SUPER SATURDAY: 3/9/2019

supersaturday1

Other (more accomplished) bloggers spend their Saturdays showcasing all the great goodies they have received from publishers.  Since I infrequently get those (and definitely do not receive enough to fill a whole blog post) I’ve decided to spend my Saturdays showcasing some of the cool books I’ve picked up recently from used book stores, thrift shops, and yard sales. (Oh, yeah, I love going to yard sales on Saturday mornings.  Fun stuff.)

This week I have going to share a few groups of books I’ve stumbled upon.  From SFF to S&S to game-related my pickups have run the gamut.  And while you enjoy this, know that I am even now at a huge library sale in my home town digging through books trying to find a few gems I can share with you next time around!

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

FRIDAY FACE OFF: MARCH 8, 2019

friday-face-off

Welcome to the Friday Face-Off, a weekly meme created by Books by Proxy. Join us every Friday as we pit cover against cover, and publisher against publisher, to find the best artwork in the literary universe.  If you want to join in the fun, check out next week’s predetermined theme, choose a book, compare two or more different covers available for that book, then name your favorite. A list of future weeks’ themes are available at Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme is:

” ‘Two little fishes and a momma fishy too’ – A cover featuring a fish/fishes or other sea creatures!

Well, my first week back on the blogging circuit, and I’m already struggling with a theme.  No SFF titles I remember have anything at all to do with this, so excuse me while I go do some research on the old Goodreads bookshelf and see what I can find.

Just give me a minute.  It won’t take long.

bored gif

Thanks for waiting.  That took a little longer than I expected.
black line

 

black line

AND THE WINNER IS . . .

drumroll

A tie!

Listen, I had to pick the cover on the left because it reminds me so much of the SFF scene back in the 1980s where you’d walk up and down the bookshelves looking at all the weird, eye-catching covers. Also, the image on the cover actually comes straight from the story.  Strange as that might seem.

The cover on the right is just cool to me.  Plus it actually mixes together several elements of the story like the sun, moon, clock, and the water, which is in its favor.

So, do you agree with my picks?  Disagree?  Love all the covers?  Hate them all?  Let us know!

Posted in Cover Lover, Friday Face-Off | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

MISTER MIRACLE

mister miracleMister Miracle by Tom King

Genre: Superhero Comics

Series: Mister Miracle #1-12

Publisher: DC Comics (February 19, 2019)

Author Info: Twitter

Length: 320 pages

My Rating: 2 stars

Never having been a huge fan of Mister Miracle or the New Gods, I went into this read with no preconceived expectations. Sure, I had a passing idea of who Mister Miracle was: a superhero escape artist from New Genesis whose dad was the Highfather of the New Gods (imagine Odin) but who was reared on the hellish world of Apokolips as part of a peace treaty.  Other than that I truly knew nothing about this guy and never had really cared to learn more.  But there was so much wild cheering about how amazing this mini-series was that I decided to give it a go.

shaun-the-sheep-awkward-clap

Once I popped open Mister Miracle, I very quickly learned that Scott Free might have amazing powers, a wife he adores, and celebrity status as the greatest escape artist ever, but he has problems.  I’m not a psychologist, but the dude seems to have a touch of PTSD, RAD, daddy issues, mommy issues, depression issues, self-esteem issues, and a host of other mental health problems.  All of it leaving him feeling trapped.  

mister miracle 1 

So, naturally, Scott Free does what he does best when he is trapped: he escapes!  His method this time around committing suicide!

You see what the writer did there?  A superhero escape artist escaping his problems by committing suicide.  That’s clever isn’t it?  Subverts standard superhero themes of heroism, accountability, and personal fortitude.  Postmodernist literature at its best.  But, wait, it gets better.

You see, Scott — the escape artist who committed suicide — then performs an even greater escape: he escapes death by not dying!  OMG, that is even more clever, right?

loki eyeroll

But wait!  There is more.  Did Scott actually succeed in his plan?

