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Review Archive

Tears of the Assassin – William Schiele

William Schiele packs a hefty amount of action and intrigue into Tears of the Assassin, his debut novel published by Inkshares last week. In Assassin, David Diegert, a half-Ojibwa half-white American, is passed from gauntlet to gauntlet, his situation growing worse and worse, until he’s forced to take work as a contract killer on the Dark Web. Abused by his father,  brother, and high school classmates, Diegert decides to join the military, hoping that he cam earn college tuition through his service. He’s put into service with an unofficial group funneling heroin into the US from Afghanistan, and when he loses his temper at his superior officer, he’s dishonorably discharged and told to keep quiet about his actions in the military. He ends up bouncing at a bar stateside, where he gets caught up in Russian mafia intrigue, which ultimately forces his hand, turning him into a killer. Out of

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The Motion of Puppets – Keith Donohue

Keith Donohue’s The Motion of Puppets is a wonderful book. It’s an exquisite example of what I’d call literary fantasy, though I’m sure it’s more likely to be filed in “non-fiction” and called  slipstream or magical realism than anything else. But nomenclature and categorization are irrelevant at the end of the day. It’s the story and writing that matter. The Motion of Puppets is a beautifully written story of a couple in Quebec who become separated by strange circumstances. Kay is part of a circus troupe performing locally, and her husband, Theo, is an academic working on a translation of a biography of Eadweard Muybridge—the photographer who first captured still images of horses in motion to show that they come completely off the ground as they gallop. Theo’s a worrywart of sorts, and Kay is a free spirit, a distinction evident in their occupations as well as their behaviors. But

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The Show – Filip Syta

I read Filip Syta’s The Show (published by Inkshares) a few weeks ago, and it was the final nail in a coffin that’s been long in the making. I knew that I couldn’t review the book with any kind of honesty until I’d given it some time to marinate, and waited for certain changes in my life (detailed below) to take place. To be frank, I’m still not even sure if I liked the book. The writing didn’t pull me in, though it’s mechanically good, and the protagonist is, for most of the book, a patently shitty person. But the book does one thing exceptionally well, which earns it a high rating in my opinion: it is deeply—almost painfully—honest about the experience of working in the tech world. Vic, the star of The Show, picks up and moves to San Francisco, a gleam in his eye as he considers his

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Altered Perceptions Anthology – Various

  I heard about this anthology through the twitter accounts of the hosts of Writing Excuses, a podcast I’ve mentioned before on the Warbler, of which I’m rather fond. You’ll notice on that image of the cover that it was edited by none other than Brandon Sanderson, whose novels I’ve reviewed before, a few times. The anthology features the work of some 30 authors, alongside essays detailing their personal experiences relating to mental illness. I suppose that’s how I should have started this review. Altered Perceptions was compiled as a fundraiser, to help author Robison Wells out of a financial hole caused by four debilitating mental illnesses. Authors clamored for the opportunity to partake in this campaign, which ran on Indiegogo and raised over $120,000 toward the cause. I hadn’t heard of almost all of the writers from this anthology, and truth be told, I probably won’t be buying many

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Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami

There are occasions when I find that I have to take a break from Fantasy, and I lean toward other fiction in the hopes of broadening my horizons on many levels, most specifically the level of my own writing. So imagine my combined elation and dismay at discovering that Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore is definitely fantasy-adjacent, ripe with magical realism and metaphysical meditations. It is exquisitely written, deeply intriguing, and simply good reading. It is complicated and thought-provoking, and is an altogether outstanding read. Easily one of the best books I’ve read in a while. As I read through Kafka on the Shore, I realized that I very rarely read work by authors outside of the US or greater British Commonwealth, and I think that’s a tragedy I desperately need to mitigate by making some changes to my to-read list. (Fortunately, I’m currently reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The

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The Next Thousand

Hello, friends. I thought it might be nice to share with you the next thousand-word submission for the online group. I won’t bury the blog under weekly submissions for the writing project, but I have a feeling it will crop up occasionally. Enjoy!

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