Reviews :: Book Genre :: Epic Fantasy

Review

Wrath of Empire

Posted: March 5, 2019 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Brian McClellan, Epic Fantasy
Wrath of Empire

Here’s another one of those late reviews that totally should have been up last year, but that I just didn’t make it to. On the whole I’ve kind of been a late-comer to the Powder Mage world. What I found in this series was fun, and interesting, and engaging to say the least. Was hoping to find more of the same, when diving into this one. Especially after mentioning that we expected goodness from the short list of missed reviews in 2018 and being so disappointed in the first one of those books that I got to.

Thankfully, I found that this book was just as good as I had expected.
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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, Audible
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

Vallista

Posted: December 3, 2018 by Allan Bishop in Books We Like Meta: Steven Brust, Epic Fantasy, Mystery
Vallista

VALLISTA is a weird story, and Vlad Taltos, Steven Brust’s long running, on-the-run ex-gangster fantasy series, embodies the series’ increasing strangeness. The novel focuses predominantly on everyone’s favorite time and worlds-travelling stealth hi-byer, Devera. While Devara drags her Uncle Vlad into a search to help her escape her predicament (it makes sense as you read), Vlad soon finds himself in a strange manor where rooms lead nowhere, the patrons and denizens are a lot of miserable secrets and wretched histories, and a monster stalks the halls. The House itself, which is alive and delightfully a character with its own soul and history, takes the center stage.Read the rest of this review »

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

City of Lies

Posted: August 21, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Sam Hawke, Epic Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
City of Lies

“I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me” (p. 1). So begins Sam Hawke’s debut novel, CITY OF LIES (Amazon). It’s a good start, with a fun premise that deepens as the story goes. The story follows the dual POVs of Jovan and Kalina, siblings from one of the most powerful families in the prosperous city-state of Silasta. Jovan and Kalina are close friends with the heir to the city, Tain. However, Jovan is more than Tain’s friend; he has spent his entire life preparing to be Tain’s ‘proofer,’ or food taster. Jovan and Kalina’s Uncle Etan, known in Silastan culture as their tashi, currently serves as city Chancellor’s proofer.
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Review

Soleri

Posted: May 31, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Don't Like Meta: Michael Johnston, Epic Fantasy
Soleri

One of my favorite things about reading a book is reaching that point where you just can’t put it down. It’s always magical to feel immersed in another world. Some books draw you in right away. Others can be a slow burn, but the wait feels worth it when you go from “I’m enjoying this book” to “talk to me in approximately 150 pages.” And then, there are the books that just never take off. Michael Johnston’s SOLERI (Amazon), despite its interesting premise, is one of those.
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Review

God’s Last Breath

Posted: January 18, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Sam Sykes, Epic Fantasy
God’s Last Breath

I’ve never really gotten into comic books — Ahem. Excuse me — “Graphic novels”. Hey, gimme a break. I’m a child of the 80s and old habits die hard. Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes. I’ve never really been that into graphic novels. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve read a few. And ElfQuest was one series that I voraciously devoured when I first stumbled upon it. Still, despite my very meagre affair with this medium, I can’t help but feel like I need to make a comparison between this book and a graphic novel. I’m fairly certain it’s the fact that the author’s writing style is so visual and visceral that does it for me. It’s what makes this book read like a really detailed graphic novel. The simplicity of his words to imagery. The strong dependence on character to relay the story. I’m not sure exactly. Whatever it is though, no one else does it quite like Sam Sykes.
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Review

The Unholy Consult

Posted: November 30, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: R. Scott Bakker, Epic Fantasy
The Unholy Consult

Less than an hour before I sat down to write this review, I pulled my youngest daughter’s loose front tooth from her mouth and thought what an amazingly apt comparison I might make between that act and this effort. Writing this review is a concept that I’ve done no small amount of pondering upon.

