Reviews by Writer Dan

Review

The Hod King

Posted: January 22, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Josiah Bancroft, Fantasy
The Hod King

It certainly seems like it’s been a considerable period of time since I read the first two Books of Babel. Thanks to the words of Mark Lawrence during the 2016-round of his Self-Published Fantasy Blog-off, I was made aware of this brilliant series that had yet to be picked up by a traditional publication house. In point of fact, it’s been a little less than 18 months since I closed the pages of THE ARM OF THE SPHINX (EBR Review) and began my wait for this next book. Would it be the last? Or just the next? Would it be as good? Bah, how could it not be? Tom finally knows where his wife is, and he’s bound to get to her! I had a difficult time believing that anyone that had read the previous two books (that you? hmmmmm?) wouldn’t be just as ecstatic to get into this story as I.
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Review

Shadow Captain

Posted: January 15, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Alastair Reynolds, Science Fiction
Shadow Captain

It’s always an interesting ride, I think, when an author that typically writes for readers within a particular age range ventures outside their normal boundaries. Age ranges being groups like Children, Middle Grade, Young Adult, blah, blah, blah. In this, I’m thinking Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea (EBR Archive) or Rowling’s Casual Vacancy are decent examples of this jump in readership. Sometimes they work; other times, not so much. I’ve never tried any of Rowling’s non-Potter books, but of the three YA books that Abercrombie gave us, I thought the first and third not quite as good as what I was used to getting from him, but the second, in my estimation, was possibly the best book he’s ever written. And while Revenger wasn’t necessarily my favorite book from Mr. Reynolds, and I’d likely be more interested in getting another in the Prefect Dreyfus series, I was still super excited to get another anything from him, as he’s easily one of my favorite science fiction authors these days.
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Review

The Ember Blade

Posted: December 27, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Chris Wooding, Epic Fantasy
The Ember Blade

This book was on my radar for a while, but I didn’t think that I’d be able to get to it. Then, I forgot to cancel my Audible membership after going through that mess with THE SIGNAL, and suddenly I found myself with another book credit and no direction to run with it. After a quick perusal of my options, I found that the audiobook for Chris Wooding’s next book was only 10 days away from publication. Trust me, with our history of loving the books lobbed at us by him (EBR Archive), I quickly made my decision and started into it.
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Review

Kill All Angels

Posted: December 13, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Robert Brockway, Urban Fantasy
Kill All Angels

I think I can safely admit that I wasn’t even planning on reading this book when it first showed up in the mail. I hadn’t been particularly enamored with either the first or second books in the series, I had no idea where this third book might go that could possibly change that opinion, and the cover was so blaringly pink that the thing gave me a headache every time I looked at it. But it was a quick read (which I needed), and the cover was removable (thankfully), and… my experience with its pages was exactly what I expected it to be: a jumbled conglomeration of “What in the world did I just read?” Ever had one of those? For your sake, I hope not. Still, as the saying goes, “In for a penny, in for a pound,” and so I decided to finish this series off with one last monumental push.
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Review

The Consuming Fire

Posted: November 29, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: John Scalzi, Science Fiction
The Consuming Fire

Tell you what, the more I read of this guy’s stuff, the more I like him. Still haven’t gotten to the Old Man’s War books, but the LOCK IN series (EBR Archive) has been really good, and this one is also shaping up to be some serious goodness. When I got this one in the mail, I failed to realize though that we had already reviewed the first book, THE COLLAPSING EMPIRE (EBR Review, thanks be to Shawn), so I tackled that one first. Was awesome. In fact, I think I liked that one considerably more than he did. Likely would have read it anyways, as I have issues with reading middle-series books without first reading those that have come before. This can sometimes cause headaches for my EBR TBR pile, but as Popeye would say, “I yam what I yam.” I was also extremely happy to find that this book absolutely doesn’t fall into anything like second-book syndrome and was oodles of good fun.
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Review