Perhaps Scott miscalculated his daring escape from death and is actually dead; the events which occur after his brush with the eternal hereafter merely a post-death purgatory of sorts.  Or, maybe Scott is in a coma, dreaming it all.  Or he could still be bleeding out on the floor, hallucinating all this as his life slowly seeps away.  Each and every one of these possibilities terrifying!!!!!!

mister miracle 2

On the other hand, Scott might just be alive, dealing with the aftermath of his actions.  His attempted suicide beginning a chain reaction of events which ultimate leads to war between New Genesis and Apokolips; many wonderful, horrifying, and bizarre events taking place all along the way thereafter.  Scott and his wife Barda attempting to deal with all this while maintaining a normal life on Earth.  This unusual balancing act of ordinary and brutal the main theme throughout, as Mister Miracle contemplates deep philosophical thoughts, acts like a emotional scared man-child, and bores the hell out of you along the way.

So what did I think of the book?

Well, it starts out well enough, I guess.  Scott Free’s characterization as an emotional unstable, weak man who has daddy issues and mommy issues and depression issues and a whole bunch of other issues was different, unique even.  Honestly, I can’t recall ever reading a superhero comic where the lead was this uninspiring, emotionally screwed up, or pathetic.  And the whole mystery surrounding his suicide was intriguing. So, at the very least, this story had a nice setup which made me want to crowd around with everyone else and watch where it went.

mister miracle 3


From there though the whole plot sort of sputtered for me.  There were some highs and some lows along the way to the end. Some cool twists, some dumb plots. Mostly, the art was fairly meh and uninspiring (though others might find it more to their liking.)  And the conclusion tried too hard to twist expectations round and round, be emotionally thought-provoking, yet failed to do either.  

Listen, I know my review is going against the consensus.  I realize most comic readers love this series, adore this writer, and that it has won major comic awards.  Truly, I’m as disappointed in not loving Mister Miracle as much as some of you are in me not giving it a 5 star rating, but, unfortunately, the story as a whole did not maintain the high level of its beginning, failed to capitalize on its unique premises, and didn’t really surprise in its conclusion. Really, I’m glad you enjoyed it more than me, but I have to call it like I see it, which is Mister Miracle is merely an okay comic story, nothing more. 

Purchase at Amazon

Posted in 2 Stars, DC, Graphic Novels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WTF WEDNESDAY: CAPTAIN MARVEL

wtf

Welcome to the first What the F@#K? Wednesday!  Now, don’t get concerned with that title because these posts are not going to be filled with cursing (I steer away from that these days.) or ranting (I don’t care to argue with people unless I’m being paid to do so.) nor anything inflammatory (I’m not writing to get attention any way I can.)  This is just going to be a day I can write about different topics which will cause some of you to wonder WTF is Bookwraiths doing.

This week I’m going to be writing about the upcoming release of the next Marvel Comics movie, Captain Marvel, and why I won’t be going to see it in theaters.  Something which would have shocked me, horrified me even just a few years ago, because I grew up a Marvel Zombie and have seen every MCU not only in theaters but on opening weekends. Yet after all these years I’ve grown tired of the MCU and its direction.

The word “direction” probably will make most people assume I’m speaking about Brie Larson and the swirling controversy around her statements about white men and so forth, but I’m not.  Sure, I’ve read them, heard people talk about them, but they have nothing to do with my decision, because the only reason I go to see movies is if they look interesting, and Captain Marvel just doesn’t.

Let me just go point by point, attempting to explain a few reasons why this film has not captured my interest.

captain marvel 1980sOne, I grew up reading Marvel comics primarily in the late 1970s through the mid 1990s.  During those years there was another Captain Marvel; Monica Rambeau.  This woman carried the mantle for years, fighting alongside the Avengers and leading them at one point.  And, no, she wasn’t in any way connected to Mar-Vell of the Kree, but she was a very powerful character in her own right.  So this is my Captain Marvel, which means I’m not really interested in seeing her replaced by another  version.

gotg posterTwo, I don’t really like cosmic films in the MCU.  Sure, I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy, but that was due to the humor, group camaraderie, and the music.  All the aliens, spaceships, and cosmic stuff bored me to tears.  That is probably why I enjoyed Guardians Vol. 2 less than I did the first, since it focused so much on the cosmic aspects, and it is probably why when I heard Captain Marvel was going to be a “Cosmic Marvel” film I yawned.

ant-man-wasp-posterThree, I’ve grown bored with the formula for Marvel films in the last year or so.  Ant-man and the Wasp the latest example and probably my least favorite MCU film, rating below even The Incredible Hulk and Doctor Strange, because it was a damn carbon copy of every other MCU movie I’ve seen in the last ten years.  I say this to make clear I’m pretty much tired of the same old same old from Marvel, and from early reviews Captain Marvel is serving up the tried-and-true MCU kool-aid again.

