The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford Review

For 2005, THE GIRL IN THE GLASS won the Edgar award for Best Paperback Original from the Mystery Writers of America. You might think a crime-writing award a strange one for Jeffrey Ford to receive if you’ve principally considered him an author of the fantastic, but this tale, overlayed with fantastic illusion, is about the darkest acts of human arrogance.

Jeffrey Ford

You can also read an interview with Jeffrey Ford.

Continue reading “The Girl in the Glass by Jeffrey Ford Review”

The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess Review

With textual help from some well-known names, but primarily from the inspiration of classic Anglo-Saxon storysongs, Charles Vess has created a unique form of graphic novel. Recently reprinted in softcover, THE BOOK OF BALLADS is a gorgeous pictorial songbook, meriting exuberant praise and permanent shelf space for its artwork even above the rich story content. I warn you now that this review is lengthy, but there are thirteen different ballads, and this title deserves the attention.

Charles Vess

Continue reading “The Book of Ballads by Charles Vess Review”

The Wizard Lord by Lawrence Watt-Evans Review

Lawrence Watt-Evans begins his latest sword and sorcery series with THE WIZARD LORD, Volume One of The Annals of the Chosen. In the land of Barokan, magic is everpresent. The ler are the spirits within every living and nonliving thing; they’re in the air itself. To cooperate peacefully, people have had to learn to satisfy their local ler’s requirements which vary widely and are administered by the priestly class. Wizards, on the other hand, can conjure wild ler, and a fascinating arrangement has developed between them and human society over the centuries.

 Lawrence Watt-Evans

Continue reading “The Wizard Lord by Lawrence Watt-Evans Review”

Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake Review

If you haven’t yet read Titus Groan, then for all your life, the infant heir to castle Gormenghast has waited for you. Certainly for most of your life anyway, since Book One in Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy was first published in 1946. In its day, Titus Groan wasn’t relegated to the fantasy shelves as it might be now, but was a sensation and critically celebrated- as it well deserves- next to other great novels.

Mervyn Peake

Continue reading “Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake Review”

Temeraire, Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon Charms – Review

If you have become as jaded as I have become regarding fantastic fiction, even certain title choices causes you to avoid or at the very least postpone when you get to a novel, a blasé conditioning one goes through after one has been reading fantasy for an extended period of time, it is both an admittedly unfortunate and short-sighted habit, however has the strange quality of also being an effective way to avoid slush. One of these words is ‘Dragon’, which to my estimation hasn’t been a part of a novel worth reading’s title since Michael Swanwick’s Iron Dragon’s Daughter and prior to that John M. Ford’s excellent The Dragon Waiting: A Masque of History.

naomi novik

Continue reading “Temeraire, Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon Charms – Review”

Patricia McKillip’s Od Magic Review

The genre that today is labeled “fantasy” on the shelves of your local bookseller and library (or the links of your favored e-tailer) is made up of many different literary traditions. There are the mythological and the swashbuckling, the gothic and the fable, the folk tale and the fairy tale. It is to this last group that Od Magic most clearly belongs.

patricia mckillip

Continue reading “Patricia McKillip’s Od Magic Review”

Tolkien and the Great War Review

Innumerable commentators, critics, fans and, lately, even film-makers have suggested that Tolkien’s oeuvre was deeply affected by his experiences in the Great War (1914-18) and particularly at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 (when he served as a signals officer with the Lancashire Fusiliers). And now John Garth, a newspaper journalist and Tolkien fan determined to investigate the matter, has written a focused biographical studying of J.R.R’s wartime experiences.

jrr tolkien

Continue reading “Tolkien and the Great War Review”

Caitlin Sweet Interview and Telling of Stars Review

Since publishing her debut novel A Telling of Stars (2003) with Penguin, Canadian Caitlin Sweet has joined the burgeoning ranks of young, innovative fantasy genre writers. She has since released a prequel to A TellingThe Silences of Home (2005). Both novels have received high praise for their lyrical prose and emotional potency, and have been likened to the work of her Canadian counterpart, Guy Gavriel Kay.

caitlin sweet

Continue reading “Caitlin Sweet Interview and Telling of Stars Review”

Synergy! Sharing Favorite Scary Stories with Carrie Vaughn, Charlie Huston, Jimmy Palmiotti & More!

Synergy is back! If you haven’t seen this column before, the basic idea is that we put the same question to a variety of professionals (and sometimes amateurs) who interest us to create a plateful of amuse bouche interviews. This time around we took the question straight to some of the hottest names in horror, comics, urban fantasy, and more.

The question? What was your favorite scary story as a kid? The answer could be anything from an urban legend to “vampires” to a specific book or movie or comic. Anything at all…as long as it was something especially striking to you….

Continue reading “Synergy! Sharing Favorite Scary Stories with Carrie Vaughn, Charlie Huston, Jimmy Palmiotti & More!”

A DC Comics Gateway in Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis is a DC mini-series that love or hate is a legitimate benchmark on the DC timeline noting the company’s trends as the beginning of a shift in their line’s direction as a whole. While being far removed from my introduction to the DC Universe, as I had been a fan of several characters and runs at one time or another prior to reading it, it is the series that made me a fan of the DC Universe and ultimately is the series I credit for bringing me back to the hobby itself after more than a decade away. I was what most would identify as as Marvel zombie band excluding scattered reads, and I’d offer I didn’t view DC so much as having fell off as much as me simply not ever being alive when it was ever ‘on’.

identity crisis

Continue reading “A DC Comics Gateway in Identity Crisis”

Matthew Hughes Interview – The Archonate Gist

This week we have author whose work I was recently introduced to, and the reading has been such a compelling and enjoyable experience it has had me as of late searching feverishly for other examples of the author’s work. Mind, you, it is not a requirement to read the former novels Fools Errant and Fool Me Twice to fully appreciate the author, and our guest, Matthew Hughes’ latest offering, a psychological SF/Crime effort set in his trademark Archonate setting, Black Brillion, however a work of such competence, full of witty, sardonic repartee, reminiscent of Vance, almost demands one to take the time to search out more examples of Hughes’ work.

matthew hughes

Continue reading “Matthew Hughes Interview – The Archonate Gist”

Susanna Clarke’s Magical Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Review

In my opinion, simply stated, with no reservation what so ever, the best novel published in 2004. The best Fantasy novel? Well, yes, but also, the best fictional novel, bar none. Susanna Clarke’s debut novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, is so impressive that it immediately bypasses comparisons to the bulk of contemporary fantasy mired in mediocrity and should be included in discussions pertaining to other recent efforts in fantasy that have rightfully elicited conversations and accolades of modern classics like of China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station and Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

susanna clarke

Continue reading “Susanna Clarke’s Magical Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell Review”