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading my previous reviews on the books in this series, you’ll know I’ve not been much of a fan. And yet, they also contain within them some of the most amazing “fantastical stuff” (highly technical term) that I’ve read in literally any other fantasy book/series. So, much like my moments-earlier tooth extraction, I’ve decided to pull the painful review that I might otherwise have written, and instead put together a review that addresses everything I’ve been thinking about this book. Taking it, holding it aloft, and examining it from every angle, so to speak, now that it will no longer be paining me.

Granted, such a review is going to be considerably longer than my regular fare, so I feel as if I need to give a small qualifier to all you readers. If you’re up for a bit more of my blabbering blatherskyte than usual, by all means sally forth and tally ho. I’ll begin in short measure. If, however, you’re just looking for the Cliff’s Notes version, well, here you are: TL;DR Nearly identical in every aspect to the previous books in the series. If you liked them, you’ll like this one. If you didn’t, you won’t.
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Review

Oathbringer

Posted: November 14, 2017 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Epic Fantasy
Oathbringer

The eagerly awaited continuation of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive series has arrived. OATHBRINGER is everything you want it to be. It’s big (1233 pages!) and continues the amazing stories from THE WAY OF KINGS and WORDS OF RADIANCE. Buckle in your seat belts, folks.

For those of you who need a refresher about what came before, check out Tor.com’s “Before Oathbringer” article.
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Review

Sins of Empire

Posted: May 4, 2017 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Brian McClellan, Epic Fantasy
Sins of Empire

I’ve been meaning to read this guy’s books for quite a while now. Well, ever since his first book came out, because I heard it was pretty awesome, and how could you not love a story that mixed magic with black powder? For whatever reason, though, I just never picked one up. Until I listened to him speak at a writer’s convention. He mentioned something about how awesome Daniel Abraham’s most recent fantasy series was, and I figured if the guy loved Abraham’s method of storytelling, then he likely wouldn’t have written a bad book about black-powder mages, which was still a freaking cool idea, and I should give the guy a shot. The sooner the better. And after reading it, I think if you haven’t read his books yet, then you should “give him a shot” too. Ha. I kill myself sometimes.
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Review

The Path of Flames

The Path of Flames

Asho was born into a race of slaves, but by sheer force of will has become the squire of the warrior Lord Kyferin, and in the opening pages of THE PATH OF FLAMES by Phil Tucker, our young hero finds himself on the field of battle. Unfortunately, his side loses, his lord is killed, and he must return home to face Lady Kyferin.

Kethe Kyferin, the daughter of the now-dead lord, wants more than anything to be a knight, even going so far as to make her own chain mail and take secret lessons from one of the castle guards. But she’s only a teenage girl, and there’s no guarantee that even though her mother is desperate for more knights, the question is if a girl will be accepted as one of them.

Tharok, a highland kragh (kinda like an orc), is on the run from the clan that wiped out his clan and killed his father. He heads deep into the mountains to make a last stand. He unexpectedly survives, and stumbles onto the remains of a kragh legend that will give him the means for his revenge.

Their worlds are about to change completely.
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Review

The Blood Mirror

Posted: November 23, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Brent Weeks, Epic Fantasy
The Blood Mirror

As with previous posts about Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series, I’m going to tell you again that you can’t start in the middle of the series without being lost, nor would you want to, it’s a great series, go to book one and start there…yadda yadda yadda. Or else here be spoilers.

Ok, now that’s out of the way. Let’s get to the good stuff.

I don’t know how Weeks consistently ratchets up the tension, weirdness, and worldbuilding with each novel, but here we are at book number four, THE BLOOD MIRROR, and you shouldn’t be surprised by this point that it’s yet another big book of epic fantasy goodness.
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Review

The Great Ordeal

Posted: October 6, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: R. Scott Bakker, Epic Fantasy
The Great Ordeal

