Wheel of epic fantasy turn, turn, turn
Tell us the lesson that we should learn
And now on to the part of the blog where I present five novels that look. . . well. . . damn near identical. I’m sure there are all kinds of nuances that make them unique, but each clearly references that epic fantasy je ne sais quoi. Which one do you figure as the most likely to succeed?
#1) The Black Guard by A.J. Smith (August)
The Duke of Canarn is dead, executed by the King’s decree. The city lies in chaos, its people starving, sickening, and tyrannized by the ongoing presence of the King’s mercenary army. But still hope remains: the Duke’s children, the Lord Bromvy and Lady Bronwyn, have escaped their father’s fate.
Separated by enemy territory, hunted by the warrior clerics of the One God, Bromvy undertakes to win back the city with the help of the secretive outcasts of the Darkwald forest, the Dokkalfar.
… Read the rest
I write this post with trepidation It’s a gross departure from what Staffer’s Book Review has been about since day one. Nevertheless, the new job, the death of my father-in-law, Christmas, an increasingly needy three year old, and my general slacking of my duties as a blogger, has found me desperately far behind in my reviewing. In an effort to catch up, and get back on top of my pile, I present my “as-yet-unreviewed-reading-log-from-late-November-to-February”, or at least half of it:
Rapture by Kameron Hurley — Of all the books on this list, Rapture is the one I’m most comfortable reviewing in a few sentences. That’s mostly because I’ve done nothing but sing Kameron Hurley’s praises with the previous two volumes God’s War and Infidel. Rapture continues the pattern and provides a tremendous ending to the series. I can’t help mentioning that there are moments in all of Hurley’s books that will scour your soul with moments of utter bleakness.… Read the rest
In previous years, I’ve awarded this Juice Box to the editor whom I felt best directed an imprint. To do it any other way is really difficult. While I believe an award for best editor SHOULD go to an editor who best improves the work they buy through actual editing, it’s impossible to judge. I don’t know what books looked like when they were first bought by a publisher and how the editor influenced their development. Thusly, I shall continue on prior course, and look instead to an editor’s sense of editorial direction.
When 2012 began there was one name that kept popping up, Dongwon Song. He’s the man behind Robert Jackson Bennett’s superb The Troupe, TC McCarthy’s Exogene and Chimera, Daniel Abraham’s Dagger & Coin series, James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series, Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series, among others. He also left Orbit before most of those books ever hit the streets, joining up with startup Zola Books, an online eBook retailer.… Read the rest
David Hair’s first adult novel, Mage’s Blood, does a bit of hand waving. I’ll go into detail about it later, but suffice to say that he doesn’t think very far beyond the snapshot in time that contains his narrative. I’m also a little tired of the female character who sleeps around to gain an illusion of power. Those flaws aside, recognizing them for what they are, Mage’s Blood is one of the better epic fantasy series first installments I’ve read in recent years.
It should be noted that when I refer to the term epic fantasy, I really mean it. Sweeping conflicts, clashes of cultures, political and personal entanglements, rich and in-depth magic, and mighty warriors dot the landscape. There’s even descriptions of food,
. . .they ate a cold meal of dried meat and breads, washed down with a small flask of arak and some water, all from the wagon’s spoils.
… Read the rest