This is one of the best books I’ve ever read and I think it’s by far the pinnacle of A Song of Ice and Fire (thus far). I read somewhere recently that the first three books in the series are really one long book – I totally agree. What Martin sets up in the first three novels largely comes to conclusion in A Storm of Swords. If I never read another page about Jaime Lannister, the Hound (could be I have), Cersei, or Tyrion, I would be satisfied. Of course, I’ve read A Feast for Crows and there’s a lot more to come from most of that list.
I think part of the frustration many readers had with Feast stemmed from the brilliance of its predecessor. If I’m judging a novel by how many times it gives me the chills or ties my stomach in knots, then Storm would quickly be ranked as the best novel I’ve ever read. … Read the rest
My A Song of Ice and Fire reread continues and let me say – A Clash of Kings is bloody depressing. I mean really, does anything good happen in this book? Theon’s a self-entitled jerk. Tyrion is a good dude (generally) who gets constantly dumped on because he’s dumpy. Catelyn and Robb watch their family get annihilated. Melisandre squeezes out shadow babies. Joffrey is a real asshole. And Tywin needs to get laid – badly. The funniest part is – I know A Storm of Swords is going to be even worse!
Since all of these books have been reviewed endlessly I’m just going to offer a few thoughts here and there about what I read:
A. I never quite understood why Quoran Halfhand takes Jon Snow on his trek and why the Old Bear would let him go. It doesn’t really make sense.
B. This book is filled with chapters that I just didn’t want to read. … Read the rest
How awesome are superheroes? Uh, super awesome. How awesome are zombies? Uh, not as much. Of course, anyone who has read my blog in the past is aware that I’m not exactly pro-zombie. Why am I reading more zombie fiction then? It’s simple – I love post-apocalypse fiction and in this day and age that’s pretty much synonymous with zombies. So, here I am reading Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines. Turns out another tired zombie novel can be really entertaining and not so tired as I might have imagined.
A year ago society collapsed when a virus struck, turning its victims in unthinking, shambling, and voracious zombies. It fell to the Mighty Dragon, Stealth, and their other hero companions to protect the thousands of survivors in their film studio-turned-fortress. But, zombies hordes are not the only threat left in the world, and the people of the Mount are not the only survivors left in Los Angeles.
… Read the rest
I can’t write a review on this graphic novel until I exorcise my excitement over another anything titled The Last Dragon. This is because The Last Dragon (1985) is one of my favorite movies of all time bar none. In the film, a young man searches for the “master” to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way he must fight an evil martial arts expert and an rescue a beautiful singer from an obsessed music producer. It’s an incredible homage to the 80′s, martial arts films, and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince proteges (in this case, Vanity). The movie should be required viewing for anyone interested in those three things.
Similarly, the graphic novel of the same name written by Jane Yolen and drawn by Rebecca Guay is an homage to times gone by. The plot swirls around the honored fantasy tradition of family caught in the battle to save their village from a rampaging dragon.… Read the rest
In recent weeks there have been no end of blog posts about George R.R. Martin’s iconic A Song of Ice and Fire (which by the way, I’ve called the Song of Fire and Ice in my head for the last 15 years) – none better than the brilliant duology (Part 1, Part 2) posted by Adam over the at the Wertzone. With A Dance with Dragons due out in three weeks I knew I had to join the club and starting rereading the series. God damn I forgot how good it was.
Seriously, I forgot. Most of the fantasy I read from the ages of 15-20 that I’ve subsequently picked up in my late 20′s and now early 30′s have left me disappointed. My memory of the novels have outstripped how good they aren’t. The incredible work being done today by authors like Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson, N.K.
… Read the rest
The Dragon’s Path marks the sixth book I’ve read from Daniel Abraham and
the first time I’ve reviewed an author twice. Abraham has been a favorite of mine ever since his Long Price Quartet. His more recent science fiction debut, Leviathan Wakes, under the pseudonym James S.A. Corey was also impressive. Although Abraham’s first series never garnered wide spread popularity, I never doubted he would one day put himself among the bestselling authors in the speculative genres. The Dragon’s Path, Abraham’s first installment in The Dagger and Coin Quintet, is the first step on the road that will lead him there.
Unlike the Long Price Quartet, which eschewed a lot of genre tropes that permeate fantasy, Abraham embraced many of them in The Dragon’s Path. The setting is decidedly European medieval. It has dragons, magic (albeit minimal thus far), swordplay, and religion. While the setting is… expected… how Abraham tells his story is anything but.… Read the rest
Pyr Books threw this up on their twitter today and I thought it was pretty interesting. As a primary eReader I get pretty frustrated by all the formatting errors and typos that tend to show up in eBooks.
I’m not sure what the cause might be. I do think it’s at least partially because of the conception that hard copies are still more important to a book’s success than the eVersion.
Is this still the case? I know I won’t even consider a book if it doesn’t have an eVersion. For example, I’m a huge fan of R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series, but have yet to pick up any of his subsequent novels due to lack of ePub.
Where’s everyone else on this? Am I the aberration in replacing books almost entirely by an eReader?
It seems like steampunk is the new vampire with a huge number of new titles claiming it as a sub-genre. This probably shouldn’t be surprising given the huge boom in the urban fantasy market in recent years. For the most part steampunk tends to be more familiar to people than second world fantasy or space opera with no connection to the “real world”. It is traditionally set in a Victorian or Old West environment with historical elements that make sense to mainstream readers and don’t require vast amounts of information dumping to understand. I only mention these things because Roil by Trent Jamieson isn’t that kind of steampunk despite the familiarity of airships and steam engines.
Existing in a second world setting, Roil reminded me of The Last Page, Anthony Huso’s 2010 debut novel from Tor. Since reading Huso earlier in the year, I’d been looking for something similar that captured his talent for world building but exceeded the uneven storytelling. … Read the rest
The moment I saw the cover for Simon Morden’s Equations of Life I was intrigued. In a genre known for covers like S.M. Stirling’s Rising, the art put together by Orbit Books screamed unique. I have to give them credit for giving a new author something that differentiates him on the shelf. Throw in a blurb that has Armageddon, jihads, and complex math and there was little doubt I was pumped to get my hands on it.
Morden’s novel features a fairly standard protagonist named Samuil Petrovich – he’s begrudgingly heroic and decidedly irreverent in the face of danger. He’s also an advanced theoretical mathematician who suffers from a degenerative heart condition. On his way to the university, Petrovich witnesses an attempted kidnapping of a young girl. Despite his best interests he intervenes, saving her from abduction.
Along the way he gets a hand from Maddy, a gun toting amazonian nun, who helps him return the rescued girl to her father – who just so happens to be the head of the Oshicora crime family (read Yazuka). … Read the rest
Every fantasy forum out there has reams of threads titled something like – “Need a recommendation after finishing _____!” The vast majority of these threads are people new the genre who got sucked in by A Song of Ice and Fire or Wheel of Time. Since the debut of A Game of Thrones on HBO, and the massive number of mainstream readers now interest in Martin’s series, I have little doubt that there will be a large up tick of these threads in the months ahead. If there are beginners out there who don’t know what they should be reading – visit a forum – there’s plenty of advice out there.
What’s lacking, is a real discussion about the next step for fantasy readers. Fantasy that after three hundred books into the genre can still challenge and surprise. I love Brandon Sanderson. I find his work extremely entertaining and I very much look forward to reading everything he writes.… Read the rest