WWW Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Hey, it’s the middle of the week, so I’m told–I’m having trouble keeping track of the day anymore. Theoretically, it’s time for WWW Wednesday!

This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived on Taking on a World of Words—and shown to me by Aurore-Anne-Chehoke at Diary-of-a-black-city-girl.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Easy enough, right?

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading The Poop Diaries by Abby Ross, Cheater’s Game by Paul Levine and am listening to Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey, Jefferson Mays (Narrator).

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Chris Whitaker’s We Begin at the End and Heartless by Gail Carriger, Emily Gray (Narrator) on audio.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My next book should be Fake Truth by Lee Goldberg and An Unwelcome Quest by Scott Meyer, Luke Daniels (Narrator) on audiobook.

Hit me with your Three W’s in the comments! (no, really, do it!)

The Wanderlust Book Tag

The Wanderlust Book Tag
My general attitude toward traveling is, “Why?” Followed closely by, “Well, okay, but can I bring books?” Which is not to say that I have anything against the idea of other places, but they’re things best experienced by other people. Or vicariously.

Which brings us to this Book Tag, seen recently on Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road (but I’ve also appreciated Ola and Pio’s entry on Re-enchantment Of The World and The Orangutan Librarian‘s). Nothing better than exploring different environments than through novels.

The Rules

bullet Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight]
bullet Thank the blogger who tagged you (see earlier mention of Bookstooge)
bullet Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
bullet Tag 5+ friends (the first five people who read this should consider themselves tagged. Not sure if you’re #3 or #17? Assume you’re #3)

The Settings

1. Secrets and lies: a book set in a sleepy small town

Paradox BoundParadox Bound

by Peter Clines
My post about the book.
A (seemingly?) typical small New England town is our entry point into a cross-country time travel adventure.

2. Salt and sand: a book with a beach-side community

The Dawn PatrolThe Dawn Patrol

by Don Winslow
I can’t believe that I’ve never written anything about this. Sigh. I read “beach” and it’s the first novel that pops to mind (also third, sixth, ninth-twelfth, and so on). A stylish, deceptively breezy PI novel centering on a group of surfers in San Diegeo is what made me a Don Winslow fan for life.

3. Here there be dragons: a book with a voyage on the high seas

Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse, #4)Wake of the Bloody Angel

by Alex Bledsoe
My post about the book.
This entry in the Eddie LaCrosse “PI in a fantasy world” series takes our redoubtable hero to the high seas in search of a missing person. There’s adventure, piracy, sword-play, banter, friendship, and a bit of betrayal.

4. Tread lightly: a book set down a murky river or a jungle

The InformationistThe Informationist

by Taylor Stevens, Hillary Huber (Narrator)
My post about the book.
I think there’s a nasty river, there’s jungle, and a good deal of urban settings. This first Vanessa Michael Monroe adventure introduces readers to a world not seen enough, as well as a heckuva character.

5. Frozen wastes: a book with a frost bitten atmosphere

Hell is EmptyHell is Empty

by Craig Johnson
My post about the book.
As Johnson tries to cycle through the seasons in these books, Walt’s actually had a few Wyoming-as-frozen-wasteland adventures. This one is just my favorite of them. Walt’s on the hunt for escaped federal prisoners in the middle of a blizzard. A gripping tale of man against nature, man against man, man against himself, told with Johnson’s signature style and wit, with one foot in Dante and the other in Indian folklore.
Runner up: Winterkill (Audiobook) by C. J. Box, David Chandler

6. The boonies: a book with rough or isolated terrain

A Star-Reckoner's LotA Star-Reckoner’s Lot

by Darrell Drake
My post about the book.
Set in Persia, full of rough and isolated terrain. Full of social mores that are just as foreign to Western readers as anything that the most imaginative novelist could invent, along with a magic system, a belief system, and a host of supernatural beings that are equally novel. Years later, I’m still in awe of what Drake did with this.

7. Hinterlands and cowboys: a book with a western-esque setting

The Shootout SolutionThe Shootout Solution

by Michael R. Underwood
My post about the book.
The beginning of the Genrenauts series, which I can’t summarize (I’ve tried). So, here’s a bit from the blurb from Underwood’s site:…our world is just one of many, and every other world is the home of a story genre — Science Fiction or Romance, Fantasy or Western — populated by archetypal characters and constantly playing out familiar stories.

