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Saturdays in Books

Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.

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The SFWA European Hall of Fame: Sixteen Contemporary Masterpieces of Science Fiction from the Continent
Kathryn Morrow, James K. Morrow

Review: Cloak of War

Cloak of War: The Empress Game Trilogy 2 - Rhonda Mason

Much like the last book I read with a knife wielding heroine on the cover, there is hardly any stabbing. It seemed like she spent most of this book lamenting that she didn't have her knives on her. I find this very frustrating. The last book I read with a knife wielding heroine - wait, the LAST TWO - have had almost no knife fights at all. 


I don't feel my expectations should be lowered. If there's a topless man on the cover, there should be sex. If there's a space ship on the cover, we should spend a good portion of the book in space. If our heroine is holding two kris on the cover, I should get more than one decent knife fight out of it.


It also manages to include some non-hetero characters, something I remember feeling the lack of in the first book. Perhaps book 3 will manage to include even a single one whose role isn't tied explicitly to transactional sex acts. Whether for espionage or for a living in the pleasure district, this book will manage to refer to each as whores. 


Leaving those laments aside, this is a good continuation of the first book, but also quite the change-up. One of the plot lines finds characters on a mysterious ship, and a second offers a glimpse into the lives of rebellion members on Kayla's home world, while the main line continue's Kayla's story. All are interesting for different reasons, and none a retread of the games featured in the previous book. Part space horror, part political thriller, this sets up a third book I'll definitely check out.