In short, the plot revolves around Mahit, from Lsel station. She is summoned by the Empire, after the former ambassador mysteriously died. But everything becomes complicated very quickly and Mahit must survive on her wits and try to keep her station safe from the Empire.
This whopping great brick of a novel (700 pages and change) follows the members of the Athena club on an adventure to Europe to rescue Lucinda Van Helsing, daughter of the famous Dr Van Helsing.
The Sarawak Report is the book version of the blog, by Clare Rewcastle Brown. Starting it’s life out as a blog detailing the pillaging of the Borneo rainforest by a a corrupt Malaysian politician, it turns into the investigation of its Prime Minister who was involved in the 1MDB scandal.
n general, the book is about the different kinds of behaviour in different cultures, and how this can cause frustration if you don’t realise it. Things like how people like to approach meetings, or how people develop trust, or even how they like to receive feedback.
Just like “A Dead Djinn in Cairo”, this short story is utterly delightful. It takes place in the same universe, turn of the century Cairo, but one inhabited by djinns and other mythic and supernatural beings.
ut Spam Nation is more of a fun mystery novel as it’s mostly a story about two rival spammers, who probably do as much to undermine their industry (for lack of a better word) as they did to start it.
Superior is an examination of scientific racism, talking to scientists, anthropologists, historians and a whole host of other people. It also talks to some obvious racists, which is kind of fascinating in itself.
I can see why lots of people love this book. It’s like a Russian Doll of a story, all wrapped up in flowery and beautiful language. But in some respects, that’s all it is. So it’s fine, but I’m not sure what all the fuss was about.
Future Crimes is a very detailed book, looking at all various ways that technology can be exploited for nefarious purposes. It’s a really good read, though it leaves you with a lingering paranoia about every device in your home. After the chapter on IoT (internet of things) devices, I googled whether our robot vacuum had a vulnerability (it did).
The Poppy War uses the general frame of Chinese history in the 20th century, but reshapes it with its own fantasy elements. So there’s an invasion from an island nation (Japan), the influx of opium and heroin but then the fantasy elements of being able to call upon gods and become shamans are mixed in with all that.