Reviews :: Book Genre :: Fantasy

Review

Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Posted: November 13, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Love Meta: Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy
Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds

Stephen Leeds is not your average hero. He’d consider himself an normal enough guy, nothing really special to look at or know. At least until he starts talking to people no one else can see.
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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

Empire of Sand

Posted: November 6, 2018 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Tasha Suri, Fantasy
Empire of Sand

Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of the local provincial governor, her father the official representative of the Emperor and the Emperor’s spiritual equal the Maha. While her father is powerful, her mother’s heritage, the Amrithi, are not only outcasts, but are hunted down by the Maha and his mystics. The best thing for Mehr to do is lay low and be the obedient daughter. But she isn’t yet ready to give up the dances and rites that worship the faith of her mother’s people.

Mehr and her family, including a beloved younger sister and a hostile stepmother, live near the desert where her mother’s people originate. The desert is also where the gods of this world sleep and dream, their dreams heralded by the sandstorms that blow through the city where she lives.

There is magic in those storms, and Mehr can hear it calling in her blood. When she inadvertently uses that magic for the first time, she attracts the attention of the Maha, who sends a delegation of mystics–among them a new husband.Read the rest of this review »

Review

Damsel

Posted: November 1, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Elana K. Arnold, Fantasy
Damsel

Considering the sometimes tortuous path of traditional publishing, DAMSEL by Elana K. Arnold debuts precisely as the narratives we tell about sexuality and power have come under close examination.

DAMSEL exposes the undercurrents of violence/power/sexuality in established narratives while (mostly) avoiding feeling too heavy-handed. Particularly considering this is a YA novel, DAMSEL may be the first time that many readers have come across this topic in a way that isn’t explicitly didactic while still providing teens with a way to grapple with the discomforting questions that fairy tales elicit. Read the rest of this review »

Review

Strange Practice

Posted: October 23, 2018 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Vivian Shaw, Urban Fantasy
Strange Practice

With Halloween just around the corner, STRANGE PRACTICE by Vivian Shaw seemed like just the novel to review–with a plot full of vampires, ghouls, and creepy cultists, it’s a fun (and seasonally appropriate) read.
Like many doctors, Greta Helsing (her family having quietly dropped the ‘van’) works hard to keep her solo medical practice afloat. However, as one of the only doctors in England who caters to the supernatural community, Greta deals with an additional set of stressors including anything from keeping her patients’ identities safe to hand-carving new bones for disintegrating mummies.
When Greta’s good friend (and vampire) Lord Ruthven calls with an account of a mysterious assault, Greta’s life only gets more complicated. The victim is Sir Francis Varney (also a vampire) who was assaulted by a group of men dressed like monks. Their weapon of choice was a strangely shaped dagger smeared with poison that appears designed to target a wide-spectrum of supernatural […]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

The Last Unicorn

Posted: October 9, 2018 by mtbikemom in Elitist Classics Meta: Peter S. Beagle, Fantasy
The Last Unicorn

Patrick Rothfuss called this “the best book I’ve ever read.” His love for THE LAST UNICORN explains the tone and texture of his THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS EBR Review, which I loved, and it was Rothfuss’s endorsement that prompted me to get in the Way Back Machine and read this classic. I’m glad I did.
This breezy gem-of-a-book is hard to describe. I find myself at a loss because anything I write will be so inferior to it and I’d like to do THE LAST UNICORN justice. There is poetry on every page. To say I identified with the characters and that they were sympathetic is like saying that a quiet cloud drifting past a shining, amber harvest moon is beautiful. (If you hated that, then skip this; you will not enjoy 1960s era whimsical fantasy.)
There are no cardboard figures, no noble savages, this being near the beginning of the anti-hero era in literature and cinema. The nuance we hope for is present throughout, so even the really-bad bad guy is […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

Mystic Dragon

Posted: October 4, 2018 by mtbikemom in Books We Like...and Hate Meta: Jason Denzel, Fantasy
Mystic Dragon

I love traditional heroic fantasy. My best friend’s family took me camping in Big Sur, CA, long ago and we read THE LORD OF THE RINGS for the very first time together. Unforgettable, of course. So it was with bated breath and a slightly elevated heart rate that I opened Jason Denzel’s sophomore effort MYSTIC DRAGON. But first…

Tor created a lovely booklet-sized prologue to the entire Mystic series called THE NAMELESS SAINT and I was fortunate to obtain a copy. It is a nearly perfect essay-length gem and the stunning cover art continues to impress. Unfortunately, these are only available at MYSTIC DRAGON book signings. (I bet Jason might send you a signed copy if you ask nicely.)
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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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Review

Nebula Awards Showcase 2018

Nebula Awards Showcase 2018

When I mentioned to my husband that I was reviewing the NEBULA AWARDS SHOWCASE 2018 he asked: isn’t the fact that all of these pieces were nominated for an award a review in and of itself?
It’s not a bad question. But I think the answer is only: sort of? Anthologies are are hard. Even anthologies where the stories have all been previously vetted can feel bloated or uneven. In fact, I haven’t picked up an anthology in long time for these two reasons–the last few I read felt like a lot of panning and sifting for very little gold. So even with the words “Nebula Awards Showcase” emblazoned across the front I was skeptical.
And I was wrong. This anthology is full of strong pieces, both short stories and novelettes, as well as (unfortunately, but probably inevitably) excerpted novellas. Jane Yolen, who was the editor of this anthology, faced a tough job but I felt like the pieces she included from the awards spoke to the breadth and depth of the field. She arranged the […]Read the rest of this review »