30 November, 2012

Video - A Memory of Light, the Final Book in The Wheel of Time

This video got me really excited to jump back into The Wheel of Time. What a great series, even with its slow parts, that manages to be a rich epic fantasy series that encouraged many people's entrance into fantasy reading (and subsequent obsession in some). I've heard Brandon Sanderson does a great job taking over where the legend that is Robert Jordan started. It will be great to finally have an ending, with the final scene written by the man himself, Robert Jordan.
Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, Jason Denzel, and Patrick Rothfuss discuss Robert Jordan's legendary Wheel of Time series.

I like what Brandon Sanderson says at the end of this video. Fans from here on out will be lucky to have the complete series, but we've been lucky in that we've had the chance to wait, to theorize, to get really excited even. I added that last part. :)

May a wind from the north and east propel you on your journey of finishing The Wheel of Time and may that Age leave memories that become legend that turn into myth!

28 November, 2012

(partial) Review - AfroSF, Edited by Ivor W. Hartmann

AfroSf  is a science fiction anthology solely by African authors and hence from an African perspective. Not only did this spark my interest, but one of the authors, Dave de Burgh, is a fellow blogger and all-around stand up kind of guy. He's the reason I wanted to at least read a couple of the stories in this anthology. 

I feel like if bloggers can make exceptions for their harsh no-indie-published-books rules, it should be for other bloggers (if anything to hold the door open if I ever decide to write my masterpiece *grins*).

I don't have lots of time and I'm already far behind in my review queue for the end of the year, so I figured I'd give at least a couple stories a go and maybe some day I'll have time in the future (yeah, still holding out for the invention of the 33 hour day).

As Goodreads says:

AfroSF is the first ever anthology of Science Fiction by African writers only that was open to submissions from African writers all across Africa and abroad.

"AfroSF is an intense and varied anthology of fresh work. Readers and writers who like to explore new viewpoints will enjoy this book." — Brenda Cooper, author of The Creative Fire.

“This is a book of subtle refractions and phantasmic resonances. The accumulated reading effect is one of deep admiration at the exuberance of the twenty-first century human imagination.” — A. Igoni Barrett, author of Love is Power, Or Something Like That

“The stories in AfroSF feature all the things fans of science fiction expect: deep space travel, dystopian landscapes, alien species, totalitarian bureaucracy, military adventure, neuro-enhanced nightlife, artificial intelligence, futures both to be feared and longed for. At once familiar and disarmingly original, these stories are fascinating for the diversity of voices at play and for the unique perspective each author brings to the genre. This is SF for the Twenty-first Century.” — David Anthony Durham, Campbell Award winning author of The Acacia Trilogy.

“I’d like the repurpose the title of an old anthropological study to describe this fine new anthology: ‘African Genesis.’ The stories in this unprecedented, full-spectrum collection of tales by African writers must surely represent, by virtue of their wit, vigor, daring, and passion, the genesis of a bright new day for Afrocentric science fiction. The contributors here are utterly conversant with all SF subgenres, and employ a full suite of up-to-date concepts and tools to convey their continent-wide, multiplex, idiosyncratic sense of wonder. With the publication of this book, the global web of science fiction is strengthened and invigorated by the inclusion of some hitherto neglected voices.” — Paul Di Filippo, co-author Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels 1985-2010.

Moom! by Nnedi Okorafor - The World Fantasy Award-winning author of Who Fears Death gives us a story from the perspective of a swordfish. I can't say I've ever read a story from this perspective, but I can definitely say she nailed it. I thought I was swimming along, witnessing the destruction of its habitat by those greedy for oil. Very unique and interesting. (4/5 Stars)

Home Affairs by Sarah Lotz - This story really resonated with me. I recently had to make a call and go through what seemed like an infinite set of automated responses while my query was unique enough I knew I needed to talk to someone. After going down so many automated paths I was about to scream, I finally found the number to press for a human, where I was told it was too busy and it hung up on me! Not even a hold. Anyway, that's as frustrated as you'll get reading this story, but it's so well done, and even humorous at times though serious for the most part. I couldn't put this one down, great story. (4.5/5 Stars)

Angel Song by Dave de Burgh - Angel Song is a great burst of military action with a very interesting idea, the angels as beings of light who have begun attacking humanity's distant settlements. Some believe they are actually angels sent from God, hence the name, but not all, especially with the death and destruction they cause. Well done. (4/5 Stars)

AfroSf will be available on December 1, 2012 (this Saturday). Also check out their Facebook page for information and updates. With these few stories alone, it's looking to be a good one, something to come back to when I have time and probably even when I don't.

