Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Review: The Librarians And The Lost Lamp

Title: The Librarians And The Lost Lamp
Author: Greg Cox
Pages: 286
ISBN: 9780765384089
Series: The Librarians #1
Publisher: Tor
Published: October 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

For millennia, the Librarians have secretly protected the world by keeping watch over dangerous magical relics. Cataloging and safeguarding everything from Excalibur to Pandora’s Box, they stand between humanity and those who would use the relics for evil.

Ten years ago, only Flynn Carsen, the last of the Librarians, stood against an ancient criminal organization known as The Forty. They stole the oldest known copy of The Arabian Nights by Scheherazade, and Flynn fears they intend to steal Aladdin’s fabled lamp. He races to find it first before they can unleash the trapped, malevolent djinn upon the world.

Today, Flynn is no longer alone. A new team of inexperienced Librarians, led by Eve Baird, their tough-as-nails Guardian, investigates an uncanny mystery in Las Vegas. A mystery tied closely to Flynn’s original quest to find the lost lamp... and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Who do you call when magic runs rampant in the world? The Librarians of course! Not just any librarians – THE Librarians, a secret organization tasked with safeguarding the world from magical relics and those who want to misuse their power for evil.

I stumbled across The Librarians TV show trying to fill the hole left in my life when Warehouse 13 came to an end. The quirky characters, snarky quips, literary references and madcap adventures hooked me, delivering that sense of endless wonder I had been craving. Sure, the acting and special effects can be cheesy but that’s all part of the series’ heart-warming charm. So when I heard a tie-in novel was in the works I just HAD to read it.

The Librarians and the Lost Lamp is an immensely entertaining read. Greg Cox manages to capture the tone and feel of the TV series perfectly. All the beloved characters are there and they just come to life on the page. Fans of the series will feel right at home; newcomers might feel a little lost at first, but there is enough backstory included to quickly bring you up to speed before you are swept up in the globe-spanning adventure that traverses both past and present as the librarians use their knowledge and unconventional skills to save the world.

Tie-in novels can be a hit and miss affair, but The Librarians and the Lost Lamp exceeded all my expectations. This would make a stellar episode on the show, but trying to fit in the entire scope of the novel might strain their budget to breaking point. That’s the beauty of the written word. You get the cinematic experience without the budget constraints!

Just like the TV series the novels are the perfect antidote for when you are feeling down. I can't wait for the next book in the trilogy, The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase, to be released.

The Verdict:
If you are looking for a quick, fun, heart-warming read filled with wit, quirky characters and astounding adventures then The Librarians and the Lost Lamp is just what the librarian ordered. The novel remains true to the show but still offers a charm of its own. There’s just something magical reading a book about librarians on the hunt for a relic drawn straight from the pages of The Arabian Nights. It’s weird and wonderful and makes for a captivating, immensely entertaining read with enough twists along the way to keep you guessing.

The Rating: 7 (Very Good)

And just in case you aren't familiar with The Librarians TV show, there are 2 seasons worth of awesome that awaits you with the third season just starting.

Thanks to Diana Griffin from Tor for providing the review copy.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Lazarus War: Artefact

Title: Lazarus War: Artefact
Author: Jamie Sawyer
Pages: 439
ISBN: 9780356505466
Series: The Lazarus War #1
Publisher: Orbit
Published: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction/ Military SF
Source: Review copy from publisher

Buy it from:
The Book Depository

Mankind has spread to the stars, only to become locked in warfare with an insidious alien race. All that stands against the alien menace are the soldiers of the Simulant Operation Programme, an elite military team remotely operating avatars in the most dangerous theatres of war.

Captain Conrad Harris has died hundreds of times - running suicide missions in simulant bodies. Known as Lazarus, he is a man addicted to death. So when a secret research station deep in alien territory suddenly goes dark, there is no other man who could possibly lead a rescue mission.

But Harris hasn't been trained for what he's about to find. And this time, he may not be coming back . . .

Dying is just another part of the day job for Captain Conrad Harris the commander of an elite military team - Simulant Operations. Remotely piloting simulant bodies, combat enhanced clones of themselves tailored for war, they take on suicide missions battling the Krell, a terrifying bioengineered alien species that make the xenomorphs from Alien look like docile puppies. When the team are send on a mission deep inside enemy territory to investigate a mysterious artefact they are stranded on a hostile planet without the use of their simulant bodies or backup of any kind. Faced with the sudden fragility of their own flesh they need to not only find a way to survive, but also a way home. What is worse is that the greatest threat might not even be from their alien foe.

Lazarus War: Artefact is a tense, heart-pounding SF adventure that forges ahead at an unrelenting pace. There is a surprising depth to all the characters as they struggle with the psychological aftermath of once again having to face their own mortality. The ending is a tantalizing promise of a much larger adventure that is still to come. It will be interesting to see the repercussions of their actions as the greater mystery unravels in later novels.

The Verdict:
The Lazarus War: Artefact is a stunning debut novel; Jamie Sawyer shows that he is definitely an author to keep your eye on. If he continues on this trajectory Neal Asher might just need to watch his back. If you like gripping military SF filled with deadly tech, terrifying aliens and huge explosions then this is definitely the book for you. Now I just need to get my hands on the rest of the series. Recommended!

The Rating: 7/10 (Very Good)

Thanks to Charlene from Jonathan Ball Publishers for the review copy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Cover Conundrum

While I'm struggling to get some reviews written here's another devious little challenge for you. Can you identify these science fiction novels based on their covers? Well, parts of their them...









It seems the challenge might have been a tad too devious. Most people managed to identify two of the covers, but the rest remained a mystery. Now the time has finally come for the answers to be be revealed.
  1. Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein
  2. The Time Ships - Stephen Baxter
  3. 2001 A Space Odyssey - Arthur C. Clarke
  4. Nemesis - Isaac Asimov
  5. Use of Weapons - Iain M. Banks
  6. Wild Seed - Octavia E. Butler
  7. Ancillary Justice - Ann Leckie

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