Ryan Lawler profile
Place of birth: Canberra, Australia
Now living: Canberra, Australia
Visit Ryan's website - Website: http://ryanlawler86.wordpress.com
3 favourite authors
- Terry Brooks
- Brandon Sanderson
- Matthew Reilly
3 favourite books
- Antrax (Terry Brooks)
- Devices and Desires (K. J. Parker)
- The Final Empire (Brandon Sanderson)
3 favourite films
- Super 8
- Hot Fuzz
Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells is a well written fast paced book, very similar to a Jules Verne or H.G. Wells type of story. It has a "coolness" factor with airships and aether engines, and it is set primarily in the Hollow World - a world that lies hidden deep inside the surface world. It has cat-people, it has mer-people, it has sunken cities, and it does a very interesting take on day and night. It has all the ingredients that should make for a great story, but it just didn't work for me.
Zenn Scarlett is right up there with Ender's Game, Partials and Katya's World as one of my favourite YA sci-fi novels. Zenn Scarlett is a book that I think will appeal to a broad range of readers, whether you're new to sci-fi or not.
I liked The Reluctant Assassin. It was clever, fast paced, a little bit violent, and kind of what you would expect from a Colfer book. That said, I don't think this book is as charming as Artemis Fowl, I don't care for the characters as much, and the plot was too simple for me. I will still recommend it, I think teens will love this book, and it has the potential to develop into a great series. But it's not quite there, yet.
Old Man's War by John Scalzi is the first book in a series of sci-fi novels set in the far future exploring humanity’s first steps towards joining a galactic community. It has action, adventure, unique science, very unique aliens, politics, witty dialogue, and all with just a touch of romance / lust.
The Holders is not a big mover and shaker in the genre. It's not a heavy hitter. It's not out to defy genre conventions and challenge the reader with some emotion charged themes. Instead, The Holders is a book that wants to tell an entertaining story about people with magic who are just finding out that the world they live in is much bigger than what they could have ever imagined. And in my opinion, it definitely succeeds.
Black Feathers is a unique take on horror and it was for a me a story that did not turn out the way I expected. The narration of the book was great and it felt like the myth surrounding the Crowman is being read to me, being handed down to the next generation.
With Beyond The Veil, Marquitz is keeping the Demon Squad series up there amongst The Dresden Files, The Iron Druid Chronicles, and Sandman Slim as some of the best urban fantasy available. While the series has taken a turn away from light hearted and more towards the dark, it has not impacted on the entertainment value these books provide. Magic + Bullets + Explosions = Fun. If you like those series I mentioned above, then I think you will also like the Demon Squad series, especially Beyond The Veil.
Okay, I'm almost done gushing. Fortress Frontier is an excellent book, one that hits all the right notes for me. There might be a few people this type of book doesn't work for, the military jargon might be a little off-putting to others, but for those who like action packed military fantasy, you are in for a treat.
In short, Signal In The Distance does the job of telling a good story about a mysterious monster in an exciting way. This story might not be for everyone, but at $0.99 or (£0.77), its definitely work giving it a try.
Epic: Legends of Fantasy is an anthology that would fit nicely upon the shelf of any fantasy reader. John Joseph Adams should definitely be congratulated for managing to get the rights to all of these fantastic stories. If you haven't read some or any of these authors before, then this anthology (with the exception of Le Guin, Williams and Elliott) will definitely help you to decide whether or not you should pick up other works by these authors.
Pantomime is a remarkable debut novel, one of the best debut novels I have read, and one that I hope leaves its mark on the fantasy genre as a whole. Lam has taken a bit of a risk by dealing with themes that make people uncomfortable, but by doing this I think she shows that fantasy is still one of the best genres for providing social commentary on the world we live in. This is an easy recommendation from me - Pantomime is a book you really should read.
The Blood War is a trilogy that has come a long way since Dawn of War, with Marquitz showing huge improvements in each outing. While the ending may have been a little flat, the overall journey was very enjoyable and is definitely worth your investment. Hopefully now that his epic fantasy apprenticeship is complete, we will get to see more of this genre from Marquitz.
Broken is very much Twilight meets Frankenstein, and I don't mean that in a negative way whatsoever. It is simultaneously a heart-warming and heart-breaking love story that sometimes, but not often, ventures into eye-rolling stereotype territory. I feel like there is plenty in this book for most fantasy readers to appreciate, and that the YA / Twi-hard audience will love it.
In summary, Crossing Mother's Grave takes more steps backwards than it does forwards from The Wrong Way Down. There are moments of great writing in there, and technically the prose was consistently of a higher quality (barely any typos or grammatical errors compared to the first book), but I had a really hard time engaging with the story and rarely did I feel moments of tension, suspense, or elation. Elliot is a good writer who has some obvious natural talents, but he needs to work on refining his plot progression and dialogue. Hopefully he can address these issues and bounce back for book three.
Very dark with plenty of adult themes, Clockwork Dolls is a story about what happens when you ask the universe for something, and what happens when the universe decides to answer with its own horrific interpretation.
The Pilo Family Circus is a bizarre exploration of a fantastical world full of killer clowns, highly strung acrobats, and morbidly depressed people who have been sculpted into freaks. I highly recommend this to horror fans, but also to fantasy fans who are looking for something outside of the box.
