31 August, 2010

Signed Giveaway: The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings is out and Brandon's whirlwind tour is finally under way. Sadly, those of us on the East Coast will have a hard time attending these geographically distant signings and so, for your convenience, we are giving away a signed copy of The Way of Kings. I tried to get a signed and numbered copy - even promising my first born to the Storm - but to no avail.

We already gave away an ARC, to much fanfare, and reviewed The Way of Kings a tad bit early - we were mightily impressed - and in the next week or so we will have a back and forth between Brice and I discussing the merits of The Stormlight Archive and Brandon's place in the epic fantasy field.

How to Enter This Giveaway

E-mail bloggeratf(at)gmail.com your name and address, with "SHARDBLADE" as the subject of the email. Snarky comments in your entry increase your chances of winning and win bonus entries for future giveaways. The giveaway is open worldwide to US residents only. as long as delivery doesn't require the mounting of an expedition into remote wilderness.

30 August, 2010

Review: The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl (2009) [US][UK] by Paolo Bacigalupi is my second best speculative fiction read of 2010, even though it was published in 2009 and won the Nebula. The novel is set in a near-future dystopia ravaged by global warming, rising seas and quickly mutating viruses which destroy the food supply. Enemy and savior, shadowy American agricultural corporations keep the world alive through the development of virus resistant food products, but they are loosing the race.

The Windup Girl takes place in a compelling version of future Bangkok where issues such as xenophobia, slavery, environmentalism and fanaticism take center stage. The draconian measures adapted by the Thai government to insulate their country from the world are personified in the huge sea walls which keep Bangkok dry, a city that is otherwise below the water level. The story of the Windup Girl is one of outside pressures transforming a society that has successfully remade itself and insulated itself from Western 'corruption'. Gritty, dirty and alive, Paolo Bacigalupi will lead the reader through the hearts and minds of a people that are balanced on a tightrope between oblivion and redemption.

The novel focuses on the political upheavals in Bangkok and the political and social ballet which takes place between the protagonists. The Windup Girl brings together some of the most colorful and entrancing characters to have graced the pages of spec fic - from genetically altered servants to unscrupulously ambitious immigrants and shadowy economic hitmem - readers will feel themselves on the front line of a spiritual, economic and social war whose outcome is anything but certain.

I have had a hard time pinning down exactly why I enjoyed this book so much. I can't point to any one criteria and say "this is what made the book great". There was no character that stole my heart or earned my hate. The setting was exquisitely believable but also unremarkable for all its realism. The writing was solid, consistent, enjoyable and even bordered on the poetic. Mr. Bacigalupi expertly avoided falling pray to the repetitive monologues so common to the genre. At the end of it all, I suppose that my delight came from the perfect storm of all these positives, most notably the dark vision Mr. Bacigalupi has for our future.

I highly recommend The Windup Girl to anyone who reads, anything, ever. No seriously, just read it. The fact that the average American reads only seven books a year should in no way stop you form making this one of your very own seven books. So drop the Stieg Larrson, pony up, and read something original and interesting for once. In case you would actually like to know what happens in the novel, you can check out this compelling review of The Windup Girl or this one here.

26 August, 2010

(Audiobook) Review - On Basilisk Station by David Weber

Honor Harrington is young and already looking to have quite the military career and she's just been given her first full-fledged starship, the HMS Fearless. But, almost immediately she learns, not everything's quite what it's cracked up to be.

The HMS Fearless, Harrington's new command, is stripped of its usual weapons systems and supplied with newer, less fully tested tech. Harrington and her crew suffer defeat after defeat during the fleet war games; adding fuel to the crew's disappointment with their new captain, not to mention getting them sent to the backwater of the universe, Basilisk Station.

While up to this point, Harrington's career had been more than promising, it's starting to look even more bleak as political maneuvering ensues and she is left in insurmountable situations. But... that's where Honor Harrington thrives the most.

On Basilisk Station [US] [UK] is the first book in David Weber's ongoing Honor Harrington series. This series is already at 12 books (yep, I'm a bit late to the game) and as far as I know and until I'm corrected, there's no end in sight.

