I can't say this one blew me away, but I think it was more for the lack of that sort of love triangle ANGST you come to expect in YA. And that's a gooI can't say this one blew me away, but I think it was more for the lack of that sort of love triangle ANGST you come to expect in YA. And that's a good thing, so I'm sorta disappointed in myself that I can't gush more about it. (Honestly, it may just have been a bad time of the month for me to pick up anything...)
The whole plot and premise was wonderful, and I loved the way disability, lgbt, and class issues were all tackled without that ever being The Point. It was a great, imaginative, original story that included those themes so seamlessly that you often forgot it was even going anywhere controversial.
Just from a pure emotional reaction point of view, at the end of this, had it been any other book, I'd have given it three stars. But it took us places other books are afraid to go, and did it so well, and those things are SO IMPORTANT for teens to find in books aimed at them, that it easily got a star for that alone. ...more
What struck me over and over again through this trilogy is what a brilliant and original worldbuilder Bear is. In this world, the sky is different depWhat struck me over and over again through this trilogy is what a brilliant and original worldbuilder Bear is. In this world, the sky is different depending on what nation you're in, and it changes if the land is conquered. The whole sky. The sun, the stars, the moons. One sky has a moon for each prince of the ruling line. When one dies, there goes his moon. A new one is born? You have a new moon that night. One nation has no night at all. Just the rise of the big sun (Hard-day) and as it sets, the rise of the much smaller sun (Soft-day.)
I'm just blown away at the imagination that goes into something like this. Not just because it's interesting, but because, usually, magic and mythology in fantasy tends to be true to physics and astronomy and biology in general, so long as you account for certain things we can't do now, like, well, magic. But with a little bending of the rules, you can see how it works according to our understanding of the universe.
This isn't like that. Yet it's internally consistent and logical within itself. It doesn't need our science. It's a reality and truth of its own. Even more fascinating is that beside this complete diversion from astronomy as we know it, magicians operate their magic in a very scientific manner, and study the physical world relentlessly. And it all works together somehow.
Elizabeth Bear is the writer I want to be when I grow up.
Come to the trilogy for the excellent characters, storyline, the satisfying ending. It has all that. But it does so much more that I was left in awe of her craft as much as the story I'd just experienced. ...more
TRIGGER WARNINGS for pretty much anything to do with sex, but especially involving children. It certainly wasn't the theme or the point but, by the enTRIGGER WARNINGS for pretty much anything to do with sex, but especially involving children. It certainly wasn't the theme or the point but, by the end, there wasn't just violation of children, but brutality. I won't lie, there were times I felt dirty for not throwing the book away.
That said, the world and story were fascinating enough that I was too sucked in to walk away. I could point to weaknesses in the style (the way we were in a different person's head from paragraph to paragraph) or the characters (who were compelling and surprising and then at times completely predictable) and the plot devices that felt convenient not essential (WHY can't they get Lucivar?????) but I still read all the way through and plan to get the next one.
I got an ARC of this book from the publisher. I'm only posting the review now because I forgot to do it earlier this month...
Wendy’s been deprived ofI got an ARC of this book from the publisher. I'm only posting the review now because I forgot to do it earlier this month...
Wendy’s been deprived of her Light, and it couldn’t come at a worse time. The Lady Walker’s bringing nasty beasts into the Never, bent on destruction. Wendy’s loyalties are tested as one too many people she loves are put in danger, and everyone who can help has either turned against her, is trying to manipulate her, or is simply no match for this scary new version of the Never. The Lightbringer is what they need, and she can’t touch her Light…
Once again, K.D. Mcentyre takes us on a wild ride through danger and questions of loyalty, friendship, and love in a fascinating and unique world. She brings to this final book all the skill in writing she has shown all along in the trilogy. Her characters have depth and attitude and are easy to root for, even the bad ones.
In this third and final book, the stakes get even bigger, and Wendy’s got to fight this one with ingenuity and smarts, since she can’t access her most powerful weapon, the one they all want her for.
That adds a fascinating twist to your typical YA urban fantasy. Rather than watching the protagonist growing predictably more powerful with her magic, Wendy’s in the opposite position, and that’s a heart-in-throat type of situation to put the reader through, in a very good way.
The ending is sweet and heartbreaking and very satisfying, just as the final in a trilogy should be. Bravo to Ms. McEntyre for a job well done on her debut trilogy. Anyone who likes urban or paranormal fantasy should check this one out. It’s worth it. ...more
There was so much to love about this fantasy by debut author K.T. Bryski. The unique setting, the beautiful writing, and the thrill of knowing this isThere was so much to love about this fantasy by debut author K.T. Bryski. The unique setting, the beautiful writing, and the thrill of knowing this is a young writer with so much potential.
