The Qwillery | category: Hugh Howey


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019

Apologies reader for my tardiness posting my August month in review. I had it all planned. I was going to have my post written so that it was ready to go up last weekend. Work however, interrupted my carefully laid plan and here we are partway into September and I haven't yet told you about all the great books I read in August.

I have to say that I ended the summer with a couple of excellent books. One has even made it onto my fave books of all time! Pssst....and it's a debut! So what did I read?

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
I will start with books I listened to. First up is Ben Aaranovitch's The October Man which is a novella in the Rivers of London series but not starring my favourite member of magic police Peter Grant. Instead, Aaronovitch stages the story in Germany with Tobias Winter investigating a recent grizzly murder by magic. Set in Trier, a former Roman city and famous for its wine, Tobias needs to find out why a man was found dead covered in a fungal rot. Not just any fungus but one used in the making of a special vintage of wine. Tobias is joined by a local cop,Vanessa Sommer, and together they need to find out who is killing these men and why. Little do they know that the city's bloody history forms the backdrop for the murders. Unlike a well-aged wine time is not on their side.

I thoroughly enjoyed The October Man and am really glad I chose to listen to the audio version rather than read it as my sister read the book a week before me and said that she struggled with all the German names. The narrator Sam Peter Jackson really brought Tobias Winter to life and it was much easier to listen to the story with a 'easy to listen to' German accent than trying to read the English translation of German words. I thought the plot was engaging and really drew you in from the very start. For a novella it seemed much longer and I think that was down to the well developed plot. If you like this series then definitely give The October Man a go.

My second audiobook was The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden. As this was the last book of the trilogy and because I loved it soo much I wrote a full review. Check it out here.

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
Another series I finished was Michael McClung's Amra Thetys series with The Thief Who Went to War. In this final instalment Amra and Holgren are determined to destroy the final blade of the Blades of the Eightfold Goddess. Amra was left with a not so little reminder after her last encounter with one of the blades and is now an avatar for a goddess. Determined to find a way to destroy the final knife Amra returns to Lucernis for a showdown to end all showdowns...and possibly her life!

I only discovered this series by participating as a judge in the SPFBO two years ago and book 1, The Thief that Pulled on Trouble's Braids, had been the winner the year before. It has been 4 years between the final and penultimate books in the series so fans who were there from the start had quite a long wait to see how McClung would finish the series. While I liked this instalment it wasn't the best of the series and I think I might have been a tiny bit disappointed if I had waited 4 years to find out whether Amra and Holgren would make it. Amra has one too many lucky escapes for my liking and it was action, action, action from very early on in the book until the end. There wasn't as much character development as there had been in previous books. However, it's still a good series.

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
The final book I have to tell you about is Half Way Home by Hugh Howey. Set in the future where ships are sent out to colonise new planets with 500 vat grown humans on board. On the way to their eventual new home they are educated and trained in a specialism as they sleep. Midway through their development cycle the AI controlling their ship decides to start the abort sequence and only 60 teenagers manage to escape. Alone, scared and without all the skills they need to survive they have to rely on each other and the AI that almost killed them to survive. It's not long before they realise it's not just the inhospitable planet that they have landed on that is the biggest threat to their survival.

I loved Howey's Wool series so, in my opinion, it was going to be hard to follow those books. I didn't realise that when I requested Half Way Home from the publisher on NetGalley that it was originally released in 2010. It's a good book but it's not a great book and I found it quite predictable in parts. It is, however, quite short so a quick read if you are looking for some half decent science fiction.

Well that is it for me for August. I do have one more August book to share with you but I am planning on writing a full review so keep your eyes peeled to find out what book has made it onto my top reads ever. Sorry for being a tease! Happy Reading!

The October Man
A Rivers of London Novella
Subterranean Press, May 31, 2019
Hardcover and eBook, 169 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
With this long new novella, bestselling author Ben Aaronovitch has crafted yet another wickedly funny and surprisingly affecting chapter in his beloved Rivers of London series.

If you thought magic was confined to one country—think again.

Trier: famous for wine, Romans and being Germany’s oldest city.

When a man is found dead with his body impossibly covered in a fungal rot, the local authorities know they are out of their depth. But fortunately this is Germany, where there are procedures for everything.

Enter Tobias Winter, an investigator for the Abteilung KDA, the branch of the German Federal Criminal Police which handles the supernatural. His aim is to get in, deal with the problem, and get out with the minimum of fuss, personal danger and paperwork.

Together with frighteningly enthusiastic local cop, Vanessa Sommer, he quickly links the first victim to a group of ordinary middle aged men whose novel approach to their mid-life crisis may have reawakened a bloody conflict from a previous century.

As the rot spreads, literally, and the suspect list extends to people born before Frederick the Great, Tobias and Vanessa will need to find allies in some unexpected places.

And to solve the case they’ll have to unearth the secret magical history of a city that goes back two thousand years.

Presuming that history doesn’t kill them first.

Winter of the Witch
Winternight Trilogy 3
Del Rey, October 1, 2019
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Hardcover, Audiobook, and eBook, January 8, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vasilisa Petrovna is an unforgettable heroine determined to forge her own path. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.

The Thief Who Went to War
Amra Thetys 5
eBook, August 10, 2019
Trade Paperback, July 30, 2019

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
After barely surviving the attentions of the Knife That Parts the Night, Amra and Holgren are determined to end the threat posed by the remaining sentient, powerful Blades of the Eightfold Goddess. They are willing to risk everything to win their secret war, but can they succeed when their adversaries are cunning, powerful beyond measure, and utterly ruthless? And even if they can, what will it cost them?

Half Way Home
Mariner Books, October 1, 2019
Hardcover, Trade Paperback and eBook, 240 pages

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019
From the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Wool and the Molly Fyde saga comes a story of teenage colonists marooned on a distant planet


Five hundred colonists have been sent across the stars to settle an alien planet. Vat-grown in a dream-like state, they are educated through simulations by an artificial intelligence and should awaken at thirty years old, fully-trained, and ready to tame the new world.

But fifteen years in, an explosion on their vessel kills most of the homesteaders and destroys the majority of their supplies. Worse yet, the sixty that awaken and escape the flames are only half-taught and possess the skills least useful for survival.

Naked and terrified, the teens stumble from their fiery baptism ill-prepared for the unfamiliar and harsh alien world around them. Though they attempt to work with the colony A.I. to build a home, tension and misery are rampant, escalating into battles for dominance.

Soon they find that their worst enemy isn’t the hostile environment, the A.I., or the blast that nearly killed them. Their greatest danger is each other.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 28, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - September 28, 2014

The time has come again where my book reading high has crash landed. I am very sad to say I only read 1 book this week *sob*. I tried to squeeze another book in but it just wasn't meant to be. Sorry folks. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - September 28, 2014
The hubinator was asking me about Hugh Howey's new book Sand and it got me thinking that I hadn't yet finished the Wool trilogy. I have been trying over the last few months to clear out some books from my TBR that I have had for a while. I kind of felt bad that I had left this final book sit there for soo long as I really enjoyed the first two. In this instalment we learn the fate of silos 1, 17 and 18 after Jules' return from the outside. She is struggling with her new role as the mayor and trying to live up to the promises she made to Solo and the children of silo 17. Having found a digger they tunnel their way through to rescue her new friends but the reunion did not lead to the outcome she was expecting. Back over in silo 1 Donny and his sister learn more about what has been happening to the other silos and Thurman's nefarious plans. There are more twists and turns to this story than most roller coasters.

I thought Dust was a fitting and well planned ending to the Silo series. It also felt a lot shorter and didn't take me as long to read as the other two in the series. I did think the reason for humanity being almost wiped out a tiny bit hard to follow. I interpreted it that Thurman and his cronies just decided to kill everyone and let a computer decide the fate of anyone who remained in the silos on a whim.....or because the middle East would have gotten there first. Did I miss something?  That seemed like a lot of effort in order to only have so few survive. I also enjoyed how Jules was written. She was flawed and she knew it but was trying to do the right thing even when it lead to some disastrous results.  Overall, this is a great series and I urge you to read it. I would suggest that you leave a gap in between books as I do believe you need some time to digest in between books.

Melanie's Week in Review - September 28, 2014
I also re-started Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley. I got the e-ARC from NetGalley some time ago and tried to read it but couldn't engage with it. I really enjoyed her Bel Dame Apocrypha series which drew me in from the first few pages but I haven't found this series as accessible. I decided to give it another chance and while I have started to gather pace I am finding it isn't a quick read. Hopefully by next week I will be able to say that I finished it and let you know what I think.

That it is for me this week. Wish me luck that next week is more fruitful in the book completion department but until then Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 11, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - May 11, 2014

You can all breathe a bit sigh of relief as I am not starting this WIR with a big rant about how I haven't read very much. I did better this week but not great - only 2 books and one of them I had already started. I am also typing this on my super old laptop which doesn't like my space bar so if you findanyrunonsentencesyouwillknowthatithascompletelystoppedworking! Anyway, enough of that. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - May 11, 2014
Taaaa  Daaaaaaa.....I finished Shift by Hugh Howey! What an amazing book. I loved Wool and it can be really hard for the author to write an equally compelling book 2 but Howey did it. According to my husband book 3 - Dust is as good as books 1 and 2 so I am excited about tucking into it. I needed a break so will be reading that over the next few weeks.