captain marvel movieFour, this ret-conning of MCU history.  Sure, the writers might find a way to wedge Captain Marvel into the MCU timeline, explain where she has been, and why Nick Fury never felt a need to summon her during previous world cataclysmic events, but why go to all this trouble.  The MCU has been developed over a decade, seamlessly meshes together, and isn’t riddled with alternate timelines, mirror dimensions, and other strange idiosyncracies which will not work with generic moviegoers. This whole rewriting of MCU history is just annoying as crap.

nick furyFive, I’m tired of Nick Fury.  Listen, I’ve always liked this character, enjoyed his cameos, and I can understand why Marvel thought adding a young Nick in as a buddy cop angle might help this standard origin film.  Problem is I don’t care to know any more about Nick Fury.  Part of this guy’s gravitas and mystique has always been not knowing everything about him, so why Marvel wants to ruin that I don’t understand.

avengers endgame.jpgSix, I hate to say it, but I view Captain Marvel as the ex deus machina Marvel has pulled out of their proverbial butts to fix the delicate situation Avengers: Infinity War has put them in.  Honestly, we have half of the MCU along with half the universe obliterated with a snap of Thanos’ golden hand, and now this mess has to be fixed in some coherent way to allow the MCU to move forward in a bold new direction.  The problem being I’m afraid Cap Marvel is just being set up to be this overpowered demigod who fixes things, which will be boring.

90s musicSeven, I don’t like the soundtrack for this film at all.  I know, I know, the soundtrack isn’t even out yet, but I’m already dismissing it out of hand, but hear me out here.  The simple fact is I really don’t like 90s music.  Didn’t like it then, don’t like it now.  Honestly, I struggled during the 90s to find any bands I enjoyed listening to, and the ones I did follow back then I don’t really like much now.  So the idea of 90s music in the film horrifies me.

1990sEight, I’m not much for nostalgia.  Simply put, I lived through the last several decades and don’t feel a need to watch a documentary or film devoted to them.  So when I’ve noticed that Captain Marvel tries to play up the 90s nostalgia angle, it has turned me off, since I lived through the 90s.  Sure, I guess they were good in a lot of ways, but they were not perfect by any measure, so I really can’t see what Disney is selling here.

shazam posterNine, Captain Marvel‘s trailers have not been very exciting for me personally and have not compared very favorably with another superhero film soon to be released; that film being Shazam, the original Captain Marvel.  No, I haven’t gotten a special showing of the next DCEU film, but it looks extremely funny and lots of fun from the trailers; it’s light-hearted laughs a lot more appealing to me than the rather bland MCU Captain Marvel.

AquamanTen, Captain Marvel has a tough act to follow in the superhero department.  Many might believe I’m referring to Avengers: Infinity War or Ant-Man and the Wasp here, but I am actually speaking about James Wan’s  Aquaman.  This was not only a very good origin story, visually stunning, filled with loads of fighting and more than a few laughs, but it also had some solid performances by Jason Momoa (who made Aquaman cool somehow) and Patrick Wilson (who was a smooth, complex villain whom you hated but also understood).

Anyway, I’ll be eager to read what my friends all have to say about this film, and I do wonder if any of my concerns are felt by anyone else.  I’ll definitely watch Captain Marvel once it hits Netflix or my local Redbox, but I just am not excited enough about this story to shell out $50.00 -100.00 for me and my sons to take this in at a weekend matinee.

 

 

 

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

TOP TEN TUESDAY

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

The topic this time out is: Characters I’d Switch Places With!

This is actually a tricky one.  Sure, it sounds easy, because we all have beloved characters, but every one of these people are going through difficult struggles, horrifying experiences, which is why we are reading a book about their adventures.  And quite a few of them end up miserably . . . at least in most grimdarks out there.  So I need to be careful about my picks here.


