The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
The Hero of Ages is Brandon Sanderson’s final book in the MISTBORN TRILOGY. As you probably know, but I didn’t, Sanderson envisioned a novena of books in this world. (I just made up that usage of “novena,” by the way); three trilogies in three separate sub-genres: epic fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction. The Hero of Ages completed the epic fantasy series and creates the world in which the other six books will take place.
While I enjoyed Mistborn, the first book, I struggled with the bridge book, The Well of Ascension. I thought that Sanderson fell down, badly, on describing this world — and the world description and background is more important to this series than some others. It felt as if Sanderson was hand-waving away lots of serious ga... Read More
Hrolf Kraki’s Saga by Poul Anderson Poul Anderson took the Viking saga of Hrolf Kraki and crafted this magnificent fantasy novel from the legendary king’s story. Hrolf was a...Read More
The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
Defenders by Will McIntosh
Last year, Will McIntosh’s social science novel Love Minus Eighty took many genre readers by surprise with its exploration of human feelings. McIntosh changed things up this time around with Defenders, a novel about an alien invasion of Earth.
An alien race known as the Luyten have invaded Earth, wreaking havoc throughout the planet with their heat guns, melting people, cars, and buildings alike. The Luyten have a distinct and incredible advantage over humanity — they’re telepathic. They can read minds. How unfair is that? Turns out it’s extremely unfair, and humanity is on the brink of destruction; thousands are dying whenever a group of Luyten — often called “Starfish” by the protagonists — attack. Nothing Earth’s generals can come up with works because the Starfish... Read More
On this date in history . . . well, a lot of cool stuff happened. Alexander the Great conquered Darius of Persia in 331 BC; Thomas Edison opened his electric lamp factory in 1880; a brand-new Model T was selling for $825 in 1908; NASA replaced NACA in 1958, providing the “Space” in the acronym; and my favorite Disney park, Epcot, opened in 1982.
Art by Fabrizio Clerici
Writing, Editing, and Publishing:
In publishing news, Angry Robot sold to Etan Ilfeld, the American owner of Watkins Bookshop in London and the editor of Mind Body Spirit magazine. Ilfeld intends to keep all the current Angry Robot staff and to combine it with other existing imprints to create Watkins Media Limited.
Banned Books Week was last week, and io9 ran a piece on the Read More
World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters
World of Trouble is the quiet, inevitable conclusion to Ben H. Winters’ moving end-of-the-world trilogy. Here, the cause is that old stand-by — an extinction-level asteroid about to crash into the Earth. The three novels begin months before the apocalypse (The Last Policeman), weeks (Countdown City), and now in World of Trouble it’s just a matter of days. Hank Palace, that “last policeman” used as the title of book one, remains one of the good guys in the end times, committed to doing what is right, to what is “supposed” to be done. In earlier books, that meant solving crimes despite the apparent reality that none of it matters in the face of apocalypse. Though of course, the fact that it does matter to h... Read More
Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
I finished listening to the audio version of Crown of Vengeance, the first in Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory’s DRAGON PROPHECY series. It tells the story of Vielissar Farcarinon, an Elvish mage who discovers when she is twelve that her parents were killed and her ancestral house destroyed by the people who fostered her, House Caerthalion. She nurses her rage and quest for vengeance as she learns to channel the Light. However, she soon finds out that she is the Child of the Prophecy, a foretold hero who will both save the world from the demonic Endarkened and shake Elvish culture and tradition to its very foundation.
So, basically, it’s your typical high fantasy. And I am pleased to say that I enjoyed every moment of this book.
Lackey a... Read More
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
Dirty Magic tells the story of Kate Prospero, a woman with plenty of baggage to lug around as she struggles through life taking care of her teenaged brother and barely making ends meet. Slowly Wells reveals the fictional (somewhat superheroish) city of Babylon, and as Kate is fleshed out, her history (much of which remains a mystery) is also deliciously divulged to readers. In fact, it’s probably the pacing in regards to world building and character development that really makes Dirty Magic shine. Things aren’t revealed all at once, or even all in this novel. Instead, the foundation is set and enough questions are answered that will satisfy readers, but readers will have to work for those answers, which makes them so much sweeter.
Dirty Magic is an interesting mix of police procedural and personal drama. Usually I sort of tu... Read More
Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L Powell
“Let me get this straight. You’re a World War II fighter pilot,” I say to Ack-Ack, the one-eyed, cigar-chomping macaque as he leads me through the corridor of the airship.
“But it’s 2059.”
“What’s your question?” He glares, a daiquiri glass clenched in his left paw.
“How do you fit in, exactly?”
He spins to face me. “I’m the main character, aren’t I? Ack-Ack Macaque, that’s the book’s name. See? ‘By Gareth L Powell’ and everything.”
“No offense, but I’m not sure you are the main character. You’re certainly the title character, but you aren’t even the first one we meet.”
A woman with a sultry, French accented voice interrupts us. “Move it along, Monkey-Man. No time for exposition.” She looks at me. “I’m Victoria Va... Read More
Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb’s TAWNY MAN trilogy, and the FARSEER trilogy that precedes them, are some of the finest epic fantasies ever written. FitzChivarly Farseer is probably my favorite character in all of fantasy literature and he’s at his best in the TAWNY MAN books. Golden Fool, the middle book in the trilogy, is nearly a perfect novel, and so is its successor, Fool’s Fate. I re-read Golden Fool last week because it’s just been released in audio format by Brilliance Audio (superbly narrated by James Langton) and I wanted to re-visit the series before reading Hobb’s newest book, Fool’s Assassin. Though I’ve read over a thousand fantasy novels since I first read Golden Fool, the book was just as superior as I remembered.
[Ple... Read More
Terms of Enlistment by Marko Kloos
Andrew Grayson wants out. Growing up in the wretched urban tenements of the North American Commonwealth in the year 2108 has left him bitter, jaded and willing to risk his life to avoid becoming another barely surviving victim of a failed social system. His mother and father are no longer together and Andrew knows that if he wants a future the only real way out is to join the Armed Forces of the North American Commonwealth.
In the world of 2108 war is constant. Mankind has gone to space and is colonizing other planets, but we can’t seem to stop fighting each other whether on this world or another. For Grayson, joining the military is risky because conflict is real and there are no guarantees of where he will be assigned if he even makes it through training.
Basic Training in the future is much like it was in the past, except they don’t care if you quit because you are disposab... Read More
The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick
Perhaps Dick’s most misunderstood book, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is not wholly an examination of the reality of reality. Despite that the characters’ experiences often transcend concrete objectivity, the book is more than metaphysics. It is an exploration of morality, and if may be surmised from the parallel events of Dick’s own life, perhaps even an act of catharsis.
The universe of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is not as we know it. Global warming has turned Antarctica into a beach and humans inhabit the solar system. Colonists living on other planets — often drafted like soldiers to leave Earth — participate in communal fantasies augmented by a drug called Can-D to escape the spiritual desolation of their lives. Channeled through Perky Pat and Walt dolls (like Barbie and Ken), the dolls,... Read More