Book Review: Broken Homes, Rivers of London Book 4, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Broken Homes, Rivers of London Book 4, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Broken Homes, Rivers of London Book 4, Ben Aaronovitch

Detective Peter Grant is becoming stronger in his magical powers, more confident in his detective work, but still is not allowed to drive DCI Nightingale’s jaguar around the streets of London. Nor is he very good at telling the future, like when a river goddess suggests she may start a flood, she may actually start a flood. Still, it was a small flood, insurance paid for most of it, and that really wasn’t his fault. Probably.

Broken Homes is the fourth book in what is quickly becoming one of my favorite series, The Rivers of London. Aaronovitch has quirky and likeable characters interacting in believable ways–that is, once you accept the premise that there is an entire magical London living among and amid the ordinary human residents. It makes sense that this magical London would have dedicated police officers who work to capture rogue wizards and witches, keep the peace between various magical factions, and above all prevent ordinary humans from realizing they are surrounded by magic.

Peter, Nightingale, Lesley, and the rest of the crew (including Toby the dog) are trying to solve multiple crimes when they realize that those crimes are related. We see the return of a witch they faced in a previous novel, but here they find out she is much more powerful than they had realized before. They also find clues that the “faceless man” is becoming active again, a powerful wizard who nearly killed Peter during their last encounter. Not even Nightingale is certain he can be beaten, which gives Peter and Lesley increased urgency in their training. When they are required to move into a building to investigate suspicious activity, that brings them face to face with their most challenging enemies.

Aaronovitch has built a terrific sandbox in this Rivers of London series, and invited all of us to play in it with him. Broken Homes is a fun and easy read. Well worth the time.

Also see

Book Review: Midnight Riot, Rivers of London Book 1, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Moon Over Soho, Rivers of London Book 2, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Whispers Underground, Rivers of London Book 3, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Broken Homes, Rivers of London Book 4, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Whispers Underground, Rivers of London Book 3, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Whispers Underground, Rivers of London Book 3, Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground (Rivers of London Book 3) by [Aaronovitch, Ben]

Book Review: Whispers Underground, Rivers of London Book 3, Ben Aaronovitch

Peter Grant got his start in the police department that handles magic by interviewing a ghost who witnessed a murder. So when a young girl who lives near his parent’s apartment says she has seen a ghost, he can’t really ignore her request to come investigate it. This is the first supernatural visit to London’s underground that DC Grant and DC Lesley May make. It won’t be the last.

 

Whispers Underground is the third installment in a terrific series, Rivers of London. Ben Aaronovitch uses a lot of humor and terrific characters to tell a magical story. After investigating the ghost young Abigail has found, they are called to investigate a murder, a young man stabbed by a piece of pottery. The pottery has traces of vestigium, the echo left by magic, an echo that only those trained in magic can usually sense. Grant and May are part of the Metropolitan Police Force’s department that handles magic and the supernatural, and they are now part of a high profile case.

 

The victim is an American art student, the son of a US senator. This means that the FBI has a vested interest in the case, and despite his quite junior status on the team the agent decides that Grant is the one she should focus on. Scotland Yard may have a division focusing on magic, but it doesn’t LIKE having that division, and especially doesn’t like admitting that they have that division…or even admitting that magic exists. They certainly don’t want to share that information with their friends across the pond. This makes things awkward for Grant. He is charged with investigating a crime involving magic, underneath the watchful observation of an FBI agent, without revealing that magic is involved or even that magic exists.

 

Good. Luck.

 

Aaronovitch continues his often hilarious storytelling style in this wonderful series. The humor is quite dry. In some ways this was the most “British” of the novels, with no efforts made to translate the British idioms into American ones for us colonists. For me that adds to the charm. I don’t mind looking up words that I don’t know. If I am going to read a book set in London, written by a writer living in London, I may as well experience the full effect. A trip to London is on my bucket list…but for now I will have to settle for the vicarious experience through fiction.

 

This series continues to delight. Through wit, compassion, and maybe a little magic, Aaronovitch gives us an urban fantasy that feels very real. His characters are wonderful, his setting is vivid, and his stories are imaginative. It’s hard to ask for anything more in a book.

