Tag Archives: Margo Lanagan

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti

Overview
Zeroes | Book by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti |  Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Science fiction, Superheroes, Young adult
Dates read: 21st February – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: All those training missions, shepherding crowds around a shopping center while listening to Glorious Leader’s orders in their earbuds.

Synopsis

DON’T CALL THEM HEROES

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t – like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery and lands him in deep. The only people who can help are teh other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader”. After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals across the city. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three power-house authors for the opening instalment of a thrilling new series.

Thoughts

This book is an absolute chunkster. Which is why I have kept putting it off for ages. I just find books that are this big to be kind of intimidating at times. Plus, there’s the fact that sometimes I tend to get distracted and bored halfway through these monster tales. Yet, in spite of all of my concerns… I just couldn’t put this down! It was an amazing chunkster, one that I seriously and thoroughly enjoyed.

I loved the flickering of points of view throughout this story. It is most definitely a difficult tactic in stories – but these three authors have managed to give each and every one of the six superheroes a wonderfully unique voice. The fact that it also gives you these great views into their lives and the different ways in which they see one another… it was a brilliant journey. And, unlike many other stories I’ve read that flicker between points of view, I wasn’t more or less attached to each of the characters. This is wonderfully unique and had me grinning throughout.

The whole storyline and characterization of the Zeroes reminded me a lot of Umbrella Academy. There was that great feeling of dysfunction and coming together in a pseudo family. Although, being that this is a young adult story, it felt a heck of a lot less dark than the comic / Netflix series. I love stories of dysfunctional family units, they tend to feel all that much more humorous. Which left me grinning and smiling as I journeyed through the Zeroes reuniting and finding more depths to their powers.

This novel partners teenage angst with dysfunction and superpowers. I mean, really, what on earth could go wrong there? Turns out, everything and anything. Which then makes me want to pick up Swarms straight away… it’s surely just going to get better from here on out.

<- More Scott WesterfeldSwarm ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

The Mammoth Book of Steampunk edited by Sean Wallace

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Title: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
Author: Sean Wallace, Ekaterina Sedia, Jeff VanderMeer, Caitlin R. Kiernan, E. Catherine Tobler, Jay Lake, Genevieve Valentine, Cat Rambo, Shweta Narayan, Aliette de Bodard, N.K. Jemisin, Peter M. Ball, Sharon Mock, Catherynne M. Valente, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Eileen Gunn, Michael Swanwick, Tobias S. Buckell, Matthew Kressel, Margo Lanagan, Amal El-Mohtar, Barth Anderson, Jeffrey Ford, James Morrow, Cherie Priest, Margaret Ronald, Megan Arkenberg, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Mary Robinette Kowal, Samantha Henderson, Nick Mamatas, Nicole Kornher-Stace & Lavie Tidhar
Series: Mammoth Books
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Short story collections, Steampunk
Dates read: 3rd October 2018 – 6th March 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He was in his library, or so he called it, a small room that smelled of pipe tobacco and old leather, so close that one could barely breathe.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

30 anarchic mash-ups of past and future that push the boundaries of steampunk.

Great steampunk stories confront an uneasy history of oppression – of women, other ‘races’ and classes – and the abuse of science, by reimagining the past. The writers represented in this outsatnding collection look to the future through the lens of the past, imagining worlds in which technology is used to uplift rather than to oppress.

Thoughts

I’ve only recently gotten involved in steampunk. It’s a genre that I only started reading late last year and one that I kind of love. Although, as I discovered with this collection of short stories, it is also a genre that I have to concentrate a little more to read (unlike genre such as romance).

This anthology runs the gambit of steampunk stories and brings a number of themes, styles and settings to life. It is a perfect way to completely disappear from the world after a long day. Although, with many of the themes, once you have finished the story you are thrown back into reality ten times more heavily than you were before. After all, most of these stories have a great commentary about the world that we live in today.

From capitalism to feminist movements, every major issue and discussion that seems to be occurring in modern society is touched upon in this collection. Yet, these aren’t all serious commentaries on the world. Some of the stories are kind of hilarious, and some are downright weird. The one thing that they all have in common is that they are thoroughly enjoyable and have helped to give me a new addiction.

 <- The Traitor ReviewSteampunk: Looking to the Future Through the Lens of the Past Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Machine Maid by Margo Lanagan

Overview
The Mammoth Book of Steampunk

Title: Machine Maid
Author: Margo Lanagan
In: The Mammoth Book of Steampunk (Sean Wallace)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: SteampunkStrong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Robinson
Year: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: Like one girl confiding in another, like a tiny child in play with its mother or nurse, I reached out and touched Clarissa’s lower lip.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide
Synopsis

It’s hard being a new wife on the frontier… even harder when your husband won’t let you be yourself. But with a little engineering and hope, there might be a better future in store.

Thoughts

I was wondering how the woman in this was going to overcome her quite clearly obnoxious husband and slightly awful circumstances. I was also wondering what kind of message would be imparted in this steampunk short story. And I really wasn’t disappointed…. Using wits and a bit more blood thirst than I’m used to, she is able to free herself. But, it is only after she has done so that she truly wonders at the cost of such an action.

This story had just enough in it that I felt incredibly uncomfortable throughout the reading of it. And although the sick part of me kind of loved the ending, it also made me cringe and worry. After all, there was a hint of a completely different happily ever after. And part of me was left wondering what would have happened if the alternate ending had have come true.

 <- The Hands That Feed ReviewTo Follow the Waves Review ->
Image source: Amazon

Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow by Margo Lanagan

Overview

Under My HatTitle: Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow
Author: Margo Lanagan
In: Under My Hat (Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authorsEasy reading, Fantasy, Witches
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: It was subtly colorful and delicately patterned; everything that was so ugly when you were down among it seemed from this distance nicely worked, and human effort seemed rather dear and hopeless, even though it had cleared and scarred and excavated such great tracts of land, ruined them every which way.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

When Pen’s only son married, he and his new bride moved far away. This saddened her, because her son had fallen in love with a young woman she thought was normal and who was afraid of Pen’s magical powers. As the birth of her first grandchild approaches, Pen uses her magic to travel a long distance over sea and land to visit them and offer a blessing for the babe, but when she arrives, she discovers things about both her daughter-in-law and her new granddaughter that surprise her.

Thoughts

Every story about witchcraft that I read, whether it’s entirely fantasy-based or based in Wicca, birth and death are integral to the practice and beliefs. Which is why it is fun to read a short story that is all about birth and the turning of the circle.

Pen embarks on an epic journey across the ocean to visit her daughter-in-law and new granddaughter. She plans to do everything in secret and leave again. To greet the new life and welcome it into her world. But, as with all good stories, nothing goes as planned. Which is where the story becomes far more enjoyable.

The point at which nothing goes as planned is also the reminder of family. How important it is, and how acceptance, even after the fact can heal many wounds.

 <- Great-Grandmother in the Cellar Review Under My Hat Review ->
Image source: Frances Hardinge

Under My Hat edited by Jonathan Strahan

Overview

Under My HatTitle: Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron
Author: Jonathan Strahan, Diana Peterfreund, Frances Hardinge, Garth Nix, Holly Black, Charles de Lint, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Patricia A. McKillip, Tim Pratt, M. Rickert, Isobelle Carmody, Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, Margo Lanagan
In: Under My Hat (Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Easy readingShort story collections, Witches
Pace: Medium
Format: Collection
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: “Was he?” asked Mari.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Broomsticks.
Black Cats.
Pointy Hats.

They can mean only one thing – somewhere nearby, there must be a witch. From fairy tales to fims to fiction, witches cast their spells and capture our imaginations.

Now the biggest names in fantasy and young adult literature have come together to make a little magic of their own. Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Diana Peterfreund, Margo Lanagan, Peter S. Beagle, and Garth Nix are just a few of the authors who have toiled over their cauldrons and conjured up bewitching new creations inspired by and celebrating the might and mystery of the witch. Assembled by one of the most well-regarded anthologists in the science fiction/fantasy world, this rich, intelligent collection will enchant readers of all ages.

Thoughts

Short story collections are always good fun. They’re a great way to discover new authors, and the common thread through them can be so unique and different. Sometimes I even struggle to find the common thread! Not with this amazing collection though. It’s simple. Witches.

Strahan did a great job of putting together this fun and cute little collection of witch-y tales and I’m actually kind of disappointed that it’s over. Although I bought it to read B is for Bigfoot by Jim Butcher, the rest of the stories really jumped out at me. It’s actually difficult to pick an absolute favourite – they all had this twisted, fun, unexpected adventure that they took me on. Closing the cover of the book, I feel like I’ve gone on journeys through distant lands (and realms) and come back to land squarely on earth. Which is actually kind of disappointing… time to find my next epic journey of witchcraft and wings…

<- Crow and Caper, Caper and Crow Review Stray Magic Review ->
Image source: Frances Hardinge