Skip to content

New Worlds on the Horizon, or, The Beginning of the End

New Worlds on the Horizon, or, The Beginning of the End published on

Hello darlings, has it been a week already? Apparently so.

I’ve mentioned before that I adore first novels. You can generally get a good hint at what an authors loves and hates and style will be from the first book they write. They may venture far from their roots in their career, but the seeds are almost always there early on. Indeed, some writers never again achieve the insight and brilliance of their first publications (Orson Scott Card comes to mind, he’s spent a career diluting the power of ‘Ender’s Game‘, with the sole exception of ‘Speaker for the Dead‘).

Every year the editors in New York find us an amazing new crop of delicious new authors, and here is a list of just a few from the first half of the year that you should check out. Being a first time novelist is tough, because most don’t have a built in fan-base (barring the exception like Charlie Jane Anders from last year) so it’s hard for them to get attention and traction. Having read one and a half of the books on the list below I can assure you that there’s some real brilliance coming out this year.

Katherine Arden • The Bear and the Nightingale • 01/10

(I’m currently reading this book, which was sold to me as being like 2015s stunning ‘Uprooted‘ by Naomi Novik. And while it’s not exactly the same, it clearly springs from the same soil. It’s lovely and I’m really enjoying it so far.)

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Elly Blake • Frostblood • 01/10

Seventeen-year-old Ruby is a Fireblood who has concealed her powers of heat and flame from the cruel Frostblood ruling class her entire life. But when her mother is killed trying to protect her, and rebel Frostbloods demand her help to overthrow their bloodthirsty king, she agrees to come out of hiding, desperate to have her revenge.

Despite her unpredictable abilities, Ruby trains with the rebels and the infuriating–yet irresistible–Arcus, who seems to think of her as nothing more than a weapon. But before they can take action, Ruby is captured and forced to compete in the king’s tournaments that pit Fireblood prisoners against Frostblood champions. Now she has only one chance to destroy the maniacal ruler who has taken everything from her–and from the icy young man she has come to love.

Vivid and compelling, Frostblood is the first in an exhilarating series about a world where flame and ice are mortal enemies…but together create a power that could change everything.

Ruthanna Emrys • Winter Tide • 04/04

(This book is amazing. If you’ve ever wondered what the world looked like from the other point of view of the Lovecraft Mythos this book is for you. And if you’re not familiar with Lovecraft, then this is a remarkable story on it’s own. Just read it. I adored it.)

After attacking Devil’s Reef in 1928, the U.S. government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra’s life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that Communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant, and hasten the end of the human race.

Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.

Antonia Honeywell • The Ship 04/25

Lalla has grown up sheltered from the chaos amid the ruins of civilization. But things are getting more dangerous outside. People are killing each other for husks of bread, and the police are detaining anyone without an identification card. On her sixteenth birthday, Lalla’s father decides it’s time to use their escape route–a ship he’s built that is only big enough to save five hundred people.

But the utopia her father has created isn’t everything it appears. There’s more food than anyone can eat, but nothing grows; more clothes than anyone can wear, but no way to mend them; and no-one can tell her where they are going.

Chelsea Mueller • Borrowed Souls • 05/02

Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.

Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.

To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.

With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.

Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.

Sarah Gailey • River of Teeth • 05/23

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.

Sarah Tolcser • Song of the Current • 06/06

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. But at seventeen, Caro may be too late.

So when pirates burn ships and her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport mysterious cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by piloting her own wherry, the river god will finally speak her name.

But when the cargo becomes more than Caro expected, she finds herself caught in a web of politics and lies. With much more than her father’s life at stake, Caro must choose between the future she knows, and the one she could have never imagined.

David Mealing • The Soul of the World • 06/27

It is a time of revolution. in the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge.

Sarine is an artist on the streets of New Sarresant whose secret familiar helps her uncover bloodlust and madness where she expected only revolutionary fervor.

Arak’Jur wields the power of beasts to keep his people safe, but his strength cannot protect them from war amongst themselves.

Erris is a brilliant cavalry officer trying to defend New Sarresant from an enemy general armed with magic she barely understands.

Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them.

 

Callie Bates • The Waking Land • 06/27

 

Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.

Now I’m off to read some more of the lovely ‘The Bear and the Nightengale’ and catch up with the rest of ‘A series of Unfortunate Events’ on Netflix which I’m enjoying. I’ll see you all next week!

