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Apr. 29th, 2011

A Trial of Blood and Steel by Joel Shepherd

Two more articles on tor.com:

- A write-up about the first 3 books of the "A Trial of Blood and Steel" series by Joel Shepherd
- A review of "Haven", the final book in that series.

Disclaimer: I received free review copies of these books from Pyr.

Next up: I'm reading "Embedded" by Dan Abnett, and eagerly hoping for more assignments from tor.com :)

Apr. 19th, 2011

"The Quantum Thief" by Hannu Rajaniemi

My review of "The Quantum Thief" by Hannu Rajaniemi went up over at tor.com today.

Disclaimer: the publisher of this novel sent me a free review copy.

Next up: finishing "Haven" by Joel Shepherd, also for review at tor.com

Apr. 14th, 2011

"Soft Apocalypse" by Will McIntosh

My second review for tor.com - a wonderful dystopian novel.    

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy from the publisher.

Next up: working on "The Quantum Thief" by Hannu Rajaniemi, also for tor.com.

Apr. 13th, 2011

"Vegas Knight" by Matt Forbeck

Vegas Knights is a fun, entertaining urban fantasy novel that starts off with a bang and rarely slows down. Matt Forbeck gives the reader a great feel for what it’s like to gamble and party in Vegas, and combines this with an exciting and action-packed plot. As someone who’s spent a good amount of time in the “City of Lost Wages,” I felt that Matt Forbeck recreated the atmosphere of the place very effectively, even while adding a few fictional casinos (and of course, well, magic) on the Strip. A large part of the first half of Vegas Knights is one long and excellent action scene that’s genuinely exciting and impossible to put down… Unfortunately things take a turn for the worse in the second half of Vegas Knights. The novel starts out as a fun, somewhat shallow but very entertaining magic-in-Vegas caper, but it turns just a bit too silly and frankly verging on the ridiculous towards the end… if you don’t take it too seriously, you’ll have a blast with this novel. Vegas Knights is far from perfect, especially towards the end, but it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate book to bring along and read by the pool if you’re planning a Vegas trip.

Read the entire review here!

Disclaimer: the publisher of this novel sent me a free e-copy for review.

Next up: my review of "Soft Apocalypse" by Will McIntosh will appear on tor.com later this week, and currently I'm reading "The Quantum Thief" by Hannu Rajaniemi, also for tor.com.

Apr. 4th, 2011

"The Silent Land" by Graham Joyce

…As a big fan of Graham Joyce, I was very excited to get my hands on his newest novel The Silent Land. I found the book to be good but not nearly as great as I’ve come to expect from this author. The main problem with the novel is its structure: weighing in at about 270 pages, the novel consists of over 250 pages of occasionally repetitive and monotonous build-up… To be fair, there’s also a lot to love in The Silent Land. Graham Joyce’s prose is, as usual, perfectly lovely. As Jake and Zoe explore their surroundings, there are a few mysterious encounters that are genuinely thrilling and will take on new meaning as you progress through the novel. The descriptions of skiing on the abandoned snowy slopes of the French Pyrenées are gorgeous. The ending will make you reconsider the entire preceding story in a completely different light… The Silent Land’s main weakness is that it simply takes too long to get to the final revelation, and even though that revelation is very powerful, it doesn’t take away from the fact that everything that came before could have been tightened up significantly…

Read the entire review here!

Disclaimer: the publisher sent me a free copy for review.

Next up: I'm going to start on "The Quantum Thief" by Hanny Rajaniemi soon - my review will appear on tor.com as well as FanLit this time.

Apr. 1st, 2011

"Tiassa" by Steven Brust

Tiassa is a wonderful novel, but could be one of the worst places to start for a newcomer to the series, because anyone who isn’t familiar with several plot lines and characters from past books would miss most of what’s going on… Tiassa offers several separate stories told from multiple points of view, which pull together threads from the other books in the series while still delivering a coherent plot centered on a mysterious object: the silver tiassa… every section of the novel deals with a carefully constructed plot or scam that eventually turns out to be something completely different from what you (and most of the characters) thought it would be… Completing the puzzle, the shorter segments offer some revelations that should get Dragaera fans really excited, including a dizzying look through the eyes of Devera the Wanderer, and some things it would just be cruel to spoil, as much as I want to talk about them here… If you’re not reading the Dragaera novels yet, you’re missing out on some of the smartest and most entertaining fantasy around.

Read the entire review here AND here!  (This is the first review I wrote for tor.com!)

