Review: Siphon; The Warm Machine; My Sister, the Serial Killer

Siphon (Claybrook County Chronicles Book 1) by [Medina, A. A.]


by A.A. Medina

Very good plot, excellent pacing, fleshed-out protagonist and three other key characters, great connection to the backstory without ever bogging us down with infodumps. I felt the opening was a bit rough, but once it got going, it became really engrossing. In fact, and this is high praise from me, I didn’t skip a single word — I felt really invested and compelled to continue reading. The style is raw (explicit, like in raw poetry) and rich in texture, but never slows the story down.

If you read a lot of horror, you won’t find this book disturbing; if you don’t, you might be a bit ruffled, but I really don’t think it’s too bad. There is some blood and gore, but they’re necessary within the context of the story and I found them meaningful and well executed.

Overall, very well done.

The Warm Machine (Humanity Series Book 1) by [Rain, Seth]

The Warm Machine

by Seth Rain

This is a near-future pre-apocalyptic novel focusing on the questions of free will, the limits of technology, and the place of religion (and effects of religious zealotry) in a modern world. I like the central idea and am looking forward to the sequel to this fast-paced thriller. I felt the prose in the first half was a bit uneven and occasionally stilted, which interfered with starting to care about the characters and getting into the story. However, I am glad I stuck with it, as around the halfway point the novel finds its footing and it’s smooth, immersive sailing from there on. The flashback chapters on the relationship between the protagonist and his wife feature some of the novel’s best writing, showcasing the author’s mastery at invoking emotion that is the staple of his excellent short fiction. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I am looking forward to more by Seth Rain.

My Sister, the Serial Killer: A Novel by [Braithwaite, Oyinkan]

My Sister, the Serial Killer

by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Taut and hard-hitting, with clear, fluid, unassuming prose, a compelling plot, and realistic, complicated characters. The tension between love (romantic and familial), violence, and loyalty gives this short novel its life force as the female characters make choices in a world where their options are severely restricted. I really enjoyed the sounds, hues, and textures of an urban Nigerian setting.

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