Book Review: Iron Chamber of Memory

As you may have determined from my review of Somewhither, I have been impressed by the work of John C. Wright.  Somewhither was an awesome roller coaster ride with as much depth as it had spectacle.

Iron Chamber of Memory is different.  It is a much slower burn.  Don’t get me wrong, there is action, adventure, and derring-do.  There is also romance, though in more than one sense.  I’ll get to that in a bit.

Slower burn or no, unlike Somewhither, I read Iron Chamber of Memory in a day.  Thanksgiving Day, to be precise.  It’s taken me this long to write the review because how to review such a book was a bit of a conundrum.

The story starts out with Hal Landfall, a poor graduate student working on a paper on Arthurian legend, looking for his missing friend Manfred on the island of Sark.  (Sark is a real place, a small island in the English Channel, just east of Guernsey.)  Manfred has recently become the hereditary lord of Sark, and Hal is seeking him in the middle of the night, at a bizarrely labyrinthine mansion where the Lords of Sark reside, presently unoccupied.  (Unlike the island, the mansion, I regret to say, is fictional.)  There he falls in with Laurel, Manfred’s fiancee, who is also looking for her husband-to-be.  They find a way inside the mansion and begin to explore, before stumbling on a strange, rose-lit chamber.  As soon as they step through the door, they realize that everything they know about their lives outside is a lie.  Only in that chamber do they know the truth.

So, it starts out as something of a supernatural whodunit, with a side of sorcery-tainted love triangle.  But that’s just where it starts.  It goes oh, so much deeper, and darker, as Hal tries to sort out real memories from false, and slowly comes to understand the deeper spiritual and metaphysical reality that his surface life is plastered over.

When I first saw the blurb for the book, my first thought was that it sounded right up the Jed Horn alley.  I wasn’t wrong.  I wasn’t entirely right, either.  It’s deeper.  Far deeper.  If I can manage to get a fraction of the depth of John’s stories into the Jed Horn series, I figure I’ll be doing all right.

Do yourselves a favor and pick up Iron Chamber of Memory.  I tell you this while taking the definite risk that it will make my own stories pale in comparison.  Go read it, anyway.

Book Review: Somewhither

How does one describe John C Wright’s Somewhither?  That is, indeed the question.

While this book won the Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction novel this year, Science Fiction doesn’t quite cover it.  In some ways, it’s about as Science Fictional as Star Wars.  But since it deals with multiple parallel universes, with technological interfacing between them, I suppose the label “Science Fiction” works.  It could just as well have been called “Philosophical/Metaphysical Action Adventure,” though even that wouldn’t quite cover it. Continue reading “Book Review: Somewhither”

Book Review: Gray Matter Splatter

Jack Murphy definitely has a way with titles.  Gray Matter Splatter is a title that few could pull off, particularly in a day and age of nonsensical buzzword thriller titles like True Faith and Allegiance.

But Jack pulls it off, somehow.  Gray Matter Splatter is a breakneck bloodbath in the Arctic, a bit of a change of pace from the last couple Deckard installments. Continue reading “Book Review: Gray Matter Splatter”

Book Review: The Perseid Collapse Series: The Complete Scavenger Trilogy

I’m a little late getting to this one, as the omnibus version came out in June, but I finally got to it.  (My TBR pile is pretty tall, and since I’m usually working on reading about six books at a time, not to mention writing, it can sometimes take a bit.)

I haven’t read any of the rest of the Perseid Collapse series, but that doesn’t take away from Ross Elder’s contribution.  There is little extra background needed, and what is needed is provided.

The book opens after the Perseid Event (the nature of which is never clear in the Scavenger Trilogy, though there is some speculation), with society already pretty well in collapse.  We meet the protagonist, Zack Morris, as he’s investigating an abandoned house. Continue reading “Book Review: The Perseid Collapse Series: The Complete Scavenger Trilogy”

Book Review: Her Brother’s Keeper

Family in trouble, ancient mysteries, warlords, and rocket ships that take off and land vertically, as God and Robert Heinlein intended.  These is a short list of some of the awesome stuff to be found in Mike Kupari’s first solo novel, Her Brother’s Keeper.

It is hundreds of years in the future, on the far side of the Great Interregnum, a dark age where human interstellar civilization effectively ceased to be.  Humanity is starting to build a spacefaring civilization again, rediscovering many of the lost artifacts and worlds of the Second Federation, many of which are far beyond their technical knowledge. Continue reading “Book Review: Her Brother’s Keeper”

Book Review: The Sovereigns

Imagine Die Hard, if John McClane had been a retired Special Operations soldier instead of an off-duty cop.  That’s pretty much the scenario that Steven Hildreth presents in The Sovereigns, albeit with a bit more going on behind the scenes.

It is an alternate 2005.  An anarchist/sovereign citizen terrorist group calling itself The Liberty Brigade, made up of a few true believers and a few more violent sociopaths who find the idea of revolution fits right in with their particular idea of fun, has seized the Saguaro Towers, a Carlton Hotel, in Tucson.  They have struck fast and hard.  Security is dead, the hotel’s guests are held hostage, and they have the situation under control.  Their demands hit all the high points of the isolationist and conspiracy theorist narrative.  They are also calculated so that the government can never agree to them. Continue reading “Book Review: The Sovereigns”