BISHOPS HEIR10. Kelson Haldane

This young king has some tough times, goes through a lot, but he is surrounded by a close group of loyal friends and allies, keeps his mind and heart as pure as possible, and never loses a desire to make his world a better place.  Plus you can’t overlook the fact the guy is young, powerful, and a king.  I mean, it is sort of difficult not to want to be king for just a day, right?

romulus buckle 19. Romulus Buckle 

Captain Romulus Buckle lives in a post-apocalyptic world where aliens invaded earth, caused an environmental realignment that resulted in the growth of a steampunk society filled with strange, wonderful contraptions.  The important part of all that is “captain” and “steampunk” because Romulus is the captain of his own zeppelin, living a swashbuckling existence.  Who wouldn’t want that?

dragon prince8. Rohan

This Dragon Prince has a damn amazing life.  Not only is he the ruler of the Desert, the High Prince of his lands, and probably the richest man in his entire world, but he has major sex appeal, is married to an intelligent, beautiful woman, and surrounded by a loving family and loyal friends.  Sure, he always seems to have his hater, but he still has a pretty amazing life I’d love to experience.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF7. Percy Jackson

Probably this has as much to do with me getting older every day and longing for a simpler time when I had less stress and lived mainly for fun, but even with that being said, I’m picking Percy here since I’d love to spend a little time rubbing elbows with half-bloods, Greek gods, and going on some cool quests.  Yeah, there would be danger, but as long as I was surrounded by good friends, I’m sure it would all be okay.

veil of the deserters6. Arkamondos

A young guy who is a scribe and gets to ride off into the unknown along side badass warriors.  Damn, this job sounds like it is tailor made for me back in the day.  I acknowledge that the danger would be something to be concerned about, because there is a lot of deaths in Bloodsounder’s Arc, but if Arkamondos can survive then I would be willing to bet on myself.

ALL THE WEYRS OF PERN5. Jaxom

Some people say it is very good to be Jaxom in any Anne McCaffrey penned Pern novel.  I’d agree and would love to be Ms. McCaffrey’s imaginary boyfriend for a while.  Honestly, Jaxom has a damn good life from his unique dragon to his lordship to his love life.  It really is good to be Jaxom, which is why I’d love to swap lives with him for a few days.

conan-the-cimmerian4. Conan

The ultimate swashbuckling barbarian has to be in my list, because I would love to walk into a room and see every person there be silenced by my sheer physical presence.  Conan not only pulls that off but has an amazing life which leads him across his world.  I’d love to experience his life and the Hyborian World.

the belgariad3. Garion

This blast from my past is a return to my childhood.  Garion was my generations Harry Potter, I think.  At least, this guy was for me.  I grew up reading his adventures and wanting to live in his world.  So it is natural that I’d still long to swap places with him, because it would be like recapturing my childhood and getting to live out a childhood fantasy.

lord of the rings2. Samwise 

I love every character in Lord of the Rings, but there is only one whom I’d swap places with and that is Samwise.  This hobbit might not come across initially as a hero, but he shows his worth, exhibiting his loyalty and bravery on amazing adventures, where he does grand deeds, yet returns home to live an ordinary life.  Sounds exactly like the sort of life I’d love to live.  At least for a while.

Luke_skywalker1. Luke Skywalker

When I was a kid growing up in the USA of the late 70s and early 80s, everyone on my school playground played Star Wars.  We’d pick our favorite characters, create grand adventures in a galaxy far, far away, then act them out. All my friends always wanted to be Han Solo, because he was the cool scoundrel, but I always wanted to be Luke.  Still do.  Well, the Luke Skywalker who existed before The Last Jedi ruined his character, but like Mark Hamill, I’m just going to say that grumpy loser was “Not my Luke Skywalker” and leave it at that.

 

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

FUNDAY MONDAY, OR THE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP ME SURVIVE THE WEEK AHEAD (MARCH 4, 2019)

funday-monday

Another work week begin!  I’ll run around like a man in a daze, frantically trying to fulfill all my commitments, while I dream of some future day when I will not have to struggle to steal an hour or two here and there to read.  But until that time comes, I’ll keep enjoying these brief interludes reading an old fantasy trilogy, Dragon Prince Trilogy, and a more recent anthology featured below.  Wish me luck!

roguesRogues editors George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Genre: SFF

Series: Anthology

Publisher: Bantam (July 17, 2014)

Length: 806 pages

Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R.R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.

Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart — and yet leave you all the richer for it.

