Simply incredible. Valente has created an original blend of moving prose, surreal fantasy, and religious adventure. Her mythological sorcery is enhancSimply incredible. Valente has created an original blend of moving prose, surreal fantasy, and religious adventure. Her mythological sorcery is enhanced by some very profound writing. She is an instant favorite....more
Phew, that was intense. I’ll start by saying that Pryan is another fascinating, otherworldly planet, unique in scope like Arianus in Dragon Wing and APhew, that was intense. I’ll start by saying that Pryan is another fascinating, otherworldly planet, unique in scope like Arianus in Dragon Wing and Aberrach in Fire Sea. It’s turned inside out, meaning the surface is on the inside, subjected to constant daylight by four “stars” centered at its core. Naturally this creates a planetary greenhouse effect, which causes the jungle-laden surface to sprout mega trees the size of continents (It’s science, ok? Nevermind gravity, read up on the carbon dioxide cycle, lol).
This book is also interesting for its diverse cast of flawed species & characters. Elves, dwarves, humans, giants, dragons, and one kooky wizard bring balance to a story loaded with contrasting personalities. The thing that really enhances this book, at least for me, is the coupling of forbidden romance with raw, apocalyptic adventure. Not to mention the well placed comic relief: there’s no shortage of wisecrack humor and dramatic hysterics. The unstable relationships between Alethea & Roland, the dragon and Zinfab, Roland & Rega, the dwarf and pretty much everyone, Zinfab and pretty much everyone, Haplo and pretty much everyone... it’s the chaos one might expect after centuries of racial instability yield to the sudden unification of global alliance, much like in Lord Of The Rings.
It has it’s moral perks and immoral downfalls as well, from the breaking of race barriers to betrayal and abandonment (Haplo, you dick!). Don’t let the first hundred pages of tedious character development turn you off, or the fact that it’s far different from Dragon Wing. The action & drama come at you in full force for the remainder of the book. Once the giants invade the land it’s an unrelenting page turner. One of the more intense scenes I’ll ever read is when the giants first rumble onto the pages, where Paithan and Rega are trapped on that enormous mushroom, man.
As far as quality series that I’ve read are concerned, The Death Gate Cycle has quickly elevated itself to Dark Tower & Otherland status, and I’ve still got 4 books to go!...more
A little too much Douglas Adams and not enough Clive Barker. It's funny, but over-the-top randomness is a turn-off for me. The City Of Dreaming BooksA little too much Douglas Adams and not enough Clive Barker. It's funny, but over-the-top randomness is a turn-off for me. The City Of Dreaming Books is more subdued in that department (though not by much), and it also has something resembling a plot. First timers to Walter Moers should start with that book, not this jumble of aimless wandering. The creativity factor earned it an extra star, but other than that there's not much going for it....more
This is a great start to what appears to be a phenomenal fantasy series. On Arianus a storm of political discontent makes life interesting for an assaThis is a great start to what appears to be a phenomenal fantasy series. On Arianus a storm of political discontent makes life interesting for an assassin, an abandoned prince, two estranged magicians, and a revolutionary dwarf. Arianus, the world of air, is every bit as wondrous as Abarrach in Fire Sea. With floating continents of coralite, a deep-core maelstrom, an icy firmament, arrogant elves, repressed dwarves, and flying dragons, this book did not disappoint. Trust me, this isn't your typical medieval-based fantasy; it's complex, multi-dimensional, otherworldly, has mysterious characters, and the plots are perfectly paced....more
It’s alive I tell you, alive! Everything in this book is alive, and even the book itself might be alive, possessed by the Orm and all the astral dustIt’s alive I tell you, alive! Everything in this book is alive, and even the book itself might be alive, possessed by the Orm and all the astral dust in between Earth and Bookholm. Moers conjures up a vast catalog of species and locations in this metafiction-fantasy that is mostly set in the catacombs below a city of readers and writers. Some parts in this book are unforgettable- like the trombomusic, the trash dump, the crystal caves, and the mine-shaft “rollercoaster”, which might be the most intense segment of any book I’ve read this year. For fans of adventure don’t let the metafiction dissuade you; after 100 pages the wild journey begins, a journey that left me scratching my head in between the epic, often horrifying dangers that lurk beneath Bookholm in the dark, mysterious caverns. I’m quite certain that fans of the Abarat series by Clive Barker will love this to pieces. They are very similar in the factors of genre, style, and outlandish creativity. So if you love Abarat, get this!...more
Magma, necromancy, magic, giant dragons, massive subterranean caverns, armies of the dead... this book is pure awesome. I picked it up not knowing itMagma, necromancy, magic, giant dragons, massive subterranean caverns, armies of the dead... this book is pure awesome. I picked it up not knowing it was the third in a series, but it didn't matter because the concept is easy to gather. Humans, on evolving after desecrating planet Earth, split into factions of species with supernatural powers, and inhabited various planets distinguished by the four elements. Each book in the series is set on a different planet (Fire Sea is set on a planet representing the Earth element), and if any of the other planets are as interesting as this one then this is going to be one of my favorite series ever! ...more
Small Gods is Terry Pratchett’s finest work, and not because it’s the funniest. Well, it may be the funniest if you’re a down-to-earth monk or a lethaSmall Gods is Terry Pratchett’s finest work, and not because it’s the funniest. Well, it may be the funniest if you’re a down-to-earth monk or a lethal atheist who enjoys mocking the religious sector. But apart from that, this book makes you think, which is a tall order for any book based on magic or comedy. There’s a genius in the way this story unfolds, which might have a little to do with the fact that there are four geniuses at the core of the plot. A monk with a photographic memory, “Brutha” (mind you, this rhymes with Buddha), is befriended by a very convincing villain- head of the Omnian Inquisition Vorbis, to confront a barbarous foreign nation; the philosophical, pagan paramount of Ephebe. But along the way Brutha hears a voice in his head, which doesn’t mean he’s crazy... this is Discworld after all... it means that an ironical surprise awaits the fate of the Omnian Empire. Along the way we meet Didactylos, a blind philosopher who is crazy by all means, but insanity often accompanies genius, so the intrigue is mutual. There’s also his rigid sidekick Urn, a naive inventor who probably belongs in the Aristotelian denomination of philosophy. Could a book like this possibly be written without Death? No; he makes his usual cameo.