The Emperor's Soul is a fantastic addition to Sanderson's already bulging bibliography. At 175 pages, it is on the short side, but unlike his previous attempts you really feel like you get a full story in these 175 pages. For those big Sanderson fans, there are a number of neat little Cosmere Easter eggs scattered throughout this story, but you don't need any knowledge of prior Sanderson works to fully appreciate this novel. This is an easy recommendation to every fantasy reader out there.
Diamond Eyes is a fantastic read, one that I think will appeal to a lot of sci-fi and fantasy readers. It is a book that has a bit of everything, and at times it tries a little too hard, but I have to applaud it for taking a risk and trying to push boundaries. This is a great start, and I have high expectations for the rest of the trilogy.
The First Confessor is likely to be the last Terry Goodkind book I read, which is sad given how much of my childhood I spent reading and reading his Sword of Truth novels. I felt bored reading this story, I was disappointed at how little risk Goodkind took with his story telling, and I was frustrated with having to read through so many pages after figuring out every major mystery and predicting every major plot point in the novel by 30% mark. I'm not sure who I would recommend this book to. The legion of Goodkind followers will probably have already read and loved this book, the long time Goodkind readers like myself will probably be disappointed by the amount of handholding provided in this story, and people who have never read Goodkind before will probably be disappointed by the weak plot.
I've had a hard time trying to put my thoughts together for Erekos. It's a book that, based on the synopsis, I really should have enjoyed a whole lot more. Tuomala obviously has a talent for world building, and if you are a world building enthusiast then I think you will probably enjoy this story. If you are more into the character and plot driven type of stories, you could probably wait for Tuomala's second novel.
The Assassin's Curse is a story that offers a lot of good material and should really have established itself as one of the débuts of the year, but it was let down by the last 50 - 75 pages. For all the fun I had reading this at the start, the ending left me with a really bad taste in my mouth and I knew I needed to just step away from this book for a couple of weeks before attempting to write this review. I know I will be back for the second book in the series, and I will definitely be reading Clarke's latest offering from Angry Robot Book, but I don't know if I will be able to shake this experience unless Clarke really delivers with both of those offerings.
Serenity: Those Left Behind is a worthy addition to any Firefly addicts collection of material. It tells a solid story with all the characters we love, it is drawn and coloured brilliantly, and it has plenty of additional content for those who can't get enough.
I really had a lot of fun reading Katya's World, and I think for those people looking to get into the sci-fi genre then this may prove to be an effective gateway novel. I'm really looking forward to seeing where Howard takes this story in the next book.
Poltergeeks is a fun coming of age story, one that feels like a cross between Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Charmed, and Ghostbusters. It is one of the more fun stories I have read this year, something that I have needed given all the serious fantasy stories I seem to have been reading of late. This is a book that should have no trouble making you smile at least once.
I really did enjoy this book and I think it is something you should definitely give a try. The dystopian world Wells has created is one I want to spend more time in, especially given the massive tease we were left with right at the end. The story, the tension, and the character case studies should be reason enough for you to go pick this up and start reading now.
Of all the Novella / Novelette size stories I have read recently, Isolation is one of the better ones. Isolation is a prequel of sorts to Partials, centred around the actions of Theta-class Partial Heron (who we met at the end of Partials). Set during the Isolation War, we get alternating chapters between the infiltration of / battle with the Chinese army, and birth / training of new Partials.
This is an awesome concept with awesome characters and that familiar Sanderson style of writing. I feel like with all this awesomeness around the place, the plot never gets a chance to shine through and become a meaningful aspect of the story (see what I did there... yeah I'm probably going to the special Hell they reserve for book reviewers). This would be perfect as an episodic TV Series, and Sanderson has confirmed that he has signed a deal to try and make this happen. An excellent Saturday morning read.
Weird, strange, and cynical with good doses of humour and charm. That's probably the best way I can describe The Corpse Rat King, the debut novel from Lee Battersby, published by Angry Robot Books. Like most books from Angry Robot, The Corpse Rat King is based on a really cool idea and has an electric start. But like most author debuts from Angry Robot, The Corpse Rat King starts running out of steam about half way through before picking things up again for a big bang ending. Ultimately this is a charming booking and I think everyone who reads it will find at least one thing they like.
The Man Who Crossed Worlds is one of the most energetic stories I have read in the past twelve months. Strange does not take a backfoot step here, he rarely takes his foot off the accelerator, he just plows through whatever is standing in front of him. This story is not without its faults, and its slightly aggressive attitude may be a turn off for some people. It is very much a case of 'what you see is what you get' with Strange and I can see a lot of people having a lot of fun with this style of storytelling. If you like The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne, The Demon Squad series by Tim Marquitz, and maybe The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, then you will get a good kick out this book.
Aden awakens naked in a bath tub, knowing only that he is dead. His new world is Nightfall, a place filled with characters bizarre, grotesque and magical: Julius the duke, the monstrous Gorr family, the goddess Muse, Slythe the deadly assassin. On the night Aden awakens, the Forgetting closes in, erasing everything it touches. Aden has little time to discover why this world and its characters seem so familiar to him, and why they call his grandfather the Worldmaker and he must work out if he is here to save this world, or to help destroy it.