EDIT: AfroSF is now available on eBook at Amazon. EDIT: I couldn't find the list of contributors the other day, but thanks to David Anthony Durham, I have it:

‘Moom!’ Nnedi Okorafor
‘Home Affairs’ Sarah Lotz
‘Five Sets of Hands’ Cristy Zinn
‘New Mzansi’ Ashley Jacobs
‘Azania’ Nick Wood
‘Notes from Gethsemane’ Tade Thompson
‘Planet X’ Sally Partridge
‘The Gift of Touch’ Chinelo Onwualu
‘The Foreigner’ Uko Bendi Udo
‘Angel Song’ Dave-Brendon Burgh
‘The Rare Earth’ Biram Mboob
‘Terms & Conditions Apply’ Sally-Ann Murray
‘Heresy’ Mandisi Nkomo
‘Closing Time’ Liam Kruger
‘Masquerade Stories’ Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu
‘The Trial’ Joan De La Haye
‘Brandy City’ Mia Arderne
‘Ofe!’ Rafeeat Aliyu
‘Claws and Savages’ Martin Stokes
‘To Gaze at the Sun’ Clifton Gachagua
‘Proposition 23’ (Novelette) Efe Okogu 

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

27 November, 2012

Review - Red Country by Joe Abercrombie


You couldn't pay me enough money to read one...and yet mix it with fantasy and I couldn't be more enthralled. Take King's The Dark Tower series and recently this one, Red Country [US] [UK], and obviously I'm a fan of westerns. 

I even try to deny it with my movie choices, but again, some of my all-time favorites are westerns (Tombstone and 310 to Yuma). Why is that? Why do I think I hate them and secretly love them? I even lived in Wyoming (the cowboy state, well, equality state, but may as well be cowboy) for a time. I'm seriously asking this! I must be crazy.

Red Country, as I mentioned, is a western and a darn good one at that. It's not a shoot 'em up western, because they have no guns, it's more of a pioneer trek across uncharted lands and their inherent difficulties and dangers... and dust, lots of dust.

It, very simply, follows the trek of Shy South and her pseudo-father, Lamb, after they return home to find their friend hanged and Shy's much younger brother and sister taken. The only option, then, is to follow. It quickly becomes apparent that Lamb is much more than "[s]ome kind of coward" and readers of Abercrombie's earlier works will almost immediately recognize who he is (the cover doesn't hide much from the discerning eye either for that matter). Although his name is never actually given throughout the entire book!
We also follow a despicable character, as low as low can be, a lawyer named Temple. Okay, he's not that lowly, he just thinks that about himself and having recently finished law school it's nice to have a lawyer who isn't terribly unlikeable as a main protagonist! Usually we get this treatment.

Temple is far too easy for my liking to relate to. He's the type of guy who always goes for the easy way, even taking the easy way when he knows it will only become the hard way. I'm sure there are a few others who may be able to relate as well.

It's just too easy to take the easy way isn't it?

"And Temple always took the easy way. Even when he knew it was the wrong way. Especially then, in fact, since easy and wrong make such good company. Even when he had a damn good notion it would end up being the hard way, even then. Why think about tomorrow when today is such a thorny business."
Temple has had many professions in his life, but his current one as lawyer for the infamous Nicola Cosca (another recognizable face), mercenary captain extraordinaire, making his lawyering the least of what makes him so contemptible at the moment, it's more the company he keeps. Cosca's band of mercenaries is charged with rooting out rebellion, but what they do is anything but. They pray upon destitute towns, killing with abandon.

One of the things that makes Red Country great is that Abercrombie gives us the very interesting interaction between Temple and Shy, one who takes the easy way out with another who does her best, usually meaning hard work, no matter the situation. For me, this was the interaction of what I am compared to what I wish to be. It really got me thinking about looking for excuses and just getting things done. I'm in a position where I can easily blame all my problems on the fact that I don't get much sleep...or I can go out and do something good, make the world better in even the smallest way. The easy way tends only to help yourself.

Before I get any further in this review, I must admit that the only other Abercrombie I've read is his The First Law trilogy, but this book made it quite easy to jump back to old times. Having studied as a lawyer, I've learned that you can argue anything you want, so while I can't compare Abercrombie's newest to his last two offerings, I can find a place for myself. For those who have only read The First Law, you're in for another treat.

