Category Archives: Reviews

Book Series Review — Honor and Duty

By Amanda S. Green writing as Sam Schall. This military science fiction series opens with Ashlyn Shaw, a Captain in the Marines of the planet Fuercon, who along with most of the fellows of her unit, is imprisoned in a hellish military penal colony as a result of a treacherous betrayal. When the injustice of her sentence is recognized and they are all released from prison, she is assigned to rebuild the unit and prepare to defend her planet against a ruthless foe. In the process of battling political and military corruption and foreign espionage, she must also battle her personal demons and learn to shoulder the increasing burdens and limitations of command as she rises in rank. Her growing network of supportive superiors and subordinates give her the ability to face an escalating and exhausting series of threats just in time as her planet’s government copes with an opportunistic and unreliable ally as well as the enemy’s development of a horrific biological weapon. While Military SF isn’t to everyone’s taste, this series is well named and is among the best the genre has to offer.

TV Series Review — Extraordinary Attorney Woo

This Netflix series, a Korean courtroom drama, is centered around a female autistic savant, Woo Young-woo (played by South Korean actress Park Eun-bin) who becomes an attorney practicing criminal defense law. The series is in Korean with English captioning. I’m not usually a fan of international movies and television, but this one drew me in. The portrayal of the various behavioral and social challenges, as well as the unconventional thinking associated with autism are excellent. I’ve only seen the first episode of the first season, but I thought it was really very good. I’ll be watching more of this one.

Movie Review — A Call to Spy

“A Call to Spy”

This is a historical drama of espionage in World War II, which follows the activities of three woman who were active in assisting the French Resistance to German occupation: Vera Atkins, a secretary in the British Special Operations Executive, who recruited women as spies, Virginia Hall, an American consular clerk who was a pioneering and highly successful agent in spite of having a wooden leg, and Noor Inayat Khan, an Indian Sufi Muslim who became a wireless operator in order to fight tyranny. Sarah Megan Thomas was producer of the film and played Virginia Hall. Although somewhat altered and embellished for artistic purposes, the activities and fates of these women as depicted closely follow their true stories. For those able to tolerate scenes of violence and brutality, this is about as good as historical drama gets. Presented by Netflix.

Book Review

Oni the Lonely

C. Chancy

Kyosai Momiji and his sister Mira are oni, powerful supernatural beings from Japanese folklore, who are staying at least temporarily in human disguise in a town in Appalachia, while Kyosai studies human painting and Mira takes an interest in baking. Rain McKee is a grieving human craftswoman with a trace of Appalachian folk magic and a passion for making scented soaps and powders. Their paths cross in Rivertown Shopping Village in this tale of magic and growing friendship. Kyosai and Rain’s tale leads from a clash of culture, each bewildered at the powers the other shows, through revelation of a curse on her family, to the interference of ancient and powerful enemies. Kyosai is fascinated with Rain’s budding heroism, while Rain can’t abandon a friend. This clean fantasy will probably make more more sense to those familiar with Japanese anime and manga, but those aren’t necessary to follow the story, as the most important concepts are sufficiently explained. The conflict isn’t entirely resolved, as this is evidently the first of a series, but it is sufficiently intriguing to make the series worth following.