I didn’t get a chance to do an end-of-year review of books I read last year so I’m going to do one now. Three books I have read recently that I enjoyed.
The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik
Del Rey, 27 September 2022
This is book three in Novik’s Scholomance series.
I suspect I’m not the only one who, when they finished book two with Orion stuck back in the Scholomance and El on the outside immediately assumed that book three would be about what happened when El went back inside to rescue Orion.
This wasn’t that book at all.
This was more about what happened outside the school.
It’s lovely when a book throws your expectations so much but you still enjoy the story.
I don’t want to say too much because, spoilers, but if you read and enjoyed Scholomance and The Last Graduate, you should enjoy this one too.
The Weight of Command by Michael Mammay
Falstaff Books, 17 January 2023
All the top brass are wiped out, so lowly lieutenant Keira Markov is placed in charge of the army. She has to contend with attacks, politics and another lieutenant who thinks he should have gotten the job due to seniority.
Classic military sci-fi.
This one’s new, and it’s my favourite Mammay since the Planetside trilogy.
The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley
Bloomsbury Publishing. 26 July 2022.
This one’s a little more downbeat that the others, covering as it does topics like ethics, scientific experimentation, radiation coverups, the gulags, KGB purges (post-Stalin) with some flashbacks to the German eugenics program.
The story is set in 1963 in a town in Soviet Russia where Valery Kolkhanov is studying the effects of radiation on mice. Except, there’s a lot that’s hidden in this town.
It’s a genteel story, very Natasha Pulley, quite depressing and horrifying in places. It does have a happy ending, but first read around there were parts I had to skip. Not because they were bad, per se, but because of things I knew from history. For example, I skipped the flashbacks first time around as soon as I realised (long before Valery did) where his samples were coming from.