Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ray's Reviews: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines and 2035 by Jonathan Stars

      If you're trying to escape reality, here's a quick look at two intriguing new releases by local authors. Both are set in East Lansing and other Michigan locations, but are worlds apart in reality.

"Libriomancer" by Holt resident and Hugo Award winning fantasy author Jim C. Hines (DAW books, $24.95) is the first book in his exciting new series.

It introduces Isaac Vainio, who seems like a meek librarian  working in the small northern Michigan town of Copper River. He's not your typical librarian - he has unusual powers and brings Smudge, his fire spider to work with him. 

Isaac is a Libriomancer, one who has the ability to reach into books and create objects from their pages. There are restrictions, though: Isaac isn't supposed to use his powers - he's been merely cataloging books for their magical potential for the last two years. 

He's attacked in the library by three vampires seeking answers. He's in real trouble - but gets help from Lena, a pretty dryad (a female spirit of a tree); his life quickly gets more complicated.

Isaac is a member of a secret organization founded by Johannes Gutenberg centuries ago to fend off supernatural threats. 
He goes off on an unusual quest, with greater focus after he discovers that his mentor in magic, a used book store owner in East Lansing, has been murdered in an unusual manner. 

Hines' quirky, humorous tale is rife with fast-paced action and confrontations; this is great fun, an enjoyable, unpredictable fantasy by one of the best new masters of the genre.

His website is

"2035" by Jonathan Stars (DDP Books, $19.95) is a fat, 571 page novel that's tough to classify - but hard to put down. 

It's set in 2035, a strange technological future that's significantly different, but one that's likely possible, according to some predictions. It deals with nanotechnology, when Charlie Noble and his team create N-hanced, an application for utilizing nano computers in the human brain. 

When one of Charlie's co-workers is murdered and another commits suicide, the inventor realizes that his project is veering out of control.

Losing his funding and wrongly accused of negligent homicide, Charlie's on the run, fleeing authorities and trying to track down the clever real killer.

Most of the adrenaline-charged action occurs in East Lansing and Lansing, with a terrific sequence set at the Breslin Center. 

This is an odd mixture of futuristic science fiction, mystery, action/adventure and courtroom drama, but Stars makes it all work, exceptionally well.

He even includes a seven-page glossary for non-geeks that's particularly useful.

Stars, who lives near Holt, appeared on eight different panels at the recent World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago.

He's hard at work and has already written 20,000 words in the next book in this projected series.

His website is

Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, is a longtime science fiction reader who's reviewed books regularly since 1987.

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on Sunday, November 11, 2012.

Books reviewed by Ray are available at the Curious Book Shop!

No comments:

Post a Comment