Ashlie’s #CBR5 Review #22: Geek Love by Katherine Dunn

Geek Love is the most fantastic book I have ever read. In this instance, I don’t mean “the best” I mean “the most remote from reality.” Not going to lie: as a geek I totally judged this book buy its cover in that I found the title intriguing. The book came highly recommended from my favorite member of the Literary Disco Podcast team, Rider Strong, as he said it is one of his favorite books. And I mean, if Shawn Hunter recommends it, I sort of owe it to my fifteen year old self to give it a look.

I made it through, similar to the way you would have to continue on if you are stuck in traffic beyond a horrible wreck with no detour routes: impatiently, gritting my teeth, and through clinched eyes. In this book, the Binewski family owns and operates a traveling circus, but this doesn’t have the charm of your average Barnum and Bailey. The children have been genetically engineered by their father to become circus freaks, who are the main attractions. This book is twisted and compelling and often horrific as the family goes from a simple circus to a religious cult under the thumb, or fin rather, of their controlling and psychotic son. The book is non-linear as one of the children is retelling the sad history of the family as a retrospective, while trying to make amends for her sin as well as, the the sins of the whole family.

It is bizarre, sad, painful, and creepy. I’m sort of glad to have read it, because you really have no see it to believe but I won’t ever be revisiting it: once is enough.

Fofo’s #CBR5 Review #17: Secrets of the Fire Sea by Stephen Hunt

Secrets of the Fire SeaTarget: Stephen Hunt’s Secrets of the Fire Sea (Jackelian #4)

Profile: Speculative Fiction, Steampunk, Fantasy, Mystery

The fourth book in Stephen Hunt’s Jackelian series is a marked improvement on the third, but doesn’t quite recapture the energy or creativity of the first.  However, the actual narrative line of Secrets of the Fire Sea is surprisingly clean and easy to follow, a vast improvement over Hunt’s pervious stories.

If you haven’t been following my various Cannonball blogs,Secrets of the Fire Sea takes place in Hunt’s steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi setting that started with The Court of the Air. And it is honestly one of the best steampunk settings out there, and continues to be wonderfully creative sometimes even surprising.  I would go so far as to say that the setting is the reason these books are worth reading, as the stories tend to be retreads of obvious tropes and are only interesting because of the set pieces that make up the world.

Read the rest of the review…

Read Fofo’s reviews of the Jackelian sequence