Disclaimer: Tor sent me a free copy of this novel.

Next up: Still reading Vegas Knights by Matt Forbeck.

Mar. 31st, 2011

"Moon over Soho" by Ben Aaronovitch

…if you enjoyed Midnight Riot (or Rivers of London, as it’s called outside of the US), you’ll love Moon over Soho. The new novel does just about everything its predecessor did so well, but a little better and with enough new twists to make you wish the third book in the series was already on the shelves. One of the reasons Moon over Soho is an even more fun read than the first book is the fact that it doesn’t have to spend as much time setting things up for the reader… Ben Aaronovitch can kick the story into high gear right from the beginning… a realistic modern day police procedural (aside from all the magic, of course) populated by increasingly solid characters and written in the same consistently witty style as the first Peter Grant novel. It features a gripping mystery plot with some truly creepy, borderline horror elements and a few incredibly tense action scenes. Moon over Soho is one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long time, and really made me look forward to the next installment in the Peter Grant series. Check it out, even if (like me) you usually don’t enjoy urban fantasy.

Read the entire review here!

Disclaimer: I received a free review copy of this book from its publisher.

Next up: I've got a few reviews in the pipeline, already written and just waiting to be published. My current read is "Vegas Knights" by Matt Forbeck.

Feb. 28th, 2011

"The Wise Man's Fear" by Patrick Rothfuss

… Well, merciful Tehlu be praised, Patrick Rothfuss took his time, polishing and refining his manuscript until it stood up to his own standards. The result is The Wise Man’s Fear, a novel that for the most part fulfills the promise of The Name of the Wind. You’ll find the same sweeping prose, deft characterization, rousing adventure, emotional highs and lows, and just plain and simple gripping reading of the “I couldn’t put this book down even if my house caught fire around me” variety. Also, there’s much more of it, in terms of sheer length. Weighing in at about 1,000 pages, The Wise Man’s Fear is a heftier tale with a much broader scope… Patrick Rothfuss’s prose is still a pleasure to read. He does high comedy as expertly as heart-breaking tragedy… If the plotting is sometimes a bit transparent, with the timing and sequence of some events being so convenient that it flirts with improbability, it’s all easy to forgive because — and this is really all that matters, in the end — The Wise Man’s Fear is more sheer fun to read than most fantasy novels I’ve read since — well, since The Name of the Wind, come to think of it…

Read the entire review here!

Disclaimer: DAW was kind enough to send me an advance review copy of this novel.

Next up: I'm working on Traitor's Knot by Janny Wurts.

Feb. 18th, 2011

"The World House" by Guy Adams

The World House takes too long to get to the point… When everything finally starts to come together towards the end of the novel, The World House suddenly gets quite interesting. The final revelation of what’s really going on is actually nothing short of great. Unfortunately, before you get to that point, Guy Adams spends about a quarter of The World House setting up the various characters, and most of the rest of the book putting them through their paces in the house, leaving too little time to wrap things up. Even though the separate story-lines are well-written and never boring, and it eventually turns out that, yes, everything did have a point and a connection, what comes before that point may be so frustrating for some readers that they don’t even make it to the eventual pay-off. Still, if the plot summary of this novel strikes your interest and you don’t mind taking not one but several long and winding roads to reach a satisfying conclusion, you may want to check out The World House.

Read the entire review here!

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this novel via its publisher, Angry Robot Books.

Next up: still reading The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  Excellent so far!

Feb. 17th, 2011

"Home Fires" by Gene Wolfe

Home Fires is a good novel, but falls far short of what Gene Wolfe is capable of at his best. Part of the problem is that the vast majority of the story is told from the perspective of Skip Grissom, and Skip happens to be the least interesting component of this tale… Home Fires has a complex and interesting plot that expands in scope as more details are revealed. As is usually the case with Gene Wolfe, he offers more hints than explicit descriptions of his characters and especially his novel’s setting… there’s a lot of emotion roiling under the apparent calmness of the narration… even a minor Gene Wolfe is still a major event. As usual, there’s a lot of food for discussion here, and enough hidden or implied material to fill a much larger novel than Home Fires’ relatively modest 300 pages. Despite not working 100% for me, it still had my head spinning several times and kept me considering and re-considering elements of the story for days. Wolfe’s most recent novels have all ranged from good to great, but I can’t help but hope that, with his next work, he’ll reach the truly mind-bending ranges of his older classics again.

Read the entire review here!

Disclaimer: I received a free review of this novel from the publisher.

Next up: I just started The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  

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