Archive for 2011

Miles Vorkosigan is reliable. Reliably clever. Reliably entertaining. Reliable at finding trouble. But does reliability equal excellence? For Miles it does because he’s reliably awesome, but for Lois McMaster Bujold, who can and has written better, CRYOBURN is merely better-than-average entertainment.

Something’s rotten on the planet Kibou-diani, and Miles is trying to sniff out the secret. Known for their use of cryonics to preserve the ill or aged until medicine advances enough for a cure, the crybobanks pretty much run the planet and are looking to expand and provide services for a new population on another planet. But there’s more to it than a business making money, and Miles is determined to get to the bottom of it–even if it means breaking a few rules and stretching beyond his own diplomatic immunity. (more…)

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Come on. Historical France. Musketeers. Dragons. Magic. Spies. You can’t tell us you don’t want to read a book with all this awesomeness in it. Fortunately for everyone, all these things are in Pierre Pevel’s novel THE CARDINAL’S BLADES, and for the most part this is a great read. (more…)

Up Jim River

Posted: January 11, 2011 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre
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You know what I’m getting tired of? Book covers that have absolutely nothing to do with the content of the book. I get the whole “first impression” bit. I understand the very essential concept of getting a potential buyer to just pick up the book. I also know that publishing books is a business. But honestly? The amount of false advertising present on book covers today just ticks me off. Then again, I have no idea what kind of cover might have persuaded me to pick this book up in the first place had it had only dealt with the concepts presented therein, and not been entirely based on a metaphor of the story instead. So, a quandary for you: False-advertising? Or no sales? Option number three, if you ask me. (more…)

It is natural that various art mediums look to each other for inspiration. The movie industry has been looking to novels for, well, ever. TV looks to movies and novels. Graphic novels, lately, has become to go-to source for new visual material. While watching AMC’s Mad Men and Breaking Bad, new ads began showing for a new show. A show about zombies. The Walking Dead. It looked fantastic. (more…)

A bard is more than he or she first appears. Certainly the beautiful music, impressive memory, and courtly manners are part of the trade. But there is magic in music, and in words–even the everyday variety.

THE BARDS OF BONE PLAIN is Patricia A. McKillip’s latest creation. You may recognize her name for her award winning THE FORGOTTEN BEASTS OF ELD or her Riddler-Master Trilogy, among others. Her stories are subtle, beautiful, and full of magic. But the real magic in BARDS is McKillip’s prose, which is lyric and enjoyable; even after decades of delighting her fans McKillip hasn’t lost her touch. (more…)

Echo City

Posted: January 21, 2011 by Alan in Books We Like
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A while back I read and reviewed a collection of short stories titled SWORDS & DARK MAGIC (read the review here). Hopefully after reading that review you went out and grabbed a copy, because it was fantastic. One of the surprise stories contained in that anthology was The Deification of Dal Bamore by Tim Lebbon. It was a dark, grim and violent tale that impressed me and left me with the desire to read more of Lebbon’s work.

Set in the same created world as Dal Bamore, Lebbon’s new novel, ECHO CITY took some of the interesting concepts from the short story and twisted them even more. The short answer is that ECHO CITY is a great read…for a certain kind of reader. (more…)

Let’s get this out of the way right at the beginning. Catherynne M. Valente is made of magic. She is composed entirely of some strange magical awesome that I would love to have just a fraction of. Are we clear on that? Good. Let’s move on.

This particular brand of awesome is THE HABITATION OF THE BLESSED, Volume One of A Dirge for Prester John. The work is based loosely on the legends of Prester John–stories told between the 12th and 17th centuries in Europe. These legends told of a Christian King ruling a lost land full of countless wonders. From this Catherynne M. Valente weaves her own unique narrative to bring those legends and that man to life. (more…)