Marked by Alex Hughes
For a couple more days you can still enter to win a copy of Clean or Sharp, the first two MINDSPACE INVESTIGATION novels.
My friendship with Adam has covered three novels now. Alex Hughes has taken me into a different future of the world I live in and made it very real for me, but the best part is that I’ve befriended a hero who I completely understand and admire. That’s right, I admire Adam the drug addict.
In Marked, the third book in Hughes’ MINDSPACE INVESTIG... Read More
John HuletOn FanLit’s staff since June 2007
JOHN HULET is a member of the Utah Army National Guard. He began reading fantasy in the 4th grade when his reading teacher ran out of things to keep him occupied and suggested he try The Chronicles of Prydain. From such humble beginnings are addictions born.
John’s experiences have often left a great void that has been filled by countless hours spent between the pages of a book lost in the words and images of the authors he admires. During a 12 month tour of Iraq, he spent well over $1000 on books and found sanity in the process. He enjoys books that challenge the mind and ensnare the heart. An interesting story is not enough to make up for shallow characters. Gimli Gloinson, Flint Fireforge, Tasselhoff Burrfoot, Prince Kheldar(Silk) and the totally debauched Dakar the Mad Prophet are all brilliant examples of the combination of humor, loyalty and courage that makes characters live. John particularly loves epic fantasy’s use of the concept of honor which is often considered outmoded and naïve by modern society. He loves to escape into a world where good people do good things for the right reasons and believe that duty can truly be its own reward.
John lives in Utah and works slavishly to prepare soldiers to serve their country with the honor and distinction that Sturm Brightblade or Arithon s’Ffalenn would be proud of.
Marked by Alex Hughes
Shadow Ops: Breach Zone by Myke Cole
If you take the time to look and consider, there are often important lessons you can learn from novels. Sometimes characters exhibit traits and growth that we, ourselves, would do well to emulate. Shadow Ops: Breach Zone contains some of those lessons and role models.
Good people do bad things. We call them mistakes. The hard part about being in a position of real responsibility is that the second and third order effects can greatly exceed even our most jaded expectations. For LTC Jan Thorsson, call-sign Harlequin, those effects manifested themselves when his former lover and the most dangerous woman in the world manages to rip a hole between the Source and downtown New York City to release a flood of goblins and other enemies of humanity.
As a result of having done the right, if not politically expedien... Read More
Iron Night by M.L. Brennan
I really like it when an author can keep a character from growing stagnant. It’s not always obvious that it’s happening, but it’s very impressive when the author has enough vision to avoid it. In Iron Night, the second book in the GENERATION V series by M.L. Brennan, Fortitude Scott is a wonderful example of a main character that keeps growing.
Fortitude Scott has not given up on remaining as human as he can for as long as he can. After the drama and partial transformation that took place as a result of his heroic efforts to save innocent children from a terrible monster, it’s harder to do than ever before. After losing his job, getting a new room-mate and breaking up with his cheating manipulative girlfriend, the sky is the limit.
Fort is being expected to take a more active role in his mo... Read More
Generation V by M.L. Brennan
Adolescent vampire novels are a dime a dozen and most of them revolve around a teenage girl with a love interest who happens to be a not-so evil, impossibly sexy vampire. It’s the kind of boring cliché that drives the male segment of the populace away from urban fantasy. There are exceptions to the rule and these stories can be not only fun to read, but also refreshing because they don’t follow the expected paths.
If you worked at a coffee shop, drove a terrible car, had a girlfriend who was unceasingly unkind and a room-mate who didn’t pay his half of the rent you would be Fortitude Scott. Being broke and working for an awful boss is tough, but lots of people have to deal with that. It’s the other side of Fort’s life that makes it especially rough. As the child of a vampire, Fortitude will eventually become a vampire, but he is fighting the process. The price ... Read More
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Epic fantasy has been heavily stocked over the years with some powerhouse writers — Jordan, Erikson, Wurts, Rothfuss and Martin have been the standard bearers of this genre of fantasy. It’s a pretty challenging genre to break into, but after reading the first book of the CHRONICLE OF THE UNHEWN THRONE, The Emperor’s Blades, I am reminded that there is always room for someone new.