"Yep. Last Friday I became one of those guys. You know? Those guys who tear up at the end of a book? I saw a tiny little tear stain the last page of Nightfall and in the two days since that moment I am still thinking about that ending and the whole experience I just went through. I have read hundreds of books over the years, and a few of them have been emotional, but nothing has even come close to extracting the types of emotions that Will Elliott managed to pull out of me. I can't guarantee you will have the same experience. I can't guarantee you will be as moved as I was by the ending. But there is a chance that this book will resonate with you on every level, and I think it would be a great decision for you to take a chance on this book and see where it goes. " Fantasy Book Review
Redshirts by John Scalzi tells the story of the support crew onboard the Universal Union Capital Ship, Intrepid, and all the perils they face on a daily basis. I've been sitting on this review for a while, partly because I've not had much time to write but mostly because it has taken me a long time to come up with the right words for it. I'm a relative newcomer to Scalzi, having heard lots about him and his various sci-fi works but having never sat down and read anything of his until Redshirts. My first impression - if his other work is anywhere near as good as Redshirts then I can see myself devouring the rest of his bibliography in no time at all.
Allanon's Quest is a good short story for fans, and the ideal way to get your head back into the world of Shannara before Brooks releases the first book in his new Shannara trilogy later this month.
YA books like Shift and Blackwood have allowed me to get out of the morally ambiguous suck hole that fantasy has been circling for the past decade, and back into cool stories with fun characters that are satisfying because of the happily ever after ending. Blackwood is a fast and easy read, I had plenty of fun reading it, and even the pickiest of readers should be able to extract some good fun out of it. There are some big issues with this book, many of them the result of an adult reading a book intended for teenagers, but all in all it's a solid debut from Gwenda Bond.
I had fun reading this book, and no doubt had I been ten years younger I would have thought this book was amazing. It does a lot of things right, putting interesting characters in difficult situations and forcing them to overcome the odds through proficient use of a complex magic system. But for me, as an adult reading a Young Adult novel, it was just lacking that special something that would have taken this from being good book for adults too, to a great book for adults too. An excellent debut YA novel from author whose star should now be on the rise.
My favourite Hasidic gunslinger, the Rider, is back. Sure the Rider is the only Hasidic gunslinger I know, but that certainly doesnt take make him any less awesome or any less dangerous. In Merkabah Rider: The Mensch With No Name (Im going to call it TMWNN from here on) Edward M. Erdelac gives us the next four episodes in the Riders quest to hunt down his blasphemous, scheming mentor, Adon. We start to learn more about Adon, what he has been up to, what schemes he has hatched, and that the consequences of failing to stop him may be disastrous for all the planes of existence. The Hour of Incursion is coming.
The Hollow City is an excellent addition from Wells, a story that is not trying to exploit mental illness as a plot device, but rather tries to educate readers about what schizophrenia really is and how scary it is for people who have to live with it. If you havent read anything by Wells before, or if you arent a fan of his Young Adult works, then you should definitely give this book a try as I believe it showcases what he does best coming up with awesome characters and torturing them psychologically.
Embers of an Age is vast improvement on Dawn of War. Marquitz has taken all the issues I had with Dawn of War and addressed them in creative and stylish ways. The book is fast, action packed, contains plenty of gore and grotesque monsters, and is just a blast to read. Bring on Book 3.
Partials is an accomplished addition to the YA dystopia genre. This is a complex world full of sciency goodness, and Wells communicates it in a clear and accurate way so that he can build momentum towards an electric conclusion. This should be an enjoyable challenge for the young adult audience, while for adults, if you are able to connect with these characters, you will have a great time reading this book.
Blackbirds is rough, its coarse, its full of some quite confronting scenes and is definitely not the book for people who are looking for a light hearted romp through a magical fairy land. In fact, if you have any sort of morals in your body, this book will find a way to offend at least one of them. And I really like that. Blackbirds dares you to get down and dirty, dares you to like this miscreant from the wrong side of the tracks, and by the end you will either love her or you will hate her. Blackbirds is a unique experience, you should really give it a try.
Keir is a very capable debut from Jay, and for the most part was an enjoyable read from start to finish. There are a few things that Jay will need to work on for future novels, but the basics are solid and her characterisation is better than most. Sci-fi fans may have a few issues reading this book but fantasy and romance fans should really enjoy this.
I Don't Want To Kill You is a great conclusion to a brilliant debut series. The final demon was the most monstrous of all, the characters reached the end of their arcs, and it felt like series reached a natural conclusion despite the very tantalising thread Wells left for us in the final scene. I am very excited to see what the future holds for Dan Wells, and I hope that he returns to the world of John Cleaver in the not to distant future.
Spellbound is a book of high stakes and high consequence. The entertainment value is second to none, so dont go into this book expecting a gentle introduction to plot, setting and character. Correia hurls the reader from event to event, rarely allowing you to catch your breath, and somehow manages to do this while progressing a complex plot and building depth into his characters. You should definitely pick up this book, if for no other reason than to read one of the most epic finales I have ever seen in a book.
I said that Echoes of the Past is a book of revelations, but as I write this review I am realising this is more a book of transition. There are significant shifts in plot, character, and setting, and I am very exciting in the new directions Marquitz is taking the series. But in saying that, at the very core this is very much a Demon Squad book with all the charm, humour, and sex that you come to expect from this series. This is not quite my favourite Demon Squad book, but with so many awesome revelations and a big cliff-hanger at the end, my anticipation for the next Demon Squad book could not be any higher.
