Review: Land of the Beautiful Dead by R Lee Smith

Reviewed by Jen

This book absolutely, positively blew me away. It is the third book I’ve read from R Lee Smith and like the other two, it reeled me into its amazingly crafted world, tethered my heart to its characters, and despite its impressive 751 pages, left me so very sad once it was over. It’s one of those books that immerses you so completely in its story that you feel at a loss when you come to the end… not because the ending doesn’t satisfy, but because now you have to start to let it all go.

None of Lee’s books feature conventional heroes. The Last Hour of Gann featured a lizardman; Cottonwood had a roachman for crying out loud. With that as my basis of comparison, I didn’t find Azrael the Undying to be shocking at all. Yeah, he’s made of undead flesh and he can make zombies with varying level of sentience; yes, his features are grotesque and I kind of pictured him like Jason Vorhees in the few scenes of Friday the 13th movies where they strip away his mask. But Smith does such a remarkable job making me see beyond those things, that I positively ached for him to find happiness. [Read more…]

Review: Cottonwood by R Lee Smith

Reviewed by Jen

I’ve been on a sci-fi romance kick lately and this one showed up in my Goodreads recommendations with a pretty high average rating. I was intrigued because this the same author who wrote The Last Hour of Gann, which I found riveting. The only thing holding me back: roaches. (DON’T CLICK AWAY!!)

If you’re familiar with Gann, you know the alien hero in that book is a lizardman and that was enough to swallow. Here, the alien hero is a roachman and that might be the single unsexist thing I’ve ever heard of in my life. So I read a bunch of reviews. I stewed on it, then I bought the book. And it was so very good.

The roach thing is real, and the author never lets you forget about it. The thing is, even though I find no living thing as disgusting as a roach, I not only adored this hero, I rooted for the romance 1000%. That is some pretty amazing character building, folks. [Read more…]

Review: The Last Hour of Gann

last hour of gannReviewed by Jen

Epic Science Fiction. It’s not a genre I have heard of before, but it seems to fit here.  This book is sweeping. It has depth. Breadth. It’s dark at times, but there is also hope.  There is love.  And there is, ultimately, an examination of what it means to be human and what truly constitutes a monster.  Epic.

The story follows Amber, a woman down on her luck, who in a last ditch effort to make a future for herself and her sister, secures passage for them both on a space expedition to colonize a new planet.   She is abrasive and overweight; people don’t like her.  But she is pragmatic and fiercely loyal.  Her already bad life gets unbelievably worse when her ship goes way, way off course, and crash lands on a mysterious planet after the passengers took a 200+ year nap.  The ship and most of the people on board go boom, leaving Amber, her sister, and about 50 other humans stranded in an alien world. [Read more…]