Also see

Book Review: Midnight Riot, Rivers of London Book 1, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Moon Over Soho, Rivers of London Book 2, Ben Aaronovitch

Whispers Under Ground (Rivers of London Book 3) by [Aaronovitch, Ben]

Book Review: Whispers Underground, Rivers of London Book 3, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Moon Over Soho, Rivers of London Book 2, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Moon Over Soho, Rivers of London Book 2, Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London Book 2) by [Aaronovitch, Ben]

Fantasy: Moon Over Soho, Rivers of London Book 2, Ben Aaronovitch

 

“It’s a sad fact of modern life that if you drive long enough, sooner or later you must leave London behind.”

 

This may now be my favorite opening line to any novel I’ve ever read, and I’ve never been to London! In Moon Over Soho, Ben Aaronovitch continues the story of police detective and apprentice magician Peter Grant, a mixed-race human able to see ghosts. Grant uses his abilities to solve crimes involving magic. Aaronovitch uses his abilities to write fun and engaging stories that mix police procedurals with urban fantasy. I am not sure whether Aaronovitch or his character Peter Grant is truly the more magical.

 

Grant is pursuing leads surrounding the death of a jazz musician. The musician’s death normally would be attributed to natural causes, but there is a strange magical echo, called vestigium, surrounding the body. Most humans cannot sense vestigium, but the coroner can and when he does, he calls Grant and Grant’s boss, DCI Nightingale. Nightingale is still recovering from injuries received during a previous investigation, so the bulk of the detecting will be up to Grant. Grant also enlists aid from DS Lesley May, another detective who was injured during that same case.

 

Grant is also called in to consult with the Murder Team on a case where a man’s…manhood was removed and the victim left to bleed out. They suspect that the man was the victim of some kind of magical creature, one that had teeth in her…womanhood. Grant is pursuing two lines of inquiry, and he cannot help but wonder whether there is a link between these two crimes despite the very different causes of death.

 

Aaronovitch puts a lot of humor into the books. Grant sometimes struggles to learn magic, and to Nightingale’s frustration he sometimes puts spells together in ways that are less than optimal. This sometimes results in things catching on fire. Grant also has garnered an unfortunate reputation for causing property damage, a reputation only made worse by a stolen ambulance careening down London streets in a (successful) effort to save the son of a demigod. Still, his skills, instinct, and talent are all needed to solve the crimes and expose the killers and their motives.

 

Moon Over Soho builds on the solid foundation of the first book and gives greater insight to Peter Grant and Lesley May. It is a fun ride through London’s jazz scene, and does a nice job introducing new characters and setting up a larger arc for future novels. An excellent follow up in a series I am thoroughly enjoying.

Also see

Book Review: Midnight Riot, Rivers of London Book 1, Ben Aaronovitch

Moon Over Soho (Rivers of London Book 2) by [Aaronovitch, Ben]

Book Review: Moon Over Soho, Rivers of London Book 2, Ben Aaronovitch

Book Review: Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

Book Review: Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

Fiction: Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

Spoonbenders is one of the most delightfully strange stories I have read in a long time. Spoonbenders tells the story of a very dysfunctional family: The Amazing Telemachus Family. Teddy Telemachus is a con man. The self-professed inventor of Johnny Carson’s “Carnac the Magnificent” routine, Teddy is a card shark and a grifter. Then he falls for Maureen McKinnon, a woman with actual psychic power. They marry and each of their three children has psychic power. Irene is a human lie detector. Frankie can move small objects with his mind. And Buddy can see the future. Together they create a stage act, but their act falls apart when they are unable to perform it on stage during the Mike Douglas show during the 1970s. Soon thereafter, Maureen dies from cancer, and the family’s lives are shattered.

 

Now, in the 1990s, they are struggling. Irene is a single mother who has just had to move back to live with her father. Her son, Matty, has just discovered that he has psychic powers of his own, but he is not sure what to do with them. Frankie is working a job that he hates, and is deeply in debt to the mob. Buddy seldom talks and mostly starts random remodeling projects in the house, projects that make no sense to anyone else. And Teddy’s card sharking days are long gone, ending when his hands were injured.