Wells is such a visual writer, and some of the things he comes up makes you seriously wonder about his of mind. From embalming's gone wrong to graphic torture scenes and even the effortless way in which John stalks everyone his neighbourhood, the whole book oozes psychological terror. This is a book that makes disturbing scenes fascinating because they are told from the point of view of a character who actually finds these disturbing scenes fascinating. I flipping loved this book and the more I reflect on it the more I love it. I could not put it down, I could not find a fault with it, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone. Even if you don't like horror. My wife is not big fan of horror or urban fantasy, but she could not put this book down and could not stop raving to me about how much she loved every part of this book. I never thought I would give a book 10/10, but looking back I don't see how I could give this book any less. It is immensely entertaining, immensely challenging, and immensely satisfying.
This not a bad debut novel, not by any stretch. The lack of any resolution is a sore spot for me, but there is enough good material in the characterisation and world building to suggest that Elliot's next outing will be much improved. If you want good heist story where the thieves are actually the bad guys, then you will certainly find a lot to enjoy with The Wrong Way Down.
Meet Easie Damasco, rogue, thieving swine and total charmer. Even the wicked can't rest when a vicious warlord and the force of enslaved giants he commands invade their homeland. Damasco might get away in one piece, but he's going to need help. Big time.
"Thieves are in, thieves are cool, thieves are the new orphan boy whose destiny is much greater than his tattered clothes. And so its time for my next fantasy novel, starring another dashing rogue who is out and about stealing stuff and causing havoc. Easie Damasco - with a name like that you just know he is trouble. Giant Thief by David Tallerman is one of the better examples in the thieving genre, and while it wasn't always to my taste, the quality of writing in this book easily pulled me through to the end and has me wanting to read more about this scoundrel." Fantasy Book Review
All in all Hounded is a very competent debut by an author who is rightly making a big splash in the fantasy genre. His issues with plotting and writing are minor issues that can be easily fixed, and are made to look even more minor by the strength of the characterisation and world building. It is easy to recommend this book - it is short, sweet, and you will have a lot of fun reading it.
The advent of ebooks has seen the number of self-published authors rise significantly over the past few years. Author's like Amanda Hocking, Michael J. Sullivan and Moses Siregar have all come from the self-published ranks and their success gives confidence to readers like myself that the next hidden gem might also come from the same place. So when I read and became intrigued by blurb for Mathion by Jeff Shanley, I was ready to give another self-published author the opportunity to make a real impression. Unfortunately for Shanley, Mathion is not the next hidden gem, falling well short of my expectations by delivering a story that had a lot of promise but failed in it's execution.
Empire State is a book starts off by promising the world but ends up delivering the shell of a parallel bubble.. Christopher does so many things right in this book, but the issues with plotting during the second half of the book stick out like a sore thumb. Despite the issues, Empire State shows off a world full of potential, and clearly demonstrates that Christopher is a talented author who is sure to become a real force in the future. It was a lot of fun to read, you should give it try, and I will definitely be checking out his next release.
I'd heard a lot about this book before I finally got the chance to read it. Dan Wells is close friends with Brandon Sanderson, one of my favourite authors, so many of my web searches often turned up interviews with Brandon Sanderson telling the world just how good an author Dan Wells is. This is not just lip service to help raise the profile of a friend, Wells is an incredibly talented author and his 2010 debut novel I Am Not A Serial Killer is one of the best, and creepiest, debut novel's I have ever read.
Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles--until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom. Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?
"Theft of Swords is a fun fantasy full of wonderful characters, deadly conspiracies, and intricate action sequences. There isn't a great deal of original material, and you can easily describe this series as Scott Lynch meets J.R.R. Tolkien, but the way Sullivan puts all the material together and the way that he gets his characters to interact with that material makes this book feel fresh despite the familiarity. If you are a looking to start a new series that has already been completed, look no further than Theft of Swords and The Riyria Revelations." Fantasy Book Review
All in all I quite enjoyed reading The Last Vampire, a lot more than I thought I would. The unique approach to the apocalypse and vampire mythology allowed for a compelling relationship to form between two great characters. While I was left feeling unsatisfied with the ending, on reflection I found myself pretty satisfied with the journey as a whole. The Last Vampire is a book that appeals on many different levels, and I would highly recommend this to all fantasy readers who have never read a paranormal romance.
The Young Adult dystopian genre has really picked up steam over the past 18 months, so it was about time that I checked one of them out. Variant by Robison Wells tells the story of a young foster child named Benson who wins a scholarship to attend a prestigious school, only once he gets to the school he finds out that they are all trapped and are the subjects of some sinister test program. Variant came to me highly recommended from a bunch of authors and it is easy to see why, it is a fast paced psychological thriller that makes use of some cool sci-fi elements to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Army Officer. Fugitive. Sorcerer. Across the country and in every nation, people are waking up with magical talents. Untrained and panicked, they summon storms, raise the dead, and set everything they touch ablaze. Army officer Oscar Britton sees the worst of it. A lieutenant attached to the military's Supernatural Operations Corps, his mission is to bring order to a world gone mad. Then he abruptly manifests a rare and prohibited magical power, transforming him overnight from government agent to public enemy number one. The SOC knows how to handle this kind of situation: hunt him downand take him out. Driven into an underground shadow world, Britton is about to learn that magic has changed all the rules he's ever known, and that his life isn't the only thing he's fighting for.
