Bloody Rose - a new generation takes the stage in The Band series

Posted by Lore on Sat, 11/05/2022 - 02:42
Bloody Rose Book Cover

It's time for the next generation of characters to take center stage in The Band series, which gives this second book of the series a very different vibe from the first one. The all-male members of the band Saga are now retired and the story shifts to focus on Fable, a young band just entering their prime and led by the infamous Bloody Rose. Fable is a far more diverse group of adventurers than Saga was and they are also not prone to killing off their bard in every encounter. So it should probably not be a surprise that the main PoV character is actually Fable's new bard, Tam, who leaps at the opportunity to join the band to get a little adventure in her life. Tam is full of excitement at the prospect of telling the story of Bloody Rose, who is a living legend, but she quickly realizes that the real Rose is not the one the other bards sing about. Rose is fighting her own inner demons and is willing to risk everything, and everyone in the band, for glory, so this time around it might not be just the bard that dies.

Kings of the Wyld - getting the band back together

Posted by Lore on Sat, 10/29/2022 - 02:48
Kings of the Wyld Book Cover

"Clay had the bright idea to block his attacker's next strike, shortly after the next strike." That's how battles typically go for Clay "Slowhand" Cooper, so nicknamed because he was never fast enough to land the first blow in a fight. Clay Cooper is the main PoV character and a member of the retired band of mercenaries, Saga. In a world where bands of adventurers are the equivalent of modern day rock stars, Saga was the OG band of mercs and the best of the best, before the whole industry became a side show. None of that matters though, since Clay is married now and all he cares about is his wife and daughter. So when Saga's old front man, Gabe, comes knocking on his door and explains why the band needs to get back together, Clay flatly refuses him and sends him away. Sure Gabe's daughter's life was in danger, but Clay has a daughter of his own, so what kind of father would he be if he just up and left? 

The Elric Saga - the 60th anniversary of an influential fantasy saga

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 10/21/2022 - 19:13
Elric of Melniboné Book Cover

Elric of Melniboné, along with the sword Stormbringer, is the most influential of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champions. The first Elric story, The Dreaming City, was published in 1961 and created the trope of the fantasy anti-hero with a burdened soul. These tales of his adventures as he wanders the world in a futile quest for spiritual peace have influenced countless works in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. That description fits superheroes like The Hulk, and while I'm not sure Elric influenced the comics, there is a definite resemblance in the television series of the 1980's. The multiverse concept pioneered here is seen in the works of authors like Brandon Sanderson and the place that brings spiritual and mental peace, Tanelorn in this multiverse, is echoed in Guy Gavriel Kay's references to Fionavar. The conflict between Lords of Chaos and Order was the basis for Louise Cooper's The Time Master series. References to the series and Stormbringer appear throughout popular culture including music, comics, and even lines in television series such as Game of Thrones. "But are the books actually good?" My answer: It's complicated.

Centers of Gravity - more military action in this excellent series.

Posted by Lore on Sat, 10/15/2022 - 02:48
Centers of Gravity Book Cover

This series started a little slowly 9 years ago with Terms of Enlistment, but it has been going strong since then and rarely disappoints. This one picks up right where the last one left off with the NCS Washington stranded in a sunless system deep behind enemy lines. Winding up here was an accident and they have no way back home, so the first order of business is establishing a source of water and then a source of protein. There is a promising source of water, but protein is likely to be a more difficult proposition. So Major Grayson takes his special tactics team onto a moon with signs of life in the hopes of discovering a source of food, and not a Lanky presence. Of course, this is a military Sci-Fi series so Grayson's hopes are shattered when a substantial Lanky presence is discovered on the moon. Then one thing leads to another...

The Golden Enclaves - a satisfying conclusion to the Lessons of the Scholomance

Posted by Sevhina on Fri, 10/07/2022 - 18:08
The Golden Enclaves Book Cover

The last thing El Higgins saw before Orion pushed her through the gates of the Scholomance was the massive maw-mouth monster called Patience rolling towards him. With only moments until a super-volcano spell goes off and destroys the school, El doesn't understand why Orion didn't throw himself through the gate as well. After all, a maw-mouth is a fate worse than death, but El's determined to find Patience and destroy it to set Orion's soul free. Of course that assumes she can even find what's left of the school in the void, but in the meantime she's back at the commune in Wales with her mum. When she allowed herself to imagine a future after graduation, she dreamed of using the Golden Stone Sutras spell book she found in the Scholomance to build small enclaves to protect others. Instead she finds herself fighting to save the big enclaves as almost every day another one of them is attacked.

Firefly: Life Signs - the series just gets better!

