Review – Big Damn Hero, The Magnificent Nine, The Ghost Machine, Generations, and Life Signs

Firefly needs no introduction, but my recomendation of these books relies almost entirely on the way it affects me. I discovered the show and fell in love with the characters, their chemistry, their banter, their hijinks, the whole bit. When I saw that novels were coming out in the Firefly Verse, I was excited, to put it mildly.

The books are fairly short, and give the feeling of being a series of long-ish episodes. Are they incredible, groundbreaking, life-changing stuff? No. But they gave me a chance to spend time with some old friends I’d never thought I’d get to see again. For that bit of escapism alone, they were worth the price of admission to me.

For what it’s worth, of the four that are out now THE MAGNIFICENT NINE felt the most like an episode of Firefly to me and GENERATIONS felt like the one that expanded the Verse the most (note: I’ve only watched the show and Serenity, so maybe the graphic novels and such might color your experience of the novels, sorry).

There are, at present, four novels in this extend Verse. James Lovegrove wrote the first three (but the “original story concept for BIG DAMN HERO was by Nancy Holder), and Tim Lebbon wrote the fourth. Lovegrove also wrote (is writing?) LIFE SIGNS, which has a release date set for Spring, 2021.

I’m just going to link to them all in one big linkfest here.

If it sounds good to you, check it out. If you’ve got a local independent bookseller, please give them your business in this difficult time. If it works, try using the Bookshop link, which tries to support independent booksellers. If your local library has it on the shelf, support libraries!

If Amazon is the what works for you to get books in the pandemic, use Amazon, that’s okay too!

Bookshop:

Firefly – Big Damn Hero

Firefly – The Magnificent Nine

Firefly – The Ghost Machine

Firefly – Generations

Firefly – Life Signs (preorder)

Powell’s:

Firefly – Big Damn Hero

Firefly – The Magnificent Nine

Firefly – The Ghost Machine

Firefly – Generations

Firefly – Life Signs (currently listed as “out of stock”)

Amazon:

Firefly – Big Damn Hero

Firefly – The Magnificent Nine

Firefly – The Ghost Machine

Firefly – Generations

Firefly – Life Signs (preorder)

Review – Station Eleven

Station Eleven (Paperback) - Walmart.com - Walmart.com

Emily St. John Mandel’s STATION ELEVEN was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, so, again, not exactly a diamond in the rough book. But, its writing was gorgeous.

The opening is so understated, simple, sparse–a list of things that were lost when a global pandemic swept civilization aside and left only a few straggling survivors behind (yes, a tad on the nose for the current moment). It sets the tone for a deft weave of lives that weave together from the time before the pandemic strikes on through the world in the aftermath, and as the tapestry comes together the picture it forms is remarkable.

If it sounds good to you, check it out. If you’ve got a local independent bookseller, please give them your business in this difficult time. If it works, try using the Bookshop link, which tries to support independent booksellers. If your local library has it on the shelf, support libraries!

If Amazon is the what works for you to get books in the pandemic, use Amazon, that’s okay too!

Bookshop:

Station Eleven

Powell’s:

Station Eleven

Amazon:

Station Eleven

Review – Eridani’s Crown

Amazon.com: Eridani's Crown eBook: Shvartsman, Alex: Kindle Store

Alex Shartsman’s debut novel is an epic coming of age story centered on the titular Eridani as she rises from hardscrabble youth to ruler of the world. It has shades of King Lear, and a fascinating magic system that illuminates the characters, Eridani’s greatest flaws and strengths, the perils of power, and the consequences of seizing it.

If it sounds good to you, check it out. If you’ve got a local independent bookseller, please give them your business in this difficult time. If it works, try using the Bookshop link, which tries to support independent booksellers. If your local library has it on the shelf, support libraries!

If Amazon is the what works for you to get books in the pandemic, use Amazon, that’s okay too!

Bookshop:

Eridani’s Crown

Powell’s:

Eridani’s Crown

Amazon:

Eridani’s Crown

Review – Under the Pendulum Sun

Under The Pendulum Sun - By Jeannette Ng (Paperback) : Target

Jeannette Ng‘s debut is breathtaking. The prose and imagery of this caused me to set the book down on several occasions and seriously consider never writing again as I knew I could never in a lifetime of work craft a single thing as gorgeous as this book.

A missionary is assigned to spread Christianity to Faerie, and he promptly disappears. His sister follows, hoping to find her missing brother, and finds herself in an utterly foreign and vivid beyond words render of a world unlike her own.

There’s so much complexity and density to the themes and message in this book that it would require far longer than this brief post could possibly manage. Besides, it deserves a critical eye far more adept than my own to do justice to it.

Obviously, this isn’t an under-the-radar book, it garnered awards a-plenty, but it absolutely is worth reading.

Lastly, oh my goodness that cover. John Coulthart absolutely crushed this.

If it sounds good to you, check it out. If you’ve got a local independent bookseller, please give them your business in this difficult time. If it works, try using the Bookshop link, which tries to support independent booksellers. If your local library has it on the shelf, support libraries!

If Amazon is the what works for you to get books in the pandemic, use Amazon, that’s okay too!

Bookshop:

Under the Pendulum Sun

Powell’s:

Under the Pendulum Sun

Amazon:

Under the Pendulum Sun

Review – The Monster of Elendhaven

Jennifer Giesbrecht’s THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN is a novella about a person who cannot die his lover, a nobleman who is hell bent on exacting revenge against those who have wronged him. The book oozes pathos in its setting, a cold, sea-swept harbor town. From the first line, it forced me into a vivid world and didn’t let me go until it was over (admittedly, too soon… it is a novella, after all).

It was a great read, short, punchy, and viscerally realized.

If it sounds good to you, check it out. If you’ve got a local independent bookseller, please give them your business in this difficult time. If it works, try using the Bookshop link, which tries to support independent booksellers. If your local library has it on the shelf, support libraries!

If Amazon is the best and safest way for you to get books, that’s okay too.

Purchase links:

The Monster of Elendhaven – Bookshop

The Monster of Elendhaven – Powell’s Books

The Monster of Elendhaven – Amazon