If you want to relax into epic fantasy about a living legend and his sword, you’ll love Blood Song by Anthony Ryan.
A father abandons his son at an orpIf you want to relax into epic fantasy about a living legend and his sword, you’ll love Blood Song by Anthony Ryan.
A father abandons his son at an orphanage for killers. To avoid beatings from the master’s generous cane, young Vaelin must learn to fight. His wish for survival must burn hot enough to keep him alive through ice storms and other tests of endurance. One orphan says, “I’m not sure I can swim that far.” The master replies, “Then try to drown quietly.”
Vaelin must have the strength to continue even as the other boys die, as his friends die. To fail at the trial of the sword means death, and to make certain Vaelin doesn’t have it too easy, assassins also hunt him. Only one thing can keep him alive. The Blood Song.
If you’re a fan of RA Salvatore’s fantasy brawling and fascinating cultures, and you want a double dose in a six-hundred-page epic, try In Siege of DaIf you’re a fan of RA Salvatore’s fantasy brawling and fascinating cultures, and you want a double dose in a six-hundred-page epic, try In Siege of Daylight by Gregory S. Close.
Among the cast of characters, Osrith charmed me with his brutality. This resilient warrior lead chapters with good viscera-yanking fun. Those who prefer spine-severing mayhem may enjoy Bloodhawk’s perspective even more.
“He knew anger and hatred all too well. They had made a meal of him long ago.”
Not to say that the novel is unadulterated battle frenzy. The world is fleshed out of glowing imagination. Gregory S. Close has populated his lands with new races, both savage and ethereal. He created a hrummish language, and I was touched by an intricate ritual of burial, with a raven at last carrying away the spirit.
Calvraign, the hero of the tale, is an apprentice to the King’s bard. The lessons on insults were my favorite. His culture carried a whiff of Gaelic. His friend Callagh is a strong female character, her courage forged of adamantine and her mind the sharpest weapon of those she carries. She will need all of them and more if she is to survive the novel’s antagonist.
The Pale Man has his cursed sword, he has a name bristling with vowels, and he has craftiness to back up his ambitions.
“I seek your end no more than I would seek that of a toothless old lion hiding in the back of his cave.”...more
If you love epic fantasy in a world not of black and white but in shades of grey and green, you may love The Red Knight. Despite the title, this is noIf you love epic fantasy in a world not of black and white but in shades of grey and green, you may love The Red Knight. Despite the title, this is not a tale of any single character so much as a world. Miles Cameron introduces several interesting and nuanced characters, from a bastard knight tortured by his past, to a wizard feeling a resurgence of youth and as excited about his experiments as defeating the onrushing hordes, to a resourceful abbess, to a charismatic queen, to an ex-slave joining the wild men, to a disgraced knight, to the cousin of a giant of a man who believes an angel gave him a divine right to rule, to a Hillman type trying to drive his herd to supply the army, to a seamstress (the book’s true hero?), and to the sorcerer treefolk commanding the forces of the Wild. I may have missed a few, but the point is that this is an involved and engrossing world. To appreciate it you have to be comfortable with changing perspectives repeatedly.
Oh, and I best mention this book is mostly epic battle. Blood of various colors and acid concentrations would have to be your thing.
The world has many similarities with medieval Europe, except that man is battling against the Wild for territory. Instead of forces of Light versus Dark, this is set up as Light vs Green, and the nuance makes a surprising difference. Also, it’s never clear which side is in the right, as mankind is seen as encroaching on the wilderness, even capturing some of the beasts for amusement. The delightful bestiary involves wyverns, trolls, golden bears, dinosaur-like creatures obsessed with beauty, insectile footmen, and humanoids we might consider elves in other worlds but are very much the enemy to man here. The Red Knight is ostensibly the story’s protagonist, but he wins most every battle against the forces of the Wild, which made me wish to root for the side of the golden bears. That this story allows for that is refreshing indeed. A pity that their champion, Thorn, seemed at best a bully.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have to run away with a certain beautiful dinosaur....more
If you love thieves, dragons, and thieves stealing dragons, then you may love As the Crow Flies. The story reminds me of Dresden Files by Jim Butcher If you love thieves, dragons, and thieves stealing dragons, then you may love As the Crow Flies. The story reminds me of Dresden Files by Jim Butcher in the sense that it's first-person fantasy, but author Robin Lythgoe takes us to another world where the master thief, Crow, is coerced to work alongside the law-man who has dogged him for years. Together they must steal a dragon egg for a wizard or see their loved ones perish. For Crow, "loved ones" of course refers primarily to himself.