Obviously, I need to get back in the saddle, so to speak, and one of the things I've really missed is how quotable Abercrombie is. These lines just jump off the page and make you think about them long afterward. As Oscar Wilde has said, "Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit."

Here are a couple gems along with that quoted above:

"To be brave among friends was nothing. To have the world against you and pick your path regardless - there is courage." 
"My old commander Sazine once told me you should laugh every moment you live, for you'll find it decidedly difficult afterward." (Cosca)
...and of course my favorite appears again:
"Once you've got a task to do, it's better to do it than live with the fear of it."
Maybe I'm the only one who feels this way, but Red Country didn't feel as dark and cynical as I was expecting and it may be because of Shy's character. While as blunt and ill-tempered as any of the best of Abercrombie's characters, she is so great because she does what it takes no matter what those around her think. There are some other less-than-completely-cynical parts that occur toward the end that help as well.

Even someone as behind in his Abercrombie reading as me knows there are a few things you can expect in any Abercrombie novel. Is there lots of action? Yes, although it has a bit of a slow start, but I remember The Blade Itself being similarly slow and similarly excellent. Blood, guts? Definitely, mainly encompassed by one word, "Lamb." Deep thoughts and great lines? Yes, as mentioned above. Low magic? Yup, you could argue none in fact. Great characters? Abso-freaking-lutely. 

Abercrombie doesn't focus on the world building, although that gets accomplished well enough along the way, he's more about the characters and their relationships. This isn't really a world you want to live in anyway, although if you look around yourself you might just find out you're not far away. Detailed world-building, however, does not belong on the list of "Abercrombie-isms."

Some people may be put off by a bit of a slow start, but once you reach the halfway point you will have a decidedly difficult time putting the book down. This was a great reminder that I need to read more Abercrombie and soon. Red Country manages not only to be a stellar fantasy, but ranks with the best of the western genre as well. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid eat your heart out.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (Very Highly Recommended)

The First Law trilogy
1. The Blade Itself (2006)
2. Before They Are Hanged (2007)
3. Last Argument of Kings (2008) [My very old review.]

Standalone Books Set in the world of The First Law
-Best Served Cold (2009)
-The Heroes (2011)
-Red Country (2012)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

22 November, 2012

Duck and Cover - The Daylight War (Demon Cycle #3) by Peter V. Brett

This is blowing up on the blogosphere at the moment and I just HAVE to give my two cents as well. The reveal of the cover of one of (if not the number one) release I am looking forward to next year, The Daylight War, book three in the Demon Cycle.

I'm finding myself in a love/hate relationship with this cover though, here's why:

-It's so flashy! This screams energy and makes me want to read it.
-We're not chauvinists! Women are pretty main characters in the series and 1 out of 3 covers ain't too bad.
-Nerd shout out! Look at those dice, who doesn't have a pair or 50?

- Where's the action? The other covers show action, this cover gives the series a whole different vibe and while representative of an important character (Inevra right?), she could really use a spear/axe/sword/laser-beams? I don't really think it's very representative of the series as a whole. Fighting demons is kinda important right?
-Nerd shout out! Okay, the dice don't really seem to fit. Are they floating? Did she just toss them? If so, why does her hand look more "come hither" than anything?

Overall, I can't say I'm too disappointed. It really could be worse and not even that much better. I can't wait to read The Daylight War and now we're one step closer to that happening.

Here have a blurb:
With The Warded Man and The Desert Spear, Peter V. Brett surged to the front rank of contemporary fantasy, standing alongside giants in the field like George R. R. Martin, Robert Jordan, and Terry Brooks. The Daylight War, the eagerly anticipated third volume in Brett’s internationally bestselling Demon Cycle, continues the epic tale of humanity’s last stand against an army of demons that rise each night to prey on mankind.

On the night of the new moon, the demons rise in force, seeking the deaths of two men both of whom have the potential to become the fabled Deliverer, the man prophesied to reunite the scattered remnants of humanity in a final push to destroy the demon corelings once and for all.

Arlen Bales was once an ordinary man, but now he has become something more—the Warded Man, tattooed with eldritch wards so powerful they make him a match for any demon. Arlen denies he is the Deliverer at every turn, but the more he tries to be one with the common folk, the more fervently they believe. Many would follow him, but Arlen’s path threatens to lead him to a dark place he alone can travel to, and from which there may be no returning.

The only one with hope of keeping Arlen in the world of men, or joining him in his descent into the world of demons, is Renna Tanner, a fierce young woman in danger of losing herself to the power of demon magic.

