeline Ashby,Ken Liu,Lavie Tidhar,Annalee Newitz,William Ewart Gladstone,Jeffrey Ford,Catherynne M. Valente,Jonathan Maberry,John Sca
Small Favor - Jim Butcher

It is Thursday, isn't it?  Today is my final day in my old office.  The movers do their magic tomorrow, IT does theirs on Saturday, and theoretically I unpack in the new office on Monday.  I haven't slept well for weeks and I think I'm getting an eye infection.  Blah!

 

I haven't had as much time for reading lately--spring has finally arrived in Calgary and my friends are emerging from hibernation and wanting to go do things.  I have more coffee, brunch and theatre dates than I can shake a stick at for the month of May.

 

Actually, I go this evening to see Lady Windermere's Fan.  On May's agenda:  Julius Caesar, The Secret Garden, and Much Ado About Nothing.  I shall be cultured by month's end.

 

I'm also longing to get out birding and I need to go visit an 87 year old aunt who is in hospital in my home town.  There's lots to do.

 

Happy reading, everyone!

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