Archive for the ‘Elitist Classics’ Category

nightbirdI recently went back to do a re-read of Robert McCammon’s SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD. Though, I suppose, a “re-listen” is more accurate as I bought the audiobook. It’s been a long time since I read this novel, and with the sixth Matthew Corbett novel, FREEDOM OF THE MASK coming in just a few short months, I wanted to go back to Matthew’s origins as a refresher.

It is incredible how well this novel stands up to multiple reads.

SPEAKS THE NIGHTBIRD follows a young Matthew Corbett as he participates in the trial of Rachel Howarth, who is accused of murder and witchcraft. Th novel channels the fear, suspicion, and paranoia of the Salem witch trials which occurred just six years before the events of this novel. This is before Matthew’s days as a “problem-solver” that we see in QUEEN OF BEDLAM and beyond, and seeing the near-innocent (in adult matters) attitude and world-view Matthew has in NIGHTBIRD is so interesting. (more…)

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With all the popular YA novels out there sporting wishy-washy teenage ‘heroines’, it’s time to introduce you to a classic that does it right. For the kids of my generation there was Robin McKinley’s THE HERO AND THE CROWN, the winner of the 1985 Newbery Medal Award.

Aerin is the only child of the king. The problem? She’s a girl. Since her deceased mother was a foreigner (and it’s whispered she was a witch), and Aerin has inherited her pale skin and red hair, she’s snubbed and ignored. She discovers a book about the dragons that used to threaten Damar, and on her own learns how to make kenet, an ointment that protects the wearer from the effects of fire, and trains herself to fight dragons. When word comes that a local village is being terrorized by a small dragon, Aerin with the kenet and her father’s old war horse, goes to fight it. Unfortunately, it’s not only the smaller dragons who begin to return. (more…)

peregrine“Don’t read THE COLOUR OF MAGIC. It’s Pratchett’s worst novel. Start somewhere else.” That’s what people told me. Start somewhere else in the series? Really? The suggestion didn’t sit well with me. It didn’t matter that to me the series wasn’t supposedly sequential. I had to start from the beginning.

THE COLOUR OF MAGIC wasn’t a perfect novel by any means, and to be honest, I could see why people were down on it. The humor, the satire…it was just a bit off. But the potential was easy to see. I was introduced to Rincewind, Twoflower and The Luggage. This was my first glimpse into Ankh-Morpork, and into the Discworld universe.

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The first book of Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, THE CRYSTAL CAVE, was written in 1970 and continues to be one of the most accessible novelizations of the mythos surrounding the Arthurian legends. Told in first-person PoV as though it were an autobiography, Stewart writes about Merlin’s childhood as he travels across Britain, the people he encounters, and the discovery of his magic–all in her lovely prose with detailed attention to the landscape and era. (more…)

Believe it or not, a lot of thought goes into our selection of Elitist Classics.  Our selection of Classics goes beyond our personal likes and dislikes. The funny thing is how, many times, each member of the EBR crew will say, “This is totally a Classic!”…and none of the others have read it. And by others I usually mean me. Especially in the realms of Science Fiction.  The reason? Heck if I know. I think I tend to focus on new releases, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (more…)

Conrad Nomikos is not what he first appears. On the outside he seems to be in his thirties, walks with a limp, one side of his face is disfigured, and he has a government job working with Earth’s antiquities. Dig a little deeper and you learn that he’s been working that job at least twenty years, he knows the most powerful and influential people on a first-name basis, and he talks about historical events in a more intimate way than most. (more…)

DOLPHINS IN SPACE!

Doesn’t that sound exciting? Don’t you want to read that book right now?
OK I jest, but in all honesty if you have a problem with Dolphins crewing a starship and getting stranded on an alien planet than this book isn’t for you.

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