The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Gollancz)
I really enjoyed this book — it’s not only definitely space opera, but a richly baroque variant distinguished by the sheer imagination of the world building. A little light on the character development perhaps, but certainly not suffiicently so as to dis-satisfy… And because I felt The Quantum Thief fell close to the “science as magic” end of the space opera spectrum it may not be the right book for readers who like hard science fiction.
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson (Doubleday)
This is the fourth in Kate Atkinson’s “Jackson Brodie” series and I found the story development more even than with its predecessor When Will There Be Good News. It’s also classic Kate Atkinson, mixing several interlinked plots with a background of current and historic events, with a keen eye to the foibles and fallibility of our human condition. I’m always hard pushed to decide whether Atkisnon’s Brodie novels are detective novels or social commenatry, but in either case, Started Early, Took My Dog definitely got a tick in the “enjoyed” box.
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh (Chicken House)
The Crowfield Curse is junior fiction, published by small, specialist UK publisher Chicken House. It came highly recommended by a friend and when I picked it up I was not disappointed — I loved the story’s mix of fantasy and medieval historical realism: the tale is set largely in a monastery (and its environs) and you can tell the author knows the period. The central character of Will is engagaing and the plot well paced, with just the right balance of mystery, fear, and life affirming elements. I enjoyed it a lot.