Why You Should Read… Daniel Abraham

If you’d like to contribute a column to this series, please contact Kat. Our latest guest to talk about a favourite and worthy author is none other than Aidan Moher, the brain...

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To Ride Hell’s Chasm: One heck of a ride!

To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts Due to its remoteness, the kingdom of Sessalie has enjoyed generations of peace while other parts of the world have been ravaged by war with...

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Reading Comics, Part 6

Brad Hawley continues his series on How to Read Comics. If you missed the previous columns, be sure to start with Part 1: Why Read Comics? (Or find the entire series here.) Reading...

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Our rating system

We realize that we’re not professional literature critics — we’re just a group of readers who love to read and write about speculative fiction — but we...

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Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers (giveaway)

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in September 2015. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title

Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters: Gradually, my suspension of disbelief eroded away

Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum

I’m giving this book a lower rating than I expected to. Usually a 2.5-star rating from me means I found serious structural, character or writing problems with the book, and that’s not the case here. My low rating of Amanda Downum’s Dreams of Shreds and Tatters reflects the gap between my expectations and my experience. The writer did do a few things that jarred me out of the book, though, and I am going to discuss those.

First of all, I’d like to talk about what I liked. I loved the idea here, of a group of artists under the sway of a magician, searching for a portal to a mysterious city in another realm. I liked moments in the writing; when she wants to, Downum can unleash a passage of weird, lush prose that is captivating and beautiful. For the most part, I l... Read More

The Lady of Blossholme: A rousing historical novel with traces of the fantastic

The Lady of Blossholme by H. Rider Haggard

The Lady of Blossholme was Henry Rider Haggard's 34th piece of fiction, out of an eventual 58 titles. It is a novel that he wrote (or, to be technically accurate, dictated) in the year 1907, although it would not see publication until the tail end of 1909, and is one of the author's more straightforward historical adventures, with hardly any fantasy elements to speak of.

The story takes place in England during the reign of Henry VIII, in the year 1536. This was the period when King Henry was rebelling against Pope Clement VII, and when many Englishmen in the north, and many clergymen, were consequently rebelling against Henry, in the so-called Pilgrimage of Grace. To raise needed funds for this rebellion against the king, the Spanish abbot Clement Maldon murders Cicely Foterell's father a... Read More

Red Seas Under Red Skies: You had me at pirates

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

This review contains spoilers for the first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora.

In Red Seas Under Red Skies, Scott Lynch revisits the lives of our favourite gentlemen and bastards, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen, some two years after the first book left them destitute and heartbroken. Locke and Jean are on track for the biggest score of their career. They are going to become incredibly wealthy. They are going to die in some far off place as comfortable and rich men. They are going to make it big — that’s the plan, anyway. Having read the first book in THE GENTLEMAN BASTARD series it was no surprise that, once again, things didn’t go to plan for the Gentleman Bastards.

You aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, ... Read More

WWWednesday: October 7, 2015

On this date in 1714, residents of the Netherlands city of Alkmaar took to the street in a full-blown riot. What caused their outrage? The city fathers had attempted to levy a tax on beer. Don’t mess with the beer, people.

Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John -- @ Palacco Vecchio, various attributions.


Sir Terry Pratchett’s estate announced a $1 million Australian endowment for the University of South Australia. The scholarship will be awarded every two years. It will pay two years’ worth of expenses for the student, and provides $100,000 to that student for an additional year of study at the UniSA or at ... Read More

Throne of Glass: Didn’t much care for it

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

There are two main storylines in Throne of Glass. In one, a deadly assassin is unleashed from prison to travel to the capital and take part in a royal tournament for hired killers where the competitors often meet mysterious and gruesome ends (because, you know, assassin tournament). In the other, an extremely flaky girl tries on lots of expensive dresses, goes to parties, gushes over how pretty she looks today, and flirts with attractive men who like to pamper her with expensive presents. In a brighter universe, the novel would end with the assassin murdering the Popular Girl before she had the chance to complete her dude-harem. Alas, the assassin and the girl are of course the same person, and consequently neither plotline feels fully realized. It’s as if author Sarah J. Maas really wanted to write a courtly romance/mystery book before someone put a gun to he... Read More

The Crystal World: Time and death are defeated as crystallization takes over

The Crystal World by J.G. Ballard

The Crystal World (1966) is J.G. Ballard’s third apocalyptic work in which he destroys civilization, the other two being The Burning World (1964) and The Drowned World (1962). It seems he likes the elements, having employed floods, draughts, and now crystallization. The process somewhat resembles Ice-9 in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (1963), but there is no ironic humor to be found in this book as far I could tell. In The Drowned World, the flooding of the world was used as a metaphor for diving deep into the collective racial memories of the Triassic-age, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. This time, Ballard posits a ... Read More

The Sparrow: A deep space exploration of new worlds and the meaning of religion

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. ~Matthew 10:29

I thoroughly enjoyed this expansive story of space travel and first contact. The Sparrow (1996), a multiple award-winning novel from Mary Doria Russell and the first book in THE SPARROW duology, is wonderfully deep in its exploration of culture clash and how individual experiences, both spiritual and physical, shape those interactions. Russell is at her best in bringing her characters to life and deftly creating three dimensional imagery that are at once understandable, real, and relatable.

The story revolves around a Jesuit priest, Sandoz, who returns from a Mission to a far planet, alone, barely alive, and deeply changed from the man that left. Russell bounces back and forth between the 'current' Sandoz, and the back-story lea... Read More

João chats with Stephen Aryan (and gives away a few copies of Battlemage)

Now winding down his hectic promotion schedule, Stephen Aryan joins us at Fantasy Literature to talk about his debut fantasy novel, Battlemage, his literary influences, and to tease us about what may be in store for the sequel, Bloodmage.

Three random commenters, two with a US address and one with a UK address, will win a copy of Battlemage. Start your comment with (US) or (UK) according to where you live to enter the giveaway, and please welcome, Stephen Aryan!

João Eira: Hi Stephen, hope everything is going well. To start things off, could you say something about your path to publishing Battlemage, your debut, and how Battlemage came to be?

St... Read More

Raising Caine: Like a dish of Neapolitan ice cream

Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon

Neapolitan ice cream with its three stripes of flavor, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, was a favorite in my house when I was growing up. Charles E. Gannon’s latest novel Raising Caine reminds me of that. Do you like rollicking high-tech military SF? Get yourself a bowl. You want multi-planetary space opera with unusual environments and nonhuman exo-sapients? Dish up. You want a book that makes you think about the nexus of biological evolution and social evolution? Grab a spoon, because this one’s for you.

Raising Caine is the third book in Gannon’s TALES OF THE TERRAN REPUBLIC, and to get the maximum enjoyment out of it, you should first read Fire with Fire and Trial by Fire.... Read More