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The latest collection of science fiction and fantasy works - a summary of critiques.

The latest collection of science fiction and fantasy works – a summary of critiques.

Cover image of the Book of Doors by Gareth Brown

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Gareth Brown’s The Book of Doors, published by Bantam for £16.99.
After receiving a small leatherbound book as a gift, Cassie’s life is forever changed. The book possesses the ability to turn “any door into every door,” granting her the freedom to step out of her New York apartment and onto the streets of Paris, Venice, Prague, or any other place she has visited or seen in pictures. While Cassie’s best friend, Izzy, expresses concerns about potential misuse by criminals, Cassie simply wants to revel in the incredible freedom this book provides. However, Izzy’s worries prove to be valid as the Book of Doors is just one of several magical books with unique powers. Although not widely known, some collectors will go to extreme lengths, including murder, to obtain these books. What initially seems like a dream come true quickly turns into a thrilling suspense as Cassie’s story unfolds. This truly enchanting book is full of excitement, intricate plot twists, and emotional depth.

Cover image of Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole TalabiView image in fullscreen

Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon by Wole Talabi (Gollancz, £22)

The debut novel by a Nigerian writer known for their acclaimed short stories takes place in two realms: our world and the spiritual side, where ancient deities have adapted to modern times by taking on roles as corporate executives who delegate tasks to lesser spirits in response to prayers and requests. Shigidi, a lesser deity of nightmares, becomes enamored with the alluring and enigmatic Nneoma, a succubus who feeds on human souls, and persuades him to become her partner in a freelance lifestyle. However, his employer, the Orisha Spirit Company, will not release him unless he steals a sacred object from the British Museum. With their supernatural abilities, the couple believes it will be a simple theft, but they encounter resistance from London’s own spirit protectors. Shifting between different points in time and various locations such as Lagos, London, Singapore, and Algeria, this is a captivating story of love, authority, and retribution.

Cover image of Red Side Story by Jasper FfordeView image in fullscreen

Red Side Story by Jasper Fforde (Hodder & Stoughton, £20)

The highly anticipated follow-up to the 2010 novel Shades of Grey continues the story in a post-apocalyptic version of Britain. Society is now structured around a color-based hierarchy, where one’s position and duties are determined by the colors they can perceive. Protagonists Eddie and Jane are limited to the red and green spectrum and face consequences for their forbidden love and wrongful accusation of murder. The authoritarian regime does not tolerate questioning of its strict regulations, but the couple’s love and determination push them to unravel the truth about their world. With well-developed characters, clever humor, and a whimsical Wizard of Oz influence, this imaginative dystopian tale is the second installment in a planned trilogy.

Cover image of Past Crimes by Jason Pinter

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Jason Pinter’s novel, “Past Crimes,” is available from Severn House for £21.99.

The crime writer’s first foray into science fiction takes place in the 2040s, where Americans are immersed in a virtual reality world called Earth+. The demand for true crime entertainment has skyrocketed, thanks to new technology that allows full sensory engagement. Subscribers of Past Crimes, an entertainment company, can choose to not only observe but also participate in famous historical crimes. Cassie West, widow of the man blamed for a series of mass suicides and murders known as the Blight, is convinced that the true culprit is still at large. She believes she has proof that he’s planning another attack, timed to coincide with the release of the highly anticipated Blight simulation. However, will anyone believe her? This gripping near-future thriller explores the potential downsides of a life spent primarily in virtual spaces.

Cover image of The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers

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The book, “The City of Stardust” by Georgia Summers, published by Hodderscape, is priced at £20.

The Everly family has a long-standing curse where the youngest is taken by the ageless and terrifying Penelope to settle a debt. Violet is the last remaining member of this family, as her mother disappeared while trying to break the curse. If her mother doesn’t return, Violet will be the next sacrifice. As the deadline approaches, Violet, who has just reached adulthood, embarks on a journey to break the curse. She seeks help from Aleksander, Penelope’s assistant, even though she knows she shouldn’t trust him. Aleksander tempts her with tales of another world, where he resides in a city of scholar-magicians. However, things take a dark turn in this ambitious debut that falls short of its initial promise. The plot is overly complicated and confusing, and the characters are underdeveloped.

Source: theguardian.com