Reviews :: Book Genre :: Fantasy

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 post »

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 »

Review

Sparrow Hill Road

Posted: August 30, 2018 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Seanan McGuire, Urban Fantasy, Ghost Stories
Sparrow Hill Road

Most of you should remember my post from a few weeks ago. One, two, three, four… okay, well, seven IS more than a few, I’ll grant you that. Anyhow, my post was about Seanan McGuire’s book being uploaded to one of those free download websites before it had even been released. If not, you can go read it. (EBR Post). Hearing about what happened really bothered me. Like, a lot. At the end of my short rant, I said I’d pre-ordered the book and would be following up with a review of it. Well, the book that got hijacked was the second book in the series. So, I bought the first as well, and this is the review for that one. The next is still in the works though and will be coming soon.
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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

Brief Cases

Brief Cases

I was a late comer to this series, and I have to thank my boss Steve for pushing me to read past the second book in this series much like he pushed me to read past the second Malazan Book of the Fallen novel. So it was, that I found little moments, mostly nights and weekends (whenever I found a spare “extra” reading opportunity) to creep through the main sequence of books as quickly as I could. Jim Butcher has done an amazing job of this series. Guy knows his stuff. Thus it was, about six months ago, that I finally finished reading Skin Game and went looking for the next entry of one of my favorite addictions: Harry Dresden stories. At last update, Jim is still working on “Peace Talks” (Book 16), but until we get that one (can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait) there is some new short fiction to be had, and it is absolutely brilliant.
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