 

Daryl Gregory previously won the World Fantasy Award, and this novel was named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR. His writing is clever and crisp, with sharp dialog and distinctive voices for each of these well-crafted characters. Irene is cold and sharp. Teddy is expansive and brash. Frankie is all bluster and fluff. Matty is full of hormones and angst. And Buddy is confused and unsure. As the chapters shift between characters and between the 1970s and 1990s, this difference in the voices helps keep the narrative clear and propels the story forward.

 

Gregory does dash my hopes in the afterword when he declares that psychic powers do not actually exist. The fictional world he creates in this book is incredibly real. As a child of the 70s, I remember the Mike Douglas show. Gregory has a character inspired by The Amazing Randi, whom I also remember from that time. The parts set in the 90s include landline phones and period cars and tv shows and video game consoles and early computers and AOL complete with the whine of the modem handshake to connect. Since I don’t have psychic powers myself, I guess I would prefer that no one else have them to use on me (why they would waste time using them on me I couldn’t say, but hypothetically it could happen). Still, The Amazing Telemachus Family sounds absolutely fascinating.

 

What is remarkable, though, is how obvious it is that these powers have not helped them at all. Buddy can see the future, but it almost paralyzes him. He can barely function in the present because the lines between the present, past, and future are so fuzzy. It is hard for him to know whether he is acting in the present or remembering something he is going to do. Matt can astral project, but only when he is having some other kind of intense experience. Being fourteen and full of hormones, those intense experiences are…well, nothing that he can do in public. Irene knows when people are lying, which makes relationships a real challenge. Common conversation is full of “white lies.” “You look great in that dress,” “I’m doing fine,” “She’s running late.” Those sorts of social lubricants are things that keep peace among people, but they are the sorts of things that she sees right through.

 

So maybe it’s better after all that we don’t have psychic powers. Spoonbenders makes a compelling case that they are not necessarily helpful to those who have them, at least in living a normal life. Then again, normal might be overrated. Spoonbenders is definitely not a normal book. But it is a very good book.

Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

Book Review: Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory

Book Review: Akata Warrior, Nnedi Okorafor

Book Review: Akata Warrior, Nnedi Okorafor

Fantasy: Akata Warrior, Nnedi Okorafor

This sequel to Akata Witch has everything you want in a young adult fantasy. Compelling characters, exciting plot, brilliant writing, ferocious enemies, and a beautifully built world. Nnedi Okorafor is an amazing writer and Akata Warrior is a wonderful book.

 

Sunny Nwazue is a free agent Leopard person, or as we Lambs might call her, a witch. Along with her friends Orlu, Chichi, and Sasha, she is studying the ways of Leopard people with a teacher for their group and with a mentor for each of them individually. She is also a student and soccer player for her local school, where non-magic Lambs attend, blissfully unaware of the Leopard people in their midst.

 

Balancing the need for absolute secrecy about the Leopard world with her personal and family life has always been challenging for Sunny. When her brother is attacked and his life is threatened, that challenge becomes too great to bear. Using magic to help her brother is acceptable, but when she reveals herself as the source of the retribution she finds herself in trouble (again) with the Leopard council. Her punishment starts a process that leaves her vulnerable in new ways to attack from their greatest enemy, an ancient foe who is trying to return to the human world.

 

It’s hard to say what I like best about Nnedi Okorafor’s work. Her world building is imaginative, overlaying a magical world on top of modern day Nigeria with all its wealth and poverty. Her characters are distinct and different, each with separate voices and individual strengths and weaknesses. Sunny herself grows and changes throughout the book. Humorous scenes and one-liners pop up when needed to keep the tone from getting too dark. Sunny is a free agent, which means that although she has magic her family does not. This leads to natural conflict and secrets between herself and her parents and her brothers. These secrets are handled by the author logically–which is to say, there is yelling and crying and silence and avoidance of uncomfortable subjects. Probably the way most families would handle it, good and bad and angry and sad and resigned and loving.

