In an effort to be totally upfront about what Kushiel’s Dart is and isn’t, let me get this out of way – there’s a lot of sex. Some of it’s pretty graphic. There’s rape and torture and the main character enjoys both on some level. Too many reviews out there emphasize this. Yes there’s sex and yes it’s graphic, but for anyone with access to the internet you can find far worse in about 10 minutes of browsing around. Don’t overlook Jacqueline Carey’s novel simply because of some prudish sense of propriety. Now on to my review…
Last week over at westeros.org there was an interesting thread discussing bloat in fantasy novels. It was particularly appropriate as I was reading Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey – all 1000 pages of it. To say Carey’s first novel is bloated would be a gross understatement. It begins with an incredibly tiresome first 400 pages or so, followed by a well done (mostly) 500, and then concluded with a morbidly boring last 100 of wrap up and setup for the next installment.… Read the rest
I always struggle to find which books are coming out when. It’s become even more difficult with eBooks now sometimes preceding hard copies. So each week on Monday or Tuesday I’ll try to put together a list of that weeks releases that are of interest to me. It’s inevitable that I’m going to miss some good ones so help me out if I do.
I’m also going to try to keep an eye on the publishing of back catalogs to eBook.
Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella by Brent Weeks 6/1 (eBook only)
Book of Transformations by Mark Charan Newton 6/3 (eBook only and third in a trilogy)
City of the Snakes by Darren Shan 6/3
Degrees of Freedom by Simon Morden 5/31 (last in a trilogy)
Deadline by Mira Grant 5/31 (sequel to Hugo nominated Feed)
eBook Releases: (not new releases)
The late David Gemmell’s catalog is being released electronically this week.… Read the rest
I am fascinated by the necessity those of us interested in genre fiction seem to
have for classification. Cyberpunk, hard sci-fi, space opera, high fantasy, epic fantasy, etc. Oh and the debates that ensue throughout the community when something is misclassified. In any case, there is no doubt what Dead Iron is – steampunk. Unfortunately, for author Devon Monk, it is steampunk reminiscent of Will Smith’s Wild Wild West. While a far more successful execution of storytelling it shares a confusion with Smith’s flop film about what it’s trying to be. This shouldn’t be read as a condemnation, rather a point of reference for discussing a book I ultimately I enjoyed.
Cedar Hunt is a man cursed by the Pawnee gods to hunt the Strange. He bears his curse, but is forever tormented by how it twists his humanity. Traveling west, he follows the Strange to a town named Hallelujah that lies in the inexorable path of expanding rail.… Read the rest
A few weeks ago Ken over at Nethspace reviewed The Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. He called Erikson’s series “something of a post-modern, meta-fiction” that responds to epic fantasy as much as it’s a part of it. But to have a modernist, or post-modernist movement for that matter, it must reference something less modern. What is modernist fantasy? What came before that? I hope to discuss these questions in this post and maybe begin a conversation in the blogosphere about what fantasy is offering to readers that is unique among the different genres. I believe Ken’s discussion of Malazan is ground breaking in regards to how fantasy will be viewed in the years to come and I hope what I write here will begin to build on it.
To begin a discussion of the literary classifications in fantasy I think it’s important to note that modernist, post-modernist, and what I call the romanticist fantasy have nothing to do with chronology. … Read the rest
Know what I liked about The Third? There are no right answers. In Abel Keogh’s novel of the near future, the world has responded to the threat of global warming by instituting strict population limits and rationing resources. I was very hesitant to read the novel because the global warming issue has become so politicized in recent years that I fear any novel built around the concept will demagogue for one side or the other. I shouldn’t have worried.
The story centers on Ransom Lawe – a recycler whose job entails leaving the confines of the walled city and stripping abandoned buildings for resources. Lawe, already questioning the rightness of a society that demeans a woman’s right to have children, finds himself in dire circumstances when his wife, Teya, becomes pregnant with their third child. Two children are frowned upon, but a third is illegal.
Throughout the novel Keogh asks all the right questions.