There’s this unfortunate but sometimes entirely true analogy I’ve heard about how particular kids can be a kind of birth control for their parents. If the kid is especially difficult or energetic, they’ll entirely remove the desire of the parents to have another one anytime soon. Despite this, it is also true that time is the great eraser of memory, and after long enough even the trauma of those months and years can fade away and parents will find themselves diving back into the shark pond of parenthood once again. I found myself in a very similar state of mind, and yet completely cognizant of the decision that I was making, when I picked this book up. After all, I had been less than satisfied with the previous book in the series, but still I found myself wanting to read this next one. Thus, it came as no real surprise to me that it had been something like five years since THE WHITE-LUCK had been released, and I was able to uncheck the mental box that was pleading insanity and instead was able to chalk it up to good old memory loss given the ravages of time. And yet, once I got into the book, I found much of my same feelings about the previous book rushing back in to fill the supposed void of time. So much for memory loss.
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Review

The Obelisk Gate

Posted: September 6, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: N.K. Jemisin, Epic Fantasy
The Obelisk Gate

We first met Essun in THE FIFTH SEASON, as she discovers that her husband has murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Of course Essun must follow, because her daughter Nassun is a magic-wielding orogene like her mother–and that was the reason her husband killed their son in the first place.

If you haven’t read the first book, there are all sorts of revelations I’ll be talking about here, so you may want to spare yourself spoilers. THE FIFTH SEASON (EBR review) is worth reading, and I don’t think THE OBELISK GATE will make much sense unless you do. You’ve been warned.
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Review

The Mortal Tally

Posted: May 26, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Sam Sykes, Epic Fantasy
The Mortal Tally

I don’t typically re-read books. Aside from the fact that I just don’t have the time for it–too much new stuff to read all the time–I rarely come across a novel that calls me back loudly enough to hear it over the call of all that new stuff. While reading this novel though, I found that the voice wanting me to re-read the earlier books in this series was rising, because of just how much the story is now beginning to open up, and I’m wanting to go back and see what I’ve missed by not understanding just how large the story and the world that Sykes is building here actually is. As such, this is absolutely not a fantasy novel to miss.
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Review

Fall of Light

Posted: May 6, 2016 by Steven in Books We Like Meta: Steven Erikson, Epic Fantasy
Fall of Light

I’ll be honest, Steven Erikson’s novels have become increasingly difficult to review. Not because they are bad–on the contrary, Erikson’s works are consistently excellent in my opinion–but because I feel like I end up making many of the same comments. Well, here we go again.

Another Erikson novel, another fantastic read.
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Review

The Spider’s War

Posted: April 8, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
The Spider’s War

Back when I first heard that Daniel Abraham had signed a contract to do these books, I was uber excited. I’d absolutely loved his Long Price Quartet and had been anticipating what he would do next. The Dagger and The Coin series has been one of my favorite series to read these last few years, and now that it’s all over… of course I’m looking frantically to find out what this guy is going to do next. As with most series-ending books, I had a tough time reading this one. I wanted it all now, now, now, but at the same time I found myself avoiding it. Letting it sit on the shelf, when I normally would have been busily reading away. This was the end, and I was going to miss this world, these characters, their stories. But, as with death and taxes, all of Mr. Abraham’s stories (at least thus far) have all had a definitive end. And this one was no different.
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Review

The Widow’s House

Posted: March 11, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
The Widow’s House

I vividly remember reading a review of THE DRAGON’S PATH when it was first released, and the reviewer was complaining about the lackluster magic system that “sounded a whole lot like ‘those aren’t the droids you’re looking for'”. At the time, I wanted to berate him for suggesting that a Daniel Abraham book would contain a magic system as benign as something like that. Although, given the facts available at the time, I wouldn’t have been able to provide him with anything definitive that said his opinion was wrong. It was only that there absolutely WAS more to the magic system, and I KNEW it. After reading this penultimate volume of the series, I could now provide him with some great examples of why his opinion isn’t true. In much the same way that there were no dragons in that first volume and now we’ve finally got one. Yes, there is one, and if that’s a spoiler to anyone at this point, then you’re even further behind in finding this brilliant series than I am in finally writing this review. Although, my review is just in time for the lead up to the final novel in the series. So, lemme prattle on for a bit and hopefully whet your whistle for that one, if I may.
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Review

