Category Archives: Books

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Book Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

This was an enjoy­able book to read but proves to be a remark­ably frus­trating one to review. The Paper Magi­cian is aimed primarily at the Young Adult audi­ence and is set in an alter­nate late Victo­rian era where magic seems to be tightly inte­grated into society. In fact it would appear to have taken the place of science (though that may be an over simpli­fi­ca­tion). You're likely to instinc­tively compare The Paper Magi­cian with Harry Potter because there are some surface simi­lar­i­ties, like refer­ences to a school for magi­cians and the young adult vibe. But, this is a smaller and more inti­mate story. Coming in at a mere 224 pages it is very brief by fantasy stan­dards and though that is not an inher­ently bad thing some of my crit­i­cisms may result from the brevity. A Story About Two Char­ac­ters Meet Ceony Twill, a young and newly grad­u­ated Magi­cian. She wanted to work with metal but instead is forced to appren­tice to a Folder, a paper magician.

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Dragonlance Re-Read: Dragons Of Autumn Twilight — Part 4

The action heats up substan­tially in Dragons of Autumn Twilight as my re-read reaches Xak Tsaroth and chap­ters 13 through 16 and we finally encounter dragons. Not only is there a notice­able increase in action, but Hickman and Weis also manage to increase the emotional payload as well. "I left Gold­moon. I returned to find Chieftain's Daughter" The Story So Far The Heroes of the Lance are camped not far from the ruins of Gold­moon and Riverwind's tribe. They're some­what shell shocked by the death and destruc­tion they have witnessed, but deter­mine that they must push on and attempt to reach Xak Tsaroth by the dead­line. Gold­moon and Riverwind's rela­tion­ship remains rocky but they too remain committed to the journey. A journey which takes them through some partic­u­larly marshy swamps and gives us another glimpse into both the geog­raphy of Krynn and the impact the Cata­clysm had on the land. And always below them and around them was the dark water, where strange eyes watched them hungrily.

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Book Review: The Accidental Alchemist by Gigi Pandian

Urban Fantasy is an extremely popular genre and one that supports quite a range of styles. With The Acci­dental Alchemist Gigi Pandian may have come up with an entirely new sub-genre, or at least one I was not previ­ously familiar with. It is part mystery, part recipe book! I'm exag­ger­ating here, but only slightly. The book is a light-hearted one that certainly belongs in the Urban Fantasy fold, though marking itself apart with an absence of were­wolves, vampires or demons.  There is a gargoyle though. A French one. The central and sole view­point char­acter for the story is Zoe Faust, an immortal alchemist (the acci­dental appel­la­tion is explained in the story) who has just moved to Port­land, Oregon.

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Book Review: Raven's Shadow Book 2 — Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

Tower Lord is the second book in the Raven's Shadow fantasy series by Anthony Ryan. Obvi­ously if you haven't read the first book, this isn't the place to start but I'd recom­mend reading it and you can see my review of Blood Song right here. Where's The Tower? [amazon template=image&asin=0425265625]While this is most defi­nitely a contin­u­a­tion of the story that Ryan started in Blood Song, he makes a bold, and risky, choice by changing narra­tive format. In the first book it was all the story of Vaelin Al Sorna as related by Vaelin to a scribe. It's not a literary device I partic­u­larly care for so I was quite happy to see it go away this time round. However, moving from a single view­point char­acter to four is a pretty radical change to pull on you readers. And judging by the online reac­tion some of them really didn't like it.

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Book Review: The Thirteenth Tower by Sara C. Snider

The Thir­teenth Tower offers a rather different style of fantasy story from the usual epic.  It's a much more personal tale and also smaller in scale. The world does not seem to be in the balance here. The story here is all about Emelyn and her place in the world. You might be forgiven, on reading the opening chapter, for thinking you were reading some sort of Downton Abbey type of novel. Certainly that seems to be the type of world that Emelyn lives in, working as a servant in a house owned by a well to do family. But this low key begin­ning lulls the reader so that when the weird­ness begins happening, it is all the more striking. And the strange carnival of wildlings or fae crea­tures with the towns­folk firmly in their spell has an almost dream­like quality to it that is also very effective.

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Dragonlance Re-Read: Dragons Of Autumn Twilight — Part 2

Part two of my re-read of Dragons of Autumn Twilight picks up, unsur­pris­ingly, right where I left off at the end of part one. This time out we're covering chap­ters 5 through 9 and at the current rate it looks like there will be about 10 parts in total. The constel­la­tion known as the Queen of Dark­ness and the one called Valiant Warrior. Both are gone. The Story So Far Our brave compan­ions flee the town of Solace making for the Crys­talmir Lake in an effort to escape the goblin search parties. An effort that has mixed success. They finally hole up for the night in a cave and we learn some of the back­story of River­wind and Gold­moon. During the night Raistlin notices an alarming thing.

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