inverarity

The Jane Austen Project, by Kathleen Flynn

Time Travelers go back in time to meet Jane Austen.


The Jane Austen Project

Harper Perennial, 2017, 384 pages



Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: Two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.

London, 1815: Two travelers - Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane - arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters - a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren't the first team from the future to "go back", their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen's circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane's fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady 19th-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it...however heartbreaking that may prove.


Like a Jane Austen SF novel, but with little of Austen's wit.




My complete list of book reviews.
Golden Hair

Mistress of the Waves

Mistress of the Waves by George Phillies

On another world, the narrator is fishing from her boat when an off-worlder is swept from his. She has to rescue him -- they are not used to worlds as low tech as hers.

The other one takes her off planet for treatment; she had, after all, been breathing water. While on their ship, she sees her planet, Goddard, from space.

She wants to see it again. When she returns to the planet, she starts to plan, an interesting thing in a world where all ships are sailing, oil lamps are the height of illumination, water mills and muscle are their power sources. And all is ruled by the Hundred Thousand books, though, unbeknownst to her, there are those who find her contact with the off-worlders a danger.

She does realize she will need money, and more knowledge from off-worlders, and sets out, despite being thrown out of school as she talked about the off-worlder clothing and was ready to graduate. It involves fishing, learning about trade, mills, what the autodoc (which she first took for Doctor Otto) did to heal her, questions of lending money, helping two orphans, more attempts than forcing her out of school to stop her, and more.

It ends at a decision point, and there's room for a sequel, but it's a definite ending point.
Nightrunner - Seregil and Alec

The Oracle Stone by Talli Morgan

The Oracle Stone by Talli Morgan was awesome. Three mages are looking for a magical artefact, but things aren't as simple as they look.

The author weaves a complex tale, but introduces the various elements little by little, so it's really easy to get into the story. I especially love that there are Gods as characters, like in Warriors of Estavia by Fiona Patton.

There's major m/m (super cute! <3), a major aro female character and a semi-major non-binary character (they appear in the second half of the book).
inverarity

The Mask of Mirrors, by M.A. Carrick

A plotty pseudo-Renaissance swords & sorcery caper.


The Mask of Mirrors

Orbit, 2021, 630 pages



This is your past, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither.
Arenza Lenskaya is a liar and a thief, a pattern reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadežra, she fled that world to save her sister.

This is your present, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither.
Renata Viraudax is a con artist recently arrived in Nadežra. She has one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune.

This is your future, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither.
But when corrupt nightmares begin to weave their way through the City of Dreams, Ren realizes her masquerade is just one of many surrounding her—and if she cannot sort the truth from the lies, it'll mean the destruction of her city.

Darkly magical and intricately imagined, The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a dazzling fantasy adventure from an incredible new voice.


Decent worldbuilding, magical capers, flashing blades and romance, and a fantasy Zorro.




My complete list of book reviews.
Nightrunner - Seregil and Alec

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue

All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue was fascinating. Maeve finds old tarot cards. Things quickly start to go wrong.

I loved how the book went from a small magic vibe to full-on witchcraft. I can't wait for the sequel, but don't worry, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger.

There's major f/nb and minor f/f, a Filipina character and a teenager with a hearing aid.

I've read this novel in English, but it's already been translated into French (La Martinière Jeunesse) and several other languages.

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I used to lurk on Tumblr, but I'm now using my account. I only post/reblog about books: mainly LGBT SF/F, as usual. However, if you're curious and go through my Likes, you'll get to see some prettiness from Word of Honor and Snake Eyes.
inverarity

Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson

Book two of the Stormlight Archive, with big reveals, big battles, and a big hump to finish.


Words of Radiance

Tor Books, 2014, 1087 pages



Expected by his enemies to die the miserable death of a military slave, Kaladin survived to be given command of the royal bodyguards, a controversial first for a low-status "darkeyes". Now he must protect the king and Dalinar from every common peril as well as the distinctly uncommon threat of the Assassin, all while secretly struggling to master remarkable new powers that are somehow linked to his honorspren, Syl.

The Assassin, Szeth, is active again, murdering rulers all over the world of Roshar, using his baffling powers to thwart every bodyguard and elude all pursuers. Among his prime targets is Highprince Dalinar, widely considered the power behind the Alethi throne. His leading role in the war would seem reason enough, but the Assassin’s master has much deeper motives.

Brilliant but troubled Shallan strives along a parallel path. Despite being broken in ways she refuses to acknowledge, she bears a terrible burden: to somehow prevent the return of the legendary Voidbringers and the civilization-ending Desolation that will follow. The secrets she needs can be found at the Shattered Plains, but just arriving there proves more difficult than she could have imagined.

Meanwhile, at the heart of the Shattered Plains, the Parshendi are making an epochal decision. Hard pressed by years of Alethi attacks, their numbers ever shrinking, they are convinced by their war leader, Eshonai, to risk everything on a desperate gamble with the very supernatural forces they once fled. The possible consequences for Parshendi and humans alike, indeed, for Roshar itself, are as dangerous as they are incalculable.


A thousand pages of moping and scheming, ending in the formation of a Fantasy Justice League.

Also by Brandon Sanderson: My reviews of Elantris, The Mistborn trilogy, The Alloy of Law, Steelheart, The Way of Kings, Warbreaker, Skyward, and Starsight.




My complete list of book reviews.
Nightrunner - Seregil and Alec

The Unraveling by Benjamin Rosenbaum

The Unraveling by Benjamin Rosenbaum was a masterpiece. In the distant future, Fift ends up in the middle of a gender revolution.

This world has two genders: Staid (ze/zir) and Vail (ve/vem). They are not assigned based on the baby's genitals, but on the baby's personality through a few simple tests. However, it isn't an ideal culture, as people have to be very gender-conforming and can't easily demand a gender change.

Another interesting aspect is that people have several bodies (3 in average) with only one mind, though Fift has issues with having all zir bodies in the same room. People also have access to the feed, in order to see what happens in other parts of their house or in public places.

This is an excellent gender sci-fi novel, especially for fans of Ann Leckie's works. I can't wait to read more from this author.
Golden Hair

Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead: How the Railways Made Britain by Peter Ginn and Ruth Goodman

Based on a TV series and showing signs of it. Covering interesting topics, like the age of railways -- actually, they existed long before trains -- the importance of slate roofs, transportation of people and the invention of tickets (in an era where everyone gave credit, you had to pay, and prove you paid), the zigzagging effect on agriculture, the effect on leisure of feasible travel, the transportation of mail order goods, and more.
Golden Hair

Hardtack and Coffee

Hardtack and Coffee or, The Unwritten Story of Army Life by John Davis Billings

The go-to book if you want the details of army life in the American Civil War. Having discovered that boys were as fascinated by the details of army life as much as the battles, and realized that all the memoirs were about the battles, he wrote a book about the details. How they did get enough food, but quality was another matter. Regimental badges. Why it was the mark of a green soldier to be ashamed of lice. What they did in camp in down time. Why mules were only used behind the lines. And a lot more.