The Aeronaut’s Windlass

Posted: March 2, 2016 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Jim Butcher, Epic Fantasy, Steampunk
The Aeronaut’s Windlass

I’m kind of a late-comer to the whole Jim Butcher Bandwagon. I tried his first book of the Codex Alera series and wasn’t all that impressed. A few years later I read STORM FRONT and thought it was decent, but nothing to crow about. Perhaps preemptive, yes, but I think I’ve mentioned my tolerance level for good story somewhere. Then fairly recently, I knocked out books two and three of the Dresden series because people would just not shut up about them… and I haven’t been able to get enough of that series ever since; cramming another book in whenever I can. I’m about halfway to caught up with it right now. I’ve been telling myself for more than a few months now that I needed to pick up this new series, because seriously how could it not be awesome? So,when I found it on audio book laying around at my local library, I checked to be sure we hadn’t already reviewed it and then snatched it up. Really glad that I did.
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Review

Black Wolves

Posted: February 22, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Kate Elliott, Epic Fantasy
Black Wolves

BLACK WOLVES starts with Kellas, one of the king’s Black Wolves, an elite military unit designed to hunt down the remaining demons and enforce the king’s law. Dannarah is the king’s daughter who yearns for a life other than the one where she will be married off to a foreign prince. We are introduced early on to a world rich with details, politics, religion, and a varied landscape. All within the first 90 pages.

And then all of the sudden Kate Elliot propels us 40+ years into the future.  Yes, I howled in frustration. I was just getting to know these characters and now they’re…. old? Turns out, that’s exactly when the real story begins.
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Review

The Fifth Season

Posted: January 12, 2016 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: N.K. Jemisin, Epic Fantasy
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.
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Review

Son of the Black Sword

Posted: August 7, 2015 by Nickolas in Books We Love Meta: Larry Correia, Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery
Son of the Black Sword

As Larry Correia’s biggest fan I’ve been looking forward to his fantasy debut for a while now. If I remember properly he’s been teasing fans, talking about it on his blog for a couple years now at least. Judging by how incredibly large scale Larry’s urban fantasy and alternate history novels have been I’ve been eager to see what he could do with straight up fantasy. I can happily say that SON OF THE BLACK SWORD (Amazon) will not disappoint the Monster Hunter Nation and it will also likely earn Larry a lot of new fans from the fantasy genre.

Here’s the plot synopsis: After the War of the Gods, the demons were cast out and fell to the world. Mankind was nearly eradicated by the seemingly unstoppable beasts, until the gods sent the great hero, Ramrowan, to save them. He united the tribes, gave them magic, and drove the demons into the sea. Yet as centuries passed, Gods and demons became myth and legend, and the people no longer believed. The Age of Law began.

Ashok Vadal has been chosen by a powerful ancient weapon to be its bearer. He is a Protector, the elite militant order of roving law enforcers. No one is more merciless in rooting out those who secretly practice the old ways. Everything is black or white, good or evil, until he discovers his entire life is a fraud. Ashok isn’t who he thinks he is, and when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law, the consequences lead to rebellion, war—and destruction.
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Review

Trial of Intentions

Posted: May 27, 2015 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Peter Orullian, Epic Fantasy
Trial of Intentions

In THE UNREMEMERED: Author’s Definitive Edition (EBR Review), Peter Orullian delivered a classical fantasy novel that hearkened to the stories of Tolkien, Brooks, and more. Heroic adventures, dramatic conflicts, and nuanced storytelling continue to be the hallmarks of Orullian’s writing. And he delivers all the joys of fantasy you could want.