Ahmann Jardir has forged the warlike desert tribes of Krasia into a demon-killing army and proclaimed himself Shar’Dama Ka, the Deliverer. He carries ancient weapons—a spear and a crown—that give credence to his claim, and already vast swaths of the green lands bow to his control.

But Jardir did not come to power on his own. His rise was engineered by his First Wife, Inevera, a cunning and powerful priestess whose formidable demon bone magic gives her the ability to glimpse the future. Inevera’s motives and past are shrouded in mystery, and even Jardir does not entirely trust her.

Once Arlen and Jardir were as close as brothers. Now they are the bitterest of rivals. As humanity’s enemies rise, the only two men capable of defeating them are divided against each other by the most deadly demons of all—those lurking in the human heart.

Ps. Happy Thanksgiving!

21 November, 2012

Night Shade Books At It Again - Free Books!

Night Shade Books is offering three free ebooks in similar style to its last free giveaway. Just send them an email and get the password and link to free ebooks. It's painlessly simple. Says Night Shade:
Email happythanksgiving[at]nightshadebooks[dot]com and you’ll receive an auto response from Night Shade Books with a username, password and link to our download site where you’ll be able to download the .epub or .mobi files of some of their most exciting and appropriately scrumptious titles: Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil and Kaja Foglio, Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht, and The Emperor's Knife by Mazarkis Williams. ("at" and "dot" added) 
If you have any reservations about Night Shade Books, please take this opportunity to try one of their books out. I doubt you'll be disappointed. I have been highly impressed by their take on fantasy, they're not afraid to push the envelope and provide new and innovative approaches to the genre, which only deserves to be encouraged.

20 November, 2012

What's the Deal With... This Quote, It's Just So Bad

I was going through my books, as I'm want to do every now and then (alas, I'm just a kid with his toys), and I came across my copy of The Ghost Brigades, the sequel to Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Sadly, I still have yet to read it, but I couldn't help but laugh at this quote on the back of the book...

Says the Dallas Morning News:
"If Stephen King were to try his hand at science fiction, he'd be lucky to be half as entertaining as John Scalzi."
Wow, where to begin?

First off, "If" Stephen King wrote science fiction? I'm pretty sure I could make a compelling argument that ALL he writes is some type of science fiction, but at least we can agree on The Running Man, The Long Walk, The Dark Tower, THE STAND, even The Tommyknockers and I haven't even touched his short stories. I'm sure plenty have a much stricter definition of science fiction than I do, but even so, something of King's would probably fit.

Wikipedia, bastion of wisdom that it is, literally says, "Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction!, and fantasy." (emphasis and exclamation mark added)

Sadly, if you know anything at all about science fiction, you immediately discern that the Dallas Morning News knows nothing about it. Whoever wrote it went, "well, I know Stephen King writes lots of stuff..." ...and that's about the extent to which this person thought through this comparison.

I'm not quite sure what they're going for either, but I think it's that Scalzi is a pretty hilarious writer and entertaining in a comical way, which Stephen King does not attempt to be at least as far as I've experienced...so that doesn't quite fit either. They're like night and day comparisons here.

I'm also sure that whoever included the quote on the back of the book thought, "well the quote does positively compare the author to Stephen King, so that obligates us to put it on the book."

This reminds me I need to read more Scalzi, but probably not for any possible connection to Stephen King. :)

15 November, 2012

An Interview...with Me???

Mieneke at A Fantastical Librarian has been interviewing science fiction and fantasy bloggers in her "Blogger Query" series of posts and I'm up this week. I've been enjoying these since it's inception, getting to know fellow bloggers better than I already do in many instances and just seeing how passionate people function in the blogging world and out.

In the interview, you'll find out such things as why I keep running two blogs, what I think about negative reviews and ratings, and so much more, way more than you ever wanted! Find my interview here.

14 November, 2012

Review - The Tainted City (Shattered Sigil #2) by Courtney Schafer

Courtney Schafer's debut, The Whitefire Crossing, book one in The Shattered Sigil was not only one of the biggest surprises for me last year, it was one of my favorite reads. The blend of Schafer's passion for climbing with the high use of magic and fast-paced plot had me reading my eyes out.

Because this is her second novel, I guess we have to ask (sorry it's in the contract), did she survive the sophomore slump? Yes, I answer, a resounding yes!! (with exclamation marks so you know it's true) The Tainted City [US] [UK] lives up to its predecessor and more.

