Category Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin

index-phpIn a land called the Stillness—a single continent atop unstable fault lines—civilizations have risen and fallen attempting to survive frequent seismic activity. Among the land’s inhabitants are stills, non-magical humans, and orogenes, who can quell tremors and harness seismic power. As the Stillness experiences a cataclysm that will throw it into an extended period of ash and darkness, one orogene sets out to find her abducted daughter. This is speculative fiction at its best: a compelling narrative with parallels to the real world. Jemisin’s world building is masterful, rooted in the geography and history of the Stillness. She deftly uses her prose to draw readers into this world, to develop complex characters, and to examine the ways society oppresses and dehumanizes its people. The first installment of the Broken Earth series, The Fifth Season won the 2016 Hugo Award for best novel.

Rating: * * * * * One of the best

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Reviewed by: LW

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Book Review: Wake of Vultures, by Lila Bowen

The Old indexWest and fantasy meet in Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen.  The work is gritty and fantastical, while discussing issues that women, people of color, and the LGBT community face in this historical setting.  The main character, Nettie Lonesome, grows dramatically from her start as a slave in the Old West and fights her way to become a cowhand at a local ranch before even more adventure is thrust upon her. The suspense keeps the reader on the edge of their seat as Nettie continues her adventure and learns more about who and what she is.

The rich mythology of the world of Wake of Vultures draws from Native American and European folklore to create a version of the old west that is both beautiful and dangerous.

There is a sequel in the works, but Wake of Vultures ties its plot threads together nicely, allowing the readers to finish the book wanting more, but without feeling like they have been left with a cliffhanger.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

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Reviewed by: Anne F

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Review: Mattimeo, by Brian Jacques

In this book from the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, Slagar the evil fox kidnaps several of the young of Redwall Abbey. Mattimeo, a mouse, son of Matthias, hero of Redwall, his friends Tim and Tess, also mice, Auma the badger and Jube the hedgehog are among the prisoners that Slagar captures and intends to sell as slaves to the evil Malkarris, a polecat, of the underground rat kingdom. Matthias is joined by several Redwallers as well as Orlando the Axe, a badger, and a band of shrews led by Log-a-log to pursue Slagar and return the young ones to Redwall. I listened to the audio version narrated by the author with various actors voicing the characters which also included delightful musical interludes. Put a visit to Redwall in Mossflower wood on your to-do list this autumn.

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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Review: The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

This is the first in the fantasy saga, The Stormlight Archive, written by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is well known in the fantasy community for being an expert in world building. He was chosen to finish the Wheel of Time saga after Robert Jordan passed.

This book follows three main characters: a high lord, a slave, and a young woman, as they try to survive in a world that has been plagued with war ever since the death of their king by an assassin with seemingly supernatural powers.

Are you itching for something to read while waiting for George R R Martin to finish A Song of Ice and Fire, or do you want a series that drags you in by the first chapter? Give The Way of King a try!

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: sl

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The New Policeman, by Kate Thompson

 

Set in present day Ireland, this teen novel contrasts the frantic pace of modern day life with traditional Irish ways, Irish music, folk dancing and beliefs with a twist of magic. One of main character’s J.J. Liddy’s neighbors tells him he must travel to the enchanted land of the ever young where the faeries live to solve a decades old mystery about time itself and his family. I listened to the book on CD and thoroughly enjoyed the musical interludes between each chapter.

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RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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Filed under Audiobooks, Fantasy, Staff Picks, Young Adult

Tailchaser’s Song, by Tad Williams

A very good and gripping book, it stays true to the nature of cats, pulling the reader into a very believable (for fantasy) mythology. The only part that might annoy people is the fact that the cats call animals by different names, but there is an index for all the unfamiliar terms in the back, and I feel that this reinforces the feeling that you really are hearing this from a cat. The book captures the essence of felinity and allows the reader to see the world as cats do. I recommend this book to anyone, but especially people who enjoy fantasy and have always wanted to see an adventure of epic proportions from a cat’s perspective.

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RATING: * * * * Very, very good
Reviewed by: Devlin G

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Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay

Kay has created a sprawling fantasy novel based on the 8th century Tang Dynasty of China. It centers around Shen Tai, second son of a general. Tai has spent the last two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both sides at the battlefield site of one of his father’s last great battles. He receives a gift of unimaginable scope from a princess to thank him for his efforts. This gift of 250 Sardian horses leads him into a web of intrigue which could cost him his life. I listened to the book on cd, and the narrator, Simon Vance, was excellent.

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RATING: * * * A good read
Reviewed by: kh

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