But, Orullian has found an untapped reservoir of talent in TRIAL OF INTENTIONS (Amazon). Where THE UNREMEMBERED shines, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS transcends. Where THE UNREMEMBERED lagged or suffered, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS has displayed deftness that is far beyond its status as the second book in a series. Orullian is not just an author, but an artist. One of the rare writers, like Hemingway, Steinbeck, Lewis, and others, whose use of words, imagery, and literary techniques lifts him above his compatriots and peers into a category inhabited by the truly great.
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Review

The Grace of Kings

Posted: April 28, 2015 by Nickolas in Books We Love Meta: Ken Liu, Epic Fantasy
The Grace of Kings

THE GRACE OF KINGS (Amazon) by Ken Liu was a pure pleasure to read. Dubbed the “Wuxia GAME OF THRONES” by Wesley Chu, this debut novel is a grand adventure that speaks of Liu’s considerable talent. It’s the type of novel capable of bridging the gap between “pulp” and “literature,” a story that is equal parts fun and cerebral. THE GRACE OF KINGS is an early contender for best fantasy of 2015 and when awards season rolls around again I anticipate it garnering plenty of nominations.

For those unaware of Wuxia, it is a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. Some notable examples of the tradition include films such as CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON (Amazon) and HERO (Amazon), and games such as Bioware’s JADE EMPIRE (Amazon), which is one of my favorite RPGs of all time. I suspect/hope that THE GRACE OF KINGS will further raise awareness of the genre.

Here’s Amazon’s synopsis: Two men rebel together against tyranny—and then become rivals—in this first sweeping book of an epic fantasy series from Ken Liu, recipient of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy awards.

Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, and shape-shifting gods. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.

Fans of intrigue, intimate plots, and action will find a new series to embrace in the Dandelion Dynasty.
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Review

The Unremembered (Author’s Definitive Edition)

Posted: April 7, 2015 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Peter Orullian, Epic Fantasy
The Unremembered (Author’s Definitive Edition)

I received a review copy of THE UNREMEMBERED: Author’s Definitive Edition (Amazon), in advance of the second novel in the series, TRIAL OF INTENTIONS. It’s an epic fantasy from Peter Orullian, and the plot follows Tahn as he travels with his allies, family, and friends to learn how to stand and defeat an evil from ancient times.

I had never read the original printing, so I was excited to dig in to this book.
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Review

The City Stained Red

Posted: January 22, 2015 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Sam Sykes, Epic Fantasy
The City Stained Red

There’s something wrong with the world. Don’t you think? There’s so much garbage out there that could just be better. Like more sword fights would be nice. And massive dragonmen with bad tempers. And belly-grown demons that rip their way up through your gullet and out your mouth. And… and… and… ah, who am I kidding? What would a world like that be like? Mass chaos, I tell you. Mass chaos. And I know it all too well. For I have read it, and that world is the brilliance of Sam Sykes.
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Review

Words of Radiance

Posted: March 7, 2014 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Epic Fantasy
Words of Radiance

The second book of The Stormlight Archives, WORDS OF RADIANCE (Amazon), comes crashing down on us after a near four year absence. And ooh boy, does book 2 deliver on what it’s promising. If you haven’t read the first one, THE WAY OF KINGS (EBR Review), go read the review and then buy the book at the link at the bottom of the page. Finishing the last Wheel of Time book kept Brandon Sanderson busy, and it’s obvious that he picked up a few things from Jordan, both good and bad.
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Review

The Tyrant’s Law

Posted: February 11, 2014 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
The Tyrant’s Law

After having only very recently lauded praises on Mr. Abraham for a great middle book in his urban fantasy series (EBR Review), I found it kind of humorous that I would now be writing a review for a great middle book in his epic fantasy series (no need to go anywhere for that review–you can just keep reading and find it presently). This guy keeps putting out quality books, and it’s no surprise that this is yet another in his growing list of entries to our Books We Love.
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Review

Blood’s Pride

Posted: May 10, 2013 by Vanessa in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Evie Manieri, Epic Fantasy
Blood’s Pride

A generation ago the Norlanders invaded the Shadar, beating down the city and its people with bloodthirsty efficiency, making the Shadari their slaves in order to mine a rare ore used for powerful weapons.
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Review

Forge of Darkness

Posted: April 30, 2013 by Steven in Books We Love Meta: Steven Erikson, Epic Fantasy
Forge of Darkness

