Alexandra P. (everythinginstatic) was first introduced to sci-fi by her father, at the age of 14. Although it took 3 years and 2 attempts to finish Foundation, she hasn’t stopped reading sci-fi since, branching out into fantasy and speculative fiction as well. Her biggest passions are reading, tea and photography, and she hopes that 2013 will be the year she finally revisits Hari Seldon. You can read more of her reviews on her blog Wanderlust.
When I first started Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, I was worried. It’s a pretty big book, you know? I might not like it. After all, my last run in with rival magicians (namely, The Night Circus) went down terribly! And yet, I started this novel (with some trepidation), and the next thing I knew, I was neck deep in magic, Regency England, the Napoleonic Wars and Mad King George III. And it never once felt boring, or like it dragged on without any resolution. There was never a part where I genuinely felt the 1,006 pages weighing heavily on me.
From the library at Hurtfew to Venice, over the King’s Roads and through mirrors, this story of the revival of English magic never pauses to preach or pass judgement. The main characters, Strange and Norrell, are complete opposites: one is an extrovert, constantly striving to make magic practical, while the other is an introvert, for whom magic is the study of spells, not the senseless dive into the unknown. Naturally, the two views collide, and a rivalry of sorts develops.
For Lynn Williams (lynnsbooks) books are much more than a hobby or a pastime they’re really an obsession. If she’s not reading a book, she’s talking about books on her blog, Lynn’s Book Blog, or deciding which books to buy next. Lynn reads all sorts of books, sometimes straying into YA, but her first love is fantasy. Recently she started to cross into science fiction thanks to the suggestions of some very excellent bloggers.
KB has brought to us a fantasy world filled with demons, gods, and different species. A whole world filled with Children of the Sun and other species. But, more than that, she’s brought us a romp of a novel. This book is fantasy and fun combined and I loved it. It’s like everything I love in my fantasy novels brought into a new world and looked at in a different way. Really, I totally recommend this book without hesitation. Okay, you might like your grimdark but you can also take an amusing look at the premise occasionally and that is what happens here.
The tale basically revolves around a character called Smith (an alias of course). Smith was an assassin, and he was a damn good one – he can practically stop a would-be-murderer in his tracks just using a soggy false beard or a half penny! However, good as he is, he has no taste for the job and has left his assassin ways behind, hence the false name, and at the start of the story he takes on what seems like a fairly innocuous job as caravan master transporting goods from one part of this imaginary country to the other. He’s also transporting a group of unlikely characters and whilst this may all seem fairly mundane things are not as they seem. Of course the trek across country turns into anything but easy with all sort of death attempts on the passengers until eventually quite strong bonds are developed between some of the travellers and upon arrival at the final destination, Salesh on Sea, Smith takes a different course with a number of his new friends.
This is a sweetheart of a deal for Kindle readers. All three volumes of the Mongoliad for under a buck each. From the synopsis of Vol. 1:
“…a small band of warriors and mystics raise their swords to save Europe from a bloodthirsty Mongol invasion. Inspired by their leader (an elder of an order of warrior monks), they embark on a perilous journey and uncover the history of hidden knowledge and conflict among powerful secret societies that had been shaping world events for millennia.
But the saga reaches the modern world via a circuitous route. In the late 19th century, Sir Richard F. Burton, an expert on exotic languages and historical swordsmanship, is approached by a mysterious group of English martial arts aficionados about translating a collection of long-lost manuscripts. Burton dies before his work is finished, and his efforts were thought lost until recently rediscovered by a team of amateur archaeologists in the ruins of a mansion in Trieste, Italy. From this collection of arcana, the incredible tale of The Mongoliad was recreated.
Click the cover images above to read more about the books or go straight to the deal on Amazon. I’ve got mine already!
Locus Magazine has announced the winners of the 2013 Locus Awards. The winners in the novel categories are:
- Science Fiction Novel: Redshirts, by John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)
- Fantasy Novel: The Apocalypse Codex, by Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
- Young Adult Novel: Railsea, by China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
- First Novel: Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz ’13)
The complete list of all categories is available on the Locus web site. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees! So what do you think of the results?
Glenn Hough (gallyangel) is a nonpracticing futurist, an anime and manga otaku, and is almost obsessive about finishing several of the lists tracked on WWEnd. In this series on SF Manga Glenn will provide an overview of the medium and the place of science fiction within it.
Imagine, for a moment, a group of lady doujinshi artists. Imagine them hurrying from their train to the comicfest doujinshi sales halls, in the very early morning, the summer heat already starting to rise. It is the mid 80ies and there are eleven or twelve of them in their circle. Imagine them having the fun of shopping through the packed doujinshi isles, stopping to chat and exclaim over the precious fan work they find. They do this in shifts so they can sell their own work as well. Imagine their doujinshi getting into the hands of the right person. Imagine the right conversation with the right person in the manga industry. Imagine rejection before a second chance with a different work.