I don't do the "this is what the back of the book cover" says stuff in my reviews. If you want to know what it's about, you know where to find it. I like to tell you the things I loved and the things I didn't and maybe even the things I absolutely hated about a book.
And it was easy to find things to love. So often, a fantasy in which the world's religion plays a large part goes wrong for the reader. Either it's so far from the typical experience it takes a long time to explain and even longer for the reader to figure out, or it feels like one of Earth's major religions with the serial numbers filed off.
The fascinating thing Bryski managed was to essentially do the later, while making it feel fresh and new. You could see it all so clearly because it was very much like what even non-religious people have experienced or at least seen on TV. But the core doctrine was so different, so fascinatingly NOT like anything you've ever heard in church before, that it ended up being the perfect balance of 'I get this' and 'wow!'
The writing itself was beautifully executed. I had the privilege of meeting Ms. Bryski the weekend of the book launch, so I know that this is a relatively young writer in age not just experience, that she was even younger when she wrote it. And that's really exciting when you see such well written prose, when she creates full, rich characters, evokes deep and authentic emotions, knowing that this is her freshman effort and that she's likely to blow you away down the road.
I imagine if I dug down hard enough, I could find things to criticize, but frankly, I don't want to. Why ruin the experience when, whatever weaknesses might have been there were completely overshadowed by the good stuff? I don't usually trust gushing reviews that don't at least note where the author could improve, or where another reader might be disappointed, but I can't be bothered with this one to look for the bad among the good.
I'm thrilled I found this author now, with her debut, and can't wait to see what she does next. ...more
Insert string of profanities here over the fact that I've finished The Blinding Knife and there's no Lightbringer #3 yet. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENSInsert string of profanities here over the fact that I've finished The Blinding Knife and there's no Lightbringer #3 yet. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!!!
I suppose that sums up well enough what I thought of this second installment of Brent Weeks' Lightbringer series. I did nothing for two days until I had finished it. The characters are so sharp and strong, even the ones who aren't. Unlike certain other big fantasy authors right now *cough*Abraham*cough* whose main characters are spiraling rapidly down the Gary Stu Charybdis, Weeks' characters, even the perfect one, aren't perfect at all. In fact, Gavin, who seemed to be able to do anything in the first book (and let's be honest, still usually can) hits some hard walls in this book that make him admit and cope with the fact that he's human after all, with the good and the bad that comes with it.
My favorite character, though, is Kip, because he's smart and strong and, most of all, he's determined. His snarky and sarcastic attitude, and his tendency to just say the first thing he thinks makes it that much more fun.
The world gets richer and deeper here, both on a global scale, and by digging deeper into the structures and people we learned about in book one.
There are many who write high fantasy these days, and a very few who are masters of the craft. Weeks is one of the later.
So, I literally had no idea what was going on half the time but I still enjoyed it. Sharp, witty writing and an insanely imaginative plot. Which is thSo, I literally had no idea what was going on half the time but I still enjoyed it. Sharp, witty writing and an insanely imaginative plot. Which is the reason for the aforementioned WTF experience of much of the novel. Still, it's one of those things, like great science, that you know you don't get at all but it still terribly fascinating.
I think my one real problem with the book is that the romance didn't feel real to me in its inception and early stages. Mordred said he was falling for Alan, etc. but it didn't feel like he was. I'm guessing that was due to the fact that all their conversations were chat logs, but I can't help feeling there was some way the author could have conveyed Mordred's feelings better than he did. Later on, that problem resolved, but it was still an annoyance for a while.
Don't go looking for sex or anything in this one, it's not that kind of book. I shudder to think how that might have fit into this story. It's also NOT a romance, by the traditional definition. It just has a romantic element to the main plot. Not a problem for me, just don't come into this one expecting that.
I quite enjoyed this one, for many reasons, not at all hampered by the fact that it confused the mess out of me. ...more
This was a great read. I generally avoid fantasy set in the modern (or sorta) world, and never considered myself a military-anything buff. So ControlThis was a great read. I generally avoid fantasy set in the modern (or sorta) world, and never considered myself a military-anything buff. So Control Point was a very-pleasant surprise. I devoured the book in two days.
Cole does a great job of building an alternative reality that’s believable and authentic. He sprinkles in fantastic nuggets of how the world we know and live in now would react to a subset of the population suddenly popping up with magical powers. He examines the political and social impact without ever moralizing or making a judgment. It would be easy to draw a clear good/evil line in a story like this and get preachy but Cole did none of that.
