The Bands of Mourning
It feels like just yesterday I was writing my review for SHADOWS OF SELF (EBR review here). In fact, it’s only been 4 months. That’s basically yesterday.
I wasn’t too kind on that installation of the book, but having now read BANDS OF MOURNING, I see now why SHADOWS suffered in my review. It’s because BANDS was the book I really wanted to read.Read the rest of this review »
Last First Snow
It’s no secret that we love Max Gladstone around here. His debut novel THREE PARTS DEAD (EBR review) was refreshingly creative with his unique approach to magic and the laws that bind it. Since then he’s produced consistently excellent stuff, books worth your time for their interesting characters, fascinating settings, and exciting stories. I really enjoyed TWO SERPENTS RISE (EBR review) with the intriguing main character Caleb and the creative ways he solved his problems.
LAST FIRST SNOW is the prequel to TWO SERPENTS RISE, about events several decades earlier when the city was in an uproar and the skeletal King in Red had to put down a rebellion that included Caleb’s father Temoc.Read the rest of this review »
The Fifth Season
The Stillness is a world of magic, where the power of the earth is used to create but also destroy and kill. Those who can wield earth magic are called orogenes, and when we first start THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin we are introduced to one orogene in particular: Essun, a woman hiding in plain sight.
You see, orogenes are held in suspicion by the normal people of The Stillness, and for obvious reasons: they can use the earth as a weapon. For this reason all orogenes are sent to Yumenes, the capital city, where they attend the Fulcrum and learn to harness their powers, but most of all how to control it. Because any orogene who can’t control themselves or their power cannot be suffered to live.
Back to Essun, who lives a quiet life in a remote village, with her husband, two small children, and a past full of pain. A past that catches up with her just as the world begins to end.
This book immediately caught my attention when I first saw it. The bright colors and dark, almost rorschach-testness of the images were immediately arresting, and the summary on the inside cover did even more to get me excited about reading this one. The impression as a whole was one of weird stuff in the modern world, which falls into the category of Urban Fantasy, although I don’t know if it really fits into that subgenre wholesale. Regardless, this book like any other had a job to do when it landed in front of me.
- Catch my eye
- Get me to open the cover and read
- Catch my interest with its premise
- Start me reading Chapter 1
And it absolutely succeeded on all those levels. If I had been a regular schmoe, bumming around the book store, looking for the next good read, this book would have had some serious mojo for me to try and ignore for it to not end up in my hand when I got back into my car. But past that point, what is it’s job? And how did this one stack up where it really matters: inside the content of the book. Check it out.
Giveaway: Robot Universe
Update 1/18/16: Congratulations to our winner Simon K. from Florida! Your book will be sent out soon.
ROBOT UNIVERSE is exactly what it sounds like: a big, awesome book about robots. Pretty enough for your coffee table, its two-page spreads with great pictures and informative topic blurbs is perfect for perusing. Ana Matronic (yes, that’s her stage name) covers everything from pop culture, to robots in literature, how they influence fashion, and even present-day technology. Until I flipped through this book I hadn’t understood how much and how long robots have permeated our culture (one entry is Master Yan Shi’s Mechanical Man from 400 BCE). Ana’s commentary is informative, amusing, and surprisingly unfluffy.Read the rest of this post »
Best of 2015
Here at EBR 2015 was a great year. Not only did we get through a record number of books, but we also participated in Mark Lawrence’s Blog-Off and were nominated for a Hugo. Again. We are that awesome. It was hard to limit the best books from 2015 because there were so many, but we do this for y’all so you can spend your time reading the best books possible. The books aren’t in any particular order and of course we didn’t read every book published this year. If we missed something, definitely leave us a comment.
THE BEST OF 2015
The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence (Amazon)
The Border by Robert McCammon (EBR review)
Grunt Traitor by Weston Ochse (EBR review)
Son of the Black Sword by Larry Coreia (EBR review)
Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey (EBR review)
Half the World by Joe Abercrombie (EBR review)
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis (EBR review)
The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes (EBR review)
Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan (EBR review)
Ash and Silver by Carol Berg (EBR review)
The Boy With the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick (EBR Review)
The Art of Language Invention by David J Peterson (Amazon)
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (review forthcoming)
Unbound by Jim C. Hines (Amazon)Read the rest of this post »
Black Bottle Man
I read this book a few weeks ago, but wanted to give it a bit of time to settle. I mean, was it really that good? I found myself comparing it to one of the greatest of American novels, and I hesitated. Will the seemingly unforgettable characters stick with me, even in the cloud of life and more reading and all? The answer is: yes! If anything, many characters and scenes from BLACK BOTTLE MAN are even more vivid now than the day I read it, and I consumed this little masterpiece in one sitting. Bravo, Craig Russell. I hope there is much more to come.
The synopsis from Amazon.com is so good, I copy it here:
Forced to move every twelve days, what would happen to your life?
It’s 1927. Rembrandt is the only child in the tiny community of Three Farms and his two aunts grow desperate for babies of their own. Hope and Hell arrive in a mysterious black bottle, and on a moonless night a dark spell is cast. Soon after, a man wearing black top-coat, and a ‘glad-ta-meet-ya’ smile comes to visit. The devil seeks payment, and a dangerous wager is made. Until they can defeat him, Rembrandt, Pa, and Uncle Thompson must embark on the journey of their lives, for if they stay in one place for more than twelve days terrible things happen. But where and when will they find a champion capable of defeating the Black Bottle Man?
Every twelve days.Read the rest of this review »
Some of the main drives, I believe, of the Science Fiction genre are to instill in the reader a sense of awe and wonder and introduce the idea of the ubiquitous question: What if? Sadly, I have to admit that I’ve never really had that experience in my reading of Science Fiction. There are times, however, when I take the opportunity to stop and just stare up into the starry night sky. It is during those times that I have absolutely felt that sense of awe and wonder and have begun to speculate just what might be up there amidst the stars and planets and vast, sprawling majesty of the universe around us. I’ve always wanted that same experience when reading a good Science Fiction book. I just haven’t ever gotten it. Until Alastair Reynolds wrote this book and gave me one.
Read the rest of this review »
Heart of Stone
Faith has a secret. Years ago she was forced into an impossible choice: use her powers to kill or hand them over to her husband to use. Rather than kill those she thought innocent, she fought against her husband and accidentally killed him. It’s more complicated than that, however.
You see, Atlantis existed, and there were survivors, and they all had one of three kinds of magic: Seer, Channeler, and Warrior. But the survivors blame each other for its demise and are convinced that killing each other off is the only way to ensure future survival. Faith is a channeler, with the rare ability to manipulate stone, and now everyone wants her to use the three Atlantian stones of power to wipe out their enemies.
Darius is a seer, gifted with empathic abilities. His family has one of the stones of power and need Faith to use her magic and heal it of the impurities it’s collected over the years. After a run-in with people who want to force her to help them, Faith decides to accept Darius’ offer of safety and money so she can get back on her feet.