… Read the rest
I’m so excited about Fuzzy Nation, Hugo Award winner John Scalzi’s latest novel. While it is an excellent novel, most of my excitement stems from the fact that he’s pushing the expected boundaries of genre fiction. Fuzzy Nation and others like it are breaking the standard tropes that have pigeonholed the genre for the last thirty years. Rather than another military adventure, Scalzi offers a modern court room drama set in distant future.
By his own admission, Scalzi wrote Fuzzy Nation as a work of fan fiction in honor of Hugo Nominated Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper. It’s a modern reimagining of Piper’s original. In fact, to publish the novel, Scalzi had to seek approval from Piper’s estate. Nation can’t escape the fact it’s a cover, to steal a term from the music industry. That said, it’s definitely in the mold of Whitney Houston’s cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You.… Read the rest
For those rabid fans of George R.R. Martin Doorways may be familiar. It is in fact the same title he used in conjunction with a pilot he wrote for ABC in 1991. It was a particularly eventful year for Martin. Before writing Doorways, he began a short story about dire wolf puppies found in the summer snows. This story became A Game of Thrones - the first book in the series of fantasy novels that made Martin the closest thing to a household name in fantasy since J.R.R. Tolkein. However, before finishing A Game of Thrones, Martin had a series of Hollywood meetings to pitch a television series.
, was one of those pitches. Although the pilot was picked up ABC, it never saw the light of day when ABC decided to launch Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
instead. In 1995, speculation came from TV critics that Fox’s Sliders was inspired by Doorways in which the main cast were fugitives fleeing through parallel worlds, while carrying a device that tells them where and when the next Doorway opens.
… Read the rest
I’ve never read Lois McMaster Bujold before. So logic follows, I’ve never read a Vorkosigan Saga novel either. It’s hard to believe given how long I’ve been reading speculative fiction, but Bujold never jumped out at me. When the 2011 Hugo Nominees were announced and Bujold was once again among the nominations, I decided it was time to give her a shot. I’m glad I did.
Some negative reviews have been written about Cryoburn. Most of them seem to be from long standing Vorkosigan Saga (or Bujold) fans complaining that Cyroburn doesn’t measure up to the previous novels. After reading it, I can strongly say that is patently unfair. To judge this novel, against her others does a disservice to a great writer. Is this Bujold’s worstVorkosigan Saga novel? I have no idea. If so, I’m immediately purchasing all 13 previous ones.
Cryoburn takes place on Kibou-daini, a planet where nearly everyone is voluntarily placed in cryogenic storage prior to death in hopes that technology will be developed to extend life.… Read the rest
Post-Novel + 39 Minutes
This account was transcribed by a certain book reviewer a few days after the books began their campaign against humanity. The reviewer was clearly suffering from post-literary confusion, but little did he know the impact he would come to have on the future of mankind.
I know I will not survive this review.
I feel my teeth chattering as the Hardies throw themselves against my oak front door. I can hear their glue reinforced cardboard thump against the wood like thunder. I knew once we tried to digitize them this would happen – no one wants to be just a series of ones and zeros.
Is anyone alive out there? I don’t know. I’ve been holed up here for days now. The last time I ventured outside an illustrated hardbound copy of The Shadow Rising took me in the knees. I barely made it inside before the entire Wheel of Time swarmed my position.… Read the rest
The Rogue, the second book in Trudi Canavan’s Traitor Spy Trilogy, picks up right where The Ambassador’s Mission left off. Unfortunately four hundred plus pages later Canavan has not moved a lot closer to resolving the conflicts introduced in what was a promising first book. Finishing the second installment left me underwhelmed.
Since anyone thinking about reading The Rogue has surely read the preceding book, I’m not going to delve into the plot much. Suffice to say, all the old cast of characters are back and Canavan introduces one new face, Lilia – a budding magician trying to fit in. I would be remiss however if I didn’t mention the fact that at least one of the primary story lines that absorbs half of The Ambassador’s Mission and The Rogue makes no progress to speak of.
To make matters worse the book ends with two cliff hangers neither of which seem strongly influenced by the book’s events.… Read the rest