Posted by Lore on Sat, 10/01/2022 - 01:23
Life Signs Book Cover

​​​​​​​The Firefly series of books is the closest we will ever get to living in a world where the TV series wasn't canceled after just one season. Each book feels like a new episode of the show and Life Signs is the best one so far. Inara has not been aboard Serenity for a few books now and we finally find out why. Inara is dying. She has a terminal illness, Kiehl’s Myeloma, which is an incurable form of cancer and she has little time left. Therefore, she finally decides to let the crew of Serenity in on her secret and say goodbye. Of course this is devastating news to Mal and hard for him to accept. So hard, in fact, that he is willing to risk his own life, and the lives of his crew, on an impossible mission to save her. Mal decides that the crew needs to travel to an Alliance prison planet and break out a disgraced scientist on the slim chance that he might be able to help Inara. Pure madness.

Nona the Ninth - book 3 of the Locked Tomb

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 09/24/2022 - 03:16
Nona the Ninth Book Cover

Who is Nona? No one, least of all Nona herself, actually knows who's soul resides in the body originally belonging to Harrowhark. Her memory begins six months ago on planet dominated by different rebel factions and threatened by one of the Resurrection Beasts. Her friends, Pyrrha Dve (in the still living body of the dead Lyctor Gideon the First) and Camilla Hect, (who is sharing her body with her dead necromancer Palamedes Sextus), have only told her that they believe her to be one of two friends. Their supposed allies from the rebel group Blood of Eden are only allowing her to live because they hope her soul belongs to Gideon Nav who they need to open the Locked Tomb. Nona's personality is cheerful and completely innocent with only occasional flashes of what might be either the irreverent Gideon or serious Harrow. As Nona struggles to make sense of the events around her while her friends analyze every bit of her dreams she can recall in the hopes they are the key to unlocking her soul.

The Four-Part Key - Ty comes to the forefront of the Aldoran Chronicles

Posted by Lore on Sat, 09/17/2022 - 02:35
The Four-Part Key Book Cover

The last book was full of a lot of set up for this one and now it is time to see if there is going to be a payoff.  The title implies that Ty is going to be front and center since he is the one tasked to go on a typical fantasy RPG collection quest and assemble the four-part key in or to bring a mythical wizard's keep back into existence. Of course he has no idea how to do this, but he knows that he must accomplish it before the White Tower becomes unstoppable. Ty must travel from one land to another through a series of magical portals to find these key pieces, so the constant changes of scenery keep his adventure feeling fresh and unique every step of the way. Unfortunately the same is not true for the other PoV characters. Ferrin remains on the run after his escape from the White Tower and Ayrion still does not have his memories back, so in a way all three of them are dawdling around on side quests while the main storyline goes unpursued. Will that change before this one ends or is this even more set-up for the next book?

The Hourglass Throne - Tarot Sequence, Book 3

Posted by Sevhina on Sat, 09/10/2022 - 02:13
The Hourglass Throne Book Cover

It turns out that becoming one of the most powerful people in New Atlantis isn't exactly what Rune St. John expected. So far its mostly been about pouring vast amounts of his hard won money into reclaiming Sun Estate. With only three adults, four teens, one ten year old, and a few employees its barely worthy of the word "court". Still, they are forcing Rune to actually hold audiences once a week where his friends rate his performance while settling differences between the gardeners and such. He really needs a Seneschal. Both Brand and Rune are therefore delighted when Lady Priestess has an emergency at her posh rejuvenation clinic. Someone, apparently an anonymous lady who was disappointed that the rejuve didn't work, went on a murderous rampage killing dozens. Alas, while Arcana might act in emergencies, Rune is dismayed to discover that Arcana aren't allowed to investigate things anymore. Oh well, back to planning his Coronation and playing with his arthritic dinosaur. Luckily, the murderous lady crashes his Coronation party and makes dramatic threats.

Plague of Shadows - the middle book of the Aldoran Chronicles

Posted by Lore on Fri, 09/02/2022 - 22:00
Plague of Shadows Book Cover

The last book, The White Tower, ended with each of the PoV characters in an interesting position, so I was eager to find out what was going to happen next. Ayrion, the King's Guardian Protector, was completely in limbo since the King was now dead and his memory was lost. Unfortunately that means that he would not be able to respond to the treachery that led to the king's downfall, at least for now. Ferrin the blacksmith became the first person to ever escape the dungeons of the White Tower, and that puts him on the run along with those that helped him. And finally, Ty has started coming into his power with revenge on his mind for the death of his mother, instead of the destiny he is supposed to fulfill. It was a good set-up for all of them, but since this is also the middle book of a trilogy that could also mean it was going to lead to a lot of filler.