The reason I consider this as a work of genius is because the cosmogony of science, religion, and philosophy are meshed together perfectly, while at the same time being confounded by the fact that every certainty is a ridiculous waste of certainty... er, yeah. Terry proves that an outrageous wit isn’t the only thing you need to write books that people will buy over and over; he also has a unique way of illustrating deep insight among the creative plot shifts of his bizarre world. I’m still hooked. Gonna read Discworld books until I fall off its edge....more
Drunk detectives solving a mystery case sounds like a funny premise, but somehow I didn’t find it as funny as some of Pratchett’s other work. It seemeDrunk detectives solving a mystery case sounds like a funny premise, but somehow I didn’t find it as funny as some of Pratchett’s other work. It seemed like he was a bit timid, like he was testing the waters when he wrote this. I understand it was the first in a mystery series, which was a departure for him at the time, so the difference in style makes sense....more
Wow, what an acid trip of a book. I feel like I've just read Clive Barker's description of a hundred Rob Gonsalvez paintings. If that doesn't sum it uWow, what an acid trip of a book. I feel like I've just read Clive Barker's description of a hundred Rob Gonsalvez paintings. If that doesn't sum it up for you, the creativity factor in this book is beyond comprehension. Marco Polo has arrived in the land of the Mongols and is dubiously translating his memoirs of countless cities to Kublai Khan, but the facts are lost in translation and what is documented is a smorgasbord of intriguing abnormalities.
It was purely conceptual, plotless and unemotionally engaging, so I can't say it totally blew me away, but if you're a fan of fantasy or the surreal like I am then Invisible Cities is a must read....more
Once I learned that Salman Rushdie wrote a book for children I had to bite. Being a fan of the author and a sucker for children's stories, it seemed lOnce I learned that Salman Rushdie wrote a book for children I had to bite. Being a fan of the author and a sucker for children's stories, it seemed like a win combination, and I wasn't disappointed at all! There were some truly spectacular visuals here (a valley of golden fields surrounded by mountains of silver, an ocean of stories represented by strings in the water meshing together ((reminds of string theory in physics)), tropical paradise, the gigantic warship of darkness). I also loved the way fantasy and reality came together in the last chapter. That was true to Rushdie's style, but what wasn't true was the exquisite writing normally found in his novels. This being a book for children I don't think anyone's surprised...
Did anyone else notice that a planet cannot be stationary half light and half dark as it orbits the sun even though it doesn't rotate on the axis? Editors must have missed that too....more
This book rocks! I loved it from start to finish. The quality of humor rivals that in Pratchett's most famous work, Good Omens, and the characters werThis book rocks! I loved it from start to finish. The quality of humor rivals that in Pratchett's most famous work, Good Omens, and the characters were as diverse and wild as any out there. Imp the Bard, Susan, the ape Librarian, Duck Man, and Death of course.. who can forget them? The main plot follows Imp, an aspiring harpist from an elegant land. He meets other aspiring musicians including a troll, a dwarf, and the ape/wizard/Librarian that says "ook" all the time. After they discover a guitar seemingly possessed by the soul of rock music, Imp abandons the harp and fronts the revolutionary "Band With Rocks In" with his new friends. The band gets in a whole lot of trouble with crowds, wizards and guilds, but the plot isn't that simple. The other facet follows Death on his mission to forget everything and become more human, leaving his job as Reaper Man to his grandaughter Susan. Death's adventure is one of the funniest things ever, as he seeks advice from recluse monks, armies of men who can't remember anything, and drunk people. Throughout the book Pratchett has some brilliant allusions to rock history, and it's also a philosophical gem that toys with the meaning of music, time, and life itself.
I wish I could recommend it for everyone, but if you don't like rock n' roll or fantasy you probably won't enjoy it the way I did. Being slightly insane will help you enjoy it too, but that's required for any Pratchett book, haha....more