"As a military officer myself, I feel like I can really relate with Cole and the book he has written. It is a book that accurately portrays military life on a military base, while enhancing it using the fantasy elements I love to read about. Whether you are a military buff or not, this is an entertaining book packed full of intense action sequences - a modern interpretation of the fantasy genre that you should have no hesitations in reading." Fantasy Book Review
For all intents and purposes The Sending is an info dump, a book that you will only ever want to read once in preparation for taking on the final book of the series. It was slow, boring, and had very little plot progression, but Carmody's prose and characterisation still manages to shine through as a strength that will keep you going through the hard times. Hardcore fans of the series will love this book, but despite my love for the series I couldn't wait to finish this book so I could read something else. My recommendation - don't read this book until The Red Queen is released. You don't want to be put in a position where you have to read this book a second time.
At The Gates is an entertaining read that exceeded my high expectations and is by far the best book in the series. The humour and sexualism has been slightly toned down in the face of some impossible odds, but this is still unmistakeably a Demon Squad book with more than enough Frank moments to make you laugh and cringe at the same time. These books are not for everyone and if you are not a fan of the series, At The Gates is probably not going to convert you. But those who are fans will love this book, rejoicing at getting a second helping of Frank within twelve months.
This was a fast paced and highly entertaining novel. The time period adds a lot of charm and class to the book, and it is great to see just how much historical figures can further mould the world given a bunch of unique magical abilities. This book suffers from some poor cover art, but don't let that put you off because Hard Magic has some of the most fun and entertaining scenes I have read this year.
The last of an ancient order of Jewish mystics capable of extraplanar travel, The Merkabah Rider roams a demon haunted American West in search of his renegade teacher. But as the trail grows fresher, shadows gather, and The Hour Of The Incursion draws near... Four novella episodes in one book. This ain't your grandpappy's old west.
"Reviewing books for FBR has given me the opportunity to read books that I normally wouldn't, and to be honest I never thought that I would be reading fantasy stories about a Jewish mystic chasing down his former mentor in the Wild West. While the "Weird Western" genre was somewhat popularised a number of years ago by Robert E. Howard, the genre has remained largely untapped, but with the incorporation of Jewish religion into Wild West culture, Ed Erdelac has created a story that is fresh, original, and fun to read." Fantasy Book Review
Adaptations of popular video games do not normally translate very well into any medium, they are often awkward and clunky, restricted by the mechanics of the game, and devoid of whatever it was in the video game that appealed to you so much. There are so few decent attempts at movies or books based on video games because video games are a completely different medium, they rely on player interaction and gaming mechanics to tell you the story over the course of around 12 - 15 hours. Well trust the ever productive Brandon Sanderson, the author who it seems can do no wrong, to defy conventional wisdom and attempt to tell a decent story based on a video game. And you know what, his attempt is better than decent - Infinity Blade: Awakening might just be the best adaptation of a popular video game that I have experienced.
The World Tree rises up out of the seething clouds like a green mountain, lifting its children up to the light. All creation nestles in its gigantic branches: all take shelter beneath its canopy. There is no world besides this one - or so the priests in Argos city would have everyone believe. What then if the green God should wither away, or withdraw Her blessings from her children? Tymon is an orphaned boy growing up at Argos seminary, in the lush heart of the Central Canopy. The Argosian priests have declared science to be a heretical pursuit, and banned travel beyond the confines of the Tree. But Tymon yearns to discover new horizons. He longs to break free of the seminary. When he discovers an interloper in the city baths - a foreigner, a female, one of the stigmatised Nurian pilgrims brought to the town every year as slaves - his life changes forever. Punished for his temerity and exiled to the dry and forsaken Eastern Canopy to serve out his indenture, he finds that there are different ways of interpreting the cosmos beyond those taught to him by the priests in Argos. He discovers that the heresy of Grafting, belief in the mystic "Tree of Being", still persists in the eastern colonies. And he meets Samiha, the girl who holds the key to his own latent powers, as well as the ultimate fate of his world
"Sometimes in fantasy you will come across a hidden gem, a book that you cross paths with having heard absolutely nothing about it, a book that you were unprepared for that completely blows you away. I have been very lucky having found quite a number of these hidden gems in the past twelve months, but of these hidden gems few can compare to Tymon's Flight by Mary Victoria, a book that has taken a remarkable idea and complemented it with one of the most engaging stories I have read this year." Fantasy Book Review
I like a good science fiction cautionary tale, and in an era where there are so many things that we still do not understand, there is plenty of material out there for sci-fi writers to create something chilling that plays on our biggest fears. Global warming, genetic engineering, western consumerism - all of our greatest fears associated with these issues are drawn out and explored by Paolo Bacigalupi in his Hugo, Nebula and Locus winning novel The Windup Girl.
Terry Brooks follow up to his first in the Legends of Shannara duology possesses a somewhat different feel from its predecessor. With the final bearer of the black staff Sider Ament out of the picture, the responsibility of protecting the people of the valley falls to young tracker Panterra Qu. But with the demonic ragpicker hunting him down, unstable Elven politics rapidly escalating and the people of Glensk Wood in more peril than they realise, theres little room left to examine the story of a young man burdened by new responsibility.
Against the backdrop of epic warfare and the powers of ten mysterious gods, Lucia struggles to understand The Black One. Her father-king wants war. Her messianic brother wants peace. The black god wants his due. She suffers all the consequences. King Vieri is losing his war against the lands of Pawelon. Feeling abandoned by his god, he forces his son Caio, the kingdom's holy savior, to lead his army. Victory ought to come soon. To counter Caio's powers, Pawelon's prince enters the conflict. Rao is a gifted sage, a master of spiritual laws. He joins the rajah to defend their citadel against the invaders. But Rao's ideals soon clash with his army's general. The Black One tortures Lucia nightly with visions promising another ten years of bloodshed. She can no longer tell the difference between the waking world and her nightmares. Lucia knows the black god too well. He entered her bed and dreams when she was ten. The Black One watches, waiting to see Lucia confront an impossible decision over the fates of two men--and two lands.