You all know how big a fan I am of Steven Erikson. He single-handedly changed my views on the Fantasy genre, and he has written some of my favorite novels. Ever. When people ask who my favorite authors are, the first one I always say is Steven Erikson.
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Review

Promise of Blood

Posted: April 24, 2013 by Shawn in Books We Love Meta: Brian McClellan, Epic Fantasy
Promise of Blood

I feel bad. I received an ARC of PROMISE OF BLOOD by Brian McClellan (Amazon) several months ago and quickly devoured it. I had every intention of having a review ready to go when the book came out…and then it didn’t happen. The problem was I wanted to write something witty and fun about the book but all I kept coming up with was…. I liked it. I liked it a lot. And that’s really understating it because I really, really did like it. After finishing McClellan’s debut I looked him up to check out news for the next book. I looked on Amazon to see what was going on. I even checked on Orbit’s blog to see if there was any news about the series. It was a dang good book. I just felt that I should do something more with the review than just, “Yeah, I really liked it.”
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Review

Mage’s Blood

Posted: April 5, 2013 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: David Hair, Epic Fantasy
Mage’s Blood

So Steve sends me this huge book, almost 700 pages long, that looks like yet another epic fantasy wannabe. Steve has sent me lemons before, so I started MAGE’S BLOOD (Amazon) a little jaded. I’ve read a lot of epic fantasy, and I was concerned this one would end up a lemon.
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Review

A Memory of Light

Posted: January 8, 2013 by Alan in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Epic Fantasy
A Memory of Light

This is easily the most difficult review I have had the opportunity write.  I start it off much the same I way wrote the review for the previous WoT book.  It’s difficult to write a review solely on A MEMORY OF LIGHT (Amazon), without considering all that has come before.  Opening the cover of this book, and reading those first words, all the way to finishing the last words and closing the book, has been been an inevitability hurtling (sometimes crawling) at me for 17 years or so.
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Review

The Price of War

Posted: December 28, 2012 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
The Price of War

It is with no small amount of irony and quite a large piece of humble pie that I finally sit down to write this review a full month after the book’s release.  With how much I harped on the poor treatment Mr. Abraham received surrounding the publication of his Long Price series and the single fact that I consider Daniel Abraham to be my current favorite fiction author today, you’d think that I’d be more on top of things when it came to the release of this book.  The U.S. trade omnibus paperback treatment of his story has been a long time coming–longer than I think it had any right to be–but I am supremely happy to see it finally happen.  In my mind, this is one of those stories that deserves all the praise and publicity that can be heaped upon it.
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Review

The Blinding Knife

Posted: November 9, 2012 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Brent Weeks, Epic Fantasy
The Blinding Knife

THE BLINDING KNIFE (Amazon) picks up where THE BLACK PRISM (EBR Review) ends, throwing you into the exciting action from page one.

Oh, yeah.

If you haven’t read book one, the opening chapters of BLINDING won’t make any sense to you. Sure Weeks refreshes our memory here and there, but it won’t be enough to get new readers up to speed. So if you haven’t read THE BLACK PRISM, stop here, go read it, then come back, or else what follows will have spoilers.
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Review

A Guile of Dragons

Posted: October 31, 2012 by Nickolas in Books We Don't Like Meta: James Enge, Epic Fantasy
A Guile of Dragons

I’ve been meaning to try out James Enge’s work for some time now. I’ve seen some high praise (there is a blurb by Lev ‘effin Grossman on the cover for instance) and so my expectations were high when I cracked open A GUILE OF DRAGONS (Amazon). This novel is a prequel to Enge’s Ambrose series and I saw that as a perfect opportunity for a beginner to jump in. As a book filling in some background detail for a beloved series fans may be satisfied. For those yet to be initiated this may not be the best entry point.
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Review

The Dusk Watchman

Posted: September 7, 2012 by Steven in Books We Love Meta: Tom Lloyd, Epic Fantasy
The Dusk Watchman

Oh man. I don’t even hardly know where to begin. It seems like only yesterday that Pyr’s Lou Anders was talking up this new series he had acquired. It all started with Tom Lloyd‘s THE STORMCALLER, and Lou Anders was telling everyone who would listen that it was the start of a series that would please all those rabid Steven Erikson fans. Being one of those Erikson fans myself, I was intrigued. I personally picked it up based solely on Anders’ description.

