Finished The Arm of the Stone
by Victoria Strauss
, which is the Phoenix Pick Free Book of the Month
for April, and will be buying the sequel for $2.12 during their current 50% off sale with coupon promotion which ends on the 30th.
At first I thought it was a fantasy. But it turns out that it's an sf/fantasy of the Pern & Darkover sort, which kind of grafts fantasy tropes onto sfnal roots. And then I thought it was going to be an angsty destined hero overturns the corrupt world order adventure quest. But it turns out to be a fairly interesting and rather contemplative exploration of the nature of power and responsibility, authority and abuse, betrayal and change which contrasts the system and the people who both work inside it and are excluded due to it.
A much more "thinky" book than I was expecting, and surprisingly compelling. In fact it managed to not-quite-surprise but definitely do the unexpected, by going in rather different but plausible directions than the usual fantasy tropes had set me up for in other more typical fantasy works.
Medium-high recommend for people who like low-key somewhat philosophical sf/fantasy about trying to change the world you live in, while being changed by it yourself. It's a bit of an idiosyncratic story because of the things I mentioned above, and I turned out to like it a lot more than I was expecting going in, but I can see how it's not for everyone.
It is, however, free for the rest of the month, and the sequel is dirt cheap, so definitely worth your time to download and sample and decide. It does start off kind of slow in the first bits, so I'd advocate skipping ahead to part two and reading a chapter or two starting there (won't spoil anything that happens in the first section) to get an idea of where the book actually goes, which the initial opening chapters aren't really all that indicative of.
Now currently on Terence M. Green
's Barking Dogs
a near-futuristic definitely sf cop-on-the-trail-of-a-killer police not-quite-procedural which is set in Toronto, and apparently written by a Canadian. Again, I'm not quite sure where it's going, but it's pretty decent so far and I've already determined to get the other book in the series, which, happily is also $2.12 during the sale.