Amal El-Mohtar

Amal El-Mohtar appears in the following:

Stars Tell The Story Of This Fairy Tale-Inspired 'Queen'

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Roshani Chokshi's smooth and assured debut draws on folk and fairy tales — Bluebeard, Persephone, Beauty and the Beast — for the story of a young girl whose ominous horoscope sends her on a journey.


Reading Between Worlds With Griffin And Sabine

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Nick Bantock returns to his epistolary lovers in a new volume, The Pharos Gate. In an age of instantaneous digital communication, Griffin and Sabine celebrate the pleasures of paper and ink.


No Paper Tiger, This 'Menagerie' Is Full Of Fierce Feeling

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ken Liu's new The Paper Menagerie collects 15 of his Hugo and Nebula Award-winning stories. Critic Amal El-Mohtar calls it "stupendously good work" that strikes chords profound enough to hurt.


'Borderline' Is Urban Fantasy With A Cinematic Punch

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Chances are, if you don't have firsthand acquaintance with neurodiversity, disability or mental illness, your ideas of what they can look like come from films or books that get made into films. This is certainly true of me: I first learned about autism and schizophrenia from films that grossly misrepresented ...


Catch This 'Midnight Taxi' To A Magical Brooklyn

Thursday, January 07, 2016

I picked up Daniel José Older's Midnight Taxi Tango without having read its preceding volumes — partly to see how well it stands alone, and partly on the strength of last year's Shadowshaper, which left me hungry for more of Older's voices, his families, and for a Brooklyn that was ...


Sooty 'Lungdon' Is A Breathlessly Exciting Finale

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I have read the conclusion to Edward Carey's Iremonger trilogy and am left a bit breathless, which on the whole is a good thing, as this is a sooty, choking, lung-blackening sort of book, and reading it with held breath is probably safest.

The Iremonger family is an odd lot, ...


All Hail The Glow Cloud: 'Night Vale' Welcomes Readers

Thursday, October 22, 2015

In Night Vale, time is out of joint, memories are unreliable, and pink flamingo garden ornaments might do you serious harm. Cecil Palmer, the honey-voiced host of the community radio program, is as likely to begin narrating your every action as he is to inform you about the community calendar ...


Fan Fiction Comes To Life In 'Carry On'

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

In preparing for this review I found myself searching for the opposite of "meta" — something that would mean below as well as above. Because in Carry On, Rainbow Rowell has written the book inside her other book, which was inspired by books outside her book, and it would be ...


'Baru Cormorant' Will Catch You Unawares

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This book is a tar pit, and I mean that as a compliment.

To read The Traitor Baru Cormorant is to sink inexorably into a book that should not be anywhere near as absorbing as it is — to realize that the white-knuckled grip with which you hold it ...


'Step Aside, Pops' Lampoons History With Humor And Wit

Friday, September 18, 2015

Reviewing books of humor is a tricky business; whether a joke succeeds or fails is a profoundly individual matter, about as straightforward to analyze as a sneeze. For instance, for no reason either of us can entirely explain, my husband's favourite panel from a Kate Beaton comic is one of ...


Cities Of Bone And Flights Of Fancy In 'Updraft'

Thursday, September 10, 2015

As a regular reader of fantasy fiction, I get used to seeing genre conventions established, repeated, played with and turned on their head — but regardless of how they're treated the conventions are always there, a low drone behind whatever music an author's making. A dragon contains a piece of ...


'Sorcerer' Is A Delightful Romp With Deep, Solid Roots

Thursday, September 03, 2015

There are several ways in which Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown invites comparison with Susanna Clarke's best-selling, BBC-adapted Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: It features squabbling English magicians, a Regency setting and a mysterious decline in English magic attributed at least in part to difficult relations with capricious fairies. ...


The Waters Of 'Lagoon' Are Choppy But Enthralling

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A singer, a soldier, and a scientist walk onto Bar Beach.

In many ways, Bar Beach was a perfect sample of Nigerian society. It was a place of mixing. The ocean mixed with the land and the wealthy mixed with the poor. Bar Beach attracted drug dealers, squatters, various ...


'Cold Iron' Asks: What If Tolkien Had Been American?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

In the acknowledgements for Cold Iron, Stina Leicht writes that one of the questions at the core of her new Malorum Gates series is, "if Tolkien had been American, what would fantasy look like?" It's a fascinating question — and I don't intend to sound cynical or glib when I ...


'Shadowshaper' Paints A Vibrant Picture

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Shadowshaper had me crying at 3 percent of the e-book. Not because it was sad, but because I am one giant button when it comes to stories about family, heritage, language, art, and the magic mixed up in them, and this book knew just where to push.

Brooklyn teenager Sierra ...


'Philosopher Kings' Leaves Plato's Republic Far Behind

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jo Walton's The Just City, which came out in January and which I utterly adored, ends on a wicked cliff-hanger: The real-world version of Plato's Republic that scholars and philosophers from different times and places tried to build has fractured along its fault-lines; all is chaos, uncertainty, and recrimination and ...


The Craft Sequence: Please Do Judge These Books By Their Covers

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Let me tell you the story of how Max Gladstone became one of my favorite writers, which is also the story of why you should all be buying his Craft Sequence books immediately.

Urban fantasy covers are often so tiresomely generic that they've become a self-referential joke. Author Jim C. ...


Friendship, Magic And Danger Blossom In 'Uprooted'

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I've read a staggering number of excellent books recently, and it's done things to my head. I'm not sure the human brain was meant to read so many brilliant books in such short order — even less sure that swinging my reading-pendulum from Hannu Rajaniemi's collected science fiction stories to ...


The Science Of 'Collected Fiction' Is Pure Magic

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I have just finished Hannu Rajaniemi's Collected Fiction and I am still recovering.

My mind feels constellated. I am keenly, weirdly, expansively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. The world has shifted while I read, and the quartz in the necklace I wear is full of super ...


Flexible, Fluid 'Revision' Bounces From Rom-Com To Sci-Fi

Thursday, May 07, 2015

One of my earliest experiences of how astonishing a tool is Twitter came several years ago, when, seeing Californians tweeting about an earthquake, I texted my best friend in canyon country to ask if she'd felt the earthquake where she was. She said no — and then freaked out as ...