 

Okorafor’s Africa is neither the “dark continent” of mystery and megafauna and backwards tribes living in grass huts that previous generations of writers presented, nor the poverty and disease ridden slums of late night charity infomercials. Sunny’s family lived in the U.S. but chose to raise their children in Nigeria, thinking they would be safer and healthier there. Her friend Sasha is from Chicago. His parents made a similar decision, sending him to live with Orlu’s family. Sunny and her family live in a nice house with a fenced yard. They use the same types of appliances they used in New York. They go to school, they play sports, they have cell phones and computers and Internet access, they live in many respects as well as or better than they did in the U.S. Okorafor’s Nigeria has its problems: crime and corruption and poor roads and oil spills are among the issues she mentions in the book. But Sunny’s family lives an essentially middle class life similar to the lives they led in the U.S. They just happen to be doing it in Nigeria.

Also see Akata Witch  and the Binti series

Book Review: Akata Warrior, Nnedi Okorafor

Book Review: Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review: Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse

Science Fiction: Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse

It is not often that I anticipate a new book as eagerly as I awaited Storm of Locusts, and Rebecca Roanhorse does not disappoint. In this sequel to Trail of Lightning, Maggie (known to some as a “Monsterslayer” and to others as a “Godslayer”) returns to face a new enemy. (Spoilers ahead.)

Gideon is a cult leader. Raised in a white family, he is actually Diné (Navajo) and has received clan powers. His powers allow him to control people…and to control locusts. When one of Gideon’s followers kills a friend of Maggie’s, she winds up caring for her friend’s niece Ben. They then learn that Gideon has taken Kai (a character from the first book) and Maggie and Ben pursue them to rescue Kai.

Of course, things get more complicated as Maggie, Ben, and Rissa (a frenemy of Maggie’s) encounter beings from the spirit realm of the Diné, are forced to leave the protected lands of the Dinetah to follow Kai and Gideon, are tricked, and captured, and escape, and find unlikely allies along the way. Alliances and friendships are made, questions arise about Kai’s participation with Gideon, and Maggie discovers new powers and new truths about herself.

If you don’t count locusts, the body count is lower in this sequel, and a lot more time is spent on Maggie’s personal journey and relationships with her team. The fact that she has a “team” is itself a growth aspect for Maggie, and it takes her awhile to recognize that. However, even though she usually tries to avoid killing people now, Maggie remains the same kickass heroine we met in Trail of Lightning. This is a deeper, more thoughtful Maggie, one who is developing new talents, new friends, and new reserves that she will undoubtedly need in the next book of this dynamic series.

It has been a busy year for Rebecca Roanhorse. Winner of the John Campbell award, as well as a Hugo and a Nebula, she is up for more awards this year and I suspect that Storm of Locusts will in turn gather its own shelf of nominations and awards next year. She is taking Science Fiction into new directions, representing a neglected voice in the genre, and I am eager to see what else comes from this amazing writer.

Book Review: Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review: Florida, Lauren Groff

Book Review: Florida, Lauren Groff

Short Story Collection: Florida, Lauren Groff

Florida was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award and was named one of NPR’s “Books of the Year” for 2018. A collection of short stories is the official description, but this basic characterization fails to do it justice. It is a collection of gems, set (mostly) in a state with sun, sand, snakes, and stories that are moving and filling.

 

The only unifying theme of the book is the state of Florida. Not all of the stories are set in Florida, but all of them feature Floridians. The only recurring human character is a mother, nameless other than that description, “the mother.” She is married with two sons, and her life is both fulfilled and empty. She loves her husband but fears they have become simply clouds to one another, misty, amorphous, no longer in focus. She loves her children but fears she is not a good enough mother. She wants to finish the book she is writing on Guy de Maupassant, but finds when she takes her sons with her to France to work on the book that she actually abhors both the man and most of his writings. This mother spoke to me in her determination and desperation. She wants so much to be the wife and mother she thinks she should be. She wants to be the academic she’s dreamed of being. But life has conspired to move things sideways. She is determined to do her best, but is desperately aware that her best will never be what she wants it to be. She can only hope it is good enough, at least for her children, hopefully for herself and her husband. As of the end of the book, we can only hope with her.