Contents:
– “Tough Times All Over” by Joe Abercrombie – A Red Country story
– “What Do You Do? (aka The Grownup)” by Gillian Flynn
– “The Inn of the Seven Blessings” by Matthew Hughes
– “Bent Twig” by Joe R. Lansdale – A Hap and Leonard story
– “Tawny Petticoats” by Michael Swanwick
– “Provenance” by David Ball
– “The Roaring Twenties” by Carrie Vaughn
– “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by Scott Lynch
– “Bad Brass” by Bradley Denton
– “Heavy Metal” by Cherie Priest
– “The Meaning of Love” by Daniel Abraham
– “A Better Way to Die” by Paul Cornell – A Jonathan Hamilton story
– “Ill Seen in Tyre” by Steven Saylor
– “A Cargo of Ivories” by Garth Nix – A Sir Hereward and Mister Fitz story
– “Diamonds From Tequila” by Walter Jon Williams – A Dagmar story
– “The Caravan to Nowhere” by Phyllis Eisenstein – A Tales of Alaric the Minstrel
– “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives” by Lisa Tuttle
– “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back” by Neil Gaiman – A Neverwhere story
– “Now Showing” by Connie Willis
– “The Lightning Tree” by Patrick Rothfuss – A Kingkiller Chronicle story
– “The Rogue Prince, or, A King’s Brother” by George R.R. Martin – ASOIF story

Purchase the book at Amazon

Posted in Funday Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

MOTHER OF WINTER

mother of winterMother of Winter by Barbara Hambly

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Darwath #4

Publisher: Del Rey (July 28, 1998)

Author Information: Website

Length: 323 pages

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Comfortable.  Like the feel of a cozy chair, or a sip of favorite coffee, or watching a movie you’ve seen a dozen times.  That is what Darwath stories by Barbara Hambly are to me.  Certainly, they are also exciting, suspenseful, and thought-provoking in equal measure, but sitting down with Ingold and Gil, Rudy and Minalde, Tir and the Icefalcon is a comfortable return to a fondly remembered place, surrounded by people I love.  So please understand that as you read my review of Mother of Winter, Book 4 of the series.

Five years have passed since the Dark (aided by a certain wizard) crossed the inter-dimensional gulf between worlds, leaving Darwath for a warmer place not about to enter a new ice age.  The Dare Keep survivors have moved on as best they could, putting their past lives behind them, and learning to survive in a frigid climate where their lands are being overrun by a strange, never-before-seen plant life.  This “slunch” spreading slowly but surely across the land, destroying all foliage it touches including the little remaining farm land, as well as having the added side effect of turning any animal which partake of it into strange, deformed monstrosities straight out of nightmares.  No normal or magical method able to stop its relentless destruction.

Faced with the growing specter of starvation, Minalde’s regency for her son Tir faces growing conflict.  Both lords and important citizens of the Keep raging against her reliance (and relationships) with Ingold, Rudy, and the other wizards.  Wizards who eat rations but are useless against the ice storms outside, the spread of the slunch, or the lack of production by the Keep’s hydroponic tanks.  Some even going so far as to blame the the wizards for all their problems. This rising unrest sure to lead to open conflict and the destruction of the small group of survivors in Dare’s Keep unless someone does something.

Like always, Ingold Inglorion, greatest wizard of the West, is the one everyone turns to. His steady presence, immense power, and faithful heart making him as close to a savior as the Keep will ever have — though many might label him a devil instead.  But our resident wizard is torn as to what to do.  His instincts tell him the origins of the slunch and the only means to combat it are in the southern lands of Alketh, but how can he sneak away from the Keep with an erratic, potentially dangerous Gil, leaving Rudy behind as Minalde’s main magical protection?  And even if he does destroy the slunch, would it mean sacrificing the Keep survivors he has fought so long and hard to save?

My initial response to this book was a very favorable one.  It started out strong, reintroducing the world of Darwath and spent the right amount of time with old familiar characters as well as new ones.  The growth of each of these old favorites, the evolution of life at Dare’s Keep, and the struggles the group as a whole now deal with well structured and internally consistent.  The “world destroying” problem of the slunch, which quickly faced the Keep, presented in a very realistic way.  The effect of all this that the story organically grew from where the author left things decades ago at the close of The Armies of Daylight; Barbara Hambly not making the mistake of trying to retell the same old story but actually letting her longtime readers know what happened to Darwath since they were last there.

Around the two-third mark though, minor issues began cropping up which almost derailed this book for me.  New characters were never fleshed out.  Intriguing side plots were introduced then abandoned for no reason.  The pacing became very rushed.  The ending a surprise but not very satisfy.  All of these things leaving me with a feeling that the author needed another book or two to truly tell the story she set out to write.  So while I still enjoyed Mother of Winter, these problems definitely harmed my overall enjoyment with it.

