Pretty sure I've already read this; better read it again just to be sure!
I had read this already (in fact, I've probably read it more than once...), aPretty sure I've already read this; better read it again just to be sure!
I had read this already (in fact, I've probably read it more than once...), and I realized that fact as I read the introduction. (Please!! read the introduction! Gaiman does really good introductions that give you some background on why he wrote some of the pieces, why they're included in the book, and what Ray Bradbury said when Gaiman asked if he could dedicate one of the stories to him.) Anyhow, I'd read this before, but reading the list of stories reminded me of how much I enjoyed the book before, so I read it again! There are a variety of "types" among these stories - fantasy, horror, science fiction, poetry. My favorite is "October in the Chair", firstly because of the use of the "each of us tells a story, then we vote on which was best" structure (similar to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales), which Gaiman has used so successfully before. (I'm thinking specifically of the "Inn at the End of the World" story arc in The Sandman.) I also really liked "Troll Bridge", "Chivalry", "The Price", and "Sunbird". The book also has a story titled "The Witch's Headstone", which ended up becoming part of Gaiman's The Graveyard Book, and ends with an odd little free-verse poem titled "Instructions"....more
I have a confession to make - I didn't read this in the correct order. New Spring is part of Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series; it's a prequel that takeI have a confession to make - I didn't read this in the correct order. New Spring is part of Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series; it's a prequel that takes place about 20 years before the events of the first book in the series. New Spring was written originally as a novella, published in an anthology of new works written by several masters of the fantasy genre. The anthology came out between books 8 and 9 of the "Wheel of Time" series; Jordan later expanded the novella into a full novel, which came out between books 10 and 11 of the series.
As I said, the events in New Spring take place about 20 years before the events of the first book in the main series. Moiraine and Siuan, both apprentices to the Aes Sedai, a group of sorceresses, overhear a prophecy of the rebirth of the "Dragon", a hero who will save the world from the "Dark One". Once they become full members of the Aes Sedai, Moiraine and Siuan begin searching for the Dragon, to protect him from the followers of the Dark One. Moiraine also meets up with Lan Mandragoran, a soldier who will become her Warder, a warrior who is bonded to serve her.
It's difficult to talk about the "Wheel of Time" series without explaining such terms as Aes Sedai, Warder, and Dragon". It also made reading this book a little slow going at first. While the book is a prequel to the events of the series, it assumes a familiarity with the world of the series, since it was published after 8 of the series' volumes. But there is a small glossary at the back of the book, and once I began to remember what the new words meant, the book became a lot more enjoyable. I'm a big fan of multi-volume works like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Harry Potter books, and Christopher Paolini's "Eragon" series. My only concern is when a writer drags things on without ever resolving anything, seemingly just to make a few more bucks off the fans. I've had several friends say they stopped reading the "Wheel of Time" series for just that reason - that it seemed like some volumes in the series weren't really moving the story forward. But I enjoyed this book so much that I think at the least I'll read one or two more volumes in the series to see how things go, before giving up on this story....more
As promised, this is a review of the first book in Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. (I read the prequel, New Spring first, although it was written latAs promised, this is a review of the first book in Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. (I read the prequel, New Spring first, although it was written later.) Moiraine Sedai and Lan Mandragoran have spent much time searching throughout the land for the child who will become the "Dragon". In the backwater Two Rivers area, they realize they have found him when the village is attacked by evil creatures. The creatures target three teen boys specifically - Rand, Mat, and Perrin; Moiraine and Lan take the boys away, hoping to take them to safety at Tar Valon. The Eye of the World follows the group's journey, as the boys realize each of them will play an important part in saving the land from The Evil One. I mentioned in my review for New Spring that that book assumed a knowledge of certain terms used throughout the series; luckily, many of those terms are explained in greater detail in this volume. There are also a series of maps of different areas of the land in which the story takes place, and the ever-helpful glossary at the back of the book. I really enjoyed this volume (even more than I liked the prequel), so I think I will continue reading the series for a while longer. ...more