The Genrenauts’ mission: find and fix broken stories. If they fail, the ripples from the story worlds will cause havoc and devastation on their home world.

This particular mission takes place on Western world, which is pretty much the definition of Western-esque.

8. Look lively: a book set across sweeping desert sands

Hunger Makes the WolfHunger Makes the Wolf

by Alex Wells
My post about the book.
A SF with a touch of fantasy set on a planet that’s basically defined by sweeping desert sands. Tanegawa’s World is a little forgotten backwater of a planet—think Tatooine—so forgotten that none of the colonists there really have a clue that there’s an interplanetary government, or what’s going on with any other planet. The company that runs the mines (and by extension, the farming communities that support the mines) runs the whole show. There are organizations of workers in individual towns, and there’s a loose network connecting them, for mutual assistance and support. And then there are the Ghost Wolves—a band of mercenary bikers. They are a law unto themselves, but have strong ties to the miner groups. They may be supported by/sympathized with by most people in the towns, but officially they’re outlaws.

9. Wild and untamed: a book set the the heart of the woods

Back of BeyondBack of Beyond

by C. J. Box, Holter Graham (Narrator)
My post about the book.
For those of us in the US (at least the lower 48), there’s nothing like Yellowstone National Park for wild woods. This adventure into the untamed wilds on the hunt for a murderer pits a bunch of people who have no business being in the woods (helped by a couple of pros) against the elements, their own incompetency, and a little bit of urban evil.

10. Wildest dreams: a whimsical book shrouded in magic

No Country for Old GnomesNo Country for Old Gnomes

by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne
My post about the book.
Yeah, I can think of a few other contenders for this. But “whimsy” is the best word to describe this book. And there’s loads of magic afoot (or is that a-beard?). Such a freakishly fun read, I have to throw in a reference to it whenever I can.

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker: Hunting for Hope (and Life?) in a Hopeless Place

Am glad to welcome the Book Tour for We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker today—it’s one of those books that I don’t feel quite adequate to talk about, but we’ll give it a shot. Be sure to check out some of these other blogs on the graphic below, as well. There’s some great blogs covering this one.

We Begin at the End

We Begin at the End

by Chris Whitaker

eARC, 464 pg.
Zaffre, 2020

Read: April 4-7, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

Thirty years after (the then minor) Vincent King was imprisoned for killing a girl, he’s released to a world he can only barely recognize. His childhood best friend, now Chief of Police, picks him up from prison to drive him back to the small coastal town they grew up in. Geographic changes, economic changes, societal drift, and other pressures have radically altered this community.

But some things remain—the high school jock who’s athletic future was derailed by an injury still drives the car his father bought while he was in High School, and works to recapture the physical condition he was in then. Chief Walker—Walk—is still hung up on his high school sweetheart (who moved away not long after King was imprisoned). And Star Radley, Vincent’s then-girlfriend, and sister of his victim, still lives in town, still shaped by the events of thirty years prior.

Star has two children—thirteen-year-old Duchess and her little brother, Robin. Duchess does most of the care-taking of Robin, feeding him, getting him ready for school, making sure he’s sleeping. She’s doing everything she can to raise Robin (and protect him from the world), and to keep her mother healthy for Robin’s sake. On the eve of Vincent’s return, Star tries to overdose on pills—and not for the first time.

Walk’s a constant presence in the lives of Star, Duchess, and Robin—but not a necessarily welcome one. Still, he’s the steadiest and most reliable adult in the children’s lives (and in some way, Duchess does depend on him and look up to him).

That’s the status quo that King’s release upsets. What follows is a chain of heartbreak, calamity, tragedy, violence, vengeance, and depravity. There’s a little glimmer of hope, too—but it’s hard to find, and there’s a lot of suffering surrounding it.

Whitaker delivers this in lean prose, without wasting a word. It’s almost as if he took Leonard’s rule to “leave out the parts that people skip,” and dialed it up to 11. The prose matches the emotions, the characters—beauty, ornament, sentiment have no place in their lives, and it’s largely empty from the novel. There’s not a word out of place, each one carefully placed for maximum impact and effectiveness.