 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, or, These Aren’t the Flying Monkeys I was Promised

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, or, These Aren’t the Flying Monkeys I was Promised published on

Oh, hello again dearest reader, is it that time again already?

My how the time flies!

I’m still buzzing with excitement over the first two episodes of Emerald City. What can I say, I love me some Wizard of Oz fanfiction, and this is really good fanfiction. I’ve been reading and watching some reviews of the show, and I can’t decide if some of the reviewers even watched the same show as me.

Where I saw a wonderous and strange (but with plenty of callbacks to the books) update to what are, in reality, fairly silly but delightful books, some of the reviews I’ve seen call it stupid, slow, and pointless. I do wonder if most of their exposure to the Oz mythos isn’t just having seen ‘The Wizard of Oz‘ movie a time or two (in fact my biggest irritation with Emerald City is that once again Glinda is shown as the witch of the NORTH, ugh!).

The inclusion of vital Ozian characters like the boy Tip and Mombi jolted me into hyper-excitedness, but I can see how a lack of awareness of who they are could lead to seeing the subplot at pointless, instead of BEING the point as the case may be (depending on where the showrunners plan to take things).

Anyway, it’s fanfiction for people like me who love the books. I just hope it attracts enough of an audience to keep it going for a few seasons. Ten episodes IS NOT ENOUGH!!!

Anyhoo, onto the books, SO MANY BOOKS!!!

I’m still working on my 2016 wrap-up, which has a whole (and rather large) section that I won’t have to write because neither George RR Martin’s ‘The Winds of Winter‘ or Patrick Rothfuss’ ‘Doors of Stone‘ arrived, and Scott Lynch’s ‘Thorn of Emberlain‘ continues to be delayed. Other books we didn’t see in 2016 were Tad Williams’ ‘The Witchwood Crown‘ (which will finally appear in June of this year) and Robin Hobb’s crowning volume in the saga of Fitz ‘Assassin’s Fate‘ (Also scheduled for later this year).

I do want to take a moment and shout-out about a couple of books I am VERY excited about coming this spring (and get used to me talking about them. Incessantly.

In May Saga Press is going to publish the omnibus edition of ‘Tremontaine‘ by Ellen Kushner and her merry band of rebels. I have written elsewhere about my love of ‘Swordspoint‘ and even more ‘The Fall of the Kings‘, and the world of Riverside in general. But in many ways the episodes of ‘Tremontaine‘ were some of my favorite bits of the world so far. It allowed the world to stretch out a bit and breathe, which only made it more breathtaking. If you haven’t read any of the Riverside books and don’t know where to start, ‘Tremontaine‘ is a great choice.

Also in May, and to my great disappointment, Robert Jackson Bennett will be closing out the world of his brilliant ‘City of Stairs‘ and ‘City of Blades‘ with the final book ‘The City of Miracles‘. I hoped he would decide that his children needed a college fund and would write 5 or 10 or 40 books about Shara and Sigrud, and the world they live in where the gods of Bulikov that once ruled all have been killed. If you haven’t read them, pick up ‘City of Stairs’, it’s a fast and brilliant read that will leave you breathless.

Oh my, look at the time! I think I blew my deadline again. So I should wrap this up with a quick air kiss for now, and a promise to be back again next week. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the books I’m excited for that are coming out today, January 10th-

Laura Anne Gilman • The Cold Eye

Max Gladstone • Bookburners

Katherine Arden • The Bear and the Nightingale (Debut Author Alert!!)

Seanan McGuire • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day

The Joys of the Season: or, The New Gods and the Old

The Joys of the Season: or, The New Gods and the Old published on

[Note from Chris Brant: Tracy sent this to me with the intention that it would go up on December 27th. I didn’t get it up in time. But it’s a fun read, and so here it is.]

Dearest reader,

The weather outside may be frightful, but the books and a wee dash of whisky in my cocoa are so delightful while I’m here curled up on my sofa to write this week’s column (so forgive any typos please). I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, and, as the old year dies, I hope you are ready for a new year of great new books.

