The Folly of the World by Jesse Bullington
In a flooded 15th century Holland there are very few opportunities available. Jan may have an amazing opportunity at a life full of riches, but it's hidden somewhere at the bottom of a flooded town. To reach his greedy goal in the dark moldy depths, Jan enlists the help of a wild young girl with a knack for swimming. Add Jan's slightly psychotic but ever-faithful partner Sander to the mix and you have yourself a watery adventure with a cast to remember.
In both of his previous books, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart and The Enterprise of Death, Jesse Bullington went to great lengths to defy our expectations in every way. His characters were immoral, his language was foul, his violence was graphic, and his subject matter was often nauseating.
His fans will be pleased to know that The Folly of the World Read More
Justin BlazierRETIRED REVIEWER September 2009 — September 2012
JUSTIN BLAZIER does IT work for various corporations and helps his wife run a Thai restaurant in Lawrenceburg Indiana. His life-long goals include winning the lottery, ending world hunger, and finding a canned chili that doesn’t taste like sawdust. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, he cut his teeth on Tolkien. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books, and there he met Piers Anthony, Gordon R. Dickson, Douglas Adams, and many more. Currently he’s a fan of Jim Butcher, Patrick Rothfuss, and Brandon Sanderson. Justin is a sucker for an unlikely hero and a happy ending, but not adverse to tragedy if he feels it has a point. He also delves into historical non-fiction (Nathaniel Phillbrick) and adventure books (James Rollins).
Justin lives in a small home near the river with his wife and Norman, his mildly smelly dog. He is notably charming, intelligent, and dedicated, and has just learned that there are benefits to writing his own bio. Through his reviews he hopes to change the world. Failing that, then at least to get somebody to buy a book that deserves to be read.
The Folly of the World by Jesse Bullington
WWW: Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer
WWW: Wonder is the third and final book in Robert J. Sawyer’s WWW trilogy. It continues the story of visually challenged Caitlin Decter and the self aware web-based intelligence that she has named Webmind. Caitlin and Webmind struggle to deal with the sudden attention Webmind’s emergence has brought on them all. Caitlin believes that Webmind is a benevolent entity, but the government considers it a threat and wants to eradicate it. There are a couple of other subplots that come to together in WWW: Wonder, but the story mostly revolves around the few key characters.
Similar to the previous books, Wake and Watch, Wonder tackles the philosophical themes of self identity, personal responsibility, and the greater good. The message... Read More
Nightfall by Stephen Leather
Jack Nightingale was a cop, a negotiator to be specific. He becomes a private investigator after a series of strange and tragic events. Things get really weird for Jack when he finds out the parents he lost as a teenager had actually adopted him, and his real father has left him a huge mansion in the countryside. I should also mention that his biological father was an evil bastard who sold Jack's soul to a demon, and only a few days remain till said demon comes to collect. Jack the level-headed investigator doesn’t buy into any of it, until his loved ones start having “accidents.” He tries to find out who is doing the killing while trying to unravel the mystery of his family’s past.
Nightfall is a bloody mystery thriller with fantasy elements mixed in. It had its scary moments, but didn’t keep me up at night. I found much of the story to be very sad, actually. The th... Read More
Over here at FanLit we've been talking about how we rate the books we read. 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 started this site to help SFF readers decide what to read and most consumers, whether of fine dining, vacuum cleaners, or fantasy novels, seem to like some sort of quantification. Thus, we assign "ratings," even though a few of us find the notion disagreeable. This week we challenged ourselves to come up with a standardized rating system. Though Marion and Ryan a couple of us are notoriously stingy with our stars, we still managed to come up with a scheme that we could agree on:
I loved pretty much all aspects of this book: story, style, and characters.... Read More
Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer
What would it be like if Neanderthals had become the dominant race of humans on the planet? Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer explores that very idea. This book follows a brilliant Neanderthal physicist named Ponter Boddet. Ponter and his partner, while working on experimental quantum computers, accidently open a bridge between universes. The bridge leads to the world we (Homo sapiens sapiens) currently reside in. Ponter fell into our world accidently and has now become stranded here.
Robert J. Sawyer is a master at taking an interesting thought experiment and turning it into a full-length novel. What would a Neanderthal world be like? What would a modern Neanderthal do if he were dropped into our world? It’s fascinating to think about. Sawyer answers those questions in a thoughtful, heavily researched, and entertaining manner.
Ponter Bodd... Read More
It's been a couple of years since we've had a passionate discussion about our preferences for reading in non-traditional formats such as e-reader and audio, but technology has changed quite a bit since then! There are many more options these days and most of us carry around devices such as phones and tablets that make it easy and convenient, and often cost-effective, to read in different formats. So, out of curiosity, and also a desire to alert readers about new technologies they may be unaware of, I have some questions:
What are your current format preferences?
How do you do most of your reading these days?
What devices/apps can you not live without?
Does new technology a... Read More
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
The main character of Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City is a former freelance journalist named Zinzi December. Zinzi is cool, intelligent and carries some big mental baggage. Despite her flaws, you will love her almost immediately. Zinzi lives in Zoo City, which is essentially a slum in Johannesburg for people who have been burdened with animals. In the world of Zoo City, people are magically attached to animals after they’ve done something particularly awful. People with animals are the outcasts of society, and the more conspicuous the animal the harder it is to lead a normal life. Zinzi carries a sloth, which isn’t the easiest critter to conceal.
