For once I’m only going to say nice things. . . mostly. I didn’t really love Adam Christopher’s Empire State. It was a novel that didn’t seem entirely sure about what it wanted to be. However, I can do nothing but bow down to this Forbidden Planet limited edition exclusive cover:
Holy crap. Am I right? I mean it’s beautiful on its own, but having read the book it’s also perfectly appropriate.
While I didn’t like Empire State so much, there’s one book series this blog has had nothing but good things to say about — Howard Andrew Jones’ The Chronicles of Swords and Sand. I consider both novels something of a revelation. So was the cover for the Desert of Souls hardback by Charles Keegan. The covers that followed in trade paperback and the sequel Bones of the Old Ones, were less spectacular.
Thankfully, Jones’ UK publisher has redeemed the series visually by commissioning Keegan to revisit his style for Bones of the Old Ones across the pond.… Read the rest
With Andre Norton’s aged novel Star Guard, Tom Holt’s new novel Doughnut, and Howard Andrew Jones’ Pathfinder tie-in novel Plague of Shadows, I’ve found three authors and books to review that have almost nothing in common. We all have our crosses to bear, do we not?
Andre Norton, a great forerunner (get it? Because she wrote Forerunner.) of science fiction, and considered by many to be the Grande Dame of SF, wrote a novel in 1953 titled Star Guard. It was actually the second novel in a world later dubbed Central Control, in which Terrans, considered to be the ideal mercenaries of the galaxy, are forced to pay for access to the stars with blood. Of course, the two novels in the ‘series’ have almost nothing to do with one another, making the ending of Star Guard unduly incomplete.
Told from the perspective of Kana Karr, a newly enlisted Swordsman sent to an un-extraordinary planet to quell a common rebellion, Norton spins a story that reminds me of legendary marches across hostile territory from the ancient world.… Read the rest
My 2012 Juice Box Awards hit a bit of a snag called a new job. I quite underestimated the challenge of moving into a new work environment after ten years. But, I’m going to do my damnedest to get my 2012 awards done this week!
One of my favorite awards is recognizing books from years past that I only recently read for the first time. These novels get forgotten too easily with the shiny new releases that come by every month. Unlike last year, I tried to make a point of reading more out of year novels, and I succeeded with twenty of the one-hundred books I read this year. Not bad, right?
So, which was the best? Below are my five favorites from 2012, with published years ranging from the early 1980s to 2011.… Read the rest
The Desert of Souls, Howard Andrew Jones’ debut novel, and The Bones of the Old Ones, his second novel out this week, should be considered the gold standard on two counts. One, I haven’t read anyone who feels as in control of his first person narrator. Two, no one writing today has a better understanding of what sword and sorcery is and how it should work. While Bones of the Old Ones isn’t quite as inspired as Desert of Souls, something I’ll discuss more in a moment, it remains at the peak of the mountain, something both young and old should read. The former to discover how much grace there is in simplicity. The latter to rediscover the kind of fiction that inspired a generation of fantasists.
In Bones of the Old Ones, Dabir and Asim have a new mystical challenge before them. A young woman shows up in Mosul, running from ancient wizards who would use her to unlock an ancient power.… Read the rest