Artemis

Posted: November 16, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Andy Weir, Science Fiction
Artemis

I never took the opportunity to read The Martian. Saw the movie, tried to pick up the audio book once but it was a bad CD copy, and I just never got back to trying again. Recently, one of our illustrious fans requested that we read and review Weir’s next book, Artemis. Oddly enough, I also had to wrangle with a bad CD copy of an audiobook for this one (I love my library, but yeesh this seems to happen a lot) but I set my rocket scientist mind to the problem and figured out how to get it to work. And here we are. Interested in what we thought of it? I figured you might be.
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Review

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown

Posted: November 8, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Seanan McGuire, Urban Fantasy, Ghost Stories
The Girl in the Green Silk Gown

So I REALLY wanted to get this one put away before Halloween, what with this being an actual ghost story and all. For some reason, those don’t come along all that often. But, it didn’t happen. Them’s the breaks. Hopefully though you’re recognizing this as the culmination of the promise I made to several months back to buy and read these books after the author, Seanan McGuuire, tweeted about the freak that uploaded an electronic copy of this very book to a free download site. She was less than ecstatic about it, to say the least. Still gets me riled up just thinking about it myself. I’d like to think that book-reviewing peoples as a whole are a pretty solid bunch of honest individuals. Unfortunately they’re not all individually solid, honest people. What can you do? It’s always going to be that one guy that ruins things for everyone. Way the world is. Still, regardless of the events that prefaced me being introduced to and reading these stories, I’m really glad of the outcome. Because finding these books and fitting them into my reading schedule was SO worth it.
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Review

Off Armageddon Reef

Posted: October 25, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: David Weber, Science Fiction
Off Armageddon Reef

So, we don’t normally do reviews for books that were written so long ago (first published in 2007). Especially for books that weren’t just awesome-sauce fantastic. In fact, we generally frown on writing reviews for books this old as a general rule, unless they’re considered a “Classic”. There are a few extenuating circumstances, however, that made just such a review feel justified in my mind. One: this is the first book in an ongoing series that has not yet been completed. Two, the next book in the series (#10: THROUGH FIERY TRIALS — Amazon) has a release date of January 2019. So, at least the series is current. Three, I’ve come across several references in my time from individuals that like this series very much. And there are soon going to be ten books in the series. So, this whole situation got me to thinking. If someone were to see the release of this newest book, and then decide that it sounded like something worth checking out, and then went on to find this, the first book in the series: how would their experience be?

And giving opinions on this exact situation just happens to be our specialty here at EBR. So I dove in, hoping for some goodness.
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Review

Foundryside

Posted: October 18, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Robert Jackson Bennett, Epic Fantasy
Foundryside

So my first whiff of this book came last February while I was sitting in a group of friends at LTUE, which is a writer’s conference that meets in Utah every year, and Brian McClellan (EBR Archive) casually said that he was reading Robert Jackson Bennett’s new book and that it was really good. I was immediately jealous and began wondering how I might be able to find my way into Mr. Bennett’s in-group. To say the least, I was excited to hear that the next book from this great author was coming along smashingly. After sailing my way through his Divine Cities series (EBR Archive), I was really looking forward to some more goodness from his direction.
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Review

Priest of Bones

Posted: October 2, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Peter McLean, Fantasy
Priest of Bones

I’m always leery about books that tout themselves as dark and gritty. “I’m dark! Read me!” they yell. “And I’m gritty! Read me!” But what is “dark” and what is “gritty”? So many authors, and even publishers, get it dead wrong all the time. You don’t become dark and gritty by including profanity; though such stories usually do contain a bundle of profanity. And stories aren’t dark and gritty because there’s a lot of violence in them either; although they typically contain a lot of the bloody hack-and-slash as well. And yet, there are constantly those that will try to throw a bunch of violence and profanity into a book and call it “dark and gritty”, and then try sliding it in under the noses of you wonderful readers.

<<eye roll>>

When will they ever learn?
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