Each character has a depth that you don’t always see. Whitaker doesn’t explore the depth too much, doesn’t explain it—but he shows that it’s there. Duchess, in particular, is a character so well drawn that I can practically see her. I won’t forget her anytime soon.

There are some problems, not many, but they’re there. The text in the ARC (and perhaps this will be addressed in the final text) contains a couple of sloppy Britishisms—terms that would be commonplace in the UK, but have no place in a US character’s mind. Particularly if they’re a poorly educated child. Whitaker’s language is so precise, so clear, that having something like that just takes me out of the text—ruining the spell.

Secondly, Whitaker’s sparse style occasionally works against him. Every now and then the prose works against him, making a scene difficult to parse. Just a few more words (judiciously placed, obviously) to flesh things out could help.

I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book—I really do. But I didn’t. I did fall under its spell, the stark, bleak outlook affected me (I wonder how I’d have reacted to a thing or two if Duchess’s and Walk’s plights weren’t in the back of my mind the last couple of days). This is not your typical Crime Novel. It’s not written in the typical fashion, with typical characters and motivations, with typical ends in mind. The terms “moody” and “atmospheric” seem like understatements. It is powerful, skillfully written—and will stay with you for quite a while.

Do yourself a favor, take the plunge.

4 Stars

My thanks to Tracy Fenton and Compulsive Readers for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) provided via NetGalley.

This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase from it, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, opinions are my own.

Pub Day Post: A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones: Now that’s a first day on the job

A Bad Day for Sunshine

A Bad Day for Sunshine

by Darynda Jones
Series: Sunshine Vicram, #1

eARC, 400pg.
St. Martin’s Press, 2020

Read: March 31-April 4, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

We meet Sunshine Vicram on the first day of her new job, Sheriff of Del Sol, New Mexico. It’s truly remarkable that one of the state’s most successful law enforcement officers won the office in the small town she grew up in, if for no other reason than she didn’t run for office. Somehow, she handily defeated the incumbent and now finds herself living in a small apartment in her parent’s backyard with her daughter, leading a small force with her childhood best friend as her Chief Deputy.

Her first day on the job is marred by an ominous basket of muffins (literally), a car crashing through the front of her headquarters, a threat from the mayor, a stolen (maybe?) chicken, escaped prisoners, and a runaway/kidnapped fourteen-year-old-girl. Not the most auspicious start, really.

The missing teenager is the Sun’s biggest focus—Sybil’s a quiet, socially awkward girl with no real friends. Sun’s daughter, Auri, had spent some time getting to know her, and she’s the closest thing she seemed to have had to a friend. It appears that she has been kidnapped (but Sun has to look into the alternative) and that the clock is ticking to find and rescue her.

Auri’s first day at the public high school is possibly rougher than her mom’s. Her mom has to deal with hardened criminals, but Auri has to deal with Mean Girls™ who seem to have taken a dislike to her before she even started school. Also, her one prospective friend seems to have gone missing. On the other hand, it’s not all bad—there’s a hot guy who might as well be named Byronic—brooding, poetic, soulful, with a penchant for physical violence. There’s also the bubbliest, cheeriest character this side of Sumi (from McGuire’s Wayward Children)—we didn’t get nearly enough time for her, and I hope that book 2 uses her for more.

It turns out that at Auri’s previous school, she basically was Veronica Mars—doing small investigations (which may or may not have used her mother’s police resources without Sun’s knowledge) for her classmates. She unleashes these tools in the hunt for Sybil and essentially has to fess up to her mother about what she’s done before.

Speaking of Veronica Mars, from the get-go (I was at 4% when I made my first note along these lines), I was comparing the relationship between Sun and Auri as a mix of Lorelai-and-Rory and Keith-and-Veronica (and that was before we learn about Auri’s extra-curricular activities). There’s a fantastic banter, the two clearly love each other with the kind of love that’s the dream of every parent, they both have intelligent and wicked senses of humor, and reading their interactions is probably the best thing in this really entertaining novel.* One of the first things that Sun tells Auri is a twisted first-day-of-school pep talk/warning about teen boys, that ends with a repeated call to ask herself WWLSD? What Would Lisbeth Salander Do? My daughter leaves for college in a few months, I plan on adapting this speech. That’s probably also the moment I decided I read the sequel to this book.