After taking quite a bit of time for me to get into, and I'll address this in the Audio Commentary section, in the end I enjoyed On Basilisk Station. It's hard not to root for the underdog and that's where Honor Harrington spends most of the book - fighting against the odds.

Honor Harrington is just a hard character not to root for in general. She's calculated, cool under pressure, and really sticks it to anyone who thinks they can push her around. Those moments in the book are definitely the most fun whether it was outside forces or her own crew, but man does she stick it to them.

Audio Commentary

I have to admit, I had a hard time getting into this book, but the more I listened, the more I realized it was the audio portion itself, not the story or characters, that was preventing my full enjoyment. The narrator was really hard to follow as her voice was mostly monotone and boring.

Plus, most of the characters just had accents from different countries to distinguish them and I thought that was a bit odd.


On the other hand, the story, characters, and plot are all great, especially if you're a fan of military sci-fi. I do plan on continuing the series at some point, although the 12 book series does sound daunting, so I'll make no promises, although I'm captivated enough to want to read the next one.


3 out of 5 Stars (I think this would be higher had I read, not listened to, the book)

On Basilisk Station and The Honor of the Queen (Honor Harrington Book 2) are both available for free at the Baen Free Library.

25 August, 2010

It's News To Me #21

School's back on and summer went by oh so quickly. Even though I'll have less reading time, I'm looking forward to being at least somewhat intelligent again. Two more years and all I have to do is take the bar to see if it was all worth it. :)

Cover Art

This is for Alec and all other misguided souls who can't put his books down and walk away. :D


The 2009 World Fantasy Awards nominees are up and here they are (from Locus):


  • Blood of Ambrose, James Enge (Pyr)
  • The Red Tree, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Roc)
  • The City & The City, China Miéville (Macmillan UK/ Del Rey)
  • Finch, Jeff VanderMeer (Underland)
  • In Great Waters, Kit Whitfield (Jonathan Cape UK/Del Rey)


  • The Women of Nell Gwynne’s, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
  • “The Lion’s Den”, Steven Duffy (Nemonymous Nine: Cern Zoo)
  • The Night Cache, Andy Duncan (PS)
  • “Sea-Hearts”, Margo Lanagan (X6 )
  • “Everland”, Paul Witcover (Everland and Other Stories)

Short Story

  • “I Needs Must Part, the Policeman Said”, Richard Bowes (F&SF 12/09)
  • “The Pelican Bar”, Karen Joy Fowler (Eclipse Three)
  • “A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc, or, A Lullaby”, Helen Keeble (Strange Horizons6/09)
  • “Singing on a Star”, Ellen Klages (Firebirds Soaring)
  • “The Persistence of Memory, or This Space for Sale”, Paul Park (Postscripts 20/21: Edison’s Frankenstein )
  • “In Waiting”, R.B. Russell (Putting the Pieces in Place)
  • “Light on the Water”, Genevieve Valentine (Fantasy 10/09)


  • Poe, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Solaris)
  • Songs of The Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Subterranean/Voyager)
  • Exotic Gothic 3: Strange Visitations, Danel Olson, ed. (Ash-Tree)
  • Eclipse Three, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Night Shade)
  • American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny: From Poe to the Pulps/From the 1940s to Now, Peter Straub, ed. (Library of America)
  • The Very Best of Fantasy & Science Fiction: Sixtieth Anniversary Anthology, Gordon Van Gelder, ed. (Tachyon)


  • We Never Talk About My Brother, Peter S. Beagle (Tachyon)
  • Fugue State, Brian Evenson (Coffee House)
  • There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya (Penguin)
  • Northwest Passages, Barbara Roden (Prime)
  • Everland and Other Stories, Paul Witcover (PS)
  • The Very Best of Gene Wolfe/The Best of Gene Wolfe, Gene Wolfe (PS /Tor)


  • John Jude Palencar
  • John Picacio
  • Charles Vess
  • Jason Zerrillo
  • Sam Weber