You all know that I am far too lazy to compile a comprehensive list of all the new releases in any given month, and certainly don’t have the energy to follow up with everything that is going on in the self published realm, but there are a few self published authors I do follow (including Josiah Bancroft, and if you haven’t read his amazing debut ‘Senlin Ascends’ just do yourself a favor and go get it, it’s fantastic) and one of them, the delightfully grimdarky (grimdarkly?) Sean Rodden is finally gearing up to release a sequel to his first book ‘Whispers of War’, for 2017 called ‘Roars of War’ which may lack the first books alliterative title, but promises an amp up in the violence and death. It’s coming in April, so if you’re looking for your next grimdark adventure, there you go.

If you’re looking for just the opposite, something glorious and amazing and wonderful and rare is headed our way. As I mentioned briefly last week, the legendary Peter Beagle will be releasing his second new book in less than a year when ‘In Calabria’ arrives on Valentines Day. Here is the cover copy the whet your appetite:

‘Claudio Bianchi has lived alone for many years on a hillside in Southern Italy’s scenic Calabria. Set in his ways and suspicious of outsiders, Claudio has always resisted change, preferring farming and writing poetry. But one chilly morning, as though from a dream, an impossible visitor appears at the farm. When Claudio comes to her aid, an act of kindness throws his world into chaos. Suddenly he must stave off inquisitive onlookers, invasive media, and even more sinister influences’

And if you didn’t pick up his lovely ‘Summerlong’ when it came out in September, then you shouldn’t wait any longer as it was a wonderful and notably adult fantasy in the sense that the characters are adults, with adult lives and responses rather than teenagers or early twentysomethings. Refreshingly different and fabulously written.

Next week in the first of the 2017 posts, I’ll be talking about my 2016 year in review in books (and will no doubt completely omit something staggeringly good that I loved). But I do want to compliment the media side of 2016 for a stellar year. ‘Arrival’ may well be the best scifi movie I’ve ever seen (and I continue to eat crow for the years of saying the source novella was unfilmable), and ‘Game of Thrones’ gave us a brilliant season while ‘Westworld’ gave us a new series to obsess over (while we wait impatiently for it to return in 2018). ‘The Expanse’ and ‘The Magicians’ made SYFY channel shockingly relevant again as well, and I’m already excited for the second season of both, and while The Shannara Chronicles on MTV didn’t nearly live up to it’s potential (though Austin Butler’s abs should be nominated for something this awards season), I’ll still give season two a chance in the summer in case the showrunners pull off a miracle and right that ship.

This next year we will see the launch of several new properties including ‘Hunted’ where we will also see the adorable (though surprisingly short in person) Myke Cole switching up his career yet again. In addition to having a new book coming out. Where does he find the time?!?

Also in the coming year, as if the coming Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s popular novel about the world of gods and the conflict amongst them weren’t enough, Dark Horse Comics will be adapting the same work into a new limited 27 issue comic series in three major arcs. The story will will begin in American Gods #1 on March 15, 2017. Including a fabulous alternate cover by P Craig Russell (who I once randomly met in a elevator, and it took me 20 minutes to realize who I had just met, so imagine my embarrassment).

That about wraps up my space for the week, but I’ll be back next week with some highlights from 2016. Ta-ta for now, and I’m off to get a little freshener for this drink. Be safe out there, and have a Happy New Year!

Act 2 Scene 1: or, After the Lights Come On

Act 2 Scene 1: or, After the Lights Come On published on

The Scene:

A darkened auditorium

Your Well-Loved Narrator:

-taps on mic-

‘Is this thing on?’

-looks offstage-

‘Can I please get the stage lights brought up please?’

-Lights come on-

-Looks right at you-

Well hello dear reader! Have you missed me? I’m sure you have. I’m back from my wee little sabattical (Well, really I’ve just been being utterly terified of 2016 and trying hard to avoid it’s monstrous gaze). There’s so much going on and I just don’t even know where to begin.

A word of housekeeping I suppose, and that is that I’d like to apologize to the screenwriter and director of ‘Arrival’. I’ve said since I first heard that ‘Story of Your Life’ had been optioned that it was absolutely unfilmable….

Yeah, I was so so wrong. It was brilliant. Simply the single finest science fiction film I’ve ever watched.

Alright, and now lets get into what you’re really here for. Let’s talk books. I’m working on a wrap-up for 2016 that I’ll post in January. But for now let’s start looking forward to the first quarter of 2017.

January 2017

A new Tad Williams!!!!! A new Peter Beagle!!!!! A New Laura Anne Gilman!!!!!

