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Yearly Archives: 2013
The Red Plague Affair by Lilith Saintcrow
It seemed an innocent enough charge, hunting down a missing fellow for the crown. But when it leads to a death close to Bannon a situation far more virulent than a simple retrieval rears its head. It will take all of Clare’s considerable faculties and Bannon’s power and ferocity to bring the situation to heel. Personal relations and loyalties are all in a turmoil as Bannon and Clare work to sort out the plague that has descended upon their city, and their world.
The second Bannon and Clare book lived up to my expectations, and then some. Ms. Saintcrow expands on the world and characters she introduced readers to in The Iron Wyrm Affair, keeping a lively pace and readers on their toes with a mix of glee and (sometimes less than innocent) anticipation.
Clare remains one of the most intriguing characters I have run into in quite some time. I find the idea of the mentaths, so different than anything I have stumbled across in the genre, to be utterly intriguing. Between him and Ludo, my interest is well and truly held and I will read for as long as Ms. Saintcrow is interested in writing.
Another fun, fast read.
Diary of a Dragon by Tad Williams
“Dear Diary, Went out shopping today. Picked up half a dozen sheep, two pigs, and a princess.” –Diary of a Dragon, Tad Williams pg 7.
Thus began the most enjoyable jaunt with a chapbook I have ever had. It’s a short, fun treasure for fans of Tad Williams, or anyone who grew up loving the rather skewed relationship between Dragons and Princesses that is woven through the fantasy genre. I was raised on Patricia C. Wrede, so I have a certain fond spot for Princesses who don’t end up being quite what a dragon would expect. The voice of his Dragon perfect, and Williams uses the diary format to really sell the reader on the grumpy shut-in personality. A dragon who is comfortable in his cave, with his Diary, and all the livestock he can be bothered to snatch (though, his wings aren’t as young as they used to be).
He really should have eaten the Princess when he had the chance. Nothing quite as disruptive as a feisty princess.
Recommended for a bit of good fun. For veterans of the epic fantasy genre, it is laugh out loud funny more often than not. For casual fans of either Dragons or Princesses, or the things that happen when the two cross paths, it is definitely worth the read.
Available as a limited chapbook and eBook from Subterranean Press
The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb
Felicity is the daughter of Princess Caution’s wetnurse, elevated beyond normal expectations to be a constant companion to Caution, a foil for her temper and a balm for her temperament. For Caution is anything but. She is a wild and willful princess, interested in intent only in the things that bring her pleasure and joy.
Like the witted Stable Master and his piebald stallion.
The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince is a fascinating account of where things went sour for Witted ones in the history of the Duchies. It is the story of a princesses love for a freed slave and the bastard son she got off him. It is the story of that son and the Wit he inherited from his father and the ability to love instantly and intently he inherited from his mother.
The long novella is told exclusively from Felicity’s point of view, but is by no means dry. We are granted a personal accounting of sometimes beautiful, often tragic events, and Felicity feels a reliable narrator throughout- she does not attempt to sway the reader, or win their sympathy. She is merely recounting what happened so that others may know and hopefully understand.
For fans of the Farseer novels, this is a must read. It sets the scene perfectly for the events of FitzChivalry’s life, and puts a lot of what happens, the attitudes and little abuses, into perspective.
A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz
Elle wants nothing more to be a simple pilot, flying her small air freighter Water Lily and ignoring social mores. But there is nothing simple about the package her French contact Patrice wants her to carry to London. Within minutes of taking possession of the small box, she is attacked and robbed, saved only by the intervention of Patrice’s associate Marsh. Simple is going to become a very rare word in Elle’s vocabulary as she is pulled deeper and deeper into Marsh’s world. In a world of divided Light and Shadow, where Absinthe faeries flit through bars and Alchemists move through the shadows, a deadly plan has been set in motion. And Elle may just be the key to it all.
If you think you might enjoy your steampunk with a dash of ancient Greek myth for spice, this is the book for you. Toss in enough romance to get my attention without any of the posturing and fussing that generally drives me to drink as a reader and the book, and its wonderfully well rounded characters, caught and held my attention.
A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a fantastic mix of steampunk and sleuthing. Ms. Schwarz has built a world that is rich with familiar fantasy denizens as well as some nightmares and magic that is purely her own and breathes new life into the genre. It will appeal to fans of Gail Carraiger. It is a fast read- mostly because I was unwilling to put the book down.