Special Award – Professional

  • Peter & Nicky Crowther for PS Publishing
  • Ellen Datlow for editing anthologies
  • Hayao Miyazaki for Ponyo
  • Barbara & Christopher Roden for Ash-Tree Press
  • Jonathan Strahan for editing anthologies
  • Jacob & Rina Weisman for Tachyon Publications

Special Award – Non-Professional

  • John Berlyne for Powers: Secret Histories
  • Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, & Sean Wallace for Clarkesworld
  • Susan Marie Groppi for Strange Horizons
  • John Klima for Electric Velocipede
  • Bob Colby, B. Diane Martin, David Shaw, and Eric M. Van for Readercon
  • Ray Russell & Rosalie Parker for Tartarus Press

The Life Achievement Awards will be released in the coming weeks in a separate announcement.

In other list-type news:

Been looking for a place that has all kinds of reviews from many different bloggers? Well look no further. I like to compare quite a few reviews of the same book not because I don't trust my fellow bloggers :) but because I like to be completely excited about the next book I buy. Genre Reader has now updated its Epic Fantasy Book Reviews From Other Blogs index. You could spend quite a few hours there.

This is old news (from last week), but from his blog this week, Brandon Sanderson has announced that he's done with Towers of Midnight, book 13 in the Wheel of Time. Whoot!


I always look a little more closely at a book that gets a perfect rating from a blogger, so The Passage by Justin Cronin is moving up on my list to buy especially given Dave Brendon's 10/10 review.
First off – Justin Cronin is a man who will -hopefully, if he can stay away from natural or un-natural disasters, etc- probably become a legendary writer and storyteller.

The Mad Hatter's giving away quite the haul, including Alec's favorite book of the year (so far), The Dervish House. The Deadline is midnight August 31st.

And that's the news...at least to me.

23 August, 2010

Review - The Machinery of Light by David J. Williams

September 26, 2110. 10:22 GMT. Following the assassination of the American president, the generals who have seized power initiate World War Three, launching a surprise attack against the Eurasian Coalition’s forces throughout the Earth-Moon system. Across the orbits, tens of thousands of particle beams and lasers blast away at one another. The goal: crush the other side’s weaponry, paving the way for nuclear bombardment of the cities.

As inferno becomes Armageddon, the rogue commando unit Autumn Rain embarks on one last run. Matthew Sinclair, an imprisoned spymaster, plots his escape. And his former protégé Claire Haskell, capable of hacking into both nets and minds, is realizing that all her powers may merely be playing into Sinclair’s plans. For even as Claire evades the soldiers of East and West amid carnage in the lunar tunnels, the surviving members of the Rain converge upon the Moon, one step ahead of the Eurasian fleets but one step behind the mastermind who created Autumn Rain—and his terrible final secret.
As rip-roaringly fast-paced, schnell, rapido, hurtigt, etc. as it's predecessors, The Machinery of Light [US] [UK], the third and final installment of the Autumn Rain Trilogy, doesn't let up. Twists and turns abound and the ending of this trilogy will blow you away. Make sure to plan good chunks of reading time because it's hard to put down once you get going.

One of Arthur C. Clarke's three "laws" on prediction says that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." David J. Williams has shown us how this is possible through the agents' use of Zone (Internet on steroids) and even made believable jumps in technology that he improves upon in The Machinery of Light.

I couldn't help but think that this is a legitimate way for people to actually do "magic" and I don't think we're that far from this plausible future.

Now mix this plausible technology with non-stop action that switches from point of view to point of view, most the time within only a few paragraphs, all written in the present tense, and you really get a feel for the fact that the Zone is omnipresent and action is happening whether you see it or not.

The only real drawback is the lack of characterization. There is so much happening that the events and action displaces the characters so much so that it can be hard to really tell the difference between the characters, even with their unique symbol that begins each new p.o.v. It also doesn't help that a lot of the characters act really similarly, especially when they say something to the effect of, "Duh, of course it is numbnuts!" I couldn't resist that.