This is the second book in Jordan's massive "Wheel of Time" series. Rand al'Thor, beset by Morgaine Sedai's claims that he is the Dragon Reborn, setsThis is the second book in Jordan's massive "Wheel of Time" series. Rand al'Thor, beset by Morgaine Sedai's claims that he is the Dragon Reborn, sets off with a group of warriors and friends on a quest to regain the Horn of Valere, which has been stolen by followers of the Dark One. The Horn has the magical quality of summoning heroes from beyond the grave to help whoever sounds the horn. In the meantime, Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne begin their training to become Aes Sedai; their training is interrupted when one of the Aes Sedai tricks them into being sold to a group of foreign warriors. Rand and the other warriors must retrieve the Horn, rescue the women, and stop the Children of the Light, a fanatical group of warriors who seek to eradicate anyone who is friendly to the Dark One (including, in their eyes, the Aes Sedai). I enjoyed this book a lot. Jordan does seem to borrow from some of the other standards of fantasy fiction - the warriors called by the Horn are reminiscent of Tolkien's Shadow Host, and there are numerous references to the Arthurian legends. But the book is well-written and entertaining; if it weren't for information about the characters that you have to know from the previous book, this volume could stand on its own as a full fantasy tale. Jordan does a good job of drawing together parts of the story that were started earlier, helping the reader realize that all these seemingly unrelated events are all threads in the same tale's fabric. ...more
Yes, you read that page total correctly; at 1006 pp., The Shadow Rising, Book Four in Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, is also easily the longest bookYes, you read that page total correctly; at 1006 pp., The Shadow Rising, Book Four in Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, is also easily the longest book in the series. After temporarily meeting up in the coast city of Tear, our merry band of adventures is scattered to various destinations: some to Tanchico to find the Black Ajah (the renegade members of the Aes Sedai), some to the Aiel Wastes, and some back to the Two Rivers, to protect their home village from the dual threats of Trollocs and the Whitecloaks. The problem with a series like the "Wheel of Time", with (so far) 14 volumes, each volume at least 600 pages (often over 800 pages)- the problem, I say, is that there are so many things going on, so many characters in so many locations, with so many new words to learn and people to remember, that it gets a bit (more than a bit) confusing. Each of the three or four divergent plot-lines in this volume alone would be enough for your average fantasy novel; trying to weave them all together into one overarching story is quite a challenge - for the author and, unfortunately, for the reader as well. Don't get me wrong - Jordan has told a very enjoyable tale here; it just becomes so... overwhelming after a while. And to know that there are still (at least) ten more books (rather large books) to go before the entire plot is resolved, makes me question my ability to finish the series. ...more
Great ending to this series! Resolutions to a lot of the issues from previous books, and appearances from several characters we'd seen before. PaoliniGreat ending to this series! Resolutions to a lot of the issues from previous books, and appearances from several characters we'd seen before. Paolini's writing improved quite a bit over the course of the series, and is very good in this last book. Looking forward to more work by him!...more
A mixed bag, to be honest. There were some real winners, like Robert Rodi's "An Extra Smidgen of Eternity" and Delia Sherman's "The Witch's Heart". ItA mixed bag, to be honest. There were some real winners, like Robert Rodi's "An Extra Smidgen of Eternity" and Delia Sherman's "The Witch's Heart". It was nice to see Susannah Clarke's story as well; I started reading her work because Neil Gaiman had said in an interview that she was an author he enjoyed. I didn't care for Lawrence Schimel's "Endless Sestina", but I don't, as a rule, like a lot of poetry. According to wikipedia, several other authors (including Harlan Ellison, Jane Yolen, Charles de Lint, Martha Soukup, Karawynn Long, and Michael Berry) had originally signed up to contribute to the anthology, but dropped out due to some confusion between the contracts DC Vertigo was giving people, and what the anthology's editors had originally promised them. Pity, I would have loved to have seen what Yolen and de Lint would have done with Morpheus. (This also explains Gaiman's dedication page in the edition I read, apologizing to the above writers.)...more
A few minor quibbles: King Rat's and Anansi's manner of speech were a little hard to follow; I didn't understand a lot of the references to London's uA few minor quibbles: King Rat's and Anansi's manner of speech were a little hard to follow; I didn't understand a lot of the references to London's underground music scene; and I thought the ending lacked a certain... finality. Other than that, a pretty cool read. I'll be adding some more of Mieville's work to the to-read list....more