Cover Reveal- 13 British Horror Stories by Rayne Hall
I have the distinct privilege of hosting the cover reveal for Rayne Hall’s Thirteen British Horror Stories. And what better way to host a cover reveal than to sit down and chat with the artist, Nadica Boskovska. For more information on Thirteen British Horror Stories, please visit Rayne’s author page. Enjoy, and happy reading!
1. How long have you been an artist, Nadica?
Strange Fates by Marlene Perez
Nyx Fortuna is the son of Lady Fortuna, the only son of the House of Wyrd. His Aunts, the Fates murdered his mother and have been hunting him ever since. Before she died, Fortuna hid Nyx’s thread of Fate, leaving him out of the reach of his Aunt’s gold scissors. Immortal, and long since grown underwhelmed with his condition, Nyx has traveled to Minneapolis to confront his Aunts and settle the score.
He did not intend on meeting a girl in a bar, or getting stabbed by her (current) boyfriend. He has always done better as a loner, keeping things simple, keeping anyone he could start to care about away from the attention of his ruthless Aunts. But here, in the city they call home, things are about to get a bit complicated.
Urban fantasy with a decidedly Greek flourish, Strange Fates is a fun and fast read. Nyx is quite the likable protagonist, and the book happily avoids the urban fantasy trope of everyone falling into bed with each other. That is not to say there is no sexual tension, it is just masterfully managed. Strange Fates is rotten with water hags, harpies, sorcerers, and necromancers. Double crosses, bar fights, and part time jobs.
Fortune’s Son has a rather full plate.
Available March 5, 2013. Orbit/Hachette books
Doctor Who III, Volume 1 by Andy Diggle and Mark Buckingham
For those who do not know me personally, I am a Doctor Who fan of rather embarrassing enthusiasm. I have worked my way through countless audiobooks in addition to the television series, and have recently been thrilled to discover the comics.
Good comic adaptions can be hard to find, but Doctor Who continues its trend of being just as enjoyable as a comic as on the screen. For these characters in particular, the writing has taken care to keep the wit and affection that makes Amy, Rory, and the Doctor work so well. Nothing feels forced, dialog and banter is spot on and the art in this volume is just wonderful.
I love being spoiled between seasons of the television series, and this really hit the spot. Looking forward to reading more as it becomes available!
Available March 19th, Diamond Book Distributers
Dead Roads by Robin Riopelle
They are, perhaps, not your typical family- Lutie, her brothers Baz and Sol, their ghost-hiding mother and ghost-catching traiteur father. But when Lutie decides she wants to catch herself a ghost, just like her mother, and enlists her brother Baz who can sing so that both the living and the dead pay attention to help her, she shatters the casual strangeness of their lives.
Taken away from home by her mother, it takes many years and the death of their father for Lutie to run into her brothers again. An angry ghost stalks the rail yards of the west, drawing the attention of Sol who has taken up at least part of his father’s ghost-catching and settling trade. As stubborn as he is to try and fight it out alone, it will take all three siblings, who have grown into three independent and alienated adults, working together to settle this ghost and the demon riding its back.
Dead Roads is rich is bayou lore- it swelters with the south even when the story is staggering its way through cold Colorado nights. It is much more than a ghost story, and far richer than the usual far horror fantasy/fiction has to offer. Even as it is doing its best to make you jump at every little creek of your house in the night it rings with a respect for the dead- we don’t have casual ghost hunters here. Sol is a reluctant doctor to the dead, a wonderful parallel to his day job as an EMT. The family trade of traiteur is a duty, not a hobby, and the author communicates that well to the reader.
It took a little to get moving, and there was some disjointed movement from POV to POV as the book started, but that did not take from my interest in the story or my desire to see what was going to happen next. I think my biggest concern was the sheer amount of French worked into the dialog- not just a word here and there but oft times full sentences. It did add to the atmosphere, but at the cost of comprehension. As a reader it pulled me from the story as I struggled to work out what was being said. Again, not enough to deter me from reading, but enough for me to notice and become frustrated now and again.
Overall, a fantastic, atmospheric read. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and watching them move through a wonderfully unique and delightfully creepy plot. Recommended.