Now I have to do the obligatory American thing, which is I guess to comment on the profanity. I have my qualms with its overuse. I'm from California and I used to say "like" about like every word and I've been told (by my lovely wife no less) that I sound dumb when I do it. Overuse of profanity does this for me. But, in the case of the Autumn Rain Trilogy, where it was so flagrantly used, it really didn't effect me like it usually does. Maybe it's just a timing thing.

When Should You Read The Machinery of Light?

If you're in the mood for something incredibly fast-paced, moreso than anything I've ever read, and action-packed to boot... and don't mind too much that characterization suffers because of it, then you'll really enjoy this trilogy. It's something that was so unique for me that I couldn't help but enjoy this series when characterization is normally a must.

4 out of 5 Stars

20 August, 2010

Which Wedding Cake Are You?

In one of those weird coincidences in life, my girlfriend and I both simultaneously sent each other the same article on wedding cakes. You might say that we simply have marriage on our minds, but no, just wait till you see the cake toppers!


That  first one is most definitely me, getting dragged to the altar after loosing at some SC2. The zombie one is by far my favorite because of the way it uses the whole cake to stage a scene. It is also an apt metaphor for a newly married couple confronting the harsh realities of the world... with chainsaws.

What kind of wedding cake are you?

19 August, 2010

On Killer Reviews

This article started out as a review of The Dervish House, by Iam McDonald, but some reviews just aren’t worth writing.

When you connect with a work one of the hardest things to do can be putting your thoughts down on paper. The process of filtering and dissecting your opinion of the work in preparation for a review can demystify an amazing reading experience by providing objective reasons for subjective impressions. You become a machine subject to logical and observable inputs and outputs.

What was wonder and amazement at a turn of phrase or sequence of events quickly becomes admiration for the author’s planning or penmanship. In essence, the review machine inexorably grinds down generalities and impressions into specific observations and causal links. The personal connection one might feel with a work is edited and categorized for presentation to the world, in essence killing all that is personal and private about it.

The transition from the personal sphere to the public sphere is at the heart of the reviewing process, and it can be deadly. It will kill that ever so rare and delicious haze of contented amazement readers have after finishing a truly good book. And, friends and readers, I want to keep my haze. So, just for today, leave me in my cave of cloudy emotion and broken causal chains, because The Dervish House has been my best read of 2010, and I want it to stay that way.

I direct you towards those bloggers braver than me and their fine reviews of The Dervish House. And this guy too.

18 August, 2010

It's News To Me #20

Anyone have any crazy book reading habits? I've been thinking about this lately and I have a few that I've been able to stop, a few I still can't give up, and a few I don't want to give up.

I used to have this really insane one where at the end of reading a book, I had to read the first word/sentence of the same book. It started because I would look at the beginning to see how my perspective changed throughout the book... and then my OCD turned on. :) But, I'm proud to say I broke it, it can be done.

Leave a comment, let us know.

Cover Art

What's a Joe Abercrombie cover without blood? Well, now we don't have to worry about the answer to that question.

This HUGE picture is all I could find after quite a bit of searching and not settling for thumbnails. I've been meaning to talk about this cover for Tolkien's The Children of Hurin for a while and I finally remembered. I own the old version, but this new one is definitely worth owning as well. Beautiful cover, I love the colors on the helmet and the contrasting castle in the background.


Casting for HBO's A Game of Thrones has been spot on in most instances, yes, I know my superfluous opinion really matters, but ever want to see all of the actors/characters in one place? I found a blog that has put them altogether with fan art: Lexicopia.

The release date is becoming more and more real and now we have a blurb for Scott Lynch's third book in the Gentlemen Bastards series, The Republic of Thieves (pre-order) [US] [UK]:
After their adventures on the high seas, Locke and Jean are brought back to earth with a thump. Jean is mourning the loss of his lover and Locke must live with the fallout of crossing the all-powerful magical assassins the Bonds Magi. It is a fall-out that will pit both men against Locke's own long lost love. Sabetha is Locke's childhood sweetheart, the love of Locke's life and now it is time for them to meet again. Employed on different sides of a vicious dispute between factions of the Bonds Sabetha has just one goal - to destroy Locke for ever. The Gentleman Bastard sequence has become a literary sensation in fantasy circles and now, with the third book, Scott Lynch is set to seal that success. (source: Pat's Fantasy Hotlist)
Check out Camorr for the full excerpt (23 pages of manuscript).