Crow and the lawman must weather first each other, second a trek through dangerous lands and a haunted caves and into a temple guarded by blade, sorcery, and an upset dragon broodmother. The banter between the two enemies on their quest kept me smiling throughout the chapters. As we might expect, both men must grow to depend on each other, and Crow grows into a better (and more magical) person, despite his best efforts to stay a self-serving thief.
And let's not forget the thief part. I love a good cloak and purse-cutting dagger, and Crow delivers. He's armed with a silver tongue, sleeping dust, feet that'd make a cat feel ungainly, a razor mind, and a diploma for best-in-class at the school of fine thieving and infiltration (awarded by me). I've read about approximately a billion thieves and even played the vintage first-person-looter games Thief, but Crow still impressed me as a sterling example of skulduggery....more
Those familiar with me on Goodreads will know that I rarely review books. More often, I recommend them, suggesting the type of person who might best eThose familiar with me on Goodreads will know that I rarely review books. More often, I recommend them, suggesting the type of person who might best enjoy the story. Some people will love a book that boggles another. It is ever my goal to match books to readers who will enjoy them, will be swept be swept away in an adventure of imagination, gripping the corners of their sweat-slick electronic readers with white knuckles all night and into the unmentionable hours of the morning.
Is Fox's Bride the right story for you? First of all, you should love fantasy books. And speaking of taking delight in fantasy, I have asked hundreds of people and collected the reasons why the genre is great. [image]
If you love detailed magics that obey their own laws, you may like Fox's Bride. If you love the idea of a weekend adventure to another world, to an oasis city with bazaars, brass tomb towers etched with hieroglyphs, and enchanted rivers floating through the sky, then you may like Fox's Bride. If you love your protagonists flawed but learning to become better people, then you may like Fox's Bride. If you prefer your stories to be personal, to revolve around a few characters in peril rather than a few continents at war, then Fox's Bride may be for you. If you love your novels to both glitter with visuals as well as contain the ever-nearing thump-thump of horror, then Fox’s Bride may be your book.
I do not presume that Fox's Bride will suit everyone's tastes, but if you're looking for a new journey of imagination, please indulge in the Goodreads excerpt (green button under the illustration on the book page). If the sample shines your shield, then you can find Fox's Bride on Amazon. ...more
Fears and expectations shape this world. Worrying your sword could break causes it to do so, making more intricate technologies undependable and isolaFears and expectations shape this world. Worrying your sword could break causes it to do so, making more intricate technologies undependable and isolating this Earth colony on this planet. The power of thought harnesses natural energies, and those gifted with greater control and sight of these beautiful forces are called Adepts.
The story perspectives are male oriented, a warrior priest and an Adept's assistant. I loved the assistant's introduction: His fiance leaving him because she saw she'd always be second to his obsession with power he could never have. His master, an old but young-looking Adept has her memories and magical sight stolen, reducing her to see things as we do---lumps of matter---rather than in colorful potential. To regain her former status, the protagonists adventure into a caldera town, a dark forest, a craggy wasteland inhabited by leonine humanoids (the Audible narrator does an amazing purring accent), and into the caverns below the obelisk tower of a demon-dealing Adept. Along the way they enlist the Hunter, an Adept who once was a prophet but sold his soul to the night.
Now, I'm not going to try to lie to you. The Hunter's magic is similar to a character in my own novels, the Lord of the Feast. Oops! At least their personalities differ, the Hunter something of a Dracula with a blue-flaming sword, while the Lord of the Feast might bring to mind an evil Oscar Wilde. In both cases, they drain human fear to power magics of heart-stopping potency but that only work in the night.
If you love your allies corrupt and dashingly dressed, you may love Black Sun Rising. If you love ripples of night power shining in pulses of purple twilight, this may be the book for you. You would need not to be allergic to adverbs, as they sprinkle the narrative like colored sugar atop a doughnut....more