* As a sentence, that’s a mess, but I like it.

I wish I knew how to work in a mention of Sun and Quincy talking about why they couldn’t be K-9 officers, but I can’t blend it into one of these paragraphs. So I’ll just leave it hanging here awkardly. But man, I loved that part.

There’s actually a lot more going on in these pages—but I think there’s enough to whet your appetite. There is a lot of serious, dark, material here—child abduction, murder. Something happened to Sun, too, while she was in high school and the hunt for Sybil digs up some traumatic memories (and evidence). Yet, without once minimizing any of the dangerous, solemn qualities of what Sun, Sybil, Sybil’s parents, and others are going through—Jones makes this a delightful read.

Could I have lived without the three impossibly attractive men who are all into Sun (and vice versa, to varying degrees)? Yeah, it’s a bit much (but Jones made it endearing, actually). I hope future installments dial back a bit on that kind of thing. I’m giving one of those men short shrift, mostly because of time, but I know that in the next book (or the rest of the series), I’ll get plenty of opportunities to talk about him.

Similarly, Sun’s Chief Deputy, Quincy, and some of the other deputies should probably get a paragraph or three, but you’ll have to read for yourself. They’re plenty of fun, and really help to round out the cast (along with the rest of Del Sol’s residents). Jones’ Del Sol, NM is closer to Stars Hollow, CT than Neptune, CA (but you can find traces of the latter in there)—full of larger-than-life characters that you just want to hang out with. Or sit and watch from across the room (or street).

This is as much fun as you can pack into a police procedural without making it a comedy, but still full of grim, grisly, depravity and darkness. It’s a nice serving of literary comfort food. There’s a freshness to this voice that made me a fan, but my appreciation for this book (and the series it launches) goes deeper. I want to find out more about what happened to the teen-aged Sun (although I have pretty strong theories), but more than that, I want to find out what happens to Sun and Auri—particularly Auri—after this.

I strongly recommend this, you’ll have a blast.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley in exchange for this post—thanks to both for this.

This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase from it, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, opinions are my own.

Smoke Bitten by Patricia Briggs: Mercy Deals with Unexpected Threats from Every Direction

Smoke Bitten

Smoke Bitten

by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson, #12

Hardcover, 342 pg.
ACE, 2020

Read: March 24-28, 2020
Grab a copy from your local indie bookstore!

There’s just so much going on in this novel, it’s hard to know where to start—this may be the busiest Mercy Thompson novel yet. Well, okay, we’ll start with the titular bit. Something/Someone has escaped from Underhill. This seems fairly impossible, but I guess even nigh-omnipotent sentient spaces make mistakes every now and then. Doubtlessly the Columbia Basin pack would’ve gotten involved at some point, but since Mercy recognized the threat before the Fae—or anyone else—did, they were on the front line for this. Whoever it bites, it controls. It can shape-shift to look like anyone, too. It’s deadly and doesn’t seem to have much of a plan beyond creating as much chaos and gathering as much power as it can.

While dealing with that, another threat to the pack presents itself. There are some new werewolves in the area, and their goal is simple: become the new pack in town. As Adam’s pack is now independent of The Marrok, these wolves have decided they’re ripe for a takeover. None of these are wolves to be taken lightly—some have recently left a pack run by very dominant Alpha, which took some strength. All of them have strong reputations amongst the wolves (generally positive), although one is known as the wolf who’d do things that Charles Cornick wouldn’t do for his father. These are not going to be easy to face off against.

The thing that’s the most distressing (and given what I’ve just talked about, that’s saying something) for Mercy is that there’s a problem between her and Adam. The roots of the issue go back to before we met Adam, but something happened in Storm Cursed to tip Adam over the brink. The latest meddling by Adam’s ex, Chrissy, made it all boil over and threatened the peace and stability of the pack—as well as their marriage. We see Mercy at her most vulnerable since…well, probably since the attack at the garage (or what The Monster tried to do in Bone Crossed), which stresses for the reader how bad the situation is. The two take some positive steps, but things aren’t resolved wholly here—and I hope Briggs doesn’t patch things up quickly between the two between novels. I think we need to see the pair continuing to work through things.

There’s a few more things going on, too, including some fun with Sherwood (who is quickly becoming a favorite character), some interesting developments with Jesse’s life, and some interesting character development in general with pretty much each of the pack members we usually get time with. Oh, and lest I forget, an old friend comes back.

One final thing to mention: last year, while talking about Storm Cursed, I said:

There’s something that happens in the climactic battle scene that I want to talk about more than I want to talk about anything else in this book—because in the long run it’s going to be bigger and more important than anything else that happens or I’ll eat my hat. It’s so small, so quick that it’d be easy to miss—2 sentences on one page, then twelve pages later 2 more sentences. And Briggs has at least one novel’s worth of plot seeded right there. I love when I see an author do something like that and make it look effortless. And I think I’m underselling it. But I’ll have to leave it there—maybe in book 12 (or 15) when it happens, I’ll remember to say, “Remember that thing I didn’t talk about in Storm Cursed? This is it.”

Well, Briggs gave that seed plenty of water and a little fertilizer in these pages. I still don’t feel comfortable talking about it in detail for reasons I can’t explain. But whoo-boy, I can’t wait to see what Briggs has in mind.

So, yeah, like I said—a lot of balls in the air. Or plates spinning. Pick a metaphor you like best. And I think Briggs did alright by them all—yeah, I’d have liked a bit more time with the new wolves, but we didn’t need it—and I’m not sure we’re done with them (maybe in the next Alpha and Omega book if not in an upcoming Mercy novel?). To deal well with all these elements and keep the novel moving quickly and resolving in a satisfactory manner (with a few more strings than usual left for the next installment) speaks highly of Briggs’ skill. Fans of Mercy Thompson shouldn’t wait to grab this, people who are curious about the series should be able to come on board now, too (although, you really ought to read them all). Briggs is at the top of her game now, and it’s just fun to watch.

4 Stars

This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase from it, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. As always, opinions are my own.

Saturday Miscellany—4/4/20

Update: Naturally, I opened up my Kindle and found something that downloaded yesterday (I’d ordered it so many months ago, that I’d forgotten it was coming), so updated the New Release bit.

Yesterday, I talked about being wiped out lately, and I set out to prove it apparently. I’m not sure what time I fell asleep last night, but it was a few hours earlier than I expected. Anyway, I woke up about 3 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I figured I’d read for a couple of minutes and drift off. I ended up reading for about 90 minutes, finishing a great read. I don’t remember the last time I did that–no interruptions (welcome or otherwise), no taking a quick peek at some social media, no anything. Just me and a book. It was so nice. Probably did more for my psyche than anything else in the last couple of weeks. Hope you’re able to find something like that yourself.

Also, while compiling this post, I’ve been listening to Joe Pug’s second concert from his Social Distancing Tour. I’m wagering that most of you haven’t heard of Pug before, take this opportunity to address that lacuna (loved the whole thing, but my favorite song from this group is around the hour and 10-minute mark although I almost revised that with the next song).

Enough of that, on with the post:

Odds n ends about books and reading that caught my eye this week. You’ve probably seen some/most/all of them, but just in case:
          bullet Bookstores Can Be Saved—Dave Eggers provides the rare serious McSweeney’s post
          bullet Get Shorty at 30: Dennis Lehane on Elmore Leonard’s Hollywood satire—Doesn’t get much better than Lehane, unless it’s Leonard. The former writing about Leonard, much less about Get Shorty? I could end this post right here and be satisfied.
          bullet The best $193 I ever spent: A mountain of detective fiction when my wife was pregnant—although this is almost just as good
          bullet Crime writer Don Winslow leaves Trump behind, mostly, for the California cool of novella collection Broken
          bullet New Ways to Organize Your Bookshelves
          bullet 100 Fairy Books That You Should Read Before You Die
          bullet Sci-Fi & Fantasy Authors Share Their 2020 TBRs—some good looking stuff here
          bullet Reading comprehension, reviews, and jerks—I stumbled onto this again this week, still fun (but man, so glad I don’t have to read people saying things like this about my work)
          bullet Take this (weirdly precise!) quiz to find out which fictional character’s personality matches yours.—a fun little time-killer
          bullet Bearded by J. Billups Book Report—a very cool video version of Billups’ Bearded (and, yes, I’m envious of the beard).
          bullet How I Became A Book Blogger—who doesn’t enjoy a good origin story?
          bullet What Makes a Book Blog Readable?

A Book-ish Related PodcastEpisode (or two) you might want to give a listen to:
          bullet Blood BrothersEpisode 2 Featuring Noelle Holten—a few crime authors being very silly (and some good book talk, too). The first episode is worth your time, too.

This Week's New Releasesthat I’m Excited About and/or You’ll Probably See Here Soon:
          bullet Curse the Day by Judith O’Reilly—the first, Michael North thriller, Killing State just rocked, can’t wait to find time to read this one. A conspiracy thriller featuring an AI and a great former-assassin protagonist.

LastlyI’d like to say hi and extend a warm welcome tosandomina, LDW, and just_tommye for following the blog this week. Don’t be a stranger, and use that comment box, would you?

The Immortal Conquistador by Carrie Vaughn: Just who is the Vampire Rick, Anyway?

I’ve been trying to get this out for over a week now (it was published last week), but I couldn’t seem to be able to—I’m a little surprised I’ve had the energy to post anything since I started telecommuting (odd that not going anywhere tires me out more than going to work does). Finally, with apologies to the publisher for getting this post up late.

The Immortal Conquistador

The Immortal Conquistador

by Carrie Vaughn
Series: Kitty Norville, #1

eARC, 192 pg.
Tachyon Publications, 2020

Read: March 20-23, 2020

I’ve been a fan of the Kitty Norville series since the debut in 2005, and one of the supporting characters that fans seem most enamored of—and are given the least information about—is Kitty’s vampire ally, Rick (the Master of Denver).

For those (like me) who need a little brushing up on some of what went on toward the end of the series, Rick leaves Denver for a while in order to explore a different way to take on Dux Bellorum (the series’ Big Bad).

This book gives the reader some insight into what Rick was up to during this time. The book stitches together four short stories about Rick’s origin (some previously published, some not) while Rick introduces himself to the Order of Saint Lazarus.

I’d already read the first story, “Conquistador de la Noche,” in the collection Kitty’s Greatest Hits—but it worked really well in this setting, too—this sets the stage for the rest of Rick’s history and tells about him becoming a vampire. The next two stories show what happens when he first encounters the Vampire sub-culture and is first exposed to the rules (most) Vampires live by and how Rick skirts the edges of those rules and starts to make both a name for himself and build his different kind of power base.

The fourth story is my favorite detailing what happens when Rick meets a legendary Old West character. It was just a great story with an element of fun. It’s also something the reader is told that Rick’s never told anyone about before. It’s precisely the kind of thing that Kitty would kill to hear, she’s constantly asking vampires and other supernatural types for stories like this. That Rick would go out of his way to deprive her of this story (but we get to read it) was a little extra dash of fun.

I don’t know that this gave me a much better picture of Rick—the novels had pretty much done that. We know his character, we may not understand his past and what he was—but we know who he is. But this book rounds out our understanding of the man and gives the reader a little hope for his future.

Once I cottoned on to what Vaughn was doing—stitching together short stories—I was a little skeptical of the format. But I came around pretty quickly and decided it worked really well. It’s better than a simple short story collection, essentially giving us a bonus story. The stories (including the framing device) feel different from the Kitty series, but not so much that it doesn’t feel like the same world.

A cool bonus of this—you can read it totally independent of the Kitty Norville series. It’s not dependent at all on the events or people of the series (there are references to certain antagonists, but not in any way that makes familiarity with the series necessary for understanding).

I do have to wonder about the timing of this—the series ended almost five years ago, so I’m not sure I get why we’re getting this material in this format now. But that’s just me being curious, not complaining. Did I (or the series) need The Immortal Conquistador? No. But I’m very glad I got it.

Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Tachyon Publications via NetGalley in exchange for this post —thanks to both for the opportunity.

3.5 Stars