Mini Reviews: Tchaikovsky, Harper & McGuire

Made Things / Adrian Tchaikovsky

made things

Welcome to Fountains Parish–a cesspit of trade and crime, where ambition curls up to die and desperation grows on its cobbled streets like mold on week-old bread.

Coppelia is a street thief, a trickster, a low-level con artist. But she has something other thieves don’t… tiny puppet-like companions: some made of wood, some of metal. They don’t entirely trust her, and she doesn’t entirely understand them, but their partnership mostly works.

After a surprising discovery shakes their world to the core, Coppelia and her friends must re-examine everything they thought they knew about their world, while attempting to save their city from a seemingly impossible new threat.

This was a novella that I found in my first ever book subscription box. I haven’t heard of it before but read it almost immediately. It was SO worth it! This book was all kinds of wonderful! The writing is perfect, the setting is innovative and interesting. The characters are all relatable, especially the little puppets! This just shows that you don’t need a multi-volume series to establish your world & characters. I was really impressed! The story was funny, suspenseful and had a couple of surprises waiting.

It actually makes me want to pick up more by the author. I didn’t get into the ‘Shadows of the Apt’ series, but I think he wrote SciFi too, is that right?

I really don’t have anything to complain about. Only, that I want more.

★★★★★ (5/5)

Force of Nature. Aaron Falk 2 / Jane Harper

force of nature

Lost, Cold, Desperate … Danger Runs Deep

Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged Giralang Ranges is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

The second case for Aaron Falk! I had a couple of issues with this one, unfortunately, even though it was still a pretty quick read. The writing was excellent and Aaron is definitely a likeable character. The case isn’t too bad either and once again I didn’t know what actually happened until the end. The National Park was a great setting too! In ‘The Dry’ we had a smoking-hot Outback town that hadn’t seen rain in ages and now we get a cold & rainy Park! Two extremes and I enjoyed that.

Just as in ‘The Dry’ past happenings & disappearances play a role in the case too, but unfortunately it doesn’t really work this time. It feels like it’s squeezed in but doesn’t actually have any effect on the story. They mentioned this past dude who abducted and murdered travellers, but it’s not really connected to this special case. Also, Falk and his partner know the missing woman but the reason why they do doesn’t play a role later either. I don’t know if it was supposed to be a red herring, but to me it seemed like it should have been used better.

I liked Falk’s partner in ‘The Dry’ more. This lady here, whose name I already forgot is quite bland and honestly, stop digging up your partner’s past if he doesn’t wanna talk about it. And also, those little romantic hints don’t work.

It wasn’t as ’rounded’ as the first case and all the ladies on the trip were super unlikeable 😀

I will continue reading the series, because I like Falk, because it plays in Australia and because the cases are pretty interesting, but this one wasn’t as good as the first.

★★★☆ (3.5/5)

Down Among the Sticks and Bones. Wayward Children 2 / Seanan McGuire

down among the sticks

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

I listened to the audio book and have no issues there! It was narrated by the author herself.

But then I actually had a couple of issues with the stories. I enjoyed listening to Jack & Jill growing up and felt for both of them and how their parents messed them up! It made me so sad that they thought their nanna, the only one who loved them and told them to be themselves, left them. Even though she was actually kicked out by their parents!

The swamp had potential as a setting and I liked the way Jack & Jill were finally able to be themselves, even though both of them will have issues for life from their upbringing. Jack’s a clean freak who can’t deal with being dirty. And Jill turned into a shallow bitch who only cares about herself & pretty clothes/pleasing her master.

Damn, I hated Jill…

I would have liked to read more about Jack’s actual apprenticeship because that sounded interesting. There are a couple of time jumps and we miss it unfortunately.

I don’t know, I just didn’t feel as connected with them both and was probably also missing the school setting!

It was okay, but nothing more.
I will still continue listening to the audio books though.

★★★ (3/5)


  1. “Made things” are on my TBR 🙂 Tchaikovsky wrote a SF two-book series, “Children of Time” and “Children of Ruin”. There’s also a nice “Pride and Prejudice” sort-of-retelling in his “Guns of the Dawn” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Along with what Ola mentioned (Children of… series), he also wrote a prequel to Made Things, called Precious Little Things. It’s a short story, about 30 pages long. He also wrote Iron Clad, a standalone and also Walking to Aldebaran, both long novella length stories that are standalones (as far as I know). I haven’t read any of these except the first Children of…. book but they’re Tchaikovsky, so I’m sure they’re great! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The short story that acts as a prequel to “Made Things” totally fascinated me, so I will certainly read the longer work soon: Tchaikowsky seems to be a very eclectic author, although I’ve only read “Children of Time” and “Children of Ruin”, but I’m certain that exploring his works will be a fun journey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If you miss the school aspect in the Wayward Children series, you’ll probably like the odd books more than the even ones. The odd books are “present day” while the even ones are set in the past to tell someone’s backstory. On the other hand, Lundy’s story set at the Goblin Market in In an Absent Dream (book 4) is one of my favorites, so…

    Liked by 1 person

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