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Review

Middlegame

Posted: July 28, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Seanan McGuire, Dark Fantasy
Middlegame

A lot of books can’t wait to reveal all of their secrets. Others dole them out slowly, reeling the reader in little by little. And while unintentional disorientation is the sign of bad writing, intentional disorientation can be fun. It requires a little more work and patience from your reader, but once you figure out the game, it can heighten the pleasure inherent in reading, the tension and relief of revelation.
MIDDLEGAME takes the ‘low and slow’ approach, revealing its secrets bit by bit. It’s effective because McGuire centers a complex story structure around compelling and simple character stakes to make an unusual story.
Asphodel Baker, a talented alchemist who was ignored and underestimated because she was a woman, had a big idea. She wanted to embody the Doctrine of Ethos, which McGuire describes as the “balance between language and mathematics” (kindle location 108). Basically Baker believed that these two forces shape the world, and could bring magic back into it if […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

A DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAGICIANS explores the ways that magic might have intertwined with slavery, trade, and politics during the political upheaval of the 1790s. Also, there’s dark magic. And vampires. And they storm the Bastille!

But you knew that last one already.

In Parry’s past, “commoner” magicians are prevented from using their magic with heavy silver bracelets, monitored by the Knights Templar. Europe lives under the fear of another Vampire War, like the one that devastated that continent 300 years ago. And the sense that people should have the right to practice their own magic freely is growing.
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Review

The Gutter Prayer

Posted: June 5, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Gareth Hanrahan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
The Gutter Prayer

This one sat on my shelves for way too long. Being fair, after I first got it, I read the opening chapter and was totally turned off by what I found. Put it back on the shelf and forgot about it for a while. After seeing some buzz about it though, I decided to pick it back up. Still hated that opening chapter (a prologue that really wasn’t a proper prologue), but after that it got pretty decent and didn’t bother me again until the end of chapter 1. 🙂
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Review

The Obsidian Tower

Posted: June 2, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Melissa Caruso, Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQ+
The Obsidian Tower

THE OBSIDIAN TOWER (Amazon) is the first in the new Rooks and Ruin series by Melissa Caruso. It’s a high fantasy coming-of-age story, with lots of politics, magic, and betrayal. Caruso’s relentless pacing, strong prose, and interesting protagonist make THE OBSIDIAN TOWER an enjoyable read.
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Review

Blood Song

Posted: May 15, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Anthony Ryan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Blood Song

Seems like forever ago that we had someone comment on the site that we should check out this series. (Bonus points to anyone that knows where that suggestion is located…) So it’s been sitting at the back of my head ever since then, just worrying away at my sanity, while I watched my TBR pile ebb and flow. In fact, I’d all but forgotten about it when I came across an available audio book copy at my local library. Public Libraries ftw yet again.
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Review

The Book of Magic

Posted: May 12, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Gardner Dozois (Ed), Fantasy
The Book of Magic

Gardner Dozois writes in the introduction to THE BOOK OF MAGIC (Amazon) that he “[…] endeavored to cover the whole world of magic” (xv). The stories collected in this anthology cover a wide range of magical people and places. While there are plenty of wizards in robes, magic takes many shapes in this anthology.
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Review

This Is How You Lose the Time War

Posted: April 17, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Amal El Mohtar, Max Gladstone, Science Fiction
This Is How You Lose the Time War

I think if you looked at the Venn Diagram of books that we here at Elitist Reviews are likely to enjoy, THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR falls smack dab in the “Very Likely” section. We’ve enjoyed both El Mohtar’s (EBR Search) and Gladstone’s (EBR Archive) work previously, and I’ve developed a real love of the novella (as witnessed here or here). And THEN you tell me it’s epistolary? With time travel? And a queer love story? Sign me up.
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Review

The Immortal Conquistador

Posted: April 9, 2020 by Vanessa in Books We Like Meta: Carrie Vaughn, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Short Fiction
The Immortal Conquistador

Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series (EBR Archive) is popular for good reason. Excellent heroine. Fun storytelling. Interesting worldbuilding. And engaging characters.
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Review

The Girl and the Stars

Posted: April 8, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Mark Lawrence, Fantasy
The Girl and the Stars

Mark Lawrence’s Book of the Ancestor trilogy (EBR Archive) was easily one of my favorite fantasy reads of recent years. The time I spent with Nona in the world of Abeth was some seriously good reading. So when I heard that the author was doing another series on the same world and that he was cruising through the writing (have already heard of significant work being accomplished on book 3 of the series), I was uber excited to get into it.
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Review

Black Stone Heart

Posted: March 24, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Michael R. Fletcher, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Black Stone Heart

I don’t often go out wandering amidst the self-published story crowd, but I was vaguely not-paying-attention on Twitter a while ago and ended up making a request for an eArc without realizing from whom I was making said request. That story is not this one (you have to wait until Friday for that one), but after making that first request and paying attention to what that author was doing, I ended up making a couple of other requests from self-published authors that were in his circle, and this is one of those.

Without being too specific, I can definitely say that I have been pleasantly surprised with both of those I’ve read so far. Count me lucky, but more likely blame the buzz about this year’s instance of Mark Lawrence’s Blog-Off for steering me in the right direction. Because otherwise, I likely wouldn’t have ever come across this author or his book anytime soon. And can I give some kudos to the artist of the cover art? Was totally one of the things that made me take the plunge and read this one. Check it out.
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