All of this in the middle of taking us into a fully-realized alien world full of its own creatures and cultures and believable magic system.
This is a great debut and I’m thrilled to have found it.
But because every book has its faults, I do have the following complaints:
I couldn’t give Control Point five stars because Cole used one of my pet peeve writing techniques, internal monologue. I’ve gone on record before about how much I hate IM, but I know it doesn’t bother most readers so that’s probably neither here nor there to the majority reading this.
I also agree with another reviewer who wondered when Britton would “man up.” At some point it began to feel like he debated a point with himself, only to forget the next day what he’d decided the day before.
That said, neither of those annoyances were enough to override the imaginative plot and worldbuilding and the realistic action scenes. Definitely a recommended read. Enjoy! ...more
It’s not what you usually think of, is it? What happens to the hero after it’s all over. But that’s the subject of the utterly fantastic anthology WheIt’s not what you usually think of, is it? What happens to the hero after it’s all over. But that’s the subject of the utterly fantastic anthology When the Hero Comes Home, edited by Gabrielle Harbowy and Ed Greenwood. I came to this knowing I’d like at least some of it, because Gabrielle is an incredible editor and I already love JM Frey’s writing. What I didn’t expect is that I would like--that I would love--all of it. (OK, total honesty, I have no stomach for zombies, so the little bit of that in a couple of stories, I didn’t like, but I’m clearly in the minority with the zombie-ickies, so don’t mind me.)
There’s such a wonderful diversity in these stories. Sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy, it’s definitely a new experience with every story. And there are some real flashes of brilliance in here.
Keeping Time by Gabrielle Harbowy I read first, because she’s my editor and I idolize her but I’d never read anything by her. I was so pleasantly surprised, both by the compelling storytelling and by the ending. The Once and Now-ish King by JM Frey I jumped to next, since I already love her debut novel, Triptych. That. One. Rocks. So insanely clever and funny.
There’s such raw, real humanity—and inhumanity—in The Evil that Remains by Erik Buchanan. Brine Magic by Tony Pi was unique, fascinating, and moving. One and Twenty Summers by Brian Cortijo left me gasping for more—and those were not tears, really they weren’t. But, Brian, when you write more of this one, I want first dibs.
The imagery and emotion of Ashes of the Bonfire Queen by Rosemary Jones was so real that I find myself still thinking of it, feeling it, more than a week later. Mirror Mirror by Phil Rossi was such a creepy-realistic look at the human psyche and the things we do and are capable of. And if I’m ever capable of writing the rich prose Erik Scott de Bie does in Oathbreaker, a Tale of the World of Ruin, I’ll die a happy writer. The best part of that one wasn’t just the beautiful drapery, but the way it revealed a fascinating story set in a world far more well-imagined than you usually expect in a short.
Full Circle, by Steve Bornstein, may well be my secret favorite. I’m a sucker for a well-told second person POV and this one is pitch perfect. Steve also builds an great story from very little real info to start on, letting the surprise unfurl with the story, without leaving you scratching your head wondering what’s going on. Just the delicious thrill of I-know-I’m-going-to-love-this-as-soon-as-I-figure-it-out.
Those aren’t all the great things about this anthology, or even the best, simply the ones that stick out to me over a week later when I finally had a chance to write this review. Don’t do yourself the disservice of missing this one. It’s an amazing experience. Triptych...more
I really wanted to like this book, and, the writing itself I did love. No matter my opinion of the book in general I think I'll take away from this aI really wanted to like this book, and, the writing itself I did love. No matter my opinion of the book in general I think I'll take away from this a passage for my list of favorite quotes:
"Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow. "Fuck you," said the raven.
I really did love the way he used his words economically and yet conveyed so much. It's prose to emulate, that's for sure.
However, in the final accounting, I was bored. I never got into Shadow as a character. He was interesting, but I never connected with him. To me, that's the biggest letdown of any book. I can hang in there through a lot of other literary failings if I care about the character enough that I need to know what happens to him.
Besides that, tt felt like little happened over far too many pages. The encounters with various gods began to feel repetitive. After a long section describing two famous grifts, I gave up and started skipping ahead. (It had taken me a couple of weeks to get to that point, about 250 pages in, even though I can read a book of this length in a day if it captivates me.)
I skimmed to the end and maybe because of that I missed whatever it was that makes this book so generally admired. But after 250 pages, it would have to have been bloody brilliant to be worth it. ...more