Liviu, of Fantasy Book Critic fame, put up his list of "Most Interesting SFF Universes". He lists everything from "Dark/Cynical Series" to "Promised a Lot but Failed to Fully Deliver so Far". It's worth checking out:
Most Interesting Universes

F: Shadows of the Apt by Adrian Tchaikovsky

SF: The Gaean Reach by Jack Vance

The one Universe I would like to live in

F: Legacy of Kushiel by Jacqueline Carey

SF: The Culture by Iain M. Banks


JC Marino is giving away his book Dante's Journey (my review) on Goodreads right now, but with an added gift: a Joseph Dante's badge. Pretty sweet stuff and a good read too.

And that's the news...at least to me.

15 August, 2010

Accidental rereading...

Have you ever cracked open a new book, very much enjoyed the first 50 pages and then suddenly remembered how the whole thing ends? Well, it happened to me this weekend with a duology by Jacqueline Carey, the Sundering.

The merits of Carey's writing aside, I became seriously concerned that it took me all of fifty pages to realize I had already read those fifty pages, some years ago. What really set off the alarm bells is that the Sundering duology is unique in that it is told principally form the villains' point of view. How many series can you list that do that? Exactly.  

With a few very notable exceptions, I tend to avoid rereading. The Guardian goes so far as to say that rereading a book is a crime. And to a certain extent, I agree. Why walk old paths when there is a whole new world to discover? I would love to see someone pose this question to Dragonmount though... that would make for an epic thread. 

Newsweek proudly propounds that the "'joys of rereading' pieces you come across tuck in an obligatory apology for indulging in the "childish" pleasure—this is a bad thing?" Again, in moderation rereading is a reasonable expenditure of your time but when taken to extremes it borders on the close-minded and obsessive. Count your cereal much?

I digress. Let us return to the profoundly important questions of whether or not I am loosing my marbles. Deliberate rereads are one thing and involuntary partial rereads quite another. Have you also fallen victim to this most fearsome of foes? Is it normal given the mounds of bound paper your eyes scan daily that at least a book you have read will sneak its way back into your TBR pile?

Thankfully I have yet to reread an entire book by accident. Fifty pages in seems to be the point where that "this all seems very familiar" feeling becomes a sad shake of the head and a discarded book. 

13 August, 2010

Why You Should Read... John Marco

I wrote this article for Fantasy Literature's ongoing weekly meme and it just went up today. Thought I'd let you know if you don't already visit FantasyLiterature.com, which you definitely should start doing, but not in place of OTBFF, it really is a good site, who loves commas?

12 August, 2010

(Audiobook) Review - The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett

Mankind finally has a way not only to defend themselves from the demons that have taken over the night, but they have the ability to combat their enemies. Arlen, aka the Warded Man, wants to distribute the combat wards he found to everyone in the world so they don't have to suffer at the hands of the demons as he did when his mother died.

Compare this to the Krasian method of enslaving all mankind and forcing them to fight in alagai'sharak, the Krasian's name for their nightly battle with the demons.

In this respect, I couldn't help but compare The Desert Spear to The Matrix Reloaded. Not because there was a decrease in quality like the Matrix films, but moreso because suddenly the demons aren't as scary just like the agents lost all their spunk in the second film.

There are so many ways and means that have been found, especially by Leesha and those of Deliverer's (formerly Cutter's) Hollow, to either combat the demons or make oneself invisible to them that it's almost like the demons aren't even there anymore. This was a little disappointing especially in a series that is all about groups of people coming together for the cause of warring with demonkind.

Luckily, there's enough going on that this isn't too big of an issue, just something that was a little disappointing.

The Desert Spear
(2010) [US] [UK], book 2 of the Demon Cycle, begins by following Ahmann something something something Jardir, who we met in The Warded Man (Alec's review, my review), and exclusively deals with the events in Krasia and Jardir's history...and this lasts for about a quarter of the book.