By the time we get to their first published professional work in 1989, the group is now seven. By 1993 that amateur doujinshi group of a dozen or so has shrunk to four. Those four are collectively known as Clamp, who have secured for themselves the reputation of being one of the current Manga Gods of Japan.
Nathan Barnhart (Skynjay) is one of three reviewers for Fantasy Review Barn. Though he read Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books as a kid, he didn’t really get into the genre until a few years ago, at which point he started reading any speculative fiction he could get his hands on. If not reading or playing with his kid, you can find him at the rec getting beat in basketball.
Aieee! You’re looking at a nice painting of a forest. Seems pretty good, nicely detailed, and you are thinking it is pretty realistic. But you make the mistake of looking at it a little closer and it all starts to fall apart. It is like the painter has a good idea of what a forest looks like from a distance, but it’s a little fuzzy on the details. Looking closely you realize the painter doesn’t have a clue what individual trees should look like. Little details are wrong, hidden well if skimmed over but glaring if ones eye rest on it too long. This is the world that Karen Miller has built in Empress. While incredibly interesting the world is built almost lazily, changing at times to fit the author’s needs. Throw in some strange language choices and a complete lack of interesting characters and you will find one frustrating book.
Aieee! A girl with no name is sold into slavery. She is told she is a jewel and is taken from wastelands into a big city. She learns her fate is to be sold again as a bed slave and mutilates her face while running away. The rest of the book tells of her rise in power in a land where the bloodthirsty god is always present, Godspeakers roam the streets smiting sinners and warlords get ready for battle. It is a nasty land full of nasty people.
Guest blogger and WWEnd Uber User, Charles Dee Mitchell, has contributed a great many book reviews to WWEnd including his blog series Philip K. Dickathon and The Horror! The Horror! He can also be found on his own blog www.potatoweather.blogspot.com.
When one of the local workers on a Yucatan archeological site breaks his ankle, the local hospital fixes him up but his mother, the cook for the archeological team, insists that the local curandera be brought in to check him out as well. This old woman also wants to meet Elizabeth Butler, the middle-aged and well-known leader of the team. She identifies Butler as a witch.
Butler is not bothered by this opinion. She can even appreciate it. All her life she has lived with shadows of the past inhabiting her world. This has made her an excellent archeologist, although on this dig for the first time one of these “shadows” has begun to speak to her. But Butler knows that a witch has power, which is better than being crazy, a diagnosis that removes your power and puts you under the power of others. She has been considered crazy in her life as well. Years before, when she saw no way out of a marriage that was suffocating her, she slit her wrists. This suicide attempt got her institutionalized. When she got out, she abandoned her husband and small daughter, went back to school, and began the life she has now.
Wendy B. (nightxade): My brother introduced me to science fiction, fantasy and comics when I was barely out of diapers and LeVar Burton encouraged my love of reading throughout my youth. If my love of reading is the only legacy I can pass forward to my little geeklings, I would be a very happy mom. (If they pick up my love of gaming, writing and their dad’s love of cooking, too, then that would be even better!). Now I happily share my bibliophilia with my fellow bibliophiles at bibliosanctum.blogspot.com.
I fell in love with Cazaril not long after he was introduced. When he first appears, he is a broken man in both body and spirit. He has some how survived betrayal that led him into the hands of vicious slavers and is slowly making his way back to the royal family he serves. His restraint when he encounters arrogant soldiers is impressive. His humility when he presents himself to the Provinsara and requests the opportunity to return to the service of Chalion in some way is a little bit heartbreaking. Despite his wounds, inner and outer, the Provinsara knows him as a loyal, noble person and it becomes increasingly clear to the reader that he is a true hero, though not one that necessarily proves his valor with sword and shield. He is a soldier though and fully capable of fighting, in spite of his increasing health problems. What I respect is that he only resorts to the sword when necessary, relying more on his wits, which is exactly why the Pronvinsara appoints him as secretary-tutor to her beautiful, strong-willed niece, Iselle and, by default, Iselle’s equally beautiful and strong-willed handmaiden, Beatriz.
The Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge May review poll is now closed and again we have three new winners!
Our winners will find an Amazon gift card, $25, $15 and $10 respectively, waiting for them in their email inbox. We hope they’ll use them to buy books and regale us with more great reviews!
May WoGF Review Poll Winners:
Congrats to Wendy, Jonathan and Jack and thanks to everyone who participated in the poll. There are more prizes up for grabs each month so if you didn’t win this time you still have plenty more chances.