April 12th, 2011
4 stars out of 5. Shield of Thunder is second part of David Gemmell’s Troy-trilogy that is more historical fiction than fantasy. It tells the tale of events that leads to the war between Troy and Mykene. Neither side is presented as being ‘Good’ or ‘Evil’, the story is rather presenting alternate motives for Agamemnon to lust after Troy than Helen.
This ended up being the last book David Gemmell finished. That is sad as I feel Shield of Thunder was as good a book Gemmell ever wrote. I heartily recommend this one to anyone who likes his previous work. New readers are better of starting at say Legend
October 25th, 2007
2 stars out of 5. This is decent first novel by Ian C. Esslemont. It tells the story of how Emperor Kellanved and his companion Dancer return to Malaz Island as it is the Shadow night, when the realm of Shadow and mortals are as one. The story has a feel of a short story that has been buffed to novel length. Recommended for the readers of Steven Erikson‘s Malazan stories, others won’t probably get everything and the story is pretty thin and infodumps too frequent.
The world of this book was created by Steven Erikson and Esslemont in the eighties and they both write books in it. Erikson has so far written 7 novels and 3 novellas, this is Esslemont‘s first effort in their shared world. All this means that there are a lot of things in the book that you don’t really fully understand, unless you have read Erikson‘s work. Night of Knives doesn’t work too well on it’s own.
Read the rest of this entry »
October 20th, 2007
I’ve been buried in my studies for the last week, no time to really read nor write. Anyways, I started reading Mary Gentle‘s Ilario: Book One. It tells the tale of Ilario, a hermaphrodite artist, former King’s freak in the secret history world Gentle visited first in Ash. After the first third of the book I can recommend it to anyone who enjoys alternate history stories or previous works of Mary Gentle.
The world in the book is Europe in 1100s, however there are quite a few major differences including no Pope in Vatican and no Sun in North Africa. I just love the way Gentle doesn’t tell everything or go out of her way to point out all the quirks of the world in which his characters live. Everything that you get to know is relevant, but not forced. I get the feeling that this is going to make some things behind Ash a lot clearer.
I think that it is quite curious that the main character is hermaphrodite and I think it’ll be interesting to see how Gentle approaches sexuality later in the book as after 100 or so pages it hasn’t come into play that much.
On another note, I heartily recommend Ash to everyone, it is really, really good alternate history about female mercenary company leader in Middle Ages. It is very good adventure story, but also has a lot of subtle critique of making history and science.
October 10th, 2007
The subject is a pet peeve of mine. Andrew Wheeler commented in his blog pretty well on the mixing of romance and fantasy as genres recently. There is an amusing beginning of a paragraph:
Saying that fantasy is still “overwhelmingly dominated by male authors” is true only if you define fantasy very narrowly. Yes, Robert Jordan is the single best-selling recent fantasy writer.
Robert Jordan isn’t even remotely close to being best-selling recent fantasy writer. That title goes to J.K. Rowling. According to Wikipedia, Harry Potter books have sold over 512 million copies.
Is the whole Harry Potter phenomenon moved outside the scope of fantasy? Has it sold too much to be considered fantasy? It seems just so silly that in nearly every discussion about the how fantasy sells, all the talk is about Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks & Goodkind and the kin.
October 6th, 2007
5 stars out of 5. Perfect Circle is brilliant story about ‘Dead’ Kennedy, who can see ghosts and has to embrace his talent for a living. It’s a small story, sad story and story with hope. 243 pages packed with hot goodness that everyone should read.
Will ‘Dead’ Kennedy is in his thirties and got fired once again. He can see her daughter only occasionally, because her ex-wife has the custody. Out of the blue a cousin offers him thousand bucks to check his garage for ghosts. From there on everything gets more complicated for Will.
Stewart has a talent for writing great characters, who haven’t really succeeded in life in conventional terms. In other words, Stewart writes about normal people.
October 5th, 2007
3 stars out of 5. PS Publishing’s edition contains all three so far published Bauchelain & Korbal Broach novellas. Every one of them is worth reading, but lack the touch that makes Malazan Book of the Fallen so interesting. All three have the feeling that Erikson wants to try something different. The underlying humor seems to flower more often in these stories.
First one of the stories, Blood Follows, tells how Emancipor Reese came to work for the sorceror and necromancer in Lamentable Moll. It is fairly simple story, yet manages to introduce to us quite a few really quirky characters, while giving some insight to Reese, Bauchelain and Broach. Yet it lacks the deeper complexities of Erikson‘s magnum opus.
Read the rest of this entry »
September 27th, 2007
3 stars out of 5. I really liked the Blade Itself, but this middle book of the trilogy, while entertaining, feels somewhat lacking. Partly this is because I liked only one of the three main plot lines and just would’ve liked to have more Glokta. Before They Are Hanged still is very good character-driven fantasy and enjoyable for anyone who liked the first part.
There are three main story arcs: the mysterious quest lead by the magi Bayaz, Glokta‘s mission in Dagoska and Union‘s war with Northmen. Glokta‘s arc is easily the monst intersting, in my opinion, and Bayaz arc the weakest, as there are some easily guessed elements(which despite of this are very enjoyable). Union‘s war with the Northmen is quite meh as it is predictable and the characters aren’t the most interesting ones. Luckily there are couple of nice twists in each of the plot lines.
Read the rest of this entry »
September 25th, 2007
There has been couple of interesting posts on swearing in speculative fiction at Joe Abercrombie’s blog and at Dribble of Ink. Some people apparently feel that normal English curses like fuck, cunt, shit, motherfucker or cocksucker shouldn’t be used in speculative fiction as they are either offensive, or considered to be unfitting in the context, a fantasy or a future world that is.
Swearing doesn’t really bother me, though I don’t sweat that much. Modern curse words don’t really affect the immersion in any way, the made up ones quite often do, as they are fairly long or obviously substitutes for real words. What I’ve noticed is that most of the bothered ones are from United States, foul language seems to be a big no-no there. Haven’t really run into similar attitudes here in Finland since school.
To me it’s a bit of mystery cursing as cultural phenomena has so much negative connotations. I understand that originally cursing was basically expressing your secularity by for example using God’s name in vain et cetera. Why these negative connotations have moved to words describing genitalia and secretions like shit and piss is beyond me. Maybe it is part of the(Victorian?) move of making a lot of bodily functions and body parts shameful.