The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones | Jack Wolf

The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf is a a literary historical.

Explosive, transgressive and wildly inventive, Jack Wolf’s novel THE TALE OF THE RAW HEAD AND BLOODY BONES (Penguin Original; March 26, 2013; 978-0-14-312382-8; $16.00; also available as an ebook) is arrestingly authentic. UK based author  Jack Wolf, who wrote the novel as a woman and has since transitioned to being a man, has fully embraced both the language and ideas of eighteenth-century England to create a beautiful and startling novel that contemplates questions of good and evil, faith and science,  that are still relevant today. Moreover, while it does not explicitly deal with issues of gender identity, Wolf’s experience of transitioning from female to male is reflected in the writing, in particular in its focus on identity and what it feels like to be uncomfortable in one’s own skin.

I can see why the way it’s written -using period spelling and capitalisation (though fortunately not the most extreme versions) could put an unaware or unexperienced person off. But I strongly advise you to try to get through it, like I advise people to try with Wuthering Heights (if you can get through that you can get through this. At least this isn’t in dialect).

Provided for free by Penguin Group through NetGalley.

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Shakespeare v Lovecraft | D R O’Brien

Shakespeare v Lovecraft by D R O’Brien is exactly as the title promises – a mashup of Lovecraft and Shakespeare.

Get ready for the War of the literary Worlds in the raucous new horror comedy, Shakespeare v Lovecraft!

In the same putrid vein as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Shakespeare v. Lovecraft slithers hideously onto the literary mash-up scene, whispering of cosmic horrors and eldritch tales whilst espousing sweet soliloquies and profoundly contemplating mankind’s place in the universe.

The book follows the story of the powerful magician Prospero, driven dangerously insane by prolonged exposure to the dread Necronomicon, makes a terrible pact with the titanic alien beast known only as Cthulhu. Now only his enchantress daughter Miranda and a handful of history’s greatest heroes are all that stand between humanity and blasphemous eternal subjugation.

Macbeth, King Henry V and more clash with some of Lovecraft’s most memorable monstrosities including Dagon, The Colour Out Of Space, Night-Gaunts, Ghouls, a Shoggoth and, of course, the Great Priest himself. And which sides will the Dream-God Oberon, the monstrous Caliban and ethereal Ariel favour in this savage clash of worlds?

It sounded silly and fun, and I wanted to read something silly and fun.

Review copy provided for free through Netgalley.

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Emilie and The Hollow World | Martha Wells

Emilie and The Hollow World by Martha Wells is a Steampunk Fantasy adventure with a strong female main character, aimed towards young adults.

While running away from home for reasons that are eminently defensible, Emilie’s plans to stow away on the steamship Merry Bell and reach her cousin in the big city go awry, landing her on the wrong ship and at the beginning of a fantastic adventure.
Taken under the protection of Lady Marlende, Emilie learns that the crew hopes to use the aether currents and an experimental engine, and with the assistance of Lord Engal, journey to the interior of the planet in search of Marlende’s missing father.
With the ship damaged on arrival, they attempt to traverse the strange lands on their quest. But when evidence points to sabotage and they encounter the treacherous Lord Ivers, along with the strange race of the sea-lands, Emilie has to make some challenging decisions and take daring action if they are ever to reach the surface world again

This is a book I would be happy to give a teenager of any gender, with plenty of action and wonderful characters.

Review copy provided for free by Strange Chemistry through Netgalley

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Agatha H and The Clockwork Princess | Phil and Kaja Foglio

Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess by Phil and Kaja Foglio is the 2nd novelisation of award-winning webcomic Girl Genius.

Intrigue! Subterfuge! Circus Folk! In a time when the Industrial Revolution has escalated into all-out warfare, mad science rules the world… with mixed success. With the help of Krosp, Emperor of All Cats, Agatha has escaped from the massive airship known as Castle Wulfenbach. After crashing their escape dirigible, Agatha and Krosp fall in with Master Payne’s Circus of Adventure, a traveling troupe of performers dedicated to staging Heterodyne shows – dramatizations of the exploits of Bill and Barry Heterodyne and their allies – who are unaware of Agatha’s connection to the Heterodyne line. Pursued by the ruthless Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, his handsome son Gil, and their minions (not to mention Othar Tryggvassen, Gentleman Adventurer), Agatha hides in plain sight among the circus folk, servicing their clanks and proving herself adept in performing the role of Lucrezia Mongfish, nemesis to – and later wife of – Barry Heterodyne. She also begins training under Zeetha, swordmistress and princess of the lost city of Skifander. Together, Agatha, Krosp, and the performers travel across the treacherous wasteland of war-torn Europa, towards Mechanicsburg, and the ancestral home of the Heterodynes – Castle Heterodyne.But with many perils standing in her way – including Wulfenbach’s crack troops, mysterious Geisterdamen, savage Jagermonsters, and the fabled Storm King – it’s going to take more than a spark of Mad Science for Agatha to get through.

I’m a big fan of the Girl Genius comic, so when I saw this in my local Oxfam, I had to pick it up. Continue reading