Kelly chats with Louise Hawes


Kelly recently interviewed Louise Hawes after reading and enjoying her book Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand (2008). You can read Kelly’s review here and learn more about Louise...

Read More
The Legends of King Arthur: One of the best retellings


Readers’ average rating: THE LEGENDS OF KING ARTHUR TRILOGY by Rosemary Sutcliff There are countless retellings and adaptations concerning the life and times of King Arthur...

Read More
How to Make Fictional People Do All the Work, Part 2


Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I feature essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers....

Read More
T-shirts and bookmarks!


Get a T-shirt and bookmarks when you donate to FanLit. This soft white t-shirt features our dragon logo which was painted by author Janny Wurts. Underneath are the words...

Read More

Recent Posts

The City of Brass: A dream of djinni

Readers’ average rating: 

Reposting to include Ray's new review.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Nahri, a young woman living alone in 18th century Cairo, gets by doing minor cons, fake healing rituals and a little theft. She knows nothing about her parents or heritage but, in addition to being able to diagnose disease in others with a glance and occasionally truly heal them, her own body automatically heals of injuries almost instantly and she has the magical ability to understand ― and speak ― any language.

Nahri's life gets upended when she accidentally summons Darayavahoush, a fiery, handsome djinn warrior, to her side while performing a sham healing ceremony. After he gets over his murderous rage at being involuntarily summoned, Dara saves Nahri from murderous ifrit and ghouls who have become aware of Nahri and her abilities. Dara quickly enchants a magic carpet and, dragging... Read More

The Girl in the Tower: Tangled webs of deception in medieval Russia

Readers’ average rating: 

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The Girl in the Tower (2017), a medieval Russian fantasy, continues the story of Vasilisa (Vasya), a young woman whose story began in Katherine Arden’s debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale, one of my favorite fantasies from early 2017. That makes it a hard act to follow, but there’s no sophomore slump here. The Girl in the Tower is an even stronger novel, more sure-footed and compelling in its telling, and with more complex and nuanced characterization.

At the beginning of The Girl in the Tower, which picks up right where The Bear and the Nightingal... Read More

The Tethered Mage: Fun with pretend politics

Readers’ average rating:

The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso

In The Tethered Mage (2017), The Raverran Empire is as complacent, even “Serene,” as its military is legion, and indeed, magical. Every military empire has its controversies, and so does this one, however enlightened it may pretend to be with gender and marriage equality achievements.

Amalia is the heir to the Cornaro fortune and seat upon the Raverran Empire’s Council of Nine, and is as yawnishly blue blooded as she can be. She has, however, enough spirit to attempt harnessing rogue fire warlock Zaira, who has loosed her deadly balefire, with a magical “jess,” binding the pair together for life as falcon and falconer. Thus the two become conscripted soldiers in the Raverran (Serene) Empire’s impressive magical military machine.

Amalia’s nobility should have precluded the relationship, but in emerge... Read More

Persepolis Rising: The Rocinante crew discuss their options

Readers’ average rating:

Persepolis Rising by James S.A. Corey

(Some of these lines are direct quotes from Persepolis Rising (2017), the seventh book in James S.A. Corey’s series THE EXPANSE.)

Holden looked at Naomi over the cloud from his coffee. “I think it may be time for us to do something else. For me to do something else, anyway.”

Naomi stopped eating and looked up at him. “Walk me through it.”

“Pirates. Martians. The Protomolecule. The OPA. Gates to a thousand worlds. Dead men talking in my head. Belters. Earthers. Colonists. Ancient alien artifacts.”

“We’ve seen a lot, yeah.”

“We have. And I’m just not sure I have it in me to handle the same number of POVs I used to. I’m feeling ... old.... Read More

The Emerald Circus: An imaginative three-ring show

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Jana's new review.

The Emerald Circus by Jane Yolen

Under the big top of The Emerald Circus (2017) is a fantastical assemblage of sixteen short stories and novelettes by Jane Yolen. Historical figures like Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Disraeli, Hans Christian Andersen and Edgar Allen Poe enter the three rings and shed their normal identities, dancing across the high wires and peering into tigers’ mouths. In this circus’ House of Mirrors we also see unexpectedly twisted reflections of fictional characters like Alice in Wonderland (who makes an appearance... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 3, 2017

This week, Batman struggles through a Thanksgiving dinner (a week late).

Batman: Field report for November: Always a lull in November before the spate of holiday-themed crime in December. As result, was prevailed upon by various Robins and ex-Robins to attend Wonder Woman's Apaturia, which -- as I had to inform all Robins and one Batgirl -- is an ancient Greek festival that she has somehow worked around to function like a businesslike Thanksgiving. Instantly regretted my decision. Superman dressed in flannel and became appallingly chipper, while Wonder Woman refused to talk business before the food was served. No one seemed to want to discuss the existential horror of the Joker's unknowable true identity, so I was left at loose ends. As dinner was served, everyone was obligated to list one thing they were thankful for. I said I was thankful for the 482 criminal scum whose jaws I shattered this year, at least tem... Read More

Jade City: Methodical, complex plotting

Readers’ average rating:

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee brings her experience with martial arts to Jade City (2017), her first novel for adults and a sprawling tale of family, power, and an intangible but all-too-important element: control. Whether it concerns finances, emotions, or a person’s mobility through the world and their social station, control is at the heart of this novel, and informs every single moment.

Jade City is chiefly concerned with the Kaul clan of No Peak: adult siblings Lan, Hilo, and Shae, who were all trained up from childhood to eventually assume the top three positions of power within the clan. Lan is the Pillar, the leader everyone looks to for instructions and guidance, though he struggles against his grandfather’s living legacy; Hilo is the Horn, maintaining the clan’s power and strength by defending territor... Read More

The Keeping Place: A dystopian world continues to expand

Readers’ average rating:

The Keeping Place by Isobelle Carmody

This is the fourth book in Isobelle Carmody's ongoing THE OBERNEWTYN CHRONICLES, detailing the lives of telepathic Misfits trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. After the cataclysm known as the Great White destroyed all know civilisation, humanity has re-emerged across various cities and communities, ruled over by a totalitarian Council and religious fanatics known as the Herders.

The Misfits are those regularly used as scapegoats by those in power; their abilities to heal, coerce, mind-speak, empathise and communicate with animals held up as examples of blasphemy and witchcraft. That hasn't stopped them from building a sanctuary for themselves at Obernewtyn; once a compound for experimenting on their people, now a place of safety ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

Time for another "Rename This Horrible Cover" contest!

This book by Phyllis Eisenstein is not as bad as its cover. And really, the cover's not that bad. It just wants a new title.

The creator of the title we like best wins a book from our stacks

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.
Read More

Ashling: A long-running series takes on an epic scope

Readers’ average rating:

Ashling by Isobelle Carmody

This is the third book in Isobelle Carmody's THE OBERNEWTYN CHRONICLES, marking the point where the series takes on a truly epic quality. Seriously, this instalment is twice the size of the first volume, and the next one is even larger!

Elspeth Gordie is one of many so-called Misfits that dwell in the safe haven of Obernewtyn, a place where those with psychic abilities (whether they're telepaths, coercers, beast-speakers or far-seekers) can live in peace and secrecy. That latter quality is necessary due to the totalitarian Council that rules the rest of the land, their laws enforced by religious leaders known as Herders. In the eyes of Herders, Misfits such as Elspeth are an aberratio... Read More