I know many have complained about this aspect of the book, that the book takes far too long to get to Arlan, Leesha, and Rojer, but I'm a firm believer that delayed satisfaction does in fact make you appreciate your favorite parts.

But, I can't really say that I even loathed reading the first part. The more I read/listened, the more I found I was sucked into Jardir's past/present and the effort that went into creating this society.

Not only are new wards created/found, but we find out there are more demons than we have seen so far, one of them being the Mind demons, who rule all of demonkind. These guys make a couple of appearances and prove that although most demons aren't much of a threat, there are still some that could pose some difficulties, especially since they have the ability to think and reason like man.

Leesha and Rojer have become mainstays in Deliverer's Hollow where many refugees have fled to escape the flood that is the Krasians. This is where we also find out the advancements that Leesha has made on warding. Many have mentioned that Leesha is a bit of a wonder woman in this book and while that's true to an extent, I think a lot of this comes from the fact that we see Leesha through the eyes of Ahmann Jardir, who has a bit of a skewed perspective of her.

The issue of The Deliverer, or Shar'Dama Ka in Krasia, is central to The Desert Spear. While Arlan does everything he can to fight this distinction, the people of the north will believe what they want to believe, and many times to Arlen's frustration.

On the other hand, in Krasia, Ahmann Jardir not only convinces himself and Krasia that he is the Shar'Dama Ka, but takes his unified Krasian army to the north to force the people of the north to fight demonkind.

Audio Commentary

I realized I haven't been that good at discussing the audio portion of the book when I do an Audiobook review, so I wanted to add this section so that the review will actually be handy to those who were debating on whether to listen or read, having already made the decision to obtain this book.

Pete Bradbury does a great job in both The Desert Spear and The Warded/Painted Man audiobooks. He has a gruff voice, which works well for Arlen, Jardir, all of Krasia, Messengers, etc. But, at the same time, it doesn't even sound weird when he does the female characters' voices. The Audiobook is really well done and definitely recommended.

When Should You Read The Desert Spear?

The Desert Spear continues on the same level as The Warded Man, which I highly recommend and while the characters are great, the world that Peter V. Brett created has created a huge fan in me.

4.5 out of 5 Stars

11 August, 2010

It's News To Me #19

So I just ordered my books for the next semester and it was only just over $400. What a steal. Actually this was great compared to my first semester of law school which made it to over $800. Ouch. Yay for over-priced books!

Cover Art

Yes, this is album cover art, but I thought it was awesome. Weezer's next CD, titled Hurley just has a picture of the Lost actor, Jorge Garcia. Classic. Who doesn't love Hurley?

Back to the real news, above is the new cover for the ebook version of Robert Jordan's Knife of Dreams. This is a Kormack cover and it definitely shows. Great cover. For a look at the rest of the new ebook covers that have been coming out this year (all 10), check out A Fantasy Reader's nice list.


The Crippled God, the end of the Malazan Book of the Fallen, is done and now we have a synopsis. I have yet to read it as I'm only on book 8 and I'd recommend you do the same if you're not that far along, but here ya go anyway:

Savaged by the K’Chain Nah’Ruk, the Bonehunters march for Kolanse, where waits an unknown fate. Tormented by questions, the army totters on the edge of mutiny, but Adjunct Tavore will not relent. One final act remains, if it is in her power, if she can hold her army together, if the shaky allegiances she has forged can survive all that is to come. A woman with no gifts of magic, deemed plain, unprepossessing, displaying nothing to instill loyalty or confidence, Tavore Paran of House Paran means to challenge the gods – if her own troops don’t kill her first.

Awaiting Tavore and her allies are the Forkrul Assail, the final arbiters of humanity. Drawing upon an alien power terrible in its magnitude, they seek to cleanse the world, to annihilate every human, every civilization, in order to begin anew. They welcome the coming conflagration of slaughter, for it shall be of their own devising, and it pleases them to know that, in the midst of the enemies gathering against them, there shall be betrayal.