 

The other recurring character is Florida itself. This is not the Florida of Disney and the travel brochures. This is a Florida where two little girls can be abandoned to starve on an island, rescued by chance after eating everything in their house and their neighbor’s house, wearing their mother’s dresses and lipstick. This is a Florida where a woman falls and injures herself with only two children to care for her for days, while a panther prowls outside their cabin. This is a Florida that a woman will not leave for more than a vacation, and where her husband will no longer stay. This is a Florida of survivors and victims, of homeless women and desperate men, of teens forced to raise themselves in empty homes and people trapped in empty lives. This is a Florida of hurricanes and heat. There are no talking cartoon mice in this Florida, though snakes and feral dogs and palmetto bugs make some very unwelcome appearances.

 

This can be a challenging book to read, but it is beautiful and heartfelt. If you want stories with happy endings, this is not your book. But neither is it unrelenting in its sadness. There are victors: an old man who survives everything life has thrown at him, (spoiler alert) the two girls who survive being abandoned, even the mother who appears in multiple stories. But these survivors do not survive without scars. They are damaged and wounded by their experiences, they are never completely whole again, they carry the marks on their bodies and in their hearts. But they do survive. And maybe that’s the theme of the book: if they can survive Florida, we can survive our own Floridas, whether they are in another state, another country, or just another state of mind.

 

Lauren Groff has given us a beautiful set of stories, gems which lay on a pendant of the Sunshine State. Like that perfect piece of jewelry, each gem shines individually. Together, though, it is splendid. Florida is a wonderful book that can be enjoyed piece by piece, story by story, but is perhaps most extraordinary when taken in as a whole.

Book Review: Florida, Lauren Groff

Book Review: American Spy, Lauren Wilkinson

Book Review: American Spy, Lauren Wilkinson

Thriller: American Spy , Lauren Wilkinson

American Spy is one of the deepest, most profound books I have ever read dealing with race, gender, imperialism, and American identity. Lauren Wilkinson has managed to weigh in on numerous deep and profound topics while weaving a tale of spycraft that stands its ground against thrillers that follow more formulaic plots.

 

Marie Mitchell is a single mother raising twin boys. One night a stranger breaks into their suburban home. Marie kills the stranger, but we quickly discover that she has been anticipating this possibility for years. She takes her boys, flees to her mother’s home on the island of Martinique, and begins writing a journal which is the content of the novel.

 

We follow Marie’s relationship with her parents, her older sister Helene who died years earlier, Marie’s career in the FBI, and her recruitment and missions for the CIA. We find out who the boys’ father was, we meet Marie’s lifelong friend (and occasional boyfriend) Robbie, and her father’s friend Mr. Ali. And in the process we read about the rise of an early military contractor, the mixed feelings of African Americans when working for instruments of their oppression like the FBI, and the casual sexism and homophobia that permeated institutions in the 1980s (and clearly still does far too often still today).

 

I really liked this book, in part because it was challenging to read. Wilkinson does not shy away from tough topics and she is willing to delve into them in depth and with solid background. Sometimes this can sidetrack the story, but it is necessary and the author puts it to good use. I love the opportunity to look through different eyes at the world. Marie is African American, female, and definitely provides this white male reader with that different perspective.

 

I also love the open ending of the book. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, so all I will say is that the book ends with the chance for the reader to decide what happens next–or, hopefully, the opportunity for the author to write a sequel letting us know what happens next in Marie’s life.

 

Marie is a challenging protagonist, fascinating and sometimes unlikeable. Principled, but willing to reinterpret those principles when new information becomes available. Courageous, bold, and yet willing to admit she is afraid, but unwilling to be stopped by her fear. Motivated by love, love for her sister, love for her boys, love for their father. Marie is someone you’d love to meet and fear to cross.

 

American Spy is unlike any other novel I have read. It is powerful, breaks with convention, tells a thrilling spy story but wraps within it powerful social commentary. Read it while wearing a crash helmet. You’ll be glad you did.

Book Review: American Spy, Lauren Wilkinson

Book Review: The Poppy War, RF Kuang

Book Review: The Poppy War, RF Kuang

The Poppy War: A Novel

Fantasy: The Poppy War, RF Kuang

Shortlisted by many as one of the best fantasy books of 2018, The Poppy War is a stellar debut novel that feels both familiar and brand new. In some ways there is familiar territory being covered: Runin, a poor orphan girl, studies hard to excel on the test granting admission to the top school in the country. While there, she is largely shunned and mocked for her poverty, her gender, her color, her accent, and her lack of a family. However, she discovers within herself access to a power greater than her classmates can comprehend, a power that allows her to become more than just a mere soldier, a power that can change the course of a war, a country, humanity itself.