Following the end of The Whitefire Crossing, Dev and Kiran are captives of Alathia, through which Kiran was successfully smuggled in his escape from his former master, Ruslan, but later captured. Dev working in the mines and Kiran working on the spell patterns contained in the charms and wards used by Simon Levanian who was able to disregard Alathia's powerful border wards which keep bloodmages, who rely on human sacrifice to fuel their magical power, like him out.

The Alathians preferred to execute Kiran and Dev, which is their normal course for bloodmages like Kiran and their minions, like Dev, keeping with their very strict laws against the use of any magic. However, their hands were stayed mostly by the argument of one Martennan, an Alathian in high standing and general proponent of acting reasonably. That's because although Kiran is a bloodmage, he would do anything to escape his past and that includes helping the Alathians strengthen their borders.

In keeping Kiran, the Alathians garnered the wrath of Ruslan who vowed to destroy them in his pursuit of his former apprentice, whom he considers his property. Just when things seem to be going well, Alathia's wards come under attack and even begin to fail as an unknown disturbance, or Ruslan according to Dev, assaults them.

Kiran and Dev are needed to find out what the problem is and it seems to be coming directly from Ninavel, the city from whence Kiran and Dev came and which is the diametric opposite to Alathia, allowing essentially any magic no matter where it is derived.

A small group is brought together to find out and solve the problem that is causing the wards to fail, which means a visit to Ninavel, yay! I say this because while it would be nice to discover more about Alathia, which is best done through the characters, Ninavel presents the opportunity to showcase all the magic that is involved in this world. It's a lot and it's awesome.

The magic permeates every page and this is probably my favorite part of the entire experience. Not taking away from great characterization, intense descriptions of climbing (which are cut down a bit in this volume), and the general readability of the piece (all of which I loved), the magic is still my favorite. Almost every problem, solution, engagement between characters, everything revolves around use of magic whether it's magical charms that allow nathahlen (non-magic-user) to use magic and essentially facilitates trade to full-blown mages who practice their art. 

The reason behind Ruslan's relentless pursuit of Kiran is because of the deep and intricate bond he shares with Kiran that allows them to cast magic. It is not something that is built up in a day, it takes years and years and Ruslan refuses to start over.

Even Ninavel itself is completely based around magic. Set up on the largest confluence of magic (facilitates magic use) around, while Ninavel is great for mages, it lacks basic things such as running water. In order for the city to survive, mages are required to do magic to produce the life-giving resource.

In addition to the magic being everywhere, it is also extremely complex, requiring hours to set up and complete spells, using spell-lines with the requisite materials such as silver or blood and generally taking immense amounts of concentration and willpower. You can start to see how many problems can occur to create a compelling work of fiction.

Almost right away, there are some big surprises that I don't want to spoil, so with that, I'll jump into the protection of the spoiler warning for just a bit. I can't resist discussing these parts because they have me really introspective at the moment, having raised some interesting questions about the effects our life experience have on us. 

Begin Spoiler [ One of the biggest surprises for me was the treatment of Kiran almost right away. Marten, as leader of the group, essentially sells Kiran out and delivers him directly into Ruslan's hands after promising to protect him and keep this exact thing from happening. Instead of torturing Kiran, which is what we're lead to believe will happen, Kiran's memory is erased for the period of time he was away and through the time that caused him to rethink his allegiances, when his lover, Alisa, was tortured and killed in front of him by Ruslan.

Throughout the rest of the book, Kiran still has no idea what's true, but he's also a clever enough chap to catch the subtleties that surround him, such as Dev's lack of fear around him (which all nathahlen have around bloodmages and mages in general).

This brings up so many things for me, but the characters all have trouble believing whether Kiran is a good guy anymore. Having those parts of his mind erased, does that still mean he is averse to killing? He seems to be fine with Ruslan, so does that mean he's back under Ruslan's control? Doest that change the person you really are? Can bad events actually be good for you?

The Tainted City surely got me thinking about erasing the hard parts of your life and if you'd be the same person after. Not that they're fun or ever preferred over not having them, but they do make you someone different and maybe you like that person a bit more than otherwise.

At least I'm pretty sure if we didn't experience hardships we'd probably all be huge jerks, lacking empathy to see what others are going through. ] End Spoiler

Making me think my own thoughts might just be unforgivable. :D

One of the best reads this year as well as last, Courtney Schafer has delivered again. Not only with engaging characters and compelling plot, but with something new and diverse that I can't wait to come back to in The Labyrinth of Flame, book three in The Shattered Sigil Trilogy. 