In epic fantasy, great empires are never allowed to simply exist in peace. It’s almost ine... Read More
Rex Regis by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Regis Regis is the eighth book of the IMAGER PORTFOLIO and the fifth book following Quaeryt. After literally years of hard work, war, and nothing less than miraculous events, the curtain begins to close on this part of Solidar's history.
The fall of Antiago had been particularly painful for Quaeryt because of the loss of his child when his wife was injured. The reality of the constant threat of power-hungry competitors to influence the future of the continent of Lydar leaves Quaeryt with very little time to heal or mourn. In spite of his incredible success, Quaeryt knows that he must race back to report to Bhayar, now ruler of almost all of Lydar.
As in the previous four books, Quaeryt spends a great deal of time interacting with recalcitrant High Holders. These men enjoyed great power under the previous ruler of Bovaria, but are now very slow to adapt ... Read More
Bared Blade by Kelly McCullough
Bared Blade is the second book in the FALLEN BLADE series. Kelly McCullough continues the story of Aral Kingslayer, survivor of the destruction of the Goddess Namara turned petty thief and spy.
Aral is still struggling with the revelation that other members of his cult survived the fall of his goddess. His experiences in Broken Blade have started to give him an inkling that there may be more to look forward to than alcoholic oblivion. The relationship between Aral and his familiar/partner Triss has been an interesting twist on typical sword and sorcery tropes.
When a couple of oddly matched women are suddenly attacked in front of Aral, he chooses to get involved. The women have powers and skills far beyond the ordinary, which changes everything immediately. As further evidence of Aral’s re-orientation away from self-destruction via Kyle’s whiskey, Ara... Read More
Two Serpents Rise by Max Gladstone
Two Serpents Rise is the second book by Max Gladstone and is set in the same world as Three Parts Dead. I struggle to define the "genre" that this series fits into. There are elements of urban fantasy and steampunk, but none of that really fits. It doesn’t matter because the books are awesome and Gladstone has built something that really works.
Two Serpents Rise features Caleb Altemoc, a mid-level risk management analyst for Red King Consolidated (RKC). As with Three Parts Dead, the story follows the intriguing and complex corporate connections between powerful Craftsmen, wielders of magic, and the gods. Caleb is caught in the middle of a huge incident when one of the main water supplies for the city of Dresediel Lex becomes infested with demonic parasites. This is truly catastrophic because the city is in the middle of a desert, reminiscent of... Read More
Crossed Blades by Kelly McCullough
Kelly McCullough’s FALLEN BLADE saga is a fun and fast moving fantasy series. I love a series that can incorporate humor along with the requisite action, magic and evil bad guys who need to be defeated. McCullough keeps things mockingly amusing by never letting the hero’s head get too big.
Crossed Blades tells the story of Aral, one time Blade of Namara before her fall. Since the death of his goddess, Aral’s life has been sad and dark, but the arrival of certain people and events are forcing him to drag himself out of the low life he has sunk to. With his new quasi-apprentice Faran keeping him on his toes, Aral is not yet ready to run into Jax, another former Blade of Namara, and his ex-fiancé. But Jax needs help. She has been through hard times and people who she is responsible for are in danger. Despite the risks and their unpleasant history, she has come to Tien looking for Ara... Read More
The One-Eyed Man: A Fugue, With Winds and Accompaniment by L.E. Modesitt Jr
I am a big fan of Modesitt’s science fiction work, even when he gets on his political soap box for gender, socially progressive politics, and environmental issues. The One-Eyed Man is a solo novel that encompasses all of these topics, but this time there is almost a feeling of cynicism that I really enjoyed.
Paulo Verano is an idealistic Environmental Analyst who has just been taken to the cleaners. In a scene that is familiar to many, his ex-spouse has left him for another person and has financially devastated him. His daughter is estranged from him and his business, while viable, is a means for his ex to continue to reap financial support. It’s a bleak picture.