Fast-forward several years later, and here we are with the fifth and final novel in The Twilight Reign. THE DUSK WATCHMAN (Amazon). I had the privilege of reading this novel quite a while ago, and it’s been absolute agony not having anyone to talk with about it. I was going to wait for the US release of the novel to write up this review, but I just can’t do it. Not enough willpower.

I’m just too dang excited to tell you what I think of this novel, and the series as a whole.
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Review

The King’s Blood

Posted: May 25, 2012 by Shawn in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
The King’s Blood

Wow!

I finished reading Daniel Abraham’s new book, THE KING’S BLOOD (Amazon), the other day (second in his Dagger and Coin series) and my wife happened to be sitting next to me as I finished.  I looked up at her and all I could say was “WOW!”

Guys, this is a great book.  This is as good as it gets.  There’s a quote on the cover of the book from George R. R. Martin that says “Everything I look for in a fantasy book”.  The quote is talking about the first book in the series THE DRAGON’S PATH (EBR Review) and the second book is even better!

For those of you who haven’t read this series yet, STOP NOW!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING!  GO READ THESE BOOKS!  You’ve been warned!  For those of you who have read the first book, read on.
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Review

Songs of the Earth

Posted: April 27, 2012 by Writer Dan in Books We Hate Meta: Elspeth Cooper, Epic Fantasy
Songs of the Earth

Okay, so there are times when this job gets difficult, and this is one of those times. Writing stories and then putting them out into the world for people to either love to pieces or gnash between their teeth is not easy. As a reviewer though, I feel like it’s my responsibility to give an honest opinion. I always try to do that. That being said, I’m sure that Mrs. Cooper is a really nice person, but this book just wasn’t very good at all.
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Review

Shadow and Betrayal

Posted: March 27, 2012 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
Shadow and Betrayal

I know there are those that will disagree with me, but I believe that there are times when “the numbers” just flat-out lie. Everything in the publishing industry, as has been frequently stated, comes down to the numbers. Writing and selling books is a business, and if the author doesn’t make his/her publisher enough money, then the numbers will tell them that the best idea is to drop the author and move on. Sometimes though, as I said, the numbers will lie. Sometimes, sometimes, the best thing to do is to put the numbers away and just go with your instincts.
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Review

Cry of the Newborn

Posted: November 18, 2011 by Steven in Books We Love Meta: James Barclay, Epic Fantasy
Cry of the Newborn

James Barclay. You know the name. You know that his Raven novels made him one of my favorite authors. If you live in the US, finally getting his novels has been a welcome breath of fresh air. That’s all great and dandy, but there is something we in the US are missing that our UK buddies still have exclusive.

The Ascendants of Estorea.
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Review

The White-Luck Warrior

Posted: September 5, 2011 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: R. Scott Bakker, Epic Fantasy
The White-Luck Warrior

How to start this one. [[sigh]] Seriously, I have no idea. This book was just such a massive disappointment. Well. That was actually easier than I thought it would be. Just say it, I guess. Now I can go have a breakdown.

THE WHITE LUCK WARRIOR (Amazon) is the second novel of Bakker’s second trilogy set in the world of Earwa the Three Seas. The Prince of Nothing Trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy series. Both Steve and Nick are of the same opinion. After reading those first three books, I was really excited to hear that we’d be getting more of this story. Two more entire trilogies, in fact. I have to say, though, that after making my way through THE JUDGING EYE, my compatriots and I were less than enthusiastic about it (EBR Review). Regardless, I decided to reserve my own judging eye (eh? eh?) until a later date and continue with the series. Right now I’m regretting that decision quite a bit.
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Review