Since Zinzi is not able to work a real job due to her fuzzy companion, she makes ends meet by using her natural ability to find lost things for people. On one of this lost item cases she stumbles... Read More
Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs
Bull Ingram is a very big fellow. He’s a former Marine who is still a little raw from the war like most men in the early 1950s. Bull works as paid muscle and his primary job is finding people who owe his employers money. When he finds them, he “convinces” them to pay back their debts. He is very good at his job. A folk music dealer wants Bull to locate a mysterious blues man by the name of Ramblin’ John Hastur. Hastur’s music has strange effects on those who listen to it, and Bull’s new employer wants him found. The job leads Bull down a strange and violent path through the underbelly of the 1950’s American South.
John Hornor Jacobs sets a furious pace in Southern Gods. It doesn’t let up till you hit the epilogue. I was sent an audio copy of this from Brilliance Audio, and I was so desperate to keep reading the story tha... Read More
Shadowplay by Tad Williams
Shadowplay is the second book in Tad Williams' massive epic fantasy series, Shadowmarch. The plot was just starting to get really interesting when the first book ended, so I was eager to start Shadowplay. Things have gone awry in the March Kingdoms. Book two starts in chaos and things only go downhill from there. I'm not normally a reader of classic epic fantasy, since I often find things like family lineage, court politics and over-dramatic heroic battles boring. This series has all of this, but this time it seems to work for me. I'm being entertained despite the fact that this is territory I've visited many times before.
The story picks up right where Shadowmarch left off. You would think the second book in such a massive series would suffer a bit form middle book syndrome, but Read More
Ghost Story by Jim Butcher
Writing this review is going to be impossible without spoiling some of the series for those who have not read through Changes, just a little warning. The title of this book, Ghost Story, does a pretty good job of revealing the entire premise of the story: Harry is a ghost. Like all ghosts he has a task that must be completed in order to be at peace. A lot of what was planted in Changes bears fruit in Ghost Story. Harry is now forced to deal with the horrible decisions he was forced to make while the Red Court held his daughter. To the living, Harry has been gone for six months. All hell has broken loose in Chicago without Dresden around. Harry is now dropped in the middle of all this and is practically helpless is his current state to do anything about it. Add that to the emotional turmoil of losing Harry, and w... Read More
Pilgrimage to Hell by Jack Adrian
Pilgrimage to Hell is the first book in the long running Deathlands series. There are 100 volumes of Deathlands, written by 12 different authors under the house name James Axler. Pilgrimage to Hell was started by Christopher Lowder under the pen name Jack Adrian, but Lowder became ill and Laurence James stepped in to finish it under the penname James Axler. Pilgrimage to Hell is the one that started it all, and I've waited a long time to be able to read it.
Life as we know it was obliterated in a nuclear apocalypse in 2001. Pilgrimage to Hell takes place several generations after the nukes destroyed civilization. Ryan Cowdar and Krysty Wroth are the protagonists, though there is an array of supporting characters... Read More
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
I often struggle when someone asks me what my favorite fantasy book is. I’ve read so many great books that it’s very difficult to pick one above all the others. I don’t have that problem anymore. My answer now is easily Joe Abercrombie’s The Heroes. I cannot think of another book I have enjoyed so much on so many levels. That’s a bold statement, you say? Yes it is. This book deserves it, and I will do my best to try and explain why.
The overall plot of The Heroes is relatively simple. It follows a battle over the course of three days. The battle is being fought between “The Union” and “The North.” The Union is an entity that has much in common with medieval England. The North has much in common with Vikings or some other barbarian state. They’ve been brought together in war through a series of convoluted events th... Read More
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
I finally got to read Patrick Rothfuss’ The Wise Man’s Fear. Life and my TBR pile would not allow for me to tackle this book as quickly as I would have liked. Luckily, Brilliance Audio sent me the audiobook and I was able to squeeze it in on my commute to work. Like many fans of The Name of the Wind, I was anxious to see how the story of Kvothe would progress. I was also anxious to see if Mr. Rothfuss could “call down lightning” twice. To say the least, I was not disappointed.
Fanlit reviewers Robert and Stefan both echo the majority of my thoughts on The Wise Man’s Fear. They’ve done an excellent job in analyzing the novel, so I will not take my review to that level. Instead I’ll keep it simple and give a few of my likes and dislikes about the novel.
... Read More
Shadowmarch by Tad Williams
The plot of Shadowmarch is rather complex, but the basics of the story are simple. Three groups vie for time in the main storyline. First and foremost are the lands of Southmarch, ruled for many generations by the Eddon family. Directly to their north are the lands of the Q’ar. The Q’ar are the fairy folk, long ago driven out of the southern regions by humans. The Q’ar have not let the many years soften their bitterness and hatred of humans. The third group involved in the story inhabit the desert kingdom of Xis to the far south, and they are ruled by the not so nice god-king Autarch. The fairies want their land back, and the southern-based god-king wants everything. The Eddons and the people of Southmarch simply want to survive. The narrative flows back and forth mainly between these three locations, telling the story from the perspective of several individuals in each of the three geo... Read More
Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling
Drew Ferran was raised on a rural farmstead in an area called the Cold Coast. Drew lived the simple life with his family until tragedy struck one night while his father and brother were away at market. A monster invades their home. While terrified, Drew unleashes a beast from within himself that he never knew existed. His father and brother return to a gruesome scene of Drew huddled over his bloodied mother. Confusion and rage ensue as the blame quickly falls on Drew. He is forced to flee his own home to the forests where he has to survive on his own. Isolated and alone, Drew must come to terms with his demons and his destiny.
It has been awhile since I’ve read something in the young adult category. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the simple way these stories are told. The drawback of its simplicity is that the plot is quite transparent — I knew what was ultimately going to happ... Read More