Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Heartsone by Elle Katharine White

The introduction to what is bound to be a fantastic first person epic, Heartstone puts a reluctant love story in a world of dragons.  Although it is eerily like the love story from Pride and Prejudice, Daired being Darcy, the fantasy world takes it securely and adapts it to a mythical saga.  Mythical creatures, historic battles and a will they/ won’t they love story combine to make a memorable start to this new fantasy epic series.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Breath of Air by Beth Cato

This is the first I’ve read of Beth Cato, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.  Breath of Earth is a historical fantasy about a young woman, Ingrid, who has a power she does not understand.  A power generally only inherited by men. 
Set in San Francisco in the early 20th century, Breath of Earth is a fast-paced steampunk ride through the world of geomancy.  The immersion and pace of Ingrid’s story feeds fully into the development of a series. I look forward to reading more from Beth Cato.

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Book Of Lost Things

This is the first I have ever read of John Connolly, and I must say I’m sad I didn’t discover him sooner.  Connolly, like all of us who read, has created his own world to escape into.  He chose to share it with the world in poetic style like any fairy tale you’ve read.  I think we all have our own version of Narnia, and this was his.
The Book Of Lost Things is a coming of age fairy tale adventure in the vein of C.S. Lewis.  Connolly used a minimalist, poetic style and classic fairy tale structure to take the reader to the other world while allowing freedom to see it in their own way.
This story is fantasy at its roots.  Very well done.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

This story could not have come at a more important time.  Given current politics, it is important to remember our history.  It is important to not repeat our actions in wars past.
Heather Morris takes this story and weaves it in a heart wrenching way.  This is the only book outside of The Diary of Anne Frank that reminds us that real people were affected by this.  That real people died.  And continue to do so as a result of a modern crusade.  This book is important because we need to put names on tragedies to understand them.  We need to see faces to understand death.
Lale is a man who may have been hated for cooperating.  He was trying to survive, to ensure his lover survived.  That strength of love, the power in love that grew under the worst possible circumstances saved them both.
Brilliantly told adaptation by Morris.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Clockwork Angels

This is the first time I’ve ever read a novelization of a music album, and it does not disappoint.  Neil Peart of the band Rush wrote the album Clockwork Angels with each track being a characterization or expression of an idea or experience in this steampunk world.  It’s told in third person in the perspective of Owen, a young man who dreams and imagines.  He’s tired of his small town life and jumps a train to adventure.  He falls in love, travels, explores, and learns about the world and his place in it.  While he thought it was all for the best and didn’t have a design for himself, the leader of Utopian Albion, the Watchmaker and his rival, the Anarchist were manipulating him to their own ends.
The story told is written by Owen as a grandfather, telling his family about all of his adventures, and watching over his own piece of paradise far away from the Watchmaker or the Anarchist.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Clockwork Lives

In this steampunk adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart create a world rich with character and adventure.
While the primary narration is told in the third person following Merinda Peake’s journey to fill her book with stories, the individual tales are told in the first person.  This is an unusual, but intelligent way to let the stories grow.  The characters become more real.  It’s not a book you can easily put down.
While this is the second book in the Clockwork Angels series, it does stand alone easily supported by the depth of characters whose stories are collected.  Thoroughly enjoyable.  Left me wanting more.

The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

In this first Novel of the Praxis, Walter Jon Williams beautifully builds the society, characters, family structure without sinking too far into significant “info dumps” that often lose a reader.  This story falls comfortably into the genre of science fiction epic, stylistically reminiscent of Star Wars.  While it’s a bit more linear than Tolkien, The Accidental War can sit proudly next to the Epics of Middle Earth as well.
While this is not the first book in this world created by Williams, it’s my first reading of his work.  Williams utilizes third person limited POV to weave a tale of political intrigue, action, and privilege.
He establishes his main characters early, building the society and politics around them and their relationships with each other and with the minor characters rather than planting them in an established world.  The growth when done this way, is more organic and centered on characters more than thematic and genre elements.  This is what will make The Accidental War stand out from other sci-fi.