"I enjoyed this book, immensely. It had style, it had substance, and it had a lot of heart. For an independently self published novel, Siregar easily defies the stigma that you can only get a quality book out of a recognised publishing house. From the cover art he designed himself through to the words put down on paper (or e-paper for e-book readers), Siregar has produced a full package of the highest quality and I will definitely be going back for more." Fantasy Book Review
One thing that hasn't waned is Goodkind's technical writing skills. His use of very short chapters were off putting at first, but looking back on it I think it was a very clever ploy as it kept me going "just one more chapter" every time I tried to put the book down. His pacing was consistent, his use of language was appropriate, the book was so easy to read that I had finished it before I even realised that I had so many issues with it.
Here at Fantasy Book Review we have been giving Tim Marquitz quite a bit of love and publicity lately. For good reason too, this guy really knows how to write an entertaining story that appeals to a range of people on a number of different levels. This time around Marquitz has decided to move out of the Urban Fantasy / Horror genre to write epic fantasy, and while the the story is not without a few notable issues, this is his first attempt at the genre and on the whole it is an impressive one.
I really like the idea of zombies in the Wild West, and I think Crisler has done an admirable job of weaving this idea together with the missing persons mystery story. While the fast pace of the plot causes a lot of the detail to be left behind, the well written high intensity action scenes do a lot to make up for this. If you are strapped for time and don't feeling like picking up another 400,000 word epic fantasy, I recommend you pick up Wild as something quick and fun to read with bucket loads of entertainment along the way.
This is one of the best supernatural books that I have ever read, it is set in a world that really appeals to me and has characters that are consistently able to make me laugh. Marquitz has significantly lifted his game for this book, and I think it is a safe assumption that the next book will be even better. While it may not be the best book I have read this year, it is by far the most fun I have had reading a book this year, and it thoroughly deserves this high score. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Armageddon Bound is all about the charm, all about the wit, all about fighting and winning against impossible odds, and all about the sex. There are some big issues here that Marquitz needs to resolve for the next book in the series, more world building and less of an emphasis on sex would be a good start, but he needs to be careful that he doesn't make too many changes that compromises the identity established by this book. I had a lot of fun reading this book, and I expect the fun to continue in the future installments.
Equal Rites is a story that I think will resonate with everybody, whether or not you are a fan of Discworld, whether or not you are a fan of the fantasy genre. The story of a young girl asking why women can't be wizards explores some themes that I think transcend genres, and while Pratchett didn't take full advantage of this opportunity to create a masterpiece, he did deliver a strong message to the rest of the world that fantasy is a relevant genre that can be used explore topical issues in ways that other genres cannot.
A fantasy world completely different to our own, savage monsters that want to conquer the world, a magical artefact that holds the power to control the world, and a team of adventurers on a mission to retrieve the magical artefact from the savage monsters thereby saving the world. It sounds like a familiar story doesn't it. A story that you have probably read in some shape or form many, many times. But what if the adventurers were the bad guys? What if the adventurers were despised because all they do is run around the place messing up everyone's shit? What if all the members in that band of adventurers truly hated each other, and I mean the sort of hate that goes right down to the bone? Well you would probably get Tome of the Undergates, a story that feels familiar due to the use of familiar fantasy tropes, a story that makes its own fantasy tropes to create an experience that is unlike anything else.
While the plot and the characters may have been triumphs, the writing really leaves a lot to be desired. I do not like to talk about spelling and grammar because in the context of reviewing a story it doesnt really add much value, but in this case I have to comment. The ebook I downloaded was riddled with typos and formatting errors, often disrupting the immersion and really making this book hard to read. Very basic grammatical errors littered throughout the book were quite annoying to read, but the substantial grammatical errors had me rereading lines multiple times, scratching my head trying to figure out what is going on and what the author is trying to tell me.
With his patients dead and his genetic research in tatters, Dr. Anton Springmann fled his homeland as a fugitive, taking a one-way diesel ship to New Alania. But within hours of his arrival, screams ring through the night. Hordes of gray, humanoid creatures--devils, to the townspeople--attack Anton's new home. Among the dead, Anton finds a single survivor: a young girl, Elisa Pierce. Her skin grows cracked and she begins to mutate. She's becoming a devil. Anton's seen it before. Tormented by past sins, Anton struggles to save Elisa before the change takes her completely. But old enemies have pursued him across the seas, and now Anton is being hunted by more than just devils. Redemption doesn't come cheap in New Alania.
"The Converted has all the hallmarks I have come to expect from a debut novel. It has a deep story set in an intricately described world with a broad spectrum of unique characters, but it just seems to be missing something, that little bit of polish that turns a good story into a fantastically immersive story. This is a story that starts out a little slow and rocky but gets much better the further you get into it. Similar to what I said in my review of The Passage, I implore you to keep reading The Converted because there is a complex story in there with a bunch of different threads and a pay-off that is well worth it." Fantasy Book Review
Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is. THE PASSAGE.
