rommalb?

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld

Patricia A. McKillip

Winner of Best Novel at the inaugural World Fantasy Awards. It tells the story of Sybel, a daughter of wizards, who keeps a menagerie of magical creatures in her high mountain home.
She is removed from the world and knows little of other people and then one day a baby is left with her to keep safe from the King of Eldwold.
How she is changed by that event and the consequences that flow out from that point form a unique kind of fantasy tale.
The distinguishing thing about this book is the quality of the writing. It’s really unlike anything else I’ve ever read in the Fantasy genre. The words flow like a sing-song fairy tale. Somehow retaining the structure of prose but feel of the poetical.
I found it fairly difficult to get into but the last half of the book is incredible.
I really don’t know if it’s going to be everyone’s cup of tea but I suspect I’ll be thinking about it for a long time.

Rating: A-

trolleys?

Reaper Man

Terry Pratchett

The second book in the Death sequence.
This is a solid Pratchett – funny, clever and very enjoyable – but not quite as impactful or as perfect as his later masterpieces but quickly building from the more parodical early works.
The biggest surprise on this re-read is how many of the little details tie into overall Discworld canon in later books.
As always I encourage anyone to start reading the man’s books. Not only are they bloody great reads – they’ll also give you an insight into the human condition that we all sorely need.
On a personal note: I’m slightly stunned to realize that I’ve never reviewed this book for the blog in all 17 years of the blog’s existence. Like all the Pratchett books I’ve read it multiple times before but I guess since it came out in 1991 these were all pre-blog.
It’s also the case that I’ve been revisiting the Pratchett oeuvre via audiobook rather than from my battered old books these last couple of years thanks to Edinburgh City Libraries & Audible.
Also a note on my rating system and the wonky idiosyncratic beast it has become over the years…

Rating: B+

seashells?

The Tamuli

David Eddings

The Tamuli is the second of the Sparhawk trilogies. This time he solves a world-ending problem at the other end of the world. Like The Elenium books I’ve read these books a bunch of times before. Frankly it was a bit of a struggle this time. I think probably because I tried to read it straight after the first trilogy. It took a bit of a palate cleanser in the form of romance to get me through this thing.

Rating: C+

Continue reading “seashells?”

twisted?

Traveller in Black

John Brunner

This collection of novellas is a fantasy work by an author better known for his science fiction.
In each story a powerful and anomalous being (the eponymous traveller in black) makes a journey around the cities in his domain and attempts to tip the universe ever further away from chaos and towards order.
These are densely written tales that seem incredibly apt given out current insane political climate.
Not the easiest read but it is short and repays the bit of effort required handsomely. I loved that it’ll give you a different take on the phrase “As you wish”.

Rating: B+

errand?

The Belgariad

David Eddings

pawn of prophecyThis five volume series is an expertly and cynically constructed slice of epic fantasy.
Nearly every clichéd trope of the genre is trotted at one point or another but the sheer pace of storytelling stops it from becoming boring.
I’ve read this series many times but even after now I find myself enjoying some of the characters and rooting for the (inevitable) happy ending.
It’s outdated, generic as all hell but it’s one of my comfort reads.
If you’re looking for a quick, easy-to-read fantasy fix then this is an acceptable option.

Rating: C+

Continue reading “errand?”

emily?

How To Be Dead

Dave Turner

Dave is an ordinary guy working in a typically grinding office job.
After a near death experience he meets Death and discovers he’s now able to help ghosts pass on to the other side.
This introductory novella is an entirely competent comic fantasy. There’s a series of novellas following on from this one about the further adventures of Dave but it’s hard to tell from this one how good they’d be.
For a free ebook it’s certainly worth trying.

Rating: B-

family?

The Brightest Fell

Seanan McGuire

Family affairs come to a head with Toby’s mother Amandine binding her to find and return her missing half-sister.
The search takes her through the realms of Faerie and causes serious collateral damage along the way.
My favourite Urban Fantasy series continues in stellar fashion. I’d recommend that you read this series but maybe start with an earlier book.

Rating: A-

politics?

Once Broken Faith

Seanan McGuire

Following the events of the previous book the royalty of North American Faerie gather to discuss the future of the Elf Shot cure.
Politics soon turns dirty and Toby has to identify the culprit before everything goes to hell.
It’s just another highly enjoyable book in the series – maybe’s about time you gave it a shot?

Rating: A-