I adore Tad Williams, and a new book by him is always a treat. I’ve been reading on ‘The Heart of What Was Lost’ and it is a wonderful revisit to Osten Ard. It’s a much wider story than his last visit (1998’s lovely and haunting ‘The Burning Man’) and really drops you back into the fuller world of Osten Ard in set up to ‘The Witchwood Crown’ later this year.

I really look forward to reading the new Peter Beagle, it’s great to see one of our living legends releasing new material, and after the recent ‘Summerlong’, I anticipate his next book will also be lovely.

People paying attention here know I’m a big fan of Laura Anne’s first book in her Weird Western Devil’s Hand world (and please let this one run for a long long time). So I’m very excited for the second volume in that saga.

There’s been a lot of buzz around Katherine Arden’s ‘The Bear and the Nightengale’ for awhile, and from reading the first few chapters (so far!) I don’t think it’s misplaced. For fans of Patricia McKillip and Noami Novik’s wonderful ‘Uprooted’ this is a must-read.

I read through Seanan Maguire’s ghost story novella ‘Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day’ the other night, and I was deeply impressed with how quickly and apprarently effortlessly she created a world and populated it with fully fleshed out characters, without bogging us down with needless details. I hope to see more of this world.

Hand, Elizabeth • Fire • (01/01)
Modesitt, L. E., Jr. • Recluce Tales • (01/03)
Older, Daniel José • Battle Hill Bolero • (01/03)
Pratchett, Terry • The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner • (01/03)
Williams, Tad • The Heart of What Was Lost • (01/03)
Gilman, Laura Anne • The Cold Eye • (01/10)
Gladstone, Max • Bookburners •(01/10)
Arden, Katherine • The Bear and the Nightingale • (01/10)
McGuire, Seanan • Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day • (01/10)
Beagle, Peter S. • In Calabria • (01/17)
Stross, Charles • Empire Games • (01/17)
Vaughn, Carrie • Martians Abroad • (01/17)
Westerfeld, Scott • Horizon • (01/17)
Goodkind, Terry • Death’s Mistress • (01/24)
Brust, Steven, & Skyler White • The Skill of Our Hands • (01/24)
Okorafor, Nnedi • Binti: Home • (01/31)
Aaronovitch, Ben • The Hanging Tree • (01/31)

February 2017

Oh February…

You’re trying to take away all my reading hours aren’t you?

A new book in Brad Beaulieu’s marvelous Sharakai (I promise you, it’s MARVELOUS!!!), the final volume in Victoria Schwab’s ‘Shades of Magic’ series, and FINALLY ‘Miranda and Caliban’ by Jacqueline Carey which I’ve been waiting for what seems like centuries to read. It’s staring at me alluringly from my bookcase.

I also breezed through Garth Nix’s charming middle reader book ‘Frogkisser!’ the other night, as he had read a bit of it when I saw him in Seattle this fall, and it was delightful. It will appeal deeply to fans of Patricia Wrede’s ‘Enchanted Forest’ Chronicles.

Beaulieu, Bradley P. • With Blood Upon the Sand • (02/07)
Danielewski, Mark Z. • The Familiar: Volume 4: Hades • (02/07)
Hurley, Kameron • The Stars Are Legion • (02/07)
Sagara, Michelle • Grave • (02/07)
Harrison, Kim • The Turn • (02/07)
Carey, Jacqueline • Miranda and Caliban • (02/14)
Duncan, Dave • Portal of a Thousand Worlds • (02/14)
Schwab, V. E. • A Conjuring of Light • (02/21)
Kadrey, Richard • The Wrong Dead Guy • (02/28)
Kiernan, Caitlín R. • Agents of Dreamland • (02/28)
Nix, Garth • Frogkisser! • (02/28)
Wendig, Chuck • Thunderbird • (02/28)

March 2017

FINALLY! The new Scalzi is almost here, and I feel like I’ve been waiting for simply AGES.

Bishop, Anne • Etched in Bone • (03/07)
Bledsoe, Alex • Gather Her Round • (03/07)
McGuire, Seanan • Magic for Nothing • (03/07)
Briggs, Patricia • Silence Fallen • (03/07)
Robinson, Kim Stanley • New York 2140 • (03/14)
Scalzi, John • The Collapsing Empire • (03/21)
McDonald, Ian • Luna: Wolf Moon • (03/28)
Kiernan, Caitlín R. • Dear Sweet Filthy World • (03/31)

And now my dears, as a reward for your patience with my long absence, here is Brent Weeks reading from his forthcoming book that will return him to the world of the Night Angel Trilogy. This won’t be his next book (which will be the final volume of the Lightbringer Saga) but the book after that.