Stittara is a distant world from the major planets of the Unity of the Cyelesian Arm. It produces a naturally occurring substance that essentially doubles the human li... Read More
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
The Thousand Names is incredible. Yes, right out of the chute I am saying that I loved this book. It’s not going to be for everyone because it’s in this new Blackpowder genre that I am only recently getting acquainted with. Basically, it’s a mix of Napoleonic era military technology and aspects of magic. The exact mix depends on the author, but it certainly can create some fun interesting props to tell a story with. When you add that level of technology…. well, the lines between nobility and peasants, men and women, blur compared to traditional fantasy and that can be a refreshing change when it is done well.
The Thousand Names mostly revolves around three different characters. Jaffa, a quasi police administrator in the city of Khandar; Winter Ihernglass, a young Soldier in the Vordanai First Colonial Regiment who is hiding the fact that she is female from her fellow Sold... Read More
Sharp by Alex Hughes
Sharp is the second full novel in the MINDSPACE INVESTIGATION series and is a direct follow up to the first book Clean. Adam is still struggling from the after-effects of his over-extension of his abilities at the end of Clean and is having a hard time keeping up with the pace of his work while coping with the never-ending craving of addiction.
A new case comes up, a vicious murder, and Adam is tasked to determine if there is some psychic evidence that he can add to the investigation. When Adam and Detective Cherabino get to the scene of the crime, Adam is stunned to find that the victim is Emily, one of his former students. Adam had destroyed Emily’s psychic abilities through negligence while he was in the throes of his addiction and still an instructor for the Guild.
Mirroring reality, the city budget for law enforcement is facing serious budget reduction... Read More
The Forever Knight by John Marco
The Forever Knight is a follow-up novel that takes place after John Marco’s BOOKS OF THE BRONZE KNIGHT, but Marco does such a good job of filling in the gaps for new readers that it’s meant to be able to be read separately. If you’re interested in a kind of brutal, really tragic fantasy, then this is worth a read.
Lukien is the Forever Knight. He has betrayed his best friend and the love of his life is dead, but he can’t follow them into death because of Malator, a symbiotic spirit who has imbued him with powers, including virtual immortality. For most people eternal life would be an amazing gift, but for someone who has lost everything he held precious, it’s a curse.
Lukien is living a sort of half-life while seeking combat against dangerous monsters that infest the local environs of the city he has claimed as home. Among the people who Lukien calls friend is an o... Read More
Antiagon Fire by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
Antiagon Fire is the fourth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s IMAGER PORTFOLIO series about Quaeryt the scholar (it's the seventh book in the entire series). The twists and turns of Quaeryt’s life have been momentous as befits a fantasy epic, but have often dealt with very mundane aspects of life. In this installment, Modesitt really reaches deep into the realm of political motivations and asks us to consider whether and when might really does make right.
After the traumatic conclusion to the war with Bovaria and the near death of Quaeryt, there was really no way of knowing what would come next. The continent of Lydar has consisted of many different nations for a long time and might have remained that way if not for the war. Quaeryt’s brother-in-law Bhayar has seized the opportunity to unify two nations under his rule and that leaves only two other nations with which to contend. Read More
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
Flintlock fantasy is an interesting blend of settings. The use of firearms as a sort of technological off-set to sorcery makes all kinds of sense to me and the idea of there being an equalizer between sorcerer and normal people is intriguing. Promise of Blood is a truly energetic first installment in the POWDER MAGE series by Brian McClellan and it starts off with a bang, no pun intended.
Tamas, a powder mage, is the Field Marshall to Manhouch, the King of Adro. The skill of being able to draw energy and power from ingesting gunpowder makes Tamas a lethal force to be reckoned with. Add to that a strong will and a history of successful leadership in the Army and Tamas is exactly the man any King would rely on to keep his Kingdom safe. But for the King of Adro, this trust has backfired because Tamas has led his forces in the complete overthrow of his Kingdom. Now a great purge is ... Read More