Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony Zuiker & Duane Swierczynski Review

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 dutifully watch each video when the book instructed me to. Obviously there are different approaches that readers can and will take and this is the one that I chose feeling that it was intended by the creators.

Level 26

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Best Served Cold + The Heroes + The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie Review

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.

Joe Abercrombie

Check out my interview with Joe Abercrombie.

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On Religion and Safehold – David Weber Guest Blog

I’m definitely trying to make a statement about religion in my novels, at least in the case of the Safehold novels, although people who have read my other books will be aware that I’ve used religion in virtually all of them, one way or another. Religion, and the way human beings relate to it, is far too complex for quick and easy generalizations.

david weber

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Bookspot 2009 Summer 6-pack of Books

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 that skunked case from last year hoping nobody would notice.

Fish around until your hand turns numb, make sure you get the bottom, grab a fresh book, crack it open and enjoy.

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The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly Review

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.

 John Connolly
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith Review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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 was the base for your own, for, in your attempt to re-envision my novel, you showed how soundly you had misunderstood it.

I hope my words do not bring you distress, but I believe them just, and will endeavor to explain to you my dissatisfaction with your manuscript.

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Craig McDonald Interview – Rogue Males

With Art in the Blood Craig McDonald wrote one of the indispensable non-fiction books of the the mystery/crime fiction genre. How does one follow that up? First, by starting what is shaping up to be, one of the great series of all time with Head Games, then a couple of years later giving us this companion piece.

Craig McDonald

Rogue Males is as equally indispensable as Art in the Blood and manages to surpass it in many ways. The final section The Desert Dialogues: Conversations with James Sallis and Ken Bruen offers up staggering profiles and is worth the price of admission alone.

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Star of the Morning + The Mage’s Daughter + Princess of the Sword + Tapestry of Spells + Spellweaver by Lynn Kurland Review

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 fantasy-romance, the plot and the events of the book are based on the love story (like traditional romance novels), while in romantic fantasy there is a larger story in which the romance is neither the main/only plotline nor the focus of the storytelling.

Check out our interview with Lynn Kurland

Star of the Morning

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson Review

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 admit I have not read any of the earlier drafts, by the time this book came to my attention the author was almost done writing it, but I like this idea a lot. I guess the sales the author is now waiting to see how this experiment impacts the sales. From the quality of the book I’d say it should do very well. I think it is Sanderson’s best book yet.

brandon sanderson

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Dragon in Chains by Daniel Fox Review

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 China. It is the first installment in a trilogy called Moshui – the Books of Stone and Water, which shapes to be a wonderful epic of a world in turmoil, where revolution is ripping the social fabric of the empire apart and where the people of power, deep in political intrigues, remain blithely unaware of a more serious and sinister threat.

Daniel Fox

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Hand of Isis +Black Ships by Jo Graham Review

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 a much later period where the Hellenistic culture that spread throughout the Ancient world in the wake of Alexander the Great now is on the retreat before Roman expansion.

Jo Graham

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Eve of Darkness, Chaos, and Destruction by S.J. Day – Review

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.

 S.J. Day

Eve of Darkness is an urban fantasy of the “ass-kicking chicks in leather” variety, and also one that could almost fit in the romance section, except it breaks too many rules of romance by being dark and violent and angry.  It is set in modern-day California, where the hapless (although presumably not guiltless) Eve is taken from her normal, orderly life and thrust into a world of demons and werewolves and other creatures that go bump in the night…and sometimes in broad daylight.

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The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert Review

The Dosadi Experiment is set in the same universe as Whipping Star, which has recently been reissued by Tor. After reading that book I just had to reread The Dosadi Experiment as well. First published in 1977, seven years after the first ConSentiency novel, I consider it to be Herbert’s best non-Dune work, although I have to admit there are still a number of his novels I haven’t read yet. It is also a very densely plotted and inaccessible novel.

Frank Herbert

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Rifling Paradise by Jem Poster Review

Rifling Paradise is the second novel of the critically acclaimed novelist and poet Jem Poster. The praise is indeed well-deserved – Rifling Paradise is a very well-crafted piece of literary fiction; it is intense, vivid and thoughtful in its exploration of the hidden passions, forbidden desires and the unspoken social codes of Victorian society, all of which is subtly mirrored in and filtered through the more fundamental relationship between man and the natural world.

 Jem Poster

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Torn and Frayed – The Electric Mayhem

Philipp Meyer

Saturday’s Child by Ray Banks

Saturday’s Child is the first Cal Innes book. It’s a couple of years old at this point and all I can say is that it kicks 10 kinds of ass. Ray Banks writes with an intensity and energy that marks him as a force to be reckoned with.

I’ll just point out two of the strengths of the book.

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Living With Ghosts by Kari Sperring Review

Those words are the summary the publishers chose to put on the back of Living with Ghosts, and I think they are as compelling and accurate a summation of this story and this world as possible.  The city of Merafi, built with blood bound into its stones to keep it safe from supernatural forces like ghosts and elemental magic, is under siege by two ambitious enemies of the state trying to unwork those bindings. 

Kari Sperring

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The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod Review

After flipping past the title page, publishing information, dedication, and thank you’s, the reader encounters the above noted passage. Right away, it would seem much has happened since the present day and the time this book takes place, and right away one wonders what all has occurred to lead to such an amendment (and what were the other amendments in between?)

 Ken MacLeod

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