In the realm of Kurald Galain, home to the long lost city of Kharkanas, a mass of refugees stand upon the First Shore. Commanded by Yedan Derryg, the Watch, they await the breaching of Lightfall, and the coming of the Tiste Liosan. This is a war they cannot win, and they will die in the name of an empty city and a queen with no subjects.

Elsewhere, the three Elder Gods, Kilmandaros, Errastas and Sechul Lath, work to shatter the chains binding Korabas, the Otataral Dragon, from her eternal prison. Once freed, she will rise as a force of devastation, and against her no mortal can stand. At the Gates of Starvald Demelain, the Azath House sealing the portal is dying. Soon will come the Eleint, and once more, there will be dragons in the world.


James Long is trying to clean out his house and he's holding a great Giveaway with 6 books going to the winner:
Now the books have spread from my table. They're on my couch as well. Some have even made it as far as my bedroom. THEY WATCH ME WHILE I SLEEP. Soon they will consume me.
Edi's Book Lighthouse is holding his first giveaway of The Affinity Bridge by George Mann. Edi only speaks highly of George Mann and the more I hear the better.

Book Reviews

In probably my favorite book review of the week, Larry at Of Blog of the Fallen reviews Terry Goodkind's The Law of Nines and shares somewhat our very own Alec's view:
Do I really need a full closing paragraph to denote just how poor of a novel The Law of Nines is? It is a barely readable, poorly-rendered take on a thriller whose take on mirror worlds makes John Twelve Hawks' stories read like Shakespeare for characterizations and Flaubert for mastery of prose. It fails in the creation of a plausible story, its characterizations are so shallow and stretched as to make a Mills & Boon character seem complex by comparison. It is perhaps the worst novel that I have read in years, with the possible exception of Eye of Argon and at least that novel had some (unintentional) entertaining elements to it. Needless to say, avoid at all costs, unless you just want to read it for masochistic reasons.
And that's the news...at least to me.

06 August, 2010

Joe Abercrombie News

Sorry no review this week. Baby has pretty much monopolized my time lately, but I promise to be back on track next week. In lieu of a review, here's some more news.

If you're like me, you can't get enough of this guy and luckily he's had some great output in the last few years. Abercrombie just released the blurb for his next awesomely bloody book, The Heroes:

“They say Black Dow’s killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbour, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honour on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own.

Prince Calder isn’t interested in honour, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself.

Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins any more, he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him?

Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts, or even the strongest arms that prevail…

Three men. One battle. No Heroes.”

Sounds....so....good. Can't wait.

04 August, 2010

It's News To Me #18

I love how we never suffer for some good news and updates with genre fiction. Here's the latest:

Cover Art

Hrm...hrm...I think I just threw up with this new one by Robin Hobb.

Both of these covers, UK on the left, US on the right, have me sold on this series. Any Picks for your favorite?

I'm going with the almost-never-better-and-why-the-heck-is-that US cover by Todd Lockwood and published by Pyr. It's close either way.


There's an interview with Brent Weeks over at Grasping for the Wind. I'm really excited for The Black Prism and this has me salivating:

Rowena Cory Daniells, author of The King's Bastard [US] [UK], is guest-posting at Mad Hatter's talking about the books that have influenced her writing:
The Mad Hatter’s post on reading outside the spec fic genre made me think about the books I read outside the genre I write in. Don’t get me wrong, I love fantasy, science fiction and horror and I was reading these books before I knew what genre was.

But unless we want to regurgitate what has gone before, writers need to expand their horizons. So I thought I’d look at some books that have helped fuel my Creative Crucible.


Have you heard of I Am Number Four [US] [UK] yet? Of course of course and the more I hear, the more I like it. Dave Brendon has a number of excerpts going on his blog (chapters 1 through 8 in fact). Here's the blurb:
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books—but we are real.

Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.

But they know.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They killed them all.

I am Number Four.

I am next.
Chapters 2 & 3, Chapters 4 &5, Chapters 6 $ 7, Chapter 8

I want to read this book for the author's name alone and then the blurb sounds cool too. :)

And that's the news...at least to me.