 

Runin can become a shaman, a conduit of the gods. There is a cost, though. It may require she lose her very humanity. If the result is the salvation of her country, though, is that not worth it? What price should not be paid, what price is too high, if the enemy is at the gates?

 

RF Kuang’s novel is rich and nuanced. Runin is a very complex character, flawed and deep. Her drive to escape her childhood is so strong that she is willing to burn her skin with candles to stay awake and master the course of study. To study with the Lore Master at her school she is willing to carry a pig up and down a mountain daily (it builds physical strength, speed, and stamina) for the months it takes for the pig to reach maturity. Yet with this drive comes rashness and immaturity. She is nearly expelled for fighting a classmate. And later she comes close to killing that same classmate, pulling herself back only at the last moment.

 

When her country is invaded by their long-term enemy, Runin is drafted to serve in the defense forces. She sees how ruthless the invaders are toward both enemy soldiers and civilians, and she starts to come to grips with her own powers. And as both the atrocities increase and the country begins to fall, the questions of right and wrong become more muddled. The god she can access is a god of fire and a god of revenge. How much fire is she willing to unleash? How far is she willing to take her revenge? The rules of war are different when you are fighting with a god’s agenda. That agenda may overlap with human desires, but they should never be mistaken as being the same.

 

Reinterpreting portions of 20th Century Chinese and Japanese history, The Poppy War is both a fantasy and an alternate history that has some resonance with other coming-of-age books but is also unique and distinctly Asian in its telling. It is a powerful and thoughtful book, and a great start to what looks to be an excellent series.

The Poppy War: A Novel

Book Review: The Poppy War, RF Kuang

Book Review: Severance, Ling Ma

Book Review: Severance, Ling Ma

Fiction: Severance, Ling Ma

Severance is an odd novel, really almost three novellas telling the story of one person. Candace Chen is a millennial living in NYC. Born in China and raised in Utah, Candace loves her routine. Her job for a printing company has her overseeing the production of Bibles target marketed toward specific audiences. Her nights are usually spent with her boyfriend watching movies projected against the wall. Occasionally she dreams of something less predictable, but the truth is that she likes her routines, she takes comfort in the familiar, and although moving to NYC disrupted her previous routines, she has substituted those old ones for new ones that she is unwilling to change.

 

The book jumps around Candace’s timeline, from childhood in China and Utah to her early days in NY to a few years later when the arrival of the Shen virus decimates the city to her current situation traveling with a group of refugees to “the facility,” a place where they have been assured they will be safe. The refugees are led by a charismatic figure named Bob, a man who uses charm and manipulation to keep them together and is someone Candace does not trust.

 

Shen fever is a plague that strikes first in China then spreads around the world. Its symptoms initially mimic the common cold, but once the fever strikes people become frozen in routines they cannot escape. Mothers set tables for meals that are not there. Retailers fold clothes again and again and again. Taxi drivers wander through the city aimlessly. Candace is one of the fortunate few who does not contract the disease. Her routine has already been disrupted before the arrival of the disease, and not to give away any spoilers but I cannot help but wonder whether it is less a matter of exposure to the fungus that keeps her safe or whether it is the disruption of her predictable life.

 

Candace documents the collapse of the city on her photoblog NYGhost, posting pictures of flooded subways, empty stores, abandoned vehicles, and other images of a forsaken city. Eventually, though, she has to leave in order to survive. It’s a rather chilling view of how quickly a city can collapse: the time from the virus first appearing in the city to the time when she must flee in order to survive is only a matter of months. We rely so much on technology that it is easy to forget that the true infrastructure that lets everything continue is people doing their routine jobs. Without people, there are no trains, there is no electricity, there is no Internet, there are no book blogs–what a horrible world that would be!

 

Severance is a coming of age story. It is an examination of the challenges of living an ordinary modern life. And it is a look at a dystopian near future. These three stories woven together by the one life they examine are each powerful alone, but together they make a rich and complex examination of both the meaning and meaninglessness of modern life.

Book Review: Severance, Ling Ma