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Monday, June 1, 2020
Nanoreviews: Salvaged, Automatic Reload, The Glass Magician
Roux, Madeline. Salvaged [Ace]
For perhaps half of the novel, I was into this novel. I dug the claustrophobic story of a woman ending up on a contaminated ship with the crew taken over by some parasitic alien fungus something. The atmosphere was oppressive, and it was wonderful.
So I was really confused as to why halfway through the novel Madeline Roux completely lost me. I've been trying to figure it out and I still can't put my finger on what my problem with Salvaged is. What was compelling became a chore, the drama of the infected crew was something I wanted to get past. Salvaged became a novel to endure, rather than to savor.
Steinmetz, Ferrett. Automatic Reload [Tor]
The publisher describes Automatic Reload as a "quirky, genre-mashing cyberpunk romance" but the novel takes quite a while to get there. Automatic Reload initially feels like little more than gun-porn, but there's a lot more heart here than I anticipated.
Don't get me wrong, there's a LOT of gun play and Steinmetz blows stuff up really well - but the heart of Automatic Reload is of a mercenary who is desperate to save any innocents he can and a woman who was turned into a living weapon. That relationship is worth the price of admission, but though the violence is delightful and the relationship is well handled, the novel itself doesn't quite come together for me. I'm impressed by the parts, but I didn't love the whole.
Stevermer, Caroline. The Glass Magician [Tor]
After two disappointing novels, it is rather nice to close on such a delightful novel as The Glass Magician. The novel itself is a bit of a magic trick, hinting at the world and the characters set up one way, only to find out that nobody is who they say they are and are barely who they think they are.
The Glass Magician is a graceful novel, filled with stage magic mixed with real magic and more than a dash of mortal peril. It is absolutely lovely.
POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 4x Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan. He / Him.