4 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended!)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

08 November, 2012

eBook Deals, or Books I Bought Recently

I keep finding deals so I'll keep posting them. This reminds me I need to run a giveaway since people have been buying a lot more through these links lately.

-The Cloud Roads (Books of Raksura #1) by Martha Wells [$1.99]
-Sliding Void (short story) by Stephen Hunt [FREE]
-The Hundredth Kill (short story) by John Marco [FREE] - My review here.
-The Marriage of Sticks by Jonathan Carroll [$2.99] - Author of The Land of Laughs, which I've been meaning to read for a while.
-Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle by John Scalzi [$7.99] - Includes God Engines ($4.99 alone), The Sagan Diary ($2.99 alone), and a few short stories ($0.99 each alone).

DISCLAIMER: I don't always buy them (like the title says), but usually I do.

07 November, 2012

Review - To Ride Hell's Chasm by Janny Wurts

In the land of the 10 volume monster-epics of fantasy, the stand-alone is a much rarer beast, so many preferring to take a concept and bludgeon it to death. Not that I'm complaining, it's just nice to have a book that you know will run its due course in one, single volume.

To Ride Hell's Chasm [US] [UK] takes what seems to be a simple concept, but combines it with the Wurts-effect to become a much deeper and resonating piece than I ever imagined it could be.

The princess, Anja, of the remote kingdom of Sessalie has disappeared and on the same night as her betrothal banquet. Being such a small kingdom, Sessalie rarely if ever succumbs to the problems of the outside world, and such a disappearance is a more than momentous occasion. 

The king, in his wisdom or possibly oncoming dementia, tasks his household guard commander, Taskin with the responsibility of finding her, but additionally puts the new lower gate captain and foreigner, Mykkael, to oath to find her as well. 

Mykkael, having one the rights to his position in the annual tournament takes on the duty, much to the chagrin of the ruling class who have become comfortable in their ways and supremely prejudiced against outsiders.

What follows is a story about prejudice and trust, overcoming incalculable odds, and what it really means to be loyal. Add sorcery and Mykkael's style of fighting, barqui'ino, that's like Jui-Jitsu's version of the Gun Kata (Equilibrium)...

...and you're in for a real treat. The passion with which Wurts writes is unprecedented in my reading experience. 

Sessalie is a small place, as has been mentioned, and Wurts plays on the inherent biases that such a place will produce. Anything out of the ordinary or different would naturally cause such a sequestered people to feel threatened. At the same time, it is completely unwarranted, you know, the usual when it comes to prejudice. Mykkael is of a much darker skin tone than those in Sessalie and therefore, an immediate prejudice is built up, but what has he done to deserve such treatment? Nothing. 

Without even needing a "bad guy," the odds are already stacked up against Mykkael. 

Every ounce of pain, nobility, love, you name it, is felt as you get to know the characters and see their actions. I have to admit to wondering at the level of detail at points, especially when the characters' interactions were explained to include every minute component of their relationships. But in the end, you find that it was well worth it because you glory in their triumphs as much as suffering their pains.

What I guess is that I'm implying that this book is no walk in the park. It's very dense and probably took me twice as long to read as most other books of its size. But again, it's well worth it, just make sure you're in the right mood.

For a fantasy treat that will stick with you long after you read it and that inhabits the remote and distant country of StandAlone, To Ride Hell's Chasm is one of the best reads I've had all year.

4.5 out of 5 Stars (Very Highly Recommended)

Ps. I always wondered why this book was called "To Ride" Hell's Chasm. I thought, why not just "Hell's Chasm"? Believe me, it deserves the title it already has, it is more fitting than I would ever have guessed in more ways than I would have guessed.

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher

01 November, 2012

eBook Deals, or Books I Bought Recently

I just can't stop buying, eBooks are way too easy. Only $0.99? How can I resist? I can't.

I'm with Little Red Reviewer, I got no discipline.

-Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers [$0.99]
-Boy's Life by Robert McCammon [$2.99] - Considered one of his best, I've been meaning to read McCammon for a while.
-Blood Song by Anthony Ryan [$2.99] - Grab this indie title up before Ryan gets published by Ace/Roc. (Here's another interview that I enjoyed)
-God's War and Infidel by Kameron Hurley - Night Shade Books is offering these two books for free in preparation for the third book in the series, Rapture. Here's how (it's super easy, I just did it).

EDIT: One more good deal - The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman [$2.99]