"The Passage is a story of truly epic proportions, a story that dares to span the entire globe over the course of one hundred years. A large scope comes with a large risk of creating something too big to handle, but Cronin keeps the core elements controlled and focused while giving his characters just enough information to be dangerous and unpredictable.The result is a deliberate yet gripping plot full of complex characters and terrifying monsters, all set in an isolated and empty post apocalyptic world." Fantasy Book Review
Life held little interest for Jacob...until he found death. Abused and neglected, Jacob's only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend. But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he learns what true suffering is. Drawn to examine the skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares. Through their eyes he watches them die. With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur. A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again. But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come. Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.
"After reading Skulls it is becoming clearer to me why Fantasy-Horror hybrid stories are doing so well. By taking everyday people like the neighbour down the street and turning them into a monster you can create an incredibly chilling realistic scenario that can be off-putting to a lot of readers, but by adding a few supernatural elements the story becomes less realistic, making it more accessible to a wider ranger of readers while retaining that chilling essence. If you are looking to enter this genre for the first time, or if you are looking for something a bit more edgy than your regular epic fantasy, I recommend that you read Skulls and experience the piercing gaze of the skulls for yourself." Fantasy Book Review
This novella is an introduction to what I think will be a great novel. The story is unique, the characters are interesting, and Siregar has shown that he has the capability to become a solid writer with the style and flair to become a brilliant writer. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of this novella now.
Elantris was built on magic and it thrived. But then the magic began to fade and Elantris began to rot. And now its shattered citizens face domination by a powerful Imperium motivated by dogged religious views. Can a young Princess unite the people of Elantris, rediscover the lost magic and lead a rebellion against the imperial zealots? Brandon Sanderson's debut fantasy showed his skill as a storyteller and an imaginer of baroque magical systems to be fully developed from the start.
"I must have been one of the few that missed that Brandon Sanderson explosion onto the market a few years ago, at the time I had completely lost faith in fantasy as it seemed every new fantasy novel I picked up lacked creativity, originality, and that sense of wonder and awe that typically defines every great fantasy story. Having discovered that there was a whole entire world of great fiction outside of fantasy I rarely ventured further than the Crime and Thriller aisle (probably because it was closer to the front door), and so it wasn't until about 18 months ago when I started getting back into fantasy that I saw a copy of The Gathering Storm in the book store penned by some guy named Brandon Sanderson. It was six months ago when I saw Josh's review of The Final Empire that I actually bought my first Brandon Sanderson book, and it was five days later, having just read the last 300 pages of The Final Empire in one sitting, that I found my faith in the future of fantasy writing had been restored and that I must read everything written by this guy named Brandon Sanderson." Fantasy Book Review
This is a solid and enjoyable piece of YA fiction that promises a lot from future books. After spending an entire book world building I expect the future books to be outstanding, and given the calibre of Orson Scott Card I am pretty confident that these expectations will be easily met.
This was a very difficult book to read. I wanted to keep reading it because the settings were amazingly detailed and the characters were so complex and fascinating, but at times I couldn't bring myself to keep reading because just looking at the book reminded me of how slow the pacing was and how long it was taking me to read. As in his two previous books, Pinto has again demonstrated a rare mastery of the English language allowing him to create settings and characters abundant with substance and detail. At times this abundance can be quite excessive and unbalanced, but when Pinto does get the balance right the pages just melt away and this book becomes a pleasure to read.
According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter - the world's only totally reliable guide to the future - the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just after tea...
"A Superbly funny book. Pratchett and Gaiman are the most hilariously sinister team since Jekyll and Hyde. If this is Armageddon, count me in." James Herbert
"Good Omens is by far one of the funniest works of fiction I have ever read. Pratchett and Gaiman have managed to create a story that weaves together large doses of satire, cynicism, slapstick and wacky unconventional humour into a cohesive yet suprisingly accurate observation of human life all over the world." Fantasy Book Review
Pathfinder is the first book in Orson Scott Cards Serpent World series published by Simon & Schuster in 2010. Well known in the Sci-fi world for the Ender Saga (notably Ender's Game), the Homecoming Saga, Card seems to be branching more and more into the fantasy genre with better results each time. With Pathfinder, Card has taken a number of the more complex sci-fi elements and used them to create a quality YA fantasy story that is original, easy to understand, and fun to read.
In the time immediately following the destruction of the Death Star and the years between the Battle of Yavin and the foundation of the Rebel Base on Hoth, the Empire's grip on the galaxy has become an unyielding fist of retribution. Pressed into action by Emperor Palpatine, Imperial forces have stepped up efforts to hunt down and imprison Rebel sympathizers, shipping them off to newly formed detainment moons via huge prison barges. By necessity these barges are floating chambers of degradation and vice, notoriously unreliable spacecraft staffed by Imperial corrections officers whose cruelty rivals that of the inmates. The Imperial Prison Barge Virtue is hauling its load of prisoners, criminals and murderers, human and non-human, across the galaxy, when it breaks down in deep space. Soon after, the ship's warden discovers a derelict Star Destroyer, seemingly abandoned, and sends a boarding party to scavenge parts to repair the Virtue. Half of them don't come back. The ones that do are infected with a virus so deadly that within hours, it has wiped out ninety-nine percent of the barge's population. But for the handful of survivors -- two brothers, the Virtue's female chief medical officer, and a sadistic captain of the guards, along with a certain rogue smuggler and his Wookiee sidekick - the true horror is just begun. Because those inmates and guards who died of the virus don't stay dead...and when they come back, they're extremely hungry. Against their better judgment, the survivors take refuge aboard the massive creaking emptiness of the Destroyer, only to discover that its original population has not disappeared at all -- and that they've been waiting for them.
