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Book Reviews: Long Time Dead + First Born + Candor + Changing The World

Torchwood: Long Time Dead by Sarah Pinborough
Set just after ‘Children of Earth’. As the ruins of the Torchwood base are excavated, Suzie Costello rises from the dead, again. She’s killing people and things get a bit ‘Event Horizon’ as Suzie rampages, Hell awaits and people remember forgotten encounters with Torchwood. This should be good but it isn’t. It’s boring and Suzie’s mad act quickly gets tired.

Torchwood: First Born by James Goss
Set post ‘Children of Earth’, Gwen, Rhys and their newborn daughter are on the run. Looking for a place to lie low, they settle in the small village of Rawbone. But unknowingly they’ve stumbled right into a modern day ‘Village of the Damned’. It’s up to Gwen and Rhys to save the day and the village. This is good, an enjoyable if derivative tale.

Candor by Pam Bachorz
Oscar is the perfect son, the perfect teenager and lives in the perfect town of Candor. But it is all an act. Oscar knows the secret of Candor, the town his father founded. Candor is full of brainwashing messages to make you perfect. Candor teenagers do nothing but eat carrot sticks, drink milk, cook, clean and study. Families flock to Candor for the perfect pristine conformity that Oscar’s father can provide.

Oscar knows how to counteract the messages but lives in constant fear of discovery. Then Nia moves to Candor to be remade. Oscar falls for her but what will he risk to keep her? This is very good. A scary, creepy story with a horrifying ending. This well worth reading as it is so bleak, depressing and the ending is soul crushing.

Changing the World – All New Tales of Valdemar Edited by Mercedes Lackey
Another good anthology of stories about the pretty ponies that live in the magical land of Valdemar.

The One Left Behind An annoying old bag whose boyfriend abandoned her to become a Herald is put out when two Heralds arrive to ask her for help. It seems her ex may have told some lies. This is okay.

For Want of a Nail In the difficult early years of the foundation of the kingdom of Valdemar, Navar returns from a scouting expedition to learn that being named Companions have arrived. This was okay.

Softly Falling Snow An aging Queen seeks some time alone with the true love she couldn’t marry. This is very good.

The Reluctant Herald A stupid man is chosen to be a Herald, but first he has to deal with his gold-digger fiancée. This is okay.

A Storytelling of Crows A stupid passive girl sits in the woods being stupid and passive until a Herald falls over her changing her life. This was mediocre.

Waiting to Belong A Healer heals and feels unsatisfied until her pastel pony finally shows up to Choose her. This was good.

The Last Part of the Way A Bard, a Healer and a Herald journey through the woods in this mediocre tale.

Midwinter Gifts A Herald and a Bard set out to foil a black widow. This is okay.

Wounded Bird A woman saves a serving maid from an unhappy life. This is good.

Defending the Heart/Matters of the Heart A boy and a hobgoblin hang out on a farm dealing with bandits and the return of their adoptive grandfather’s real son. These were mediocre.

Nothing Better to Do A Herald deals with an orphaned toddler in this good story.

The Thief of Anvil’s Close An old codger yells, people mock him and there is an unsuspected klepto on the loose. This was awful.

Twice Blessed A Companion comes to a village and makes a most unexpected Choosing. This is okay.

Be Careful What you Wish For A Herald goes looking for his long lost family, dumb.

Interview with a Companion A hilarious deconstruction of the Valdermar cycle and it’s very, very good.

Tags: book review, torchwood

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