Anytime I have an opportunity to return to Darwath I never pass it up.  These characters, this world and its struggles to dear for me not to jump at the chance to enjoy any tale Barbara Hambly chronicles.  I have to admit though that Mother of Winter was missing some secret ingredient to transform it from a solid, enjoyable adventure tale into one for the ages, and so while I’m glad I read it, I did subtract half a star from my rating, lowering it to only 3.5 stars.

Purchase the book at Amazon

Posted in 3 Stars, Fantasy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

TOP TEN TUESDAY

TOP TEN TUESDAYS

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday! This is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where a new top ten list hits the web every week!

The topic this time out is: Favorite Places From Books I’d Like to Visit!

The only thing about this topic I found difficult was narrowing it down to just ten picks, because, let me tell you, I love lots and lots of places in my favorite fantasy novels.  From long time beloved settings to recently introduced locales I always find myself finding more and more places I’d love to visit. And, today, I get to share a few with you guys.

john carter10. Barsoom

Even though I have only a passing familiarity with Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi classic, I’ve always loved the whole concept of Barsoom (Mars) with its alien civilizations, warring city states and all the rest.  Just a really cool concept which harkens back to the boy in me who dreamed of wielding a sword as I helped beautiful women defend themselves and drive back evil villains.

BISHOPS HEIR9. Kingdom of Gwynedd

I’m a lover of medieval history and fantasy stories which use that time period as their setting.  Just the whole idea of knights, jousting, sword fights, and chivalry (quaint as that may seem) was always magical to me.  Few fantasy do a better job of portraying the medieval period with its focus on politics and Christianity than Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni books and her realm of Gwynedd.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF8. Camp Half-blood

It might be my nostalgic memories of reading the Percy Jackson books to all three of my sons when they each entered their preteen years (In my mind that’s around 10 years old), but I’ve always had a special place in my reading heart for Seaweed Brain and friends, especially their magical camp where they gather to train and act like normal American teenagers.

A GAME OF THRONES7. The Wall

There are several amazing locales I could pick in Martin’s classic, unfinished fantasy tale; places like the Eyrie, or the Red Keep, or Braavos, or Essos, but my favorite has always been the Wall.  That ominous, mysterious wall of ice capturing my imagination.  Sure, its cold, isolated, and lacking the amenities of home, but it would sure be something to see, much more impressive than anything in reality.

blood-of-aenarion6. Ulthuan/Altdorf – Warhammer 

I came late in life to Warhammer, but I’ve learned to appreciate its gritty, depressing world.  And like all fantasy settings, this one is littered with amazing monuments, magical environments, towering cities, and creepy places, which means I can’t pick just one.  Instead I’m picking my two favorite: the elegant home island of the High Elves and the capital city of the human Empire.

seven forges5. Seven Forges

I’ve never been shy of professing my love for the world of Seven Forges as envisioned and brought to life by James A. Moore; the most tantalizing of its places the Blasted Lands and the seven volcanoes which lie at its center.  This bizarre yet beautiful land having spawned an amazing race of people who bring the saga to life, turning this action adventure saga into a pulp classic.

Chronicles of the Black Company4. Tower of Charm

Okay, don’t even start with the crap about how the Tower at Charm is nothing but another Barad-dûr clone like so many other fantasy  from the 1970s and 80s.  Sure, Lady is a sinister, vicious, all-powerful overlord bent of conquering the world with her Ten-Who-Were-Taken, but I know for a fact her tower is immaculately decorated, filled with beautiful music and smells of flowers — unlike Barad-dûr.

