Saturday, January 30, 2010

Review - An Autumn War

An Autumn War
by Daniel Abraham
Tor, 2008
Copy provided by yours truly

ISBN: 978-0-7653-1342-3

As I write this, I've already begun The Long Price of Spring. I couldn't help myself. Even though I felt convicted to stop and write the review for An Autumn War, I had to find where the story was going. An Autumn War is the third book of Daniel Abraham's The Long Price quartet. The story is set, roughly, fifteen years after the events of A Betrayal in Winter.

Otah has been an unorthodox Khai for the city of Machi. A fact not appreciated by many. Also, the Galts are muddying the waters all over again. An ambitious and relentless general of the Galts has two things that may neutralize all of the Khaiate's andats. Without them, there will be nothing to stop an invasion of trained and professional fighting forces waiting to sack the wealthiest cities in the world.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

From the World of Paksenarrion

I loved The Deed of Paksenarrion. Indeed, it was an omnibus edition that epitomized all things goodness. Well, as many of you already know, the world of Paksenarrion is being revisited and the next book to explore that realm, Oath of Fealty, will be out in a few months.

Can't wait? Mmmm, don't have to. You can go to Elizabeth Moon's Paksworld Blog and get a sneak peek. C'mon, getchoo some sneaky-peeky.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Review - Shadow & Betrayal

The Long Price: Shadow & Betrayal
by Daniel Abraham
SFBC, 2007
Copy provided by, and all thanks to, me

ISBN: 978-0-7394-8915-4

Last night, I finished the Science fiction Book Club omnibus edition titled Shadow & Betrayal, by Daniel Abraham. This is the finest introduction to an author, in sf&f, since I read The Dragonbone Chair, in the early months of 1989.

The blurbs for each tale in the omnibus are as follows:

A Shadow in Summer

The city-state of Saraykeht dominates the Summer Cities. Its wealth is beyond measure; its port is open to all the merchants of the world, and its ruler commands forces to rival the Gods. Blissfully ignorant of the powers that fuel their prosperity, the people live secure in the knowledge that their city is a bastion of peace and progress in a harsh world.

Yet Saraykeht is poised on the knife-edge of disaster.

At the heart of the city's influence are the poet-sorcerer Heshai and the captive spirit, or andat, whom he controls. A man faced with constant reminders of his responsibilities-and failures-Heshai is the linchpin and the most vulnerable point in Saraykeht's greatness.

Far to the west, the armies of Galt have conquered many lands. To take Saraykeht, they must first undermine the trade upon which its prosperity is based. Now a plot is afoot to release the andat from Heshai's control. If it succeeds, the city will be left vulnerable to its conquering armies.

Just four protectors stand alone against the menace. But the Galts are not the greatest threat they face...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Donaldson again?

Yes, Donaldson again. This is as good a place as any to tout my personal favorites. Anyway, William Springer, from the Kevin's Watch boards, put together this trailer for Against All Things Ending.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Things 'n Stuff

I've added a couple of links on the blogroll. Recently, I had the good fortune to correspond, briefly, with N. R. Alexander about his blog. Its quite nice and worth the view. Since I rarely view blogs other than Graeme's (you had to be there), I saw his update and was stunned to realize I've not yet put up The Yeti. My mistake. Also, thanks to Graeme, via Aidan, I took a look at Amanda's Floor to Ceiling Books, another nice blog. So, they're up: all three.

That took me into a side project I've been meaning to work on.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Review - Elfsorrow

by James Barclay
Gollancz, 2008
Copy provided by my wallet

ISBN: 978-0-57508-2-779

I just finished Elfsorrow this evening. It certainly got me out of the doldrums from having finished Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. It also left me heart-broken. Don't bother looking for clarification on that point, it would involve spoiling the tale for you.

Blurb: The rivalry between the four colleges of magic has brought misery and war to Balaia. But through it all the Elves have lived their ancient, secret lives. From their homeland in the southern continent of Calaius they have watched human dynasties come and go, aloof and untouched. Until now. Suddenly, elves are dying in their thousands, seemingly struck down at random.

The elven mage Ilkar is uniquely placed to find the cause of this plague and put an end to it. For Ilkar is one of The Raven: a tiny mercenary band of warriors and mages, bound together by a vow stronger than blood. Over many years their prowess has become legendary. But even heroes, like elves, are mortal...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Contest Winner

Congratulations to Merrick Smith of Sussex, WI for winning the collaborative giveway between Ubiquitous Absence, Seak's Stamp of Approval and State of Review.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fantasy Fiction Debut

The River King's Road: A Novel of Ithelas
by Liane Merciel
Gallery Books, 2010
Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1-4391-5911-8

Earlier today, I finished the ARC of The River Kings’ Road: A Novel of Ithelas, by Liane Merciel. This is an alternate world, epic fantasy fiction, debut novel. I happen to like alternate world, epic fantasy fiction a great deal. There is a lot of alternate world, epic fantasy fiction out there and some of it has been bland or poor.

This was neither. Merciel has a work that is reminiscent of Brent WeeksNight Angel trilogy, minus the super-powered artifacts and characters. The scope of this debut is regional in nature, but does seem to have implications and foreshadowing of a much wider conflict. As such, the cast of characters was specific to this tale and not as large as Weeks’ overall cast, but this too may change as the scope of the conflict expands. Merciel uses multiple POVs from compelling characters spanning the entire spectrum of good, evil and inner-conflict personalities.

One of Merciel’s POV characters leaves the reader with a cliff hanger. It is the dynamic involved in this character’s absence that will have the series expanding in scope later on, I expect.

Merciel’s characters are compelling and her tale grips the reader. I found this to be a highly enjoyable read.

Verdict: Highly recommended

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Book of the New Sun

What can I say? I will not presume to critique, what for me was an instant classic in, Gene Wolfe’s omnibus edition of The Book of the New Sun. I can only give impressions.

First, it feels ephemeral, nearly dream-like. The unfolding of the events transcends the surreal, or unreal, and is truly fantastic. In many ways, Wolfe has taken the classic coming of age story and given it such a makeover, that it is nearly impossible to recognize as such. I don’t believe that I can ever approach a fantasy story and expect an innovation to that classic theme to surpass what Wolfe has written.

I was off-balance throughout the entire story. This is largely because I was expecting to find, at the end of the tale, I was an eyewitness to the delusions of an unstable mind. I half expected to have the story end with the reader finally learning that Severian was a patient at a sanitarium.

Any further reading may expose one to spoilers.

Friday, January 8, 2010

C.S. Friedman News

Ever since the Christmas vacation, I've been watching C.S. Friedman's page like a hawk. On it, she has this:

No, it's not a new novel...but it's very cool nonetheless, and it will be announced here sometime in December. Stay tuned for more details!

I've been hitting that page like a punching dummy to discover the surprise. Unable to resist any longer, I emailed Ms. Friedman to ask if she would drop even a smidge of a hint. She did!! She responded saying,
There will eventually be a short story, having to do with the origins of some things in trilogy. It's quite exciting. Unfortunately, it is also quite behind schedule, so at this point I am not quite sure when or where it will appear. You can watch the page for that!

Nice! A little more Coldfire never hurt anybody.