Between the Covers, or

Between the Covers, or published on

My Shopping Cart This Week was an Embarrassment of Riches

Dearest reader,

What a busy busy week!

I feel like everything came out this week, not one, not two, not three, but FOUR new books I simply must read. Plus a bonus novella that was both a surprise and a delight. And now comes the hard part, where I am going to SIMPLY RAVE to you about how amazing two (and a half) of these books are.

18739426Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

As the faithful reader here knows, I was not a huge fan of the original Mistborn trilogy, though my issue was rather singular to me, and not a problem with the books themselves. Namely, I deeply dislike both Kelsior and Vin (though for rather different reasons). But this is a mark of Sanderson’s success not of his failure, as he wrote characters real enough that I could hate them, and not because they’re poorly written.

But the new Mistborn books are a whole new cut of cloth. I adore Waxillium, and Wayne is a delight. ‘Alloy of Law’ was a fun return to the world, and then there was ‘Shadows of Self’, which stunned me. Oh was it good! And now the latest, ‘Bands of Mourning’ which is just WOWWWWWWW!! Now can it just be 2017 already so I can read the last book in the new sequence The Lost Metal.

.

23909755City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

So, a confession: I read this book months ago. AND I LOVED IT. I mean, I knew I would, since I adored the first book in the series, and Bennett might be incapable of writing a bad book. But ‘City of Blades’ is a great read in a very different way than ‘City of Stairs’, and while it might not be a better book, it’s also not a worse book; and that says something since ‘City of Stairs’ was my favorite book of 2015. The nice thing about these books is they stand apart from each other. You don’t need to know what happened in ‘City of Stairs’ to get any part of ‘City of Blades’. I suspect that next year’s ‘City of Miracles’ will be the same. Though I do hope for a return of a couple of VERY SPECIFIC CHARACTERS from City of Stairs in Miracles. RJB, if you read this, YOU SHOULD KNOW WHO I MEAN.

There’s cookies in it for you if you make it happen.

Please?

.

25372801All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
So since we’re all friends here, I have a confession. I haven’t finished this one yet. So my review is not on the completed book, but only the first half.

When I started this book, I kind of expected All the Birds in the Sky to be one of those over hyped books by an new author which was going to be good as a first novel, but not actually as good as the hype. And the hype has been ABUNDANT. And in a way, it IS very much a first novel. The beginning of the book is a lot of telling without showing, and it has a strangely slow build up to where the action really starts. But, in spite of that, I am really loving it. There’s something strange and beautiful about it that reminds me slightly of Patricia McKillip and Charles de Lint, with more than a hint of the pre-apocalyptic dread of Sheri Tepper’s ‘Beauty’.

All in all, I hope the book finishes as well as it is going right now, because I want it to be one of those instances where the buzz is deserved.

.

51gZ5QdYeUL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Up next, besides finishing All the Birds in the Sky and the poor neglected Trial of Intentions by Peter Orullian which I keep setting aside to read more current books so I can write about them for you all (Do you see the sacrifices I make for you?); I also have two books I am so excited about that I can barely speak. Kingfisher by Patricia A. McKillip and Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold are new books by two of my favorite writers in the business, and if I hadn’t gotten an advance copy of ‘Gentleman Jolie’ (Thank you lovely Chris, for coming through!)

Layout 1This isn’t the book I’d recommend starting Bujold with, especially not the Vorkosigan Saga, as it depends heavily on what has come before.Much of the weight of this book comes from emerging from the shadow of a character that isn’t present in this book at all, though his absence is constant. If you’re looking to start the Vorkosigan books, good places to start are Shards of Honor and The Warriors Apprentice. If you prefer fantasy, her Curse of Chalion is superb. All of three will stand alone very well.

25489443Patricia McKillip was one of the first writers I really fell in love with (her writing, not her, I’ve only met her briefly though she seemed lovely) and is one of the finest writers of fantasy alive, in more opinions than just mine. Each of her books is like a little gem; perfect and lovely. Kingfisher will no doubt be another lovely book. If you’re not familiar with her, her books are beautifully written compact stories, and not sprawling epics (though when she turned her hand to epic fantasy, she produced one of the classics of the style, her acclaimed Riddlemaster Trilogy). Excellent places to start with her are The Book of Atrix Wolf and The Forests of Serre, or if you want something a little more epic, the previously mentioned Riddlemaster trilogy.

Alright my lovelies, I am off to read some more, or possibly sneak in some of this week’s ‘Shannara Chronicles’. I promise not to write anymore fan fiction about that adorable Will Ohmsford.
This week at least.

Between the Covers, Or

Between the Covers, Or published on 1 Comment on Between the Covers, Or

How I Turned on That Weird Box in the Living Room and There Was MAGIC

Dear reader, I have a confession; I’ve been watching TV again. Don’t judge me. You see, all of those promos for The Shannara Chronicles (and I still say ‘shan uh ruh’ not ‘shan are uh’ because the author, Terry Brooks, has brainwashed me; like a less militant Patty Hearst or something) and so, I braved my living room and found the remote for THAT THING.

10-trw-new-york.nocrop.w480.h670 After replacing the batteries, I got the thing to work, and I turned it onto MTV which has become one of the few channels I watch the last couple of years though I haven’t watched it regularly since The Real World was required watching back in 2001 (two words: Teen Wolf). And I waited.

I should mention that I’m not one of those hystericals who will go on and on about how if a particular adaptation isn’t up to par that it will RUIN a favorite book. Because TV and movies don’t have that power over me. Did I die a little while watching ‘Stardust’ and that appalling ending they gave it? Yes, I did. But now I pretend that it’s bad fanfiction and watch it cause Charlie Cox is adorable and Michelle Pfeiffer is magical; much as the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones has captured me on it’s own merits, not just because I love the books. Additionally, while the desecration of ‘A Winter’s Tale’ in it’s adaptation is rather appalling, the casting was SPOT ON.

MV5BMTkxNjEwOTY4M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTA2ODk0NzE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ So my interest for Shannara (there I go and do it again) Chronicles was high, but my actual fan investment was rather low. Or so I thought. Because the minute Austin Butler (whose lips deserve their own screen credit) appeared on screen, I knew we’d be okay. Because he pretty much captured Wil Ohmsford in about 3 minutes (I didn’t say Wil was a deeply written character, just engaging). And Manu Bennett is Allanon. Besides being like 3 feet shorter, which he can’t really be blamed for.

After it was done I got to watch the mid-season premiere of Teen Wolf (which if you haven’t watched beyond the first season is stunning) so it was just about a perfect night.

themagicians_show Tonight, I finally watched the first episode of ‘The Magicians’ based on the books by Lev Grossman which you can watch on the Syfy app and on Syfy.com right now. And it was also fantastic. I have a real love/hate relationship with Grossman’s books. I love the world, and how it’s a much truer telling of what a modern school of magic would be than the anachronistic Harry Potter. But on the flip side, there’s Quentin Coldwater, who might be the most irritating (read that as accurate) teenager ever put on paper.

As a TV character however, Quentin doesn’t irritate me nearly as much. Because here we see all the fantastic characters around him unfiltered by Quentin’s more annoying personality. This isn’t to say that they made Quentin either more interesting or reduced his annoyingness, just that his importance is reduced to primacy from omnipresence.

I actually like The Magicians MORE than the books as a result, which I’m not sure has ever happened (besides movies like ‘The Shipping News’ where the book is rather tedious).

1760889851gZ5QdYeUL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ I still haven’t watched the first episodes of ‘The Expanse’ because first it was Christmas, and now I’ve watched 4 hours of TV in a week and I’m EXHAUSTED. Plus I have two books beside my bed to finish, Jenn Bosworth’s lovely The Killing Jar which I’m enjoying immensely (and was trying to finish for this review but it just didn’t happen) and Peter Orullian’s Trial of Intention which makes me want to put Irene Gallo on trial for approving that terrible cover when she normally has impeccable taste though the book is quite enjoyable.

Well, my hope of winning the Powerball so I could retire and read books and write angry letters to the HOA about the squirrels that torment my cat seems to be in vain, so I am off to work! Ta-ta my lovelies, and I will see you all in a week!

Primary Sidebar