Not too long ago I decided to make a list of my top 10 favorite books of the decade, from 2000-2009. I easily knocked out a list with a couple of dozen titles then decided that a decade was a long enough period of time to warrant a list of 50. I pretty quickly got […]
Quatrain is a collection of, as the name suggests, four all-new novellas from Sharon Shinn. Each is set in a distinct world established from previous books, and each story stands firmly against the others. Shinn did an excellent job of varying the up four short pieces, not just the setting but also the characters and […]
Those who believe that the short story is dead and/or irrelevant, and those who don’t see the value in publishing stories in e-zines that pay very little, if at all, to a circulation that is in all likelihood no more than a thousand would be well served to pay attention to the rise of Stuart Neville, […]
I’m picking my way through Inherent Vice, and I’m not even quarter of the way through it yet but I wanted to post some informal thoughts. By the end of the first chapter I was largely underwhelmed. I thought that the main character, Doc Sportello, was a doofus, and I didn’t care at all what […]
Michael Flynn is one of the more unusual figures in modern SF and especially in technically rigorous science fiction, one who delves into areas seldom touched by other writers: taking a “hard” science approach to social science in In the Country of the Blind; combining nuts-and-bolts hard science fiction with emotionally charged, character-driven tragedy in The Wreck of […]
When young mother Chrissy Shaw asks Stella for help with her no-good husband, Roy Dean, it looks like an easy case. Until Roy Dean disappears with Chrissy’s two-year-old son, Tucker. Stella quickly learns that Roy Dean was involved with some very scary men, as she tries to sort out who’s hiding information and who’s merely […]
Evermore is the first book in Alyson Noël’s new YA series, The Immortals. Fittingly, considering the title, a lot of E words popped into my mind when I was thinking of how to describe it: Enchanting. Exciting. Enthralling. Enticing. All of them words, as well, of seduction and magic, which are two of the book’s main […]
Never Slow Dance with a Zombie is a novel for young adults. I read a fair amount of YA books, and I’m never quite sure how to judge them. I mean, I can tell you whether I enjoyed it, of course, but it’s hard for me to gauge how the book’s intended audience would react—I […]
Level 26 is problematic at best. I’m going to take a more personal approach to this review then I have in the past because that just seems like the best approach. When I first started reading Level: 26 I decided that I was going to play it straight and read the appropriate book section and […]
Darkborn is a fantasy novel that I’m not quite sure how to further classify or qualify. It’s not quite romantic fantasy, because even though it has strong themes of love, it is not a love story. It’s not sword and sorcery, because there are no swords and almost no sorcery.
Since the books in the First Law trilogy cannot stand alone, I consider them to be one work. One super-massive-red-giant, thousands-of-pages-long, split-into-three-volumes work. That makes Best Served Cold Joe Abercrombie’s sophomore effort–which is not to say it’s sophomoric, despite the copious amount of f-bombs. Check out my interview with Joe Abercrombie.
Summer is here and BSC has the car packed up and we’re taking a road trip. We called some friends and the only thing left to do is load up the cooler with potluck 6-packs. See who brought the imports, who brought the microbrews, who brought the kennel of Black Labs and who snuck in […]
Irish author John Connolly is perhaps best known for his crime stories that hover on the edges between traditional detective stories and supernatural horror, but with The Book of Lost Things, Connolly travels deeper into fantasy-land, reinventing age-old fairy tales in a beautiful and poignant story of childhood and loss.
Letter from Jane Austen to Seth Grahame-Smith Dear Sir, I have recently become acquainted with your work as a novelist, while I believe your acquaintance with mine is of a much longer standing. Nevertheless, I do not scruple to use the term acquaintance to describe your relation to my work, despite the fact that it […]
Writing the sequel to Maledicte was an interesting challenge, since I had originally thought of Maledicte as a stand-alone novel. Sure, it has some loose ends waving in the breeze, but life’s like that. A little messy.
The Nine Kingdoms series is another offering from a writer who normally writes romance. Despite the fact that these books are placed in the romance section at bookstores (along with the rest of Kurland’s work, which belongs there), they are fantasy. Not fantasy-romance like Shana Abé, but romantic fantasy–the difference to my mind being that in […]
Warbreaker is Brandon Sanderson’s second standalone fantasy novel. It is unrelated to any of his other books. The process of writing this book was somewhat unusual, earlier versions of the story were released under a creative commons license on the author’s website so the reader could more or less follow the creative process. I must […]
Dragon in Chains is a stunning Oriental fantasy by Daniel Fox, which is the pen-name of the award-winning British writer Chaz Brenchley, known for the historical fantasy series The Books of Outremer. Dragon in Chains was conceived after a visit to Taiwan and both the story and world-building draws heavily on a vision of feudal […]
Last year Jo Graham made her debut as a novelist with Black Ship, a poignant and intimate re-working of the story of Vergil’s Aeneid, set in the Mediterranean Bronze Age, a world poised on the brink of collapse. Graham remains firmly entrenched in the Antique world with her second novel though it is set in […]
This book reminded me why expectations are so important to the reading experience. I expected it to be “fun beach reading,” and that’s exactly what it is. Had I expected something else, I might have been less pleased. Eve of Darkness is an urban fantasy of the “ass-kicking chicks in leather” variety, and also one […]