Zero Sum Game brings us to the end of the A to Z Challenge for another year. Yes, it’s one of those rare posts on a Sunday. But tomorrow is the first of May, and I have blogged all the way from A to Z in April. Well, I will have by the time you reach the bottom of the page!

The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.

  • review/featured
  • spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
  • middle grade (childrens) choice
  • series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
  • ‘notable’ reads
  • ‘outstanding’ books
  • my books!

Featured Book: Zero Sum Game (Russell’s Attic #1)

zero sum game

I remember Zero Sum Game by S L Huang as being exciting, mystifying and enjoyable earth-based scifi. Spying elements and maths feature. I enjoyed it so much I bought the next two in the series. Goodreads tells me I read the book in Nov 17, and posted about it in March 21.

Excellent somewhat weird thriller with a decidedly noir feel. Review to follow, and looking forward to reading more!

My Goodreads ‘review’

How could I leave this poor author hanging for so long? And there are two more in the Russell’s Attic series plus two ‘interstitials’. And then the whole thing has been repackaged and republished by Tor as the Cas Russell series, and there’s a different order completely, explained here. Frankly, it’s well past time that I caught up. Just a shame this earth-based scifi does not qualify for my Spacetime Reading Challenge. Probably why I’ve skipped over it in favour of ones that do.

Spacetime Reads

stand on Zanzibar

Apart from mine, the only scifi Z I have is Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner [goodreads link]. This is also Earth-based, so I shouldn’t include it under this heading! This is a classic of scifi, and probably shows its age. But I plan to reread it this year, and even bought the SF Masterworks edition. I hope it’s as good as I remember. And as reviewers have said… some of his predictions for the world in 2010 were pretty close. The sociology and politics are probably even closer to reality than the tech!

But Zanzibar’s Rings (see below) definitely does qualify for the Spacetime Reading Challenge!

Middle Grade and series

Once again, my middle grade picks are also series. I think MG is particularly suited to series, because we enjoy getting to know people and seeing what they get up to, especially as they grow up a little, just like us!

Zoe & Zak and the Ghost Leopard, the Yogi’s Curse, and the Tiger Temple are by Lars Guignard, who has spent considerable time in Asia. He uses his experiences to create a magical school in the foothills of the Himalaya. These are brilliant adventures including local legends and mythical animals, as well as magical ones who exist. I pretty much read them in the opposite order, which was no problem, although odd going back to when they first teamed up.

The Scrolls of Zndaria is the first in the Zndaria series, and very good it is too. Particularly good magical world-building. I always planned to support the author and read more, but so far haven’t got round to it, sorry! (link includes review and author interview)

Notable Books

zig zag girl

I’m nearly out of Z based books. With the number of Elly Griffiths books I’ve recommended this month, you’ll be pleased to know that she has one. The Zig Zag Girl is the first in her Brighton Mysteries (Stephens and Mephisto). This is a series of crime novels set in the south of England in the 1960s onwards. There’s a touch of magic about this one, since Mephisto is a magician in the traditional seaside entertainments that were so much part of the holiday scene in those days.

And finally…

zanzibar's rings VS3

Unashamedly written to give me a Z title, Zanzibar’s Rings is the third and final book of the Viridian series. Set at least two years after the previous one, it is not directly connected although, of course, the characters have progressed since their last adventures, and some prior knowledge is useful. But one of my beta readers went to it cold, and said it was easy to pick up.

It may be set in a planetary system way off the galactic plane; there may be space ships and shuttles and a few aliens making an appearance, but in essence this is about people thrown into isolation by a disaster. Missing people and coping, in fact, which I only realised when I’d finished – towards the end of the pandemic, of course. And bloggers of WEP who visited for the prompt ‘Rise Up’ have a big spoiler in their heads 🙂

Funny how the final books of both my series have an element of revolution in them.

viridian system 3 book promo

And that’s it. The A to Z Challenge is over for another year. Please do add your favourite Z title to the comments. I’ll still be visiting my visitors for a week or two yet! Watch out for the Reflections post.

Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope you enjoy at least some of my recommendations. Has your TBR list completely exploded this month?

Zero Sum Game | #A2ZChallenge23
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8 thoughts on “Zero Sum Game | #A2ZChallenge23

  • 30 April, 2023 at 6:54 am

    Well done you got through the whole month and alphabet and I enjoyed the entire trip 💜

    • 30 April, 2023 at 8:23 am

      Thanks for your support, Willow. Blogging would be an empty orchestra without you!

  • 30 April, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    Yeah, I’ll be catching up on my visiting too. Way too much going on in April. Congrats on completing the A-Z. Hope to see you at the next WEP! 🙂

  • 30 April, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    I enjoyed your A to Z and hope to actually find and read some of the books soon! Maybe I’ll start with your own Z book.
    Congrats on doing so many reviews for the challenge.

  • 1 May, 2023 at 2:32 pm

    Congratulations on finishing and you ended on a high. Not that I appreciate all the books you have now enticed me to read! And how great that you can include Zanzibar Rings!

    • 1 May, 2023 at 2:50 pm

      It looks like I’ve added about fourteen books this month, but I’ve also been on a reading spree to rest my hands.

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