THE WALLS OF AIR3. Keep of Dare

First off, I have no intention of visiting this if the Dark are still around.  Ancient magic, mighty spells, perfect engineering and all be damned, because I don’t trust anything to keep those things away from me.  But if I can be assured the Dark are gone, I’d love to look around this place, see first hand the mysterious rooms, marvel at its seamless operation, and wonder how anyone could have built such a thing.

white gold wielder2. Revelstone 

Loads and loads of people these days hate the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, despise the main character, and loath any mention of this series.  (Don’t believe me go look at some reviews over on Goodreads.) I’m not one of them though.  Sure, I see the echoes of Tolkien everywhere: in the magic, the quests, and places like the Plains of Ra, but I still love the Land, especially legendary Revelstone.

lord of the rings1.  Middle-Earth

Truly, I love almost every single place in this series.  Asking me to pick between the Shire or Rivendell, Bree or Minas Tirith, Lothlórien or The Lonely Mountain is like asking me to pick between my children; it isn’t going to happen because I love each one of them with my whole heart.  So I’m just picking all of Middle-earth, because if I could I’d take a tour from the Grey Havens to the Sea of Rhûn, from the Ered Mithrin to the great harbor of Umbar, and I’d be smiling the whole time.

Posted in Top Ten Tuesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

FUNDAY MONDAY, OR THE BOOKS THAT WILL HELP ME SURVIVE THE WEEK AHEAD (FEBRUARY 25, 2019)

funday-monday

Since my last post, my family has battled an outbreak of the flu and another case of “walking” pneumonia.  Thankfully, I escaped this latest scourge, but being a nursemaid to my sick loved ones definitely took it out of me, though reading helped me calm my frayed nerves.  Surprisingly, it was a focus on some past favorites which helped me get me out of a long reading slump, so this week I’m continuing this old school binge with a late 80s trilogy I’ve never finished.

dragon princeDragon Prince Trilogy by Melanie Rawn

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: DAW (12/6/88; 5/2/89; 2/6/90)

Length: 574 – 560 – 496 pages

Trilogy centers on Prince Rohan of The Desert who dreams of peace.

Dragon Prince, book one, deals with Rohan’s rise to power in a world where the High Prince Roelstra foments division among the other Princes of the land, using their rivalries to rule supreme. Complicating Rohan’s plans for a new order are the schemes of his own aunt, star scrollthe Lady of Goddess Keep, who desires her nephew to marry the Sunrunner Sioned and produce a Sunrunner Prince.

Book two, The Star Scroll, unfolds fourteen years later during an unparalleled time of peace.  Rohan’s treaties and real reforms in law have made the Continent a stable, civilized place to live, but a new threat arises to tear it all apart, as a rival claimant to High Prince Roelstra’s throne forces Rohan to strike a balance between his new civility and his desire to press his son Pol’s claim to the Princemarch.

sunrunners fireThe concluding book of the series, Sunrunner’s Fire, takes place over a large period of time; Rohan’s son, Pol, has grown to full manhood,and the old dragon must reveal his deepest secrets to his young heir. Rohan finding himself forced to watch his son fight a battle which could result in his death, while he himself struggles to maintain the peaceful order by holding at bay demons of the past and destroying new enemies.

Purchase the books at Amazon

Posted in Funday Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: KELLANVED’S REACH

waiting-on-wednesday
Waiting on Wednesday is a meme I’ve participated in for years which lets readers share their excitement for books coming out soon, and this week the novel I’m eagerly awaiting is . . .

black line

kellanved's reachKellanved’s Reach by Ian C. Esslemont

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Series: Path to Ascendancy #3

Publisher: Tor Books (February 19, 2019)

Author Information: Website 

Length: 420 pages

The incessant war between the bickering city states of Quon Tali rages. So engrossed are the warring lords and princes in their own petty feuds that few notice that an upstart mage from Dal Hon has gained control of the southern seas. But some powers are alarmed. And in the meantime, as Purge and Tali indulge in what seems like a their never-ending game of war, a mercenary caught up in the fight between the two states suddenly refuses to play along and causes all sorts of chaos. Simultaneously, a pair of escapees from Castle Gris make their way across this ravaged landscape of flame and butchery. Their intention to seek out the legendary Crimson Guard.

And then there’s Kellanved who could not care less about any of this petty politicking or strategy or war. Something other and altogether more mysterious has caught his attention and he – together with a reluctant and decidedly sceptical Dancer – traverse continents and journey through the Realms in pursuit . . . But this ancient mystery that has so captivated Kellanved is neither esoteric nor ephemeral. No, it is of an altogether darker and more dangerous hue. It involves the Elder races themselves, and more specifically – certainly more alarmingly – the semi-mythic, and universally dreaded, Army of Dust and Bone.

Surely no one in their right mind would be so foolish as to embark on a journey from which none have returned? Well, no one except Kellanved that is . . .

Purchase the book at Amazon

Posted in Waiting on Wednesday | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment