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review 2017-02-20 23:47
Fields of Iron (Magnificent Devices #11) by Shelley Adina
Fields of Iron: A Steampunk Adventure No... Fields of Iron: A Steampunk Adventure Novel (Magnificent Devices) - Shelley Adina

Gloria’s plans to stop the Californias invading the Texican territories and likely massacring thousands of people – including several innocents in between the two territories, looks to have been scuppered when she narrowly avoided being kidnapped by the California’s ambassador


She can see only one way to stop the war – to appeal to the Viceroy himself. But to even get to the man involves crossing a territory where no woman travels alone – and with her speaking not a word of Spanish. It seems only a marriage of convenience will allow her to make her plea for peace.





I have to say yet again how much I love Gloria Merriwhether-Astor for being one of the most selfless, kind yet non-matyred characters. It has to be stressed that Gloria has no personal stake in the events of this book


Gloria is an extremely wealthy woman. She if the heir to a massive munitions manufactory which is making an absolute fortune selling arms for a brewing war. Gloria has everything to gain from this war going ahead and everything to lose by stopping that war


But she’s a deeply moral person and she absolutely refuses to accept this war going ahead. Considering her father directly responsible for this war and the upcoming massacre of a vast number of people including several innocent tribes – like the Brujas we saw last book and the Navapai who are caught in the middle. Gloria is not only determined to stop this war and cost herself a whole lot of money but she is willing to endure a lot of hardship to make this happen. She has been kidnapped, faced a lot of set packs and physical discomfort and, finally, in this book actually opts to marry a man she doesn’t love or even know very well because it’s the only way she can navigate the incredibly misogynist society of the Californios.


Gloria is a protagonist acting entirely from altruistic motives. And entirely against her own self-interest. And entirely to her own detriment. Yet she isn’t a protagonist who is being dragged into this by fat or destiny or special Chosen One status. Nor does she spend any real time bemoaning her fate or what is happening. She spends some time debating whether she really wants to take a certain step – but it’s only really about which step she takes, not about whether she should keep going forward. No matter how much she sacrifices, she is completely lacking in angst because these are actions she actively chooses; she’s not acting badly done to. She is an active participant here and the choices she makes are her own active decisions


Part of this may stem from her slightly shaky low self worth. Again this is interestingly well done – we have a lot of protagonists in the genre who will sit in a corner and dramatically declare how hideously ugly/awful/terrible they are. Gloria isn’t like that, she merely fails to acknowledge how extraordinary she is: partly because of her extremely terrible father but also because she has been surrounded by the awesome protagonists of this series which she persists in comparing herself too



Gloria is capable, driven, slightly self-depreciating, intelligent, determined, selfless and one of the most unabashedly moral characters in the series and a worthy inheritor of the protagonist status following in the footsteps of so many female characters


And it’s fitting that he is pretty much sole protagonist in this book. We have other important and clearly determined female characters with Alice making another appearance, as well as the interestingly separatist Brujas (who have also been developed to show a level of racial diversity even though none of them are especially major characters) as well as also showing some very shrewed and cunning Californio women. In particular I like one daughter of a high ranking noble who is brilliantly and ruthlessly ambitious and not shy about it. I like this because it has already been established that the Californio culture is extremely misogynist and women are sheltered at best and victimised at worst – yet we still see these women in this culture are capable of drive and determination which many books miss. While also showing treats that, when appearing in women, are nearly always evidence of evil or villainy: ambition and selfishness. I like that she is respected for these and not demonised especially since this book also has the shining pedestal that is Gloria the Selfless



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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/12/fields-of-iron-magnificent-devices-11.html
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text 2017-02-07 20:11
Reading progress update: I've read 305 out of 354 pages.
Ink and Bone: The Great Library - Rachel Caine

Boy, the action sure did begin...and was nonstop… 

You really get a good idea of how dangerous the Library is to not only the general public, but those who work for it as well. This is a system that doesn't hesitate to maim and kill anyone that they view as a threat. And they/It uses anyone it wants without any regard for their lives….because they can. People, lives, and countries are all expendable...the only thing the people that run this system care about are the books, and the knowledge and power these books give them. Whole people dying of starvation…doesn’t register as something they should try and address.


The story raises an interesting question about neutrality. No one can really be neutral when it comes to war or injustice. Neutrality serves the status quo, and if the status quo harms.... then you have to take a side. You have to choose.


 The Library is "neutral" and places itself outside of the affairs of the world....so two countries murdering each other, committing genocide...oh well...that's their business. The Library and its people are just there to save the books. Your baby...well...sorry...they have to leave it here to die. In a case like this, neutrality supports evil.


 This book started slow...but I rather like it. It is not a breezy, easy read...but it is full of a lot of things that make you think.

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text 2017-02-07 02:14
Reading progress update: I've read 148 out of 354 pages.
Ink and Bone: The Great Library - Rachel Caine

This is such an interesting concept so far.


A dystopian world where all the books and knowledge in the world is controlled and anyone who even attempts to find another way to do things, that would jeopardize even a small section of the system that keeps books and knowledge in the hands of the few..is craved out and destroyed....no matter how innocent the person's motive. It is a good study in what happens in a world where censorship is the norm. 


It started off a bit slow, building up the world and putting all the players in the right places, but at this point everything and everyone is at the point where all the real action is kicking off and you can feel the danger building, and the REAL mystery and story taking flight. Slow...but I am still interested. Helps that like the characters...books are a treasure to me as well.


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-21 09:04
An Account of What Happened on My Two Recent Frankendates and an Update on the status of Project Frankenstein




Frankendate #1



This Frankenmonster hailed from Switzerland, just as Mary Shelley had said he would. He was shy and reticent about the horrors he had seen.
Part of the series, The Department 19, by Will Hill, this novella is a “file” from the department. It fills in some gaps from the time Frankenmonster left to die and then didn’t, ending up in North America, instead!
I liked that the novella was fast paced without rushing the reader and how it told us more about a character that most readers of the series have already met and liked.

Frankendate #2


This Frankenmonster did not play a huge part in the story and was German! What’s more, he was betrayed by the “protagonist”, just as the original one had been.
This one, too, was part of a series, Pax Britannia by Jonathan Green, but I hadn’t read any of the other books.
When it comes to what I thought about the book, oh boy, where do I even begin!
  1. Riddled with cliches
  2. Female characters scantily dressed, supposed to be spies but so incompetent that only the hero could rally them into a functional team
  3. Non-stop action makes you think you’re watching a movie rather than reading a book
  4. Predictable storyline
  5. Severe need of editing/proofreading

and so on…I mean, imagine what it would take to make a book with monsters, time travel, and steampunk elements fail this miserably for me!

One thing useful that I did come across because of this book:

Vitruvian Frankenstein.jpgThe Vitruvian Frankenmonster aka My Current Wallpaper


Status of Project Frankenstein


  1. Parent Material: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  2. Others’ Take: The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein by Stephen Jones
  3. Historical Retakes: Anno Frankenstein by Jonathan Green
  4. Genre Spins: Steampunk: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein by Zdenko Basic
  5. Young Adult Forays: Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters by Suzanne Weyn
  6. Sci-Fi Pastiche: Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz
  7. Philosophical Entree: Frankenstein and Philosophy by Nicholas Michaud
  8. Series Picker-Uppers: The Second Birth of Frankenstein by Will Hill
  9. Prequels: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
  10. Precipitating Conditions: The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo
  11. Character Spotlight: My Frankenstein by Michael J. Lee
  12. Technological Difficulties: Frankenstein’s Cat by Emily Anthes
  13. Changed Perspectives: Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
  14. Graphic Detail: Monster Of Frankenstein by Dick Briefer, David Jacobs, Alicia Jo Rabins Edwards
After being really disappointed by #7 on the list, which I am struggling to finish, I chanced upon #10. Let me tell you, it is amazing and I suspect that I will be done with it in no time!


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review 2017-01-12 10:25
Kinslayer (The Lotus War 2) - Jay Kristoff
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff

This second part of the Lotus War was much easier to get into than its predecessor, though some parts still dragged a little, I found myself not wanting to put this book down (but hey, we all have to sleep sometime).

There was some predictability, some twists and, a few slaps in the face just to keep you on your toes. Enjoyed this more than Stormdancer, and look forward to reading book 3, Endsinger, at some point (after I track down a copy...) this year.


One question still bugs me though, what did Buruu do to earn the hatred of his brethren and the name of kinslayer... 

4/5 stars.

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