CLAN NOVEL: TZIMISCE is the second novel in the Clan Novel series by White Wolf games. Originally published in 1999, it and the rest of the series have been reprinted for their 20th anniversary by Crossroad Press. They're available in a new trade paperback edition and Kindle format. I remember reading these back when I was 18 years old, a Goth kid in Kentucky, and so edgy that you could shave with me. Sisters of Mercy was the coolest, ooo! So, do the books hold up two decades later? Let's find out.
THE COMPANY OF DEATH is by Elisa Hansen, one of the authors of the Twilight parody Awoken (where a young teenage girl falls in love with Cthulhu). She is also a well-loved web reviewer of vampire fiction under the stage name the Maven of the Eventide. Her persona there is a perky Goth who fangirls over vampire fiction while also giving incisive commentary on the feminist, racial, sociological, or even environmental subtext of things like Daybreakers or Kindred: The Embraced.
SECOND STRING SAVIOR is a novel set in the Tome of Bill world. Rick Gualtieri and R. E. Carr have written a story that takes place roughly contemporaneous with the first three Tome of Bill novels, culminating in the latter half of the book taking place during The Mourning Wood. As you can tell by the titles of the books, they're a comedy urban fantasy series that has a heavy emphasis on crass humor as well as puns.
BROKEN ANGELS is the second novel of the Takeshi Kovacs series. Whereas Altered Carbon was a future noir detective story in the future, Broken Angels is a war picture. Even the decades change with Altered Carbon feeling vaguely 1940s-like, Broken Angels feels like it takes place in a pseudo-Vietnam. I was initially disappointed to see none of the original cast was returning from the first book but Takeshi himself and that this took place no less than thirty years later. I really became fond of Detective Ortega, the Bancrofts, and other characters as well as the Pulp-ish mood. Still, I was willing to give the novel a shot and am glad I did.
What to do when you don't have the Dresden Files to read. It has been a LONG time since PEACE TALKS by Jim Butcher was announced. I don't blame Jim Butcher for this as he had to deal with his dog dying, building a new house, a divorce, and a new marriage. However, if you are a die-hard fan of urban fantasy then it was one of your regular staples being put on hiatus. Thankfully, this turned out to be a good thing both for me and other urban fantasy authors as it required us to read other great titles! People who would never have checked out my books (I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton) or future classics like the Hellequin Chronicles.
TIAMAT'S WRAITH is the latest volume of the Expanse. The Expanse struck science fiction like a breath of fresh air and is basically serving as Game of Throne's slightly less successful brother in bringing genre fiction to the mainstream. It's a high concept series about wealth, power, politics, and an alien molecule that defies the laws of physics. Honestly, you can tell how much I like the Expanse in the fact that I'd still be happy to read the series if they ditched all of the alien technology business completely.
THE EXPANSE is one of the best series currently out there. It's also a series which has had its ups and downs. Some of them I've given 3 stars and others I've given 5 stars. I've always come back to it, though. Here, PERSEPOLIS RISING is setting the stage for the end of the line as we time skip 30 years to when our heroes are now in their 60s. They don't act like they are sixty so maybe it's a case of "sixty is the new thirty" thanks to advanced medical technology of the future but they do creak a bit more.
SPIDER-VERSE is a comic that I had highly recommended to me but while I've enjoyed things like Brand New Day, Spider-Island, and Spider-Gwen, I have to say this has proven to be a miss for me. Part of it is how mean-spirited the whole thing is. I read SPIDER-MAN: THE OTHER where Morlun was introduced as "A vampire with the strength of Thor."
SPIDER-GWEN is a character I was introduced to by the INTO THE SPIDERVERSE movie. The character is an alternate universe version of Gwen Stacy who was bitten by the radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker instead. Unfortunately, Peter Parker was so jealous of his crush that he created the Lizard formula and accidentally got himself killed in the process. Gwen feels immense guilt for this and struggles with her secret identity, her relationship with her father, and all the various people who want Spider-Gwen's head.
BABYLON'S ASHES is the sixth book of the Expanse series and the conclusion of the "Free Navy" arc. I was a huge fan of the Free Navy introduced in NEMESIS GAMES and eager to see the story carried to its conclusion. Unfortunately, I don't think the story worked out nearly as well as it was supposed to. There's a lot of flaws and while much of it is set-up for later volumes in the series as well as the "Laconian" arc, this just didn't feel like a great conclusion to the storyline.