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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Blog Tour Review - Heartsong by TJ Klune

 Blog Tour Review - Heartsong by TJ Klune

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It's enough - until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine.

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes - the Alpha of all - and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home. But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he's been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound - but who are the traitors and who the betrayed?

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett - the wolf who may be his mate. The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.

The gayest werewolf pack in the world are back in the third instalment in this gorgeous, weird and mesmerising series!

Following on from the attack on Green Creek in book two, Ravensong, it's time for all out war between rival werewolf packs! There's been manoeuvring, dirty tricks, infiltrations, and things are really coming to a head now. 

And it's this that makes the style of this book so surprising, so unexpected and so surreally gorgeous. You see, most of it isn't the kind of supernaturals at war narrative you'd expect if you were a fan of, say, Underworld. Or maybe Twilight, to be honest I haven't read Twilight and only have vague memories of the one film I fell asleep during. But I'm pretty sure they had supernatural creatures going to war and it was visceral and bloody and action packed.

Most of Heartsong isn't like that, it isn't like that at all. What we get instead is an intense and emotional psychological exploration of what it means to have an utter bastard of a witch get inside your head and fuck with your memories. From the start it's clear that there's something off. Robbie loses track of what he's been doing, where he's been, who he's met, even what day it is. It's quickly clear that something is off, but the true horror of it takes a little while to fully sink in. You see, this isn't the kind of villainy that does obvious, evil-laugh style nasties. This is the kind of villainy that convinces you that it loves you, that it needs you, that it's the only one there for you and those people out there, they don't love you, they don't need you, they weren't there for you. It's Mother Gothel, rather than the Wicked Stepmother. And it's all the more convincing and all the more evil for it. Honestly, this is the kind of nasty I absolutely love reading about, the mind manipulating, gas-lighting motherfuckers are just so bloody terrifying because you don't hate them and you can totally empathise with poor Robbie and see just how horribly he's being manipulated.

What follows is an exploration of what it's like trying to break that spell, and it's difficult and it's emotional and it's heart breaking at times, with little glimmers of hope thrown in. It's a tough road we walk with Robbie and it's a journey travelling it. And one of the beautiful things about this series is that each book features a different point of view character. I didn't care for Robbie much when I read Ravensong (and true confession time, I still haven't read Wolfsong though I went out and bought it after I blog toured Ravensong) but seeing his world through his eyes has definitely changed that. This series is so gorgeously written that it's hard not to love the main characters, however unlovable they may seem from the outside. I'm already looking forward to the fourth book, which spotlights Carter, a character I don't currently care much for, because I just know that will change and I am here for it!

Along with all the psychological trauma, there's a lot of romance, and it's almost all queer romance. I love how at one point the characters themselves joke about this and call themselves the most gay wolfpack in the world, to which Ox just says something like "I'm okay with that." It's something they embrace and it's a joy to see. There's this beautiful blend of family and pack and brotherhood and love and it all just seems to come together in everyone getting naked and piling together with pillows and blankets and it's gorgeous. There's also something particularly gorgeous about watching two people who already fell in love falling in love all over again. It's enough to crack my old, cynical heart. Robbie hurt a lot of people, and he's been so badly hurt himself. The healing is slow, and it is hard, but it gives one hope.

One thing I picked up on in my Ravensong review that is also very present here is the absolutely gorgeous use of scent and emotion and packpackpack mental links throughout the story. Werewolves communicate in ways that are incomprehensible  to (most) humans and somehow this comes across really clearly in the text. It's strained more here, becuase of Robbie's broken links, and that's reflected cleverly throughout the novel. It's there but it's not the same, it's never fully explained because it's never fully explainable. It's part of the mystery and wonder and beauty. 

The action does come too. There's a war brewing and everything erupts in grand style. And when it came, I don't think I was quite ready for how horrifying it would be. This is a series that bypasses typical horror tropes and finds new and quite horrible ways to get under your skin. And I mean that with utter praise and respect. It's brilliant, really, just how horrifying it manages to be without ever resorting to cheap shots and jump scares. It's psychological horror at its finest. As soon as I realised what was coming, I knew it would be hard to read and brilliant, and I was right on both counts.

Heartsong, it's surreal and it's beautiful and it's horrifying and I loved it!


Heartsong by T J Klune is out now from Tor Publishing. I was given a review copy in exchange for an honest review and participation in this Black Crow PR blog tour. 


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