Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Rating: 3.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

I wake up on a pile of smoldering garbage and leaves in the old Hollywood Forever cemetery behind the Paramount Studio lot on Melrose, though these last details don’t come to me until later.

Plot

Life sucks and then you die. Or, if you’re James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.

Now Stark’s back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you’d expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

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The Unicorn Anthology by Peter S. Beagle

The Unicorn Anthology

Overall Rating of the Anthology: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

About

Unicorns have fascinated people for generations. At once the epitome of purity, they are also dangerous. Their horns contain stronger magic than anything else. A unicorn’s horn can cure any illness, warn of any poison. And it is very, very difficult to get. They cannot be caught, they will kill with their horns, they can only be tamed by innocent girls.

This anthology is all about these creatures. Collected by Peter S. Beagle, they all take different looks at these mythical creatures.

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Burned by Magic by Jasmine Walt

Burned by Magic

Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆

“Hey, shifter girl!” a human with sandy hair shouted as he leaned over the bar counter.

Plot

In the city of Solantha, mages rule absolute, with shifters considered second-class citizens and humans something in between. No one outside the mage families are allowed to have magic, and anyone born with it must agree to have it stripped from them to avoid execution.

Sunaya Baine, a shifter-mage hybrid, has managed to keep her unruly magic under wraps for the last twenty-four years. But while chasing down a shifter-hunting serial killer, she accidentally loses control of her magic in front of witnesses, drawing the attention of the dangerous and enigmatic Chief Mage.

Locked up in the Chief Mage’s castle and reduced to little more than a lab rat, Sunaya resists his attempts to analyze and control her at every turn. But she soon realizes that to regain her freedom and catch the killer, she must overcome her hatred of mages and win the most powerful mage in the city to her side.

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Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple

Nine Lives William Dalrymple

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

Twi hills of blackly gleaming granite, smooth as glass, rise from a thickly wooded landscape of banana plantations and jagged palmyra palms.

About

A Buddhist monk takes up arms to resist the Chinese invasion of Tibet – then spends the rest of his life trying to atone for the violence by hand printing the best prayer flags in India. A Jain nun tests her powers of detachment as she watches her best friend ritually starve herself to death.

Nine people, nine lives; each one taking a different religious path, each one an unforgettable story. William Dalrymple delves deep into the heart of a nation torn between the relentless onslaught of modernity and the ancient traditions that endure to this day.

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The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: 5 Stars ★★★★★

Sometimes, I worry that I’m not the hero everyone thinks I am.

Plot

For a thousand years since, the world has been a wasteland of ash and mist ruled by the immortal emperor known as the Lord Ruler. Every revolt has failed miserably.

Yet somehow, hope survives. Hope that dares to dream of ending the empire and defeating the Lord Ruler. A new kind of uprising is being planned—one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the determination of an unlikely heroine: a teenage street urchin named Vin.

Once, a hero rose to save the world and failed. This time, can a young heroine succeed?

 

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In Darkling Wood by Emma Carroll

In Darkling Wood Emma Carroll

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

At 3.23 a.m. the hospital call to say a heart’s been found.

Plot

When Alice’s brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother’s house. There’s nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden – but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn’t seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?

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The Immortal Circus by A.R. Kahler

The Immortal Circus

Rating: 2.5 Stars ★★★☆☆

“Who the hell did this?” Kingston whispers, staring at the corpse.

Plot

Murdered contortionists aren’t exactly what Vivienne signed up for when she ran away to join the circus. But like most things under the big top, nothing is what it seems. With a past she can’t quite remember, Vivienne finds that running away forever might not be as appealing as it once sounded—especially not when she realizes the devilishly attractive ringleader, Mab, is the Faerie Queen of legend—and that she and the rest of the troupe are locked in an age-old rivalry between the otherworldly Courts.

Aided by her friends Kingston—a feisty stage magician whose magic is quickly stealing her heart—and his smart-ass assistant, Melody, Vivienne finds herself racing against the clock to discover the culprit behind a series of deaths that should be impossible. However, the answer she seeks might reveal more about her own bloody past—and future—than she bargained for.

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