King Leodan Akaran rules a kingdom that has experienced generations of peace, so he is able to spend his time focused on his children, raising them in an idyllic manner. Of course, all is not as perfect as it seems. While the king and his people reap the benefits of their prosperity, there are many others who have been oppressed and disposed of to make it all possible. This leads the Mein, a long ago exiled people, to send an assassin that kills Leodan and causes his children to scatter. This assassination kicks off the events of this trilogy as Leodan's children set out not only to avenge their father, but also to correct the wrongs of their now former way of life.
Suddenly everyone wants the prostitute Clara, but not for her professional skills. She was kidnapped and locked in a warehouse with a man because someone knows her secret; that she's a shapeshifter in a city where magic use is illegal for humans. Drugged and unable to control herself she killed that man and now every bounty hunter in town is after her. She has fled into the complex Labyrinth surrounding town and one old woman is determined to save her. In reality Clara is simply the bait in an elaborate trap that is the next move in a plan to take over the universe. Too bad failure was only part of the plan.
Dan Simmons won a Hugo award for his book Hyeprion, which is the first of four in a series of the same name. Simmons creates an amazing technological future where humanity's impact on the universe has significant ramifications that put our survival at risk. This first book kicks off the series in fine style as an eclectic cast of characters sets out on a pilgrimage to visit the planet Hyperion. Only one of them will accomplish their goal on Hyperion and the future of humanity will be determined by which of them is successful. As the long journey to Hyperion take place each character tells their personal story to the others and the pieces of a very interesting puzzle start to come together.
Major Bhaajan is a retired soldier working as a P.I. when she returns to the desolate world of her birth. A young nobleman, who in this matriarchal society has lived his entire life in seclusion, has gone missing and the police can't find his trail because he disappeared into the ruins and caves beneath the city. The City of Cries believes the Undercity to be nothing more than a slum but to Bhaajan it's the home she both loves and hates. Locating the missing prince is only the beginning and it's time for an intergalactic empire to realize that their greatest resource is dying from neglect right under their feet.
Linesman is a character driven sci-fi series about a young man, Ean, discovering that his unique way of working with space ship "lines" will revolutionize human understanding of that technology. A piece of scrap metal used for a ship repair was found to contain ten "lines" that when integrated with the ship allowed for greater control and most importantly, the ability to travel through hyperspace. On the edge of interstellar war for control of that technology an alien ship with amazing defenses is discovered and both factions are desperate to possess it. It will take "Crazy" Ean Lambert to figure out how to access and use it.
This fictional world created by Alexey Pehov is full of standard fantasy fare but it also has some interesting quirks mixed in along the way that give it some uniqueness. However, this being the first work of Pehov's to be translated from his native Russian into English you can tell that some of the charm has been lost in the translation. It all starts with the King making Shadow Harold (a thief) an offer he can't refuse - either Harold goes into an ancient tomb and retrieves a powerful artifact needed to save the kingdom or he gets thrown in prison for the rest of his life. Harold, being the practical sort, agrees to go on the quest because it at least offers him a small chance of survival, unlike the prison. A standard fantasy party of adventurers is put together and the quest begins...
After thoroughly enjoying the Farseer Trilogy I was pretty excited about reading more of the books that take place in the Realm of the Elderings created by Robin Hobb. My enthusiasm was quickly dampened when I discovered that Ship of Magic was full of bratty kids, over-bearing parents, and a heavy dose of family squabbles. Normally fantasy literature is an escape from such mundane and stressful topics but not so with the first book of the series. Luckily some interesting magic systems and concepts intrigued me enough to continue on...
The Night Angel trilogy tells the tale of Azoth, a young orphan who barely gets by from day to day as a member of the Black Dragon thieves guild. Azoth and his friends must find a way to steal enough coin each day to pay their dues to the guild enforcer, Rat, and still have some money left over for food. One night Azoth stumbles upon Durzo Blint, the best assassin in the city, as he flees the scene of a just completed job. Street smart and a good judge of character, Azoth asks to apprentice under Durzo but he is instantly rejected by the master assassin. When Azoth's best friend is beaten and raped by Rat, he becomes more determined to apprentice under Durzo so that he can learn to stick up for himself and his friends. Azoth encounters Durzo a second time and threatens to kill him if he won't take Azoth on as an apprentice. Durzo sees something in the boy and agrees to take him on only if he kills Rat by himself before the end of the week.
The Farseer family rules the Six Duchies as they have for many generations but dire times are at hand. The Red Ships are raiding the coastal cities and King Shrewd's health is failing. He has many sons so the line of succession is well defined and with the King in poor health Prince Verity does the majority of the ruling. Of course that doesn't sit well with Prince Regal, a selfish and cruel individual who is the son furthest down the line of succession and unhappy with his station. Sound familiar?
The Summoner trilogy, by Taran Matharu, is a YA series that combines classic rpg video game elements, a Hogwart's like academy, and the teen vs teen survival trials of the Hunger Games. Fletcher is an orphan who finds, and successfully uses, a demon summoning scroll in a world where the human battlemage summoners support the army in an endless conflict with the orcs.