The Strategist – Gerrard Cowan (Review)

The Machinery is broken, and the old order cannot hold. Its downfall has let back into the world many creatures once forbidden, and they have begun to build strongholds and armies for the struggle to come. Charls Brandione, a former general, Aranfal, a secret policeman, and Canning, a merchant-turned-mandarin-turned-something-else-entirely, must learn what they can about this brave new world. Most of all, they must learn how to stay alive in it.

Perhaps I can best give the feel of The Strategist by  quoting a line of dialogue that comes up a lot: “What is this place?” Continue reading “The Strategist – Gerrard Cowan (Review)”

The Machinery – Gerrard Cowan (Review)

41ctGTurmuLThe Overland have just finished conquering the Plateau on which their civilisation exists. No-one else stood a chance; the Overland select their leaders according to the whims of an omnipotent (and titular) Machine, which has given them an edge for the last ten millennia. Hegemony beckons.

But overshadowing all of these achievements is a prophecy that the government have done their best to stamp out. A faction of Doubters claim that the machinery has begun to break down and soon will halt completely. A secret police of hideously-masked Watchers scour the crowds for signs of this heresy, disappearing and torturing anyone they deem guilty. Among all of this a range of viewpoint characters, including Katrina Paprissi, a young woman whose brother vanished in mysterious circumstances, navigate a complex web of power games mediated by the machine’s whims. Continue reading “The Machinery – Gerrard Cowan (Review)”

Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (Review)

Vanity_Fair_01_coverI always forget, when not reading the classics, that the reason they are classics is because they are very, very good. Yes, they take a little more energy to engage with, but it’s absolutely worth it.

I read Vanity Fair because I’d been meaning to for years, and finally mustered the enthusiasm. Then I read it voraciously and rapidly, because once I was past the initial reluctance, I was hooked. This happens every time I pick up something highly regarded but ostensibly dull, and I really should learn from this.  Continue reading “Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray (Review)”