Fantasy Book Review
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Assail by Ian C Esslemont probably ranks as one of my favourite books of the year – albeit also one of the most anticipated. With characters we have come to love, and new ones to love, returning to the Malazan world is as joyous as I could ever have hoped.
Levack's prose is crisp, his characters brightly painted and always exasperated, his action clean and well drawn. Yaotl is a good addition to the ancient murder sleuth set and hopefully Levack will continue his stories about his wayward but always enterprising hero.
The final volume in the fourth age of Krynn, the final volume before the Age of Mortals can begin, is a rich tapestry of love and war, heroes and villains set against a wonderful struggling backdrop of life and death, of magic and mortality woven in a truly breathless manner by the undisputed current masters of fantasy, Weis and Hickman. This book, this trilogy, the entire world of Krynn and its heroes that has been created deserves six stars and beyond and any fan of the fantasy genre must have this on their bookshelves.
Charles Stross has created an opening novel that offers a new take on the fantasy and alternative history genres. The action is measured, the plot crisp. The characterization needs work and this will improve as the series develops but this opener offers sufficient interest to ensure that the second novel will be read.
Rin Ogata is the manga artist for this first in the series of novels and creates the look of the lord in the portrait on the cover of the book itself. He is full of self-importance, and oozes sensuality, some might call him a cad. She has a way of perfectly showing the various expressions on the faces of the characters that can create some of the most amazingly realized scenes in this manga recreation of a Harlequin novel of romance and sensuality.
Rides a Dread Legion actually reads like a prologue to a new chapter in Midkemia's history. The narrative is as taut as ever, the plot extremely tightly focused on a few places, a few people. There is no sense of a wider world or universe in here but you get the feeling that as this series is published we are about to be subjected to a power well beyond those that we ever dreamed Pug and Tomas (all those years ago in Crydee) would ever know about, let alone be instrumental in.
Elliott's barely disguised early-medieval world draws heavily on that social, geographical and religious structure and is delightful drawn, excellently characterized and possessing of a heavily built plot in a Jordan-esque fashion. Effortlessly building suspense and engendering real empathy in her characters with Hugh, Alain and Liath the stand-out people, the author has created a fantasy world that resides in the top echelons of the genre.
Welcome to Clifton Heights, an average Adirondack town. It's nice enough, really. Except after dark. Or on cold winter days when you're all alone... Sophan. An ancient game of chance and Fate. One boy's smoldering hate, another boy's need to make things right, and a father's ghosts of Vietnam past. The Man in Yellow. Tahawus is a small, isolated Adirondack town just north of Clifton Heights. A quiet place filled with simple people of an ardent faith, nothing much ever happens there... until the man in yellow comes calling. He knows your worst nightmares, and he can offer your fondest wish. All you need is faith... and a mouth from which to scream.
"Devourer of Souls by Kevin Lucia is supernatural horror very much in the vein of Stephen King. It is made up of two novella length stories set in the same town, with a frame story that loosely connects the two novellas. While I don't think the horror in this book will make you wet your pants, it does establish an atmosphere that I think will make you feel uncomfortable and, for a horror story, that is a very good thing." Ryan Lawler, Fantasy Book Review
I criticized Manda Scott's opener of this series as a somewhat directionless fantasy. However, the massive improvement that commenced with her sequel is surpassed in this stunning third. Here, for the first time, Scott was going to be measured against historical fact and has not been found wanting. Emotive characterisation, a solid merging of ancient Celtic culture and mythology with Roman modernization, gripping plots, effusively described battle scenes and rending portraits of personal and familial pain make this everything Conn Iggulden is not.
The Confederation is starting to collapse politically and economically, allowing the 'possessed' to infiltrate more worlds. Quinn Dexter is loose on Earth, destroying the giant arcologies one at a time. As Louise Kavanagh tries to track him down, she manages to acquire some strange and powerful allies whose goal does not quite match her own. The campaign to liberate Mortonridge from the possessed degenerates into a horrendous land battle of the type not seen by humankind for six hundred years. Then some of the protagonists escape in a very unexpected direction... Joshua Calvert and Syrinx now fly their starships on a mission to find the Sleeping God - which an alien race believes holds the key to finally overthrowing the possessed.
"Hamilton's ability to provide us with a future vision of humanity that retains our darkest fears and greatest frailties coupled with his skill in provisioning us with realistic future technologies and social development is akin to the visionary writings of Asimov and Clarke." travelswithadiplomat, Fantasy Book Review
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read. See past winners.
In the Ruins
Devourer of Souls
The Naked God
Peter F Hamilton
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