Sword of Fire and Sea

Posted: August 15, 2011 by Writer Dan in Books We Don't Like Meta: Erin Hoffman, Epic Fantasy
Sword of Fire and Sea

I, like any decent purveyor of story critiques, am an author-hopeful. Once, about ten years ago and near the beginning of my writing “career”, I came up with the idea of evil monsters that could travel through shadows to get where they wanted. I thought at the time how creepy and cool something like that could be, and that I might actually use these shadow beasts in a story someday. That is, until a good friend of mine suggested that doing so might not be such a great idea because the bad guys could just wait until night time (or ANY time/place that it got dark) pop in on our heroes, slaughter the lot of them, and then take over the world. End of story. I’ve moved on since then. This novel felt like it hadn’t.
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Review

The Unremembered

Posted: April 27, 2011 by Steven in Books We Don't Like Meta: Peter Orullian, Epic Fantasy
The Unremembered

The hardest part of being a book reviewer is putting together a negative review of a book when you don’t want to. This happens for a variety of reasons, but mainly has to do with the author himself (or herself as the case may be). If we hate the author, or absolutely hate a novel, writing a scathing review is simple and enjoyable–therapeutic even. But with a novel like THE UNREMEMBERED (Amazon), well, we almost didn’t even write this up. But then we realized the potential disservice we would be doing you, the readers, and the author, Peter Orullian, by leaving this unreviewed.
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Review

The Dragon’s Path

Posted: April 6, 2011 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Daniel Abraham, Epic Fantasy
The Dragon’s Path

For some unknown, benevolent reason, we fantasy readers have fallen into the good graces of the genre gods. Why is that? you ask. I simply don’t know. Truly. But isn’t it obvious? We’re smack in the middle of a veritable geyser that has brought, or will bring to our greedy little eyes and hands titles from those authors that we most love: WAY OF KINGS, THE HEROES, WISE MAN’S FEAR, THE WHITE-LUCK WARRIOR, BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH, THE CRIPPLED GOD. And who can forget the recent announcement for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (maybe it will actually happen this time)? Enough big-name books to keep any good fantasy reader satisfied for most of a year, entire. And yet, despite the excitement, despite the fervor, despite the sheer giddiness of it all, there was no other book that I anticipated more than this one. It wasn’t even close (sorry KJ Parker, even this one trumped you).
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Review

Hawkwood’s Voyage

Posted: March 23, 2011 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: Paul Kearney, Epic Fantasy
Hawkwood’s Voyage

Buzz, buzz, buzz. Can you hear it? Bees? you wonder, but no. Not bees. Did someone leave the stereo speakers on? No. Not that. Huh. Then what? I’ll tell you what. It’s the buzz of advertisement. Every once in a while we see it pop up. There’s some new book or author that gets people talking and soon it’s all over the place and everyone wants to know more. There was a bundle for NAME OF THE WIND, a grip for TOME OF THE UNDERGATES, and yes there was enough for this book that I got caught up by it. Thus.
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Review

Return of the Crimson Guard

Posted: March 9, 2011 by Steven in Books We Love Meta: Ian C. Esslemont, Epic Fantasy
Return of the Crimson Guard

It is now safe to say that Ian C. Esslemont brings some serious excellence to the Malazan world. Perhaps the general consensus of the masses after reading his first novel, NIGHT OF KNIVES, was that his work wasn’t of the quality expected or that was used to from reading Steven Erikson’s work.

We don’t doubt Esslemont at all. He belongs.
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Review

Night of Knives

Posted: March 7, 2011 by Steven in Books We Like Meta: Ian C. Esslemont, Epic Fantasy
Night of Knives

When you read Steven Erikson’s The Malazan Book of the Fallen, often you get a prologue giving you the narrow piece of history needed to understand the story about to be read. History in the Malazan series is an interesting thing. It has supreme importance, but we typically only see what has been built on the foundation of that history (or what was built upon the ruins of a “newer” history that was built upon an even older past). Personally, we love the series that Erikson is writing. It isn’t perfect, but it is awe-inspiring nonetheless.
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