"The Star Wars universe offers rich source of material for any author willing to use it, and Schreiber has shown with Death Troopers that you do not need to be limited to the traditional Sci-Fi / Fantasy guidelines in order to make a Star Wars novel really work. While there are some big flaws, they are for the most part cosmetic and are overshadowed by some brilliant action scenes towards the end of the book. While this is a must read for all Star Wars fans, it can also be enjoyable for anyone who likes their horror set to moderate." Fantasy Book Review
I think the best description for Precipice is that it’s solid without being spectacular. The story is easy to read and easy to understand, with the Star Wars elements used to enhance the story rather than to define the story. There are some subtle expansions on previously unexplored Star Wars elements which will satisfy long suffering fans, the writing is not very complex which will make it accessible for those new to the Star Wars universe, and the foreshadowing of major events to come makes readers want to keep reading. The problem for me was that for all the work done foreshadowing major events, the story never really reached a noteworthy climax. I feel like this was a lost opportunity as the nature of Star Wars lends itself to high-octane action scenes which in this case never got out of first gear. As I said previously, solid without being spectacular.
The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians, junkies and whores. Now a stranger has come, with a pocketful of gold and an impossible demand, and inadvertently something unthinkable is released. Soon the city is gripped by an alien terror - and the fate of millions depends on a clutch of outcasts on the run from lawmakers and crime-lords alike. The urban nightscape becomes a hunting ground as battles rage in the shadows of bizarre buildings. And a reckoning is due at the city's heart, in the vast edifice of Perdido Street Station. It is too late to escape.
"China Miéville, poster boy for the so-called "new weird", is one of the most interesting and promising writers to appear in the last few years in any genre. Perdido Street Station is a fantastic yarn that follows the roads set by M John Harrison in his Viriconium world and brings an enormous energy and creativity to the table. A reinvention of modern fantasy with guts, brains and plenty of glory. Plunge in." The Guardian
"Perdido Street Station is a well written and absorbing story aimed at breaking the rules for a number of different fantasy concepts. There are some minor issues regarding information overload and the use of profanities which can quickly remove the sense of immersion, but these are easily overcome by the beauty and creativity of the world that Mieville has created. Perdido Street Station is a very intricate and complex novel that provides a refreshing challenge to the way in which epic fantasy is traditionally explored." Fantasy Book Review
The Dragon Reborn is the third in the Wheel of Time series and continues almost immediately on from The Great Hunt. This book contains two distinct paths to the climax, a feature throughout the series and one of the many reasons why I am such a big fan of the series.
This is a well written novel designed to be easy to read and hard to put down. Being easy to read means that there is not a lot of complexity in the writing and this did have a slightly detrimental affect when exploring the complex nature of the religous and political scenarios mentioned above. There are some pacing issues early on and you do get the feeling that you are reading a lot of pages and learning a lot about the world without much actually happening to progress the story. These are relatively small issues and they do not take anything away from what is the strongest piece of work produced by Terry Brooks in some time.
The Standing Dead is the second book in Ricardo Pinto's The Stone Dance of the Chameleon series, published by Bantam in 2002. In the first book, The Chosen, Pinto created an amazing, complex, and wonderous world complete with an intricate society, intriguing politics and a facinating history. As such, there is a lot of assumed knowledge that the reader should possess in order to fully appreciate what has been offered in The Standing Dead. While this novel as a number of flaws, they are definitely outweighed by the imagination and writing skill of Pinto. The last two hundred pages of this book gives me hope that the next book will provide a coherant, consistent, and exciting conclusion to this series.
The story itself begins to challenge Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen for depth and scope. The prologue isn’t there just to pamper the author’s desires but really sets the scene for what is to come, so many years later. The technology, armour, weapons and magic of this world bear the standard Sanderson touch, intricately detailed to the nth degree and utterly believable, a combination that many fail to achieve. Maybe the area in which Sanderson achieves his highest praise is in the manner with which he depicts the headspace our characters live in. Not only in their reaction and understanding of the world around them and the manner in which it reacts and has reacted to the continual storms that batter its landscape, but also in how the characters seem to be baffled by concepts that to us are normal, but in their world are foreign. Their bafflement leaves the reader similarly baffled, all too great effect.
Our intrepid anti-hero Artemis Fowl returns again in this second instalment in Eoin Colfers best selling series. Artemis, having been installed at a prestigious boarding school by his now recovered mother Angelina, takes great delight in confounding the school psychologist and taking leave as he pleases to pursue his other interests. In this book that happens to be the whereabouts of his father after confirmation is received that he is still alive and being held to ransom by the Russian Mafiya. Artemis, together with faithful servant Butler, must rescue Artemis Senior but they are going to need help.
Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old genius born into the Fowl dynasty, that is, he is heir apparent and an already accomplished master of criminal activities that have founded the Fowl empire; he also has every intention of continuing in his fathers footsteps. With his manservant, bodyguard and all round unstoppable man mountain, Butler, Artemis proceeds in his plan to replenish the family coffers with gold lots of it. But this is no ordinary gold he has set his sights on, this is Fairy Gold, but then Artemis is no ordinary 12 year old.