Shift is the prequel to Wool which explains how and why the remains of humanity have been living in silos for last few hundred years. The story is told largely from the viewpoint of David, one of the architects of the silos. David finds himself alone and out of time as he starts to remember how and why he has ended up in silo 1. We start to see how the events in the other silos start to unfurl. It is a compelling read from start to finish. In fact its Howey's innate ability to tell a story that keeps you engaged over 600 + pages. Every time I thought I it was taking too long to get to the end Howey would throw in some twist or reveal a big secret from book 1. I can't say too much without giving away the whole plot other than run quickly to your local book store or computer and get buying it (and Wool if you haven't read it yet).

Melanie's Week in Review - May 11, 2014I decided to stick with a science fiction theme, although for those that read my reviews will know that I like watching it more than I like reading it. I started to read a book that the Qwill sent me - Fallout by James K. Decker. This was book 2 of the series and I couldn't really connect with the characters. I wasn't sure if this was due to the fact I hadn't read book 1 or I just didn't like the characters. I decided rather than give up completely I put this book to one side and will try again in a few weeks. I then needed something I could read in a few days. For those of you who follow my reviews will know that I am a big fan of Ilona Andrews. I have been reading her free serial Sweep in Peace and found a posting on her blog where she recommended Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach. This book was compared by one reviewer (according to Andrews) as Kate Daniels with aliens and armor. I don't agree with that comparison. I think it is much more similar to Tanya Huff's Confederation series than the Kate Daniels series. Fortune's Pawn is book 1 in the Paradox series and features Devi Morris who is a mercenary looking to fast track her way to becoming  a super soldier - a Devastator - by serving a year on the ill-fated ship The Glorious Fool. Nothing or no one is what they seem on the 'The Fool' and her life expectancy on board may be much shorter than a year. Big guns, aliens and one double cross after another is what is in store for Devi.

I was a bit dubious at first as to whether I was going to like Fortune's Pawn.  I really liked the The Confederation series and I thought it started out being too similar. After a few chapters I realised it was very different and Devi was quite a compelling character. I loved how she loved her armor and guns. At one point she had to hold herself back from hugging her guns like lost children which I thought was quite amusing. I was constantly trying to figure out who the bad guy was as at several points it seemed like the good guy was actually the bad guy. The plot really kept both me and Devi and our toes which I really liked. If you are a big sci fi fan then I think this is the series for you. I have already started to read Honor's Knight which is book number 2 and really liking it. I think I will be 3 for 3 by my next WIR!

By this time next week I will be in Canada visiting my Mom for a week or so. I don't think I will be writing my next WIR with back bacon and poutine on my fingers but you never know! Until then Happy Reading!

Melanie's Week in Review - May 4, 2014

Melanie's Week in Review - May 4, 2014

Eeeep. This week has a very unproductive week on the reading front.  I only finished 1 book. ONE BOOK!!! ONLY 1!!!! But your honor I have an alibi. I worked from home one day due to a 48 hour tube strike so that was 2 hours of concentrated reading lost. Then I caught the office lurgy and felt like I had been hit by a tube train so missed a day at work and another 2 hours of reading time. Well that is my excuse and I am sticking to it. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - May 4, 2014
It was quite by accident that I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a tweet from another reviewer that they were reading Darkness Bound by J.T Geissinger. Racked with jealousy that someone else was reading the latest book from the Night Prowler series I practically sprinted to my computer to request it from NetGalley. Lucky old me has auto approval from the publisher, Montlake so I was tucking in and had it read by the next day. Not to taunt you too much but I can't say much more as I will be writing a full review so keep your eye out for it.

Melanie's Week in Review - May 4, 2014I have been determined to reduce my TBR so I decided to read Shift by Hugh Howey. This is the prequel to Wool which I completely forgot that I had. I loved Wool and Shift is a real nail biter. I am really enjoying it but it is taking me a long time to read it. I am hoping to finish it this weekend so I can tell you all about it next week.

I guess I had better 'fess' up and admit that instead of reducing my TBR I have received 2 more books from NetGalley (hangs head in shame). I requested The Buried Life by Carrie Patel and The Severed Streets by Paul Cornell. I am looking forward to reading these two books over the next few weeks.  Until then I hope you have a good week and Happy Reading.

Melanie's Month in Review - August 2019Melanie's Week in Review - September